Sunday, 2 September 2018

Calne Town v Fawley

Gaily coloured sign attracting visitors in to Bremhill View.
I can't help it. I love the FA Vase. I can go to places I've never been and watch two sets of amateur or semi-pro footballers giving it their all, knowing there's a Wembley final at the end of the rainbow. I've rarely seen a boring game in this competition.

This was very much the case at Calne on Saturday in the initial round of the competition. From the first minute, when the home side took the lead with a curling shot from 20 yards, through the 7th minute, when Mark Lilley equalised from the first penalty of the day, to the 19th minute, when Calne scored from a dubiously-given corner, through to the 29th minute (Hawkins drew Fawley level at 2-2), to the 48th and 62nd minutes (Calne going 4-2 up with a pen and a goal from open play), until the 78th, 87th and 89th minutes, when Fawley came back from 4-2 down to win 5-4, with Elliott Earl sliding in the third, then sub Peter Southwick scoring two in quick succession, this was a riveting rollercoaster of a game. Quite possibly the best match I'll see during 2018/19.

Pre-match, it looked like it could be an even match-up between Calne Town of the Western League and Fawley of the Wessex, and Calne is somewhere I'd never been, which is why I chose this game. Calne is about 1 hour and 35 minutes from Southampton by car (if you don't take any wrong turnings on the way - I didn't on the way there, but I messed up going across Salisbury Plain on the way back, making it a two hour return journey).

Bremhill View's main structures are on the far side from the corner entrance. You can see the dressing rooms and stand in the pictures below. The other three sides are hard standing - the far end has been newly laid. Aaron Witchell and Lovesey both wrote their names in the concrete as it set. If you'd like to see more of Calne's ground there are approximately 40 more photos on Facebook here. There are also plenty more action pics. I noticed that Calne had their own photographer, so I concentrated entirely on taking photos of Fawley's players.

The dressing room steps.
Calne Town FC (2) 4 v 5 (2) Fawley AFC
Saturday 1st September 2018
Buildbase FA Vase 1st Qualifying Round
Attendance: Approximately 50-60
Admission: £5
Programme: Free with entry
Colours: White / black / white v Sky blue / navy blue / navy blue
National Grid reference: ST9971

I understand it was a lovely sunny day back in Hampshire. The sun shone for about three minutes in Calne.
There are more photos on Calne Town's Facebook page here.

Somewhere on the 'net, there may be a video of this game, which will be worth a watch. There was a drone hovering above the ground throughout the match, presumably taking still or streaming images. It must have quite an impressive battery life, as I didn't notice it coming down for a battery change at any point. I haven't seen the results of this yet, I'm assuming something will be published somewhere at some point.

Calne Town's seated stand.
Dressing rooms and tea hatch.
Children watching from the neighbouring playground.
Fawley on the attack in front of the rapt audience.
Big effort.
Crazy dance moves.
Unbelievable! The 89th minute winner!
Big smiles from Scott Johnston.
It wouldn't be right if I didn't finish with an arty one...

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