|A man you don't see every day at Westleigh Park - a BT Sport cameraman.|
Saturday 25th October:
No football for me today. Family holiday in Pembrokeshire. Left early after breakfast of Rice Krispies. Drove through Letterston and caught a glimpse of a match going on. Checked on internet later and found it was Letterston Reserves v Solva Reserves, ended 0-3. Don't suppose that counts as a new ground. Good chippy in Letterston. Internet very slow here. HAH takes minutes to load. May cut number of articles per page down to one or two for readers on slow connections when I get back home. Will wait until tomorrow to find out cup scores - Havant & Waterlooville were away to Canvey Island today. Hope they won.
Sunday 26th October:
Nervous when I woke up. Should have checked cup scores on slow internet yesterday. Had nightmare that Hawks lost, woke up not knowing where I was in night, covered in sweat. Fry-up, toast with Marmite and Rice Krispies for breakfast. Checked paunch and could pinch more than an inch, so may not eat quite so much again this holiday. Wandered down to sea and saw six seals in local bay. One was very close inshore, possibly asleep in surf. Another was playing with a piece of seaweed. Cute. Bought Non-League Paper in St David's. Hawks drew cup match, as did Basingstoke, but other Hants clubs all won. Could be an interesting First Round draw tomorrow.
|Respecting the war dead at Fratton Park.|
Eastleigh FC (1) 2 v 1 (0) Lincoln City FC
Saturday 8th November 2014
FA Cup First Round Proper
Colours: Blue / white / blue v Red and white stripes / black / red
National Grid reference: SU4417
Portsmouth FC (1) 2 v 2 (1) Aldershot Town
Sunday 9th November 2014
FA Cup First Round Proper
Colours: Blue / white / red v Red / red / white
National Grid reference: SU6500 / SU6600 / SZ6699
Havant & Waterlooville (0) 0 v 3 (2) Preston North End
Monday 10th November 2014
FA Cup First Round Proper
Colours: White / dark blue / white v All yellow
National Grid reference: SU7207 / SU7208
|New stand arising at Eastleigh FC.|
Nervous all day. What if Hawks draw Pompey in cup but then lose the replay against Canvey? What if they pull out a glamour tie and have to play on Sunday (Uncle Den's birthday party!)? Tried not to think about it. Breakfast was Rice Krispies and Alpen. Still paunchy, but felt a little more worthy after skipping the fry-up. Walked along a local clifftop. Took selfie, but looked too much like that Jermaine out of Flight of the Conchords. Deleted selfie. Had two beers before FA Cup draw on the telly to calm nerves. Pompey home to Aldershot - cracking derby. Hawks not drawn out until right near the end...home...choice of seven teams, but Preston were the glamour side left...yep, it was Preston! Tie of the round, and bound to be on the telly. Please Hawks, beat Canvey!
Tuesday 28th October:
Couldn't sleep last night. What if Hawks lose at home to Canvey Island? Went for a long walk along Newgale Sands. Took selfie. Looked like a cross between David Cameron and Wattie out of The Exploited - enormous Kryten-like forehead plus sticky-up mohican-ish hair not a good look. Deleted. Slow internet frustrating, but eventually got through to see that Hawks had won 3-0. Relieved.
|Aldershot Town fans in Pompey's Milton End.|
Couldn't sleep last night. Hawks in tie of the round, bound to be on the telly. It's going to be Sunday, isn't it? Halifax v Bradford (the other standout tie) is certain to be the Monday game. The TV companies wouldn't make Preston fans drive for six hours on a Monday, would they? That would be stupid. Had a fry-up for breakfast to calm my nerves. Pinched a good two inches of paunch. Went for long walk to get rid of calories. More seals frollicking. Lucky seals, never have to worry about anything other than catching their fish supper.
Thursday 30th October:
Will the TV companies never announce their schedules?
Friday 31st October:
TV matches announced. Pompey and Gosport playing on Remembrance Sunday! Hawks on Monday, so at least I'll get to see them. It'll probably rain. Drove past Pembrokeshire League Goodwick United's little ground. Saw small stand. Craned neck round for better view. Woman walking along the pavement thought I was looking at her. Gave me a dirty look. As did wife.
|The new covered terrace on the east side at Eastleigh FC.|
Travelled home today. Picked up cats from cattery in Totton. Minty had no idea who we were after a week away. Brain transplant required. Tommy purred and recognised us. Drove past AFC Totton's ground whilst they were playing Hereford. Floodlights on, nearly crashed car into roundabout attempting to see more. Noticed driver in car behind roll his eyes and mutter something. As did family in own car.
Sunday 2nd November:
Had to go shopping for food. Looking for healthy breakfast alternatives, saw childhood favourite Golden Nuggets in Sainsbury's. Own-brand Boulders were cheaper, but settled on Honey Nut Cheerios instead, which were on offer. Bought Non-League Paper and spent the afternoon reading it, with Minty on my lap. Big fan of the NLP, is Minty. Counted total number of goals scored by Hampshire clubs over the weekend. Memorised the Bespoke Teamwear Dorset Premier League table, just in case anyone quizzes me on it during the week.
Tuesday 4th November:
Received phone call today to say that Uncle Den was poorly and that his birthday party had been postponed until the following week. This means that I can now go to Pompey on Sunday instead. Get well soon, Uncle Den! Decided to go to three cup matches over the weekend: Eastleigh v Lincoln City, Pompey v Aldershot Town and Havant & Waterlooville v Preston North End. Bonanza!
|England superstar Kevin Davies pulls up his shorts at a packed Westleigh Park.|
Good sleep last night. Cats behaved well - no climbing over torso or 3am miaowing. Must have known it was FA Cup day and I needed my sleep. Raining all morning. Would the Eastleigh match be off? Wouldn't be the first time I've turned up there only to find the ref had called the game off with minutes to go until kick-off. It was okay, game on, but rained heavily throughout. Eastleigh took an early lead and should have scored more in first half, kicking towards partly-built new stand at the motorway end. Ground much improved since last season with new covered terraces on the north and east sides. Lincoln the better side in the second half and deservedly equalised whilst I wasn't looking (busy counting the number of steps on the new terrace). Spitfires won the game in the last minute to send fans home happy. No derogatory songs about old friends Havant & Waterlooville - they preferred singing about defunct rivals Salisbury City instead. Took a selfie, but looked like a cross between Jacques Cousteau and Rebecca Adlington after a particularly wet swim. Deleted.
|A puddle outside the entrance to Eastleigh's stadium.|
Woken at 6am by caterwauling in garden. Minty and unknown black cat having a stand-off. Went back to sleep after he came in. Hooray for Sunday mornings! Breakfasted on Cheerios and raisins. Nice and healthy, and good job I did, as I forgot to have lunch. Only noticed when my tummy started rumbling after half-time at Fratton Park. Oh well, should help with the paunch. Nervous before match. Pompey have never lost against a non-league club in the FA Cup since entering the league themselves in 1920. Only West Ham of the long-serving Football League sides can say the same thing. Hair curly after soaking at Eastleigh. Looked like Harry Enfield scouser (without moustache). Didn't bother with a selfie. Aldershot fans raucous, as ever. Let off coloured smoke bombs after two minutes silence for war dead. Fratton smelt like bonfires. Looked like Pompey would win easily until Aldershot decided to start hassling them on the ball after half an hour. Pen to Pompey, equaliser for Shots just before half-time. All Shots second half. Deserved to go 2-1 up. Looked like Pompey's proud record was going to be history until Danny Hollands's looping header in front of the Fratton End with 15 minutes to go. Second booking for Robinson immediately afterwards and it was worry worry worry all the way to the end. Wish I was a seal, they have such an easy life.
|Leaving Fratton Park after the derby day draw.|
Woke up with a surprising lack of nerves after a good sleep. There was work to get through, but after that, I visited my nan, who offered me an almost infinite number of Rich Tea biscuits. It would have been churlish not to accept. The paunch can stay until after Christmas now. Got to Westleigh Park as the Preston North End players' coach arrived. Stood and checked for famous players. Didn't recognise anybody. Perhaps England superstar Kevin Davies sneaked out of a back door and slipped past incognito. Bought shirt and badge from club shop. Walked past Jake Humphrey from Newsround and Tony Husband from South Today at celebrity-packed stadium. Jake is taller than Tony. Match kicked off, Preston scored, man near me yelled his appreciation. No-one else at the Hawks end did. Man said "I thought we had scored!?". He thought Hawks were playing in yellow. Missed Preston's second goal as I was watching a club official place a barrier around a cameraman behind the goal. North End 2% quicker, 2% cleverer, result never in doubt. Third goal near the end and two sendings-off. Concentrate on the league now. Preston fans enjoyed themselves doing the conga. Seemed like a good bunch. Took a selfie. Looked like George Clooney. Kept that one. Now just Pompey to worry about in their replay next Wednesday.
|Floodlit Westleigh Park at night.|
There are many reports and pictures on the internet from the three matches I covered here. I won't link to any of them, as they'll be easy to find with the right search terms. What I did link to in the diary are Jake and Tony's personal websites. Not surprised that Jake has one, but I didn't expect Tony Husband to make the effort.
Back in two weeks with an FA Vase match, weather permitting.