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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Snapshots - Wisbech Town FC

Wisbech Town vs Stanway Rovers. Eastern Counties League, Premier Division. 3 February 2007, Fenland Park. Score 2-2. Attendance 189
Regular PP contributor Nick Mattlock and I travelled to Fenland Park on one last pilgrimage as the ground approaches what is likely to be its last full season. With Wisbech looking to move to a new site down the road and literally just across the border in Norfolk, it was time to bid farewell to this most characterful of Non League grounds and in particular, its unique Dutch Barn.

The visitors on this occasion were Colchester-based Stanway Rovers, promoted after winning Division One the previous season, but finding it a little tougher this time ‘round. Rovers had suffered a heavy home defeat at the hands of Lowestoft the previous week and, defending into a strong sun they were on the rack from the kick off. Indeed, after Liam Nimmo (13 min, pic 5) and Darren Jimson (18 mins, pic 6) had given a rampant Wisbech side (in red) a comfortable cushion it very much looked as though Stanway were going to be on the wrong end of a hammering once again. But, as several home supporters pointed out, The Fenmen have a habit of throwing away leads and coincidentally, the previous meeting between the two sides had seen Rovers come back from two goals down to draw 2-2.

The ever vociferous (and, I have to say, very hospitable) Wisbech fans must have suffered an unenviable feeling of deja-vu on 56 mins when stand-in skipper Martin McNeil was red-carded after what one supporter referred to as “a tangle of legs”, and Ray Turner pulled one back from the penalty spot. The inevitable duly came to fruition on 69 mins when Luke Callender equalised for the visitors and, despite a renewed assault as the light faded, Wisbech were unable to get on the scoresheet again.

The increasing gloom reminded me kickabouts on the local recreation ground where a ridiculously high-scoring game (first one to 25) would only end when it became too dark to see, or your mum called you in for tea ... which was precisely the direction I headed in as the final whistle blew on an entertaining afternoon. DB