Ridgeons festive football treat

Over the Christmas period, the typical British weather and an extreme lack of funds limited my football viewing. The football I have seen has been restricted to football specials, Match of the Day and The Football League Show.

So, on the morning of January 3, I had decided to get back into the football mindset and go and watch a game. I chose food and warmth for the next few months over spending an arm and a leg watching my beloved Norwich City at Middlesbrough. I decided instead to take a trip to the football mecca that is Clipbush Park to watch Fakenham Town take on high-flying Diss Town in the Ridgeons First Division, dragging my Dad along with me.

Arriving at the ground, I noticed everything you would wish for in a lower league venue; a bar, terraces close to the ground and the smell of fried meat and onions. The �4 entry fee was a bargain

The game itself was not a classic. By half-time, Dad was regretting swapping the warm sofa and the BBC score channel for the uneventful football and cold seats of Clipbush Park. Although he soon changed his tune in the second-half when the home side went all out to win the game, the match looked to be drifting into a drab goalless draw when substitute Jason Day unleashed a stunning strike to win the game for the home side. The winning goal could have graced any game in the higher leagues and was worth the entrance fee alone.

The most surprising element of the whole day was how much the game meant to so many people. The players, managers and fans of both clubs treated the game like it was more important than a matter of life and death; all you had to do was look at the reaction of the Fakenham goalkeeper Tommy Rix when Day scored, running out of his box pumping his fists in the air. Also, listening to both sets of supporters during the game, they really did care about their sides and the Diss Town fans left extremely disappointed with their 1-0 defeat.

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So, the quality of the match may be slightly less than you may see on Match of the Day, but the hard-work effort and sheer spirit seen in the two teams cannot be beaten.

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