Welcome to volume two of my blog paying homage to the football clubs I've visited all over the world and the wonderful people responsible for keeping them going and looking after the stadiums, and in some cases basic grounds.

Since I was a little lad I've been fascinated in football and more so where games are played. With my love of travel and curiosity of the game I wanted to visit as many grounds and see games wherever possible. I was lucky that my Dad also loved the game and spent so much of his spare time taking me to matches. As I got older the boundaries widened owing to my location and increased wages to Europe and indeed the world. The sight of a stand or a floodlight pylon in the distance immediately hightens my senses and eagerness for a closer look.

I hope this site gives you the chance to share in my pleasure and experiences and maybe one day set you on the road to adventure. If you get half as much out of the hobby as I've done I can guarantee some great memories, good friends and stories to pass on to future generations.

Give your local club a go today. They'll be pleased to see you!

Everlasting thanks primarily to my late and very much missed and dearly loved parents; my Dad Bob Bernard and my Mum; Ann, who put up with endless years of football chat and my brothers Nick and Paul who gave me the chance and encouragement to do what I have. Thanks to all my friends who offer encouragement and Sally and Stan who inspire and give me great pride. Young Stan is showing a keen interest in my hobby!

Please feel free to post any comments (please use sensible language - I want everyone to be able to enjoy reading) or ask any questions relating to visiting grounds or events. If you want to see any ground reviewed please let me know. It will take quite some time for everywhere to appear, but make sure you keep having a look as the site is continually updated.

If you click on a lot of the pictures you will get a larger version on your screen.

I have also added links to video clips on youtube where appropriate for those of you who are bored of reading or are filling in time at work. I haven't always gone for the most obvious choices, but items that will be in some cases unusual but always historically interesting.

Click to see volume one of HAOTW.

Rob Bernard


September 2015

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Brightlingsea Regent

Brightlingsea Regent FC is a non-league football club from the Essex coastal town of Brightlingsea that was formed in 2005 following the merger of local clubs Brightlingsea United and Regent Park Rangers.

United had been formed in 1928 by their own merger between Brightlingsea Athletic, who were originally called Wesley Guild and Brightlingsea Town who had been formed as Brightlingsea Juniors in 1919.

United played in Division One of the Essex & Suffolk Border League upon formation, moving into a new ground at North Road a year later from the Recreation Ground in Regent Road and winning promotion to the Premier Division in 1930-31.

The team were relegated before reclaiming their Premier Division slot in 1946-47 as Division One champions. Another demotion ensued in 1953-54. United returned to the upper tier after another Division One title in 1960-61.

This time their Premier Division status lasted just one season, remaining in Division One until 1967-68. In 1972 United became members of the Essex Senior League for its second ever season.

The club were crowned as league champions in 1988-89 and 1989-90 under manager Jackie Parkinson before joining Division One of the Eastern Counties League, winning promotion as runners-up in their inaugural season.

United were relegated from the Premier Division in 1992-93, remaining in Division One for the best part of a decade with Frank Thompson being the longest servin manager of the period, before resigning from the league before the commencement of the 2002-03 campaign.

The management and many players left complaining of the facilities at North Road, as United joined the lower reaches of the Essex & Suffolk Border League. In 2005 it was decided for United to merge with local side Regents Park Rangers.

The new club won Division Two of the Essex & Suffolk Border League in their inaugural season before winning a second successive promotion in 2006-07. Regent won the Premier Division title in 2010-11 under the management team of James Webster and Mark Gridley.

Regent were promoted to Division One of the Eastern Counties League. This time they were to fare better, winning promotion to the Premier Division in 2012-13. Further success was to follow in the 2013-14 campaign.

The team finished runners-up in the Premier Division, earning promotion to Division One North of the Isthmian League as well as putting together a fine FA Vase run. Regent were eventually knocked out in the fifth round away to Dunston UTS.

After finishing sixth and then eighth in their new surroundings, Brightlingsea won Division One North in 2016-17 to usher in further ground improvements to North Road in preparation for Isthmian League Premier Division football.

Long serving manager Webster departed in October 2017 to take the Aveley manager’s job to be replaced by his assistant Tom Rothery. Regent ended the 2017-18 season just above the relegation places.

Brightlingsea Regent FC will play in the Isthmian League Premier Division in the 2018-19 season.

My visit

Brightlingsea Regent 0 Torquay United 3 (Saturday 6th October 2018) FA Cup Third Qualifying Round (att: 470)

The new shifts at work meant doing plenty of cover weeks, which could mean working anywhere between Eastcote and Uxbridge on the Metropolitan line on either day shift. On the plus side it offered me weekends off.

When Tony Foster suggested a trip to the Essex coast for this interesting tie he solved me from plenty of pondering where to go. I wanted a new venue to me and he was of similar thoughts, especially if it was for an FA Cup game.

The competition was clearly not in vogue in the higher echelons of the game, but it still meant the world to smaller clubs and particularly non-league sides who dreamed of glory while management also considered the valuable prize money.

It was literally a wake up call when I opened the curtains and looked at the foul weather outside after what had been a pleasant week. It was very windy and raining. It certainly blew the cobwebs away from my previous evening’s indulgence.

Tony picked me up at Stanmore at 11.30am so that we were assured against any potential hold ups in the tricky conditions. We put the world to rights as ever during a very smooth trip down the A12 before parking up near to the ground on the end of Well Street at 1.40pm.

It was an excellent spot, just a minute from the Cherry Tree pub where we watched the end of the Leeds v Brentford match among a scattering of friendly locals before grabbing an excellent lunch next door at Mac’s Plaice.

While I’m a fan of spending money inside non-league grounds and patronising the food outlets, we knew that it would be busy with the large expected crowd. We wouldn’t have done any better than the £3.60 for an excellent large portion of sausage and chips regardless.

North Road was a narrow thoroughfare with fans walking up the road to the entrance to The Taydal Stadium, to give it its sponsors title at the end. Admission was £10 with the decent programme another couple of quid. We took cover in the nearest shelter to finish our grub.

The venue had obviously been put together as the club went on their recent meteoric rise. Despite its piecemeal nature it had a degree of charm about it, with its six different covers around the pitch.

The near side had the small standing cover where we were, with a overhang from the clubhouse further along. This area along with the seated stand in between was already busy with fans.

One goal had a low cover, the other open with just a high net stopping stray shots from going into the gardens of the bungalows behind. The far side had another standing cover, a TV tower and a smaller seated stand.

After I’d gone on a lap of the ground taking my photos I returned to recommend that we went across to the far side as the heavy wind would be at our backs and we’d be on the high side of the pitch which sloped across ways.

As the teams emerged from the far corner we agreed that the match had all the ingredients of a cup upset, with the weather and sloping pitch. Although there was only one league between the clubs Torquay were seen as a big fish in the National League South.

The Gulls had fallen on hard times of late but had recently appointed the experienced and successful Gary Johnson as manager. The immediate impression was just how much bigger and imposing the visiting players were.

United went about their work quickly and efficiently. Opi Edwards fired in a vicious shot which excellent Regent keeper James Bradbrook did really well to keep out. However, it wouldn’t be long before his goal was breached.

On fifteen minutes full back George Keys failed to spot a run from Edwards on his blind side, leading to him clumsily fouling. The ref pointed straight to the spot with Jamie Reid stepping up to score and quell any nerves among the 100 or so Torquay travelling fans.

The United players were stronger and winning the midfield battle being first to the vital challenges. Billy Hunt did his best up front for Regent, but he lacked support as his team mates were forced back.

The rain hammered down at times and we were getting a real soaking as the covered area was full. At least it was just to the backs of us. Many scattered from the facing seats opposite with plenty being vacant after the first goal.

Regent did well to stay in the game until the interval. The Gulls should have doubled their lead when Jake Andrews set up Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, on loan from Bristol City, who contrived to put the ball over from virtually under the bar.

Regent could have grabbed an unlikely equaliser shortly after when visiting keeper Shaun MacDonald got a claw on a Hunt shot to divert it onto the crossbar. It would be as close as the hosts were to get.

The lead was doubled on sixty six minutes when Andrews inswinging corner was glanced home by Asa Hall. They continued to pour forward at will despite Regent’s best efforts. Bradbrook was on overtime in goal and had a fine afternoon.

However, he was helpless nine minutes from time when Andrews sealed the deal with a diving header from Reid’s cross. The final score was about right. We watched the dying embers from the entrance side where the reality of the wind was brought home.

It looked like the clubhouse had done a roaring trade all afternoon and fair play to Regent who staged the game excellently. They deserved the extra revenue. I spared a thought for the Torquay commentary team in the back row of the seats. They looked absolutely frozen.

We made a quick walk back to the car, where its best feature was soon utilised as Tony turned on the heated seats. My original plan was to go to the gym on my return, but I was wet through and worried about catching flu.

Instead I went straight home for a bath, a nice meal and a bit of telly including Match of the Day to round off a cracking day. I needed some sleep as there was more FA Cup action ahead the following day following Hendon down to Lancing.

Hartley Wintney

Hartley Wintney FC is a non-league football club from the village of the same name in north Hampshire who were formed in 1897. The club is nicknamed ‘The Row’ as Hartley Row was a hamlet engulfed by the larger village.

The club initially played their home games at Causeway Farm playing in the Basingstoke & District League. The club moved to a new home, The Memorial Ground on Green Lane as Row progressed to the Aldershot & District League where they were crowned as league champions for three consecutive seasons in the 1970’s.

Hartley Wintney became founder members of the Home Counties League in 1978. The competition was retitled as the Combined Counties League a year later as Row finished as runners-up in 1980-81.

The league was split geographically with Hartley Wintney being placed in the Western Division for the 1981-82 campaign. The league reverted to just one division in 1982-83, with Row being crowned as champions.

A new clubhouse was built along with an area of covered seating, new changing rooms and floodlights. The team had a period of decline and finished second from bottom in 1998-99 and then 1999-00.

When the Combined Counties League added a second division for the 2003-04 season Hartley Wintney were placed in the Premier Division. Row were relegated to Division One in 2004-05 where they remained for three seasons.

Promotion back to the top flight came under the management of Mike Scott in 2007-08, but their spell lasted just twelve months before they were demoted. Scott was succeeded by Pete Gray and John Condon.

Louis King was in charge as the team ended the 2010-11 season in seventh place. Neville Roach was appointed as manager in the summer of 2011, leading the club back to the Premier Division at the first time of asking.

However, celebrations were cut short when the entire coaching team departed for Thatcham Town. Former Millwall defender Dave Tuttle took over but lasted just a few months before being replaced by twenty four year old Ben Dillon.

His side miraculously escaped relegation before they reached the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round for the first time. The home tie saw Row go out at home to Daventry Town in front of over 1,000 spectators.

Dillon stepped down at the end of the 2014-15 season with joint bosses Dan Brownlie and Anthony Millerick stepping into his position. The 2015-16 campaign saw Row go out in the fifth round of the FA Vase in front of a sell out crowd to eventual finalists Hereford.

The side went on to claim the league title but were denied promotion because of ground grading issues. Row retained the Combined Counties League title and completed ground improvements to be promoted to the Southern League Division One East.

The momentum continued in 2017-18 despite having a couple of goal scorers tempted away to other clubs. Hartley Wintney finished in fourth place to qualify for the play-offs where they defeated AFC Dunstable and then Cambridge City thanks to a Nic Ciardini goal.

Row were placed in the Southern League Premier Division South after a reorganisation of non-league football for the 2018-19 campaign. Brownlie departed to Basingstoke Town, with Dan Turkington replacing him as joint manager to Anthony Millerick.

Hartley Wintney FC will play in the Southern League Premier Division South in the 2018-19 season.

My visit

Hartley Wintney 2 Hendon 3 (Saturday 13th October 2018) Southern League Premier Division South (att: 313)

It was a beautiful bright and mild if slightly lunchtime when I woke after my night shift to news that England had defeated Sri Lanka in an ODI. The world was a good place as I enjoyed some lunch in chipper mood owing to the latest edition of healthy living.

Ahead of my intended schedule I took the tube to Waterloo realising that I’d probably overdressed, such were the temperatures that were into the twenties. I caught an earlier train to ensure that I’d make the bus connection at Fleet.

My transport was a minute or two late but took us on a ride through a lovely part of the world. Traffic lights by roadworks explained the late running, especially when we were stuck on a red for an incredible four minutes.

Not to worry, as I was soon at the Green Lane stop. Hartley Wintney looked a beautiful large village. I walked past a fete, a nice church and a school which appeared to provide some parking for the football.

If you didn’t know better, you wouldn’t imagined that you’d come across a Step 3 non-league football club down the tree lined lane. A friendly steward pointed me in the direction of the turnstiles, where admission was £10. I had my regular go on the 50/50 draw for a further quid.

There was no need to worry about a programme as Gerry Maguire, one of my car park colleagues back at SJP had sorted me out. I didn’t realise he was going to the game, but he’d gone on ahead to fit in a round of golf in Slough on route.

The Row had performed near miracles in previous few years winning three promotions. The Memorial Ground was struggling to keep pace. That said, I do think the FA ground grading regulations are too stringent. I liked the community feel of the venue.

The pitch had a large slope across it. The near side had the slightly raised clubhouse, with overhang to shelter spectators with a mixture of grass and concrete open standing. A small camera gantry straddled the half way line with the see-through dug outs aside.

There was no access behind the top goal. The other end had two small covers either side of the goal over a narrow strip of standing. Two modern kit seated stands were on the far side, with the one on half way the larger.

The teams were walking down from the changing rooms as I arrived. Jimmy Gray and Mark Boyce, the Dons management duo seemed in good form, but they rarely had seen to be grumpy since joining the club.

Hendon had taken an impressive following to the game of around 80 fans who were spread out. The club had signed striker Connor Calcutt ahead of the game from Farnborough. I’d been impressed on my previous look at him and thought it an excellent acquisition.

It was all Dons for the first ten minutes. Lee Chappell put in a series of good corners and long throws. A couple of half chances were created with Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick somehow missing the best one, while young keeper Adam Desbois seemed uncertain.

For some reason Hendon resorted to short corners. On twelve minutes it was to be their undoing. A poor delivery saw the hosts break away at pace, with just three men in sky blue in defensive positions.

Keeper Dan Boness made a stop, but the ball came back to Mike Campbell whose shot was adjudged to have crossed the line by the linesman despite an attempt to clear off the line. It had certainly come against the run of play.

Hendon made an identical error within a few minutes. A fellow fan summed it up perfectly when he said, “we’ve only three back and one of them can’t tackle.” Despite these setbacks the Dons were still in the ascendancy.

Marvin Morgan was causing havoc in the air and with his strength, which lead to Stephane Ngamvoulou breaking through and forcing the ball in at the near post past Desbois on twenty five minutes

Morgan came tantalisingly close to getting a touch on a ball when outdoing the last defender as the keeper came out to collect. Opportunites continued to come at both ends. Boness made a fine save to match one from Desbois from Gianni Crichlow before the equaliser.

I grabbed a cuppa for £1 at the break at the van which was doing a roaring trade, as was the clubhouse. There was time for a walk down the far side for some extra photos before the teams re-emerged for the second half.

The game was pretty even, with perhaps Hartley Wintney having slightly the better of things while Hendon looked constantly threatening on the break. On fifty six minutes the Dons defence stood off too far allowing a low cross into the area.

It would eventually fall to Jack Ball who made no mistake smashing home. Manager Gray immediately made a change withdrawing Crichlow for debutant Calcutt. The new man immediately impressed with his areal prowess.

It would be he and Morgan who played in Hippolyte-Patrick on sixty two minutes for the in form players to slot past Desbois to the delight of the Dons fans enjoying the sun shine behind the goal where I stood with Gerry along with Andy Boness.

It was a decent enough encounter. The strong wind that favoured the visitors in the first half had dropped and the lush pitch allowed the ball to hold up. If there was one fault of Hendon, it would be the match management from some of the younger players.

The team though had made great strides since being put together from scratch and one of those who’d impressed was to score what turned out to be the winner. We were urging Laste Dombaxe to pass when he let go of a poorly struck low shot from the edge of the box.

Somehow it evaded Desbois as it went up the slope into the corner of the net. Perhaps the stopper was slightly unsighted, but we felt he ought to have done better with the effort. Not that we complained of course. Once again, the Hendon team had displayed great character.

The Row pressed forward at regular intervals, while there was always a chance of a fourth goal on the break. Romario Jonas was winning everything in the air to ease the pressure. Sometimes the ball was given away a bit cheaply.

Boness looked commanding between the sticks and made a couple of excellent saves. Calcutt was treated to a few chants of, “what a waste of money” from some home fans as he fired off a speculative shot that missed by some distance.

However, he’d already proved his worth and looked every bit a player with a football brain. Top scorer Ricky German struggled throughout, missing a bit of zip, but his colleagues felt the benefit of his close attention.

The hosts had several corners, free kicks and throw ins but the Dons held firm and were greeted with loud cheers from the travelling faithful when referee Nasimir Nzenga, who’d had a decent game with his linesmen, blew for full time.

Gerry dropped another Hendon fan and London Underground colleague off at Farnborough station before depositing me at Hillingdon after a slight detour! There was time for a couple of hours nap before heading back to work in a good mood!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

1. SC Feucht (Germany)

1. SC Feucht is a football club from the small town of Feucht located a few miles outside Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany. The club was formed in June 1920 as Fußball Club Feucht by a group of enthusiasts who met in restaurant Zur Krone, where Kreissparkasse stands today.

A pitch was created on Regensburger Straße next to forestry. The club was retitled as Sportclub Feucht in 1923 and while membership figures were promising, the finances were in a poor state.

The club was dissolved in 1925 but reformed as 1. SC Feucht a couple of years later. The team played in the local Kreisklasse I, being crowned as champions in 1932-33. It is unclear how the fared from that time until after World War Two.

At this point Feucht started to play matches at Alten Siedlung at a new sports ground. In 1957-58 the team won the local Klasse A title and progressed to 2. Amateurliga, where they remained for a couple of seasons.

Coach Kurt Ucko led Feucht to further success in A-Klasse and then in 1966-67 as the Gruppe Nord championship was won and promotion to the national league system with a place in the Landesliga Bayern-Nordost.

However, this elevation proved a step too far as the team was relegated after just one season. Under the club management of Friedrich Neumeier, a new home ground was created on Waldstraße, which included four pitches, bowling alleys, tennis courts and a clubhouse.

Established coaches Horst Leupold, "Zapf" Robert Gebhard, Gustav Flachenecker and Heiner Vitzethum all had spells at the club, but none were able to lead the club back into the national leagues.

A relegation back to A-Klasse Neumarkt was suffered in 1976-77 while finances required for the maintenance of the club facilities caused further financial distress. Coach Erich Tauchmann led the side to promotion in 1983-84 with another A-Klasse title.

A further promotion to the Bezirksoberliga Mittelfranken followed in 1991-92 under the leadership of Harald Zeilinger. Player-Coach Sigi Susser helped take the side to an excellent fifth place in their debut season at the higher level.

Feucht won the Bezirksoberliga Mittelfranken in 1994-95 and were promoted to the fifth national tier Landesliga Bayern-Mitte. After a season of consolidation, the team went on to win the Landesliga to reach the Bayernliga.

The club facilities were renovated with Waldstadion created with a capacity of 3,500. Norbert Hofmann took over as coach in 1998 as the team stabilised their position and going on to finish in third place in 1999-00.

Coach Roland Seitz and returning sporting director Dieter Nüssing put together a new line up after Feucht had narrowly avoided relegation to be crowned as Bayernliga champions in 2002-03, scoring over 100 goals in the process.

Feucht were rewarded with promotion to the third tier Regionalliga Süd as the club continued to strengthen its infrastructure with a hotel, restaurant as well as the upgrade of the facilities around the Waldstadion.

The opening game of the 2003-04 season against 1. FC Saarbrücken attracted a capacity crowd. However, remaining in the Regionalliga was a step too far financially. The club took voluntary relegation to the Bayernliga after just two seasons, despite finishing above the drop zone.

Finances continued to trouble Feucht who were paying for their earlier investments as the coaching staff and players left the club. New coach Robert Ziegler put together a side that managed to stave off relegation.

Boardroom arguments led to the departure of Ziegler in March 2006 with several others following suite. Relegation to the Landesliga Bayern-Mitte followed in 2006-07 where they only just stayed up by a play-off victory against SC Eltersdorf.

The club only managed to finish the season after an agreement was reached with a former chairwoman to prevent bankruptcy. Creditors, volunteers and patrons ensured that 1. Sc Feucht survived.

Vanco Timov took over as coach for the 2007-08 with a very young side. Roland Winkler took control the following season that ended in relegation to the seventh level the Bezirksoberliga Mittelfranken.

Klaus Mösle arrived as coach in the summer of 2011 leading the team to a title win before the Bezirksoberliga Mittelfranken was dissolved at the end of the campaign as the German league system was reorganised.

Feucht had the opportunity to qualify for the newly extended Bayernliga but lost out in a championship round when after a win against SV Buckenhofen they lost to DJK Don Bosco Bamberg meaning the club rejoining the Landesliga Bayern-Mitte.

The club was promoted once again in 2013-14 to the Bayernliga Nord, while strengthening off the pitch in the boardroom. The team finished in mid-table to continue the stability as Manfred Kreuzer oversaw team management.

Feucht ended the 2016-17 season in the relegation play-off places. Defeats against FSV Erlangen-Bruck and SpVgg Jahn Forchheim saw the club go down once again, this time to Landesliga Nordost.

Feucht finished the 2017-18 season in third place as the club looked to rebuild the club from the youth sides upwards. Head coach Florian Schlicker was in charge for the 2018-19 campaign.

1. FC Feucht will play in Landesliga Bayern Nordost in the 2018-19 season.

My visit

FC Feucht 3 FC Lichtenfels 0 (Friday 28th September 2018) Landesliga Bayern Nordost (att: 171)

My three day trip to Germany was coming to a close, but the late fright back from Nuremberg to Stansted allowed my some action before the return journey. The excellent Groundhopper App came to my assistance in finding this game.

In the weeks leading up it looked like I’d have a choice, including the Regionalliga derby between the second sides of 1. FC Nürnberg and SpVgg Greuther Fürth. However, that had been changed to a Saturday afternoon fixture.

Feucht looked a decent venue on Google Maps, so that would do fine, even if the 7pm kick-off would mean I missed the last twenty minutes or so. It was definitely a better option than the pub or sitting around at the airport.

It had been another beautiful day and I returned from the stunning town of Bamberg in good spirits after a good walk and trying out three brewery pubs. I grabbed some goulash soup and a frikadelle at Nuremberg station before catching an early train to Feucht.

The SBahn service had several Nürnberg Ice Tigers ice hockey fans on board heading to their match at the Arena next door to Max-Morlock-Stadion. It was a five minute walk from Feucht station under the main road and then down Sternstraße to Waldstadion.

The location meant that I didn’t get a look at the town, which was the other side of the railway, but I was more than happy to have a mooch around the ground where youngsters were practising their skills on the outside pitches.

Admission was €7, with free team sheets available in a holder the other side of the gate. The weather was chilling as darkness fell and I was glad that I’d taken my sweater while leaving the rest of my gear in a locker at Nuremberg station.

Waldstadion was a neat venue dominated by a smart seated stand on the far side. There was open terracing either side and then opposite, interrupted by the players tunnel. Both ends had open flat standing. Trees at each end gave the arena an enclosed feel.

The club hotel was outside the ground, but the building continued inside, with its restaurant and bar and beer garden. Facilities all around the complex were in good order. I declined any beer owing to the temperature and wanting to be in tip top condition for my flight.

I tried sitting in the stand pre match but the music coming through the speakers was just too loud. It’s great seeing youngsters getting involved at clubs, but sometimes they’re quality control on the volume can leave a little to be desired.

Just before kick-off I succumbed to the aroma from the griddle along with a disappointing luke warm coffee. The two smaller and skinnier Nürnberg Bratwurst in a roll were outstanding and as good as I’d ever tasted.

The fellas at the counter had explained something to me of which I hadn’t the foggiest? It became clear what it was when I handed the mug back to them and they chased after me with my €1 deposit.

The teams emerged from the changing rooms and down a path to the pitch led by female referee Barbara Karmann and two young linesmen. Feucht were looking to consolidate their position in the top three, while the visitors were struggling at the other end of the table.

The players took the field to Hells Bells from ACDC, which was ironically played quietly. A couple of fans sat supporting Feucht with large flags on poles trying to recreate the big match modern phenomena.

Ms Karmann certainly knew how to blow long and hard on her whistle, as she was about to display in a game without any real malice. She still managed to show seven yellow cards to somewhat bewildered players.

It took just three minutes for the hosts to take the lead as Nico Wessner rose to head home a corner from Yasar Kaya, who would star throughout the game with his fine ball play and wonderful deliveries from set pieces.

The lead was doubled on five minutes through the same combo as Wessner’s glancing header from Kaya’s long free kick was too much for Christoph Kraus in the Lichtenfels goal who could have done better.

There was a real danger of the game becoming a rout and could well have done if Stephan König and Felix Spielbühler hadn’t spurned decent chances. König missed an even easier opportunity on thirty seven minutes to make it 3-0.

A shocking header from defender Martin Hellmuth had put in König but his weak header failed to trouble Kraus. The referee certainly didn’t take any backchat from players, and I was impressed when she cautioned a visiting player for petulance.

Half time heralded an opportunity for further exercise as I did a couple of laps of the pitch trying to warm up. Alexander Grau seemed to have given his Lichtenfels team a good talk during the break. They were certainly more resolute afterwards.

Feucht were still the better side and increased their lead on fifty minutes when König finally got his name on the scoresheet as he benefitted from another sumptuous free kick from the boot of Kaya.

It was time for me to head off. As it turns out I didn’t miss any more goals but just a few bookings as Ms Karmann gave her pee a right hammering inside the whistle. I wasn’t upset when my warm train arrived a couple of minutes late.

The excellent Nuremberg UBahn system had me at the airport earlier than I anticipated. I kept in touch with scores from elsewhere waiting for my call to board. Despite a slightly late take off I managed to catch my National Express coach at Stansted after a jog and luck at passport control.

I eventually got home at 1.30am with just a few hours’ sleep before heading to Silver Jubilee Park to catch the Hendon players and fans coach to Dorchester. I wouldn’t have swapped it for the world.