Sandwiched between two UEFA Europa League involvements – a visit to Cardiff City Stadium yesterday and an upcoming trip to Gibraltar in a few days – was a pre-season friendly between Brereton Social FC and Dudley Town.
Born in the long-since demolished Burton Road Hospital, you could argue that Dudley Town is my hometown team. I have seen them play a few times, including the 1976 FA Cup tie against York City at the Sports Ground.
Now that I’m really into my groundhopping, a game against Brereton at the Red Lion Ground was an opportunity to add a new tick to the list. I must admit I was tempted by AFC Newtown at Halesowen Town but a virgin ground won out in the end.
I was not surprised that the first half was goalless. Both sides were evenly matched, and neither got out of their stride. They way that they were set up tactically looked like either a moment of brilliance or madness was the only way the deadlock was going to be broken. As neither happened, it was 0-0 at the break.
The team talk was crucial. What was said, and then subsequently translated on the pitch, was going to make the difference. Which team would respond in a way that would see them edge the game tactically?
As it happened, the most positive response was from the visitors, and within five minutes they took the lead. The excellent central midfielder (OJ I think I heard a few people call him), wearing the number four shirt and the captain’s armband, was brought down on the left.
The subsequent free-kick into the box was eventually struck into the back of the net from close range. Rather than inspire a comeback from Brereton however, it was Dudley who dominated the game, with several chances to extend the lead and create a cushion.
As it was though, no more goals came from either side, as the home team ended the ninety minutes with ten men following a dismissal.
I enjoyed the game but then again I get something from every match that I go to. Whether working or pleasure, there’s always something to extract.
Next up for me will be the previously mentioned trip to Gibraltar. Not only a new ground but also a new country that I will have seen football in. I’m certainly looking forward to that next week.