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A Christmas Khalsa

Merry Christmas one and all. I hope this blog finds you well amidst the inevitable piles of presents/wrapping paper/food shopping lists that have been left until the last minute. Well, if you're a man as organised as Basil Fawlty like me (ask your Dad, I don't do the modern references), then that's probably the case.

Following last week's shenanigans with the manager's post-match beer (see Clichés and pints blog for more details), I thought I would be prepared for almost anything. However, I must lay out a spoiler in this blog that I am about to describe something that I witnessed at half time in yesterday's match at Sporting Khalsa, which is nothing short of a war crime.

Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration.... but still....

It was back-to-back league games for the (possibly) penultimate blog of the year as Sporting Khalsa hosted bottom of the league strugglers AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

Above is a picture of the game yesterday at the Guardian Warehousing Arena. Named after the company Guardian Warehousing, who, despite the name, do not store left-wing newspapers.

I arrived at the ground around 2pm, greeted by a bar and a number of astroturf pitches. After walking up and down the car park for a minute or two, I found a gentleman that pointed me in the right direction, which was a tucked away entrance in the far corner (the ground, not the man).

It is a nice and compact setup at Khalsa, with an artificial pitch. As far as I can tell, they are one of the few teams that aren't actually named after a place, which always reminds me of Jeff Stelling on Soccer Saturday, saying "They'll be dancing on the streets of Total Network Solutions this evening."

I sat in the press section with the two other people that had made the final outing before Christmas. One put me to shame as he wore a Santa hat all game (although I had a Christmas jumper on), and the Rushden & Diamonds commentator explained that they had been unfortunate to lose most of the games as they had actually been more competitive than the league table shows. They had lost four of their last five games 2-1 before this game.

The teams appeared just before 3pm and we got going.

Rushden demonstrated quite early on why they had been unfortunate to lose most games, with two early chances from Ryan Inman and Reuben Wyatt who fired their efforts over the bar, one so high it nearly landed in Walsall.

However it was actually Khalsa who scored first as Toumani Sidibe cut inside and slotted the ball low past the keeper inside ten minutes.

Then, to be honest, not a lot happened.

At the end of the first half, the visitors nearly equalised but defender Luke Ward blocked his effort.

As the referee blew the whistle for half time, I dashed off to get the pie that I had ordered before kick off. As I was waiting in the queue, I looked to my right to see someone unboxing a pie, taking it out of the foil case, turning the pie upside down and eating it from the bottom. I told you it was a war crime. I hope they are reprimanded for the behaviour.

Having said that I hadn't been to Khalsa before so maybe that's the normal way of eating a pie around that part of the country.

I then tucked into mine, but had to balance eating the pie and writing my notes as I was still eating when Rushden's equaliser went in at the far end. A fantastic solo run from Pharrell Anderson who rolled the ball across goal and into the corner.

After that, the Diamonds didn't really get a look in, and Khalsa could have scored about six or seven. Chay Tilt hit the woodwork twice, one of which was in between goals for Khalsa.

In the 68th minute, Curvin Ellis came on as a substitute, and knocked in a header two minutes later to make it 4-1 and put the game beyond doubt. If you want an impact sub, there's your man.

It finished 4-1 but could've been about eight. Nothing to sniff at though and it will be a good game between the pair at Walsall Wood on Boxing Day.

Keep your eye out for that blog, folks, as some festive football is on the way. I will be sporting my Christmas Jumper, as usual in December, sat at the back of the main stand, probably freezing my nips off.

Merry Christmas all!


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