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Clichés and pints

Yesterday, for the first time in three weeks, I had wood.

Get your minds out of the gutter, people. It was Walsall Wood at home to Sutton Coldfield Town in the league.

I was back on reporting duties once again after last week's impromptu trip to Meadow Lane (see Wet, windy and soggy cardboard blog for more details).

I spiced things up a bit and had a bus journey to the ground yesterday. It started well, getting off at the wrong stop and earlier than I should've done. Learning curve for Tuesday night, I guess. That's right, folks. It's the run-up to Christmas and you're being treated to more than one blog per week.

"Fascinating stuff, Tom, but can you get to the football please?"

Of course, but the regular readers amongst you will know these blogs normally feature a significant portion of rambling at the start (and possibly throughout, depending on your viewpoint)

After mulling over my pre-match notes with a brew, I spoke to the chairman about Tuesday night's FA Trophy game against Coalville Town. A quick sidenote, here folks. The access that you get at non-league is second-to-none. Even if you don't want to report, you can always speak to your own fans, opposing fans, staff high up at each club and have a laugh with them.

The higher up you go, you don't get that. It's all well and good watching the Premier League and enjoying that, but I sincerely doubt the chairman or owner cares about your support as much as someone in non-league would, because they're the ones actually struggling, and actually need the support.

Oh no, Man United got knocked out of the Champions League three days after a 3-0 loss to Bournemouth? How about North Shields FC, who play in the ninth tier, and are in an extremely perilous financial situation due to postponed matches?

So, go and support your local team. I promise you won't regret it.

Anyway, so much for a "quick" sidenote. I spoke to the chairman about Tuesday night's game, saying there is rain forecast. I asked a bit more and he said "Do I look like Michael Fish?", quickly followed up with "You don't know who Michael Fish is, do you Tom."

I do, actually. If you don't, ask your parents.

Anyway. The concerning bit was there is rain on the way, again.... at the third time of asking the teams to play.

We got into position at the top of the stand and ready to go.

I probably could've waited until the second half to go up there though. To put it in nice reporting terms, chances were at a premium.

If you ever read that in a report, it means the reporter has nothing to talk about because the game is a load of crap (normally).

Another cliche is "game of two halves." But that's what it was.

The second half was a lot better, with Alex Bradley converting a penalty on the hour mark and meaning Wood never looked back.

Mitch Botfield and Charlie Manners put the game to bed later on as the latter smashed his effort into the back of the net.

It was obvious that Walsall Wood hadn't played for three weeks, but they eventually got used to it and overturned a team that had not lost in ten. Pretty good effort!

After the game, I went to find manager Ian Long for the usual interview. It transpired that he was in the main bar, having a pint with his staff and some mates. No problem, with that, of course! It was just completely unexpected. So I'm there and have to grab him for an interview. Two minutes later, I'm standing outside trying not to laugh, whilst I'm interviewing a football manager with a pint in his hand.

THAT is why non-league is better than any other part of football. I'm yet to see Pep Guardiola rock up to a press conference with a Carling.

Roll on Tuesday. Maybe, if it doesn't rain.



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