So after the disappointment of watching Charlton defeated at the Valley on Saturday, my big weekend of football continued yesterday with a trip to watch my home town club, Bishop's Stortford, go for glory in the FA Cup 1st Round.
I normally drive to SE7 to watch the Addicks, but yesterday my mode of transport to the ProKit UK Stadium was my bike. How refreshing it was to ride across town to watch the Blues, just like I did as a kid!
An impressive gate of 2,545 favoured the real event rather than watching from the comfort of their sofas courtesy of ITV's live coverage, and they were rewarded with an entertaining game. Northampton had much of the early possession and in front of goal Bishop's Stortford rode their luck somewhat until finding their feet towards the end of the first half. The Blues best chance of the half came from a header from centre-back, Francis, but the effort agonisingly rattled the bar.
The Blues more partizan fans behind the goal were in fine voice as usual and played their part in driving the team on (and winding up Adrian Chiles at half time). Around them, new faces joined in as best they could and the hope is some will return to support the Blues again. I've really enjoyed the experience of the games I've watched this season and I'm more determined than ever to make more effort to get to games when Charlton fixtures will allow. After all, so much of my football heritage is ingrained in this club.
Emerton broke the deadlock for the visitors just after the hour mark and 6 minutes later Norris made it 2. The Blues refused to give up and impressive skipper, Reece Prestedge, gave the fans hope with a powerful, well taken shot 10 minutes from time. Sadly, despite their best efforts, the Blues couldn't find the equaliser. We had a goal to celebrate, at least.
This game will bring a level of financial stability to the club for a short period at least, and that in itself is a sizable result for a club of Stortford's size. Hopefully a run in the FA Trophy can follow to add to the pot.
In the end, it just wasn't meant to be and now Bishop's Stortford must re-focus quickly on the league. Of course, the FA Cup run was always going to end in failure sooner or later, but with a top manager and a group of hungry, young players, promotion to the Conference remains a realistic aim.
Hopefully the loss of Blues star striker, Kyle Vassell, to Peterborough (rumoured to be a done deal) will not derail the Blues promotion chances, but I for one wish him all the best. He's one to watch out for and joins a growing list of players that have left Stortford for professional football (our very own Danny Green amongst them). Unsurprisingly he's being compared to Dwight Gayle, who had a very successful loan period with the Blues a few years back.