An excellent opening goal for Woking from Bruno AndradeThe game was fairly end to end and both goalkeepers were kept busy.
Maybe the linesman also wanted a piece of the action? And a little maybe of Halifax rugby league also?
And finally other action shots
Despite the fact that Vanarama National League is a mere step below the football league is miles away in terms of its customer friendly approach. Where else might one see a lady with a dog on the terraces?
Where else do stewards take the word of a paying customer as to what exactly is in a bag they are carrying in? Where else do Northern football fans, well Halifax ones from Yorkshire wear shorts to football matches in the winter?
This and a multitude of other curious spectacles were observed at the Woking v Halifax game this weekend.
Even the ground at Woking is an eclectic mix of five very different stands/terracing. Behind one goal is a huge stand, all-seater, that dominates the ground and from the road gives the impression of a large league ground.
Then along side one side of the pitch are two small ancient looking stands that I am sure were there 50 years ago, looking quaint but maybe not fit for purpose really being honest. Normal covered terracing behind the other goal is matched with low level terracing along the other side of the pitch. It is almost as though no one can decide which decade the ground lives in nor which level of football it is fit for. A nice surprise was that there was no segregation with Woking and Halifax fans mixing freely. Banter was heard though it was difficult to make out easily much of what the Halifax fans were saying. This for me is good though. I prefer the lack of segregation which encourages a normal approach to football instead of treating each game like some kind of warfare.
The only matter of concern is that £18 seems a lot to pay for entry to any level of non-league football, especially when the entrance to Ryman level games is often around £10 or less. The worst crime though was £4 for a burger.
The nearer one gets to the end of the season the more certain matches matter. Woking are safe in the conference and in fact are the most successful part-time club in the UK. Wrexham are a full-time club striving to be back in the football league where they belong. The reality before this game was that their most likely channel would be the playoffs and after this game this is now a certainty. However it is worth just thinking how much football needs to be played by the better sides that are successful in the cup competitions and in fact Wrexham won at Wembley the FA Trohpy a few weeks ago. They looked tired and most likely were tired having played 48 hours before. Woking were on top for most of the game and always looked the likelier team to score and they duly did twice in the second half in front of 1500 supporters. Jayden Stockley scored both goals and missed a simple chance for his hat-trick. He was the best player on the pitch. The other player to impress, mostly in the first-half was Dele Adebola, who is still a physical handful at this level.
Ron Rawlings I never met but is an example of a character without which football would simply fail to exist. He was the long standing kitman at Woking FC. From the tributes that were written about him in the Woking V Wrexham programme it was clear that he both a friend and an important contributir to many players at Woking. Without these unsung heroes nonleague footbal would simply not exist. He died after a long illness on Easter Sunday 2013.
A few humble photos to pay a little tribute to someone admired.
There were a few games that could be chosen today. Brentford were away at Preston and that was a trip too far. This game stood out as Woking is a friendly club, reasonably close, easy parking anf the two sides were close enough together in the league to suggest an even game. I think I am correct also in that both these sides are not full-time like an increasing number of conference sides are. A crowd of 1500 arrived on a pleasant if cool afternoon but the rain held of. 15£ is the admission price and £3 for a programmes and 3.50 for a cheeseburger.
The game was an even game but one felt that Alfreton always had the edge. Alfreton took the lead with a goal midway through the first half and Woking equalised before half time. The winning goal, a diving header that was unchallenged came around the 60th minute and from then on Woking never really looked like scoring again. Alfreton look like a side that will exist easily in mid-table but Woking need to hope that there are 4 worse sides come end of April.
Woking is also a good ground at which to photograph during daylight but today the light was poor and the floodlights not very strong, and I would guess that there were two stops difference in areas of the pitch. For those with photographic interest, most of my shots were taken initially with 1/1000th and 4.5, using ISO around 600, but by the end the ISO was up to 6400 and shutter speed down to 1/320th. A decent day out.