It was around 8:15 as I pulled into the car park of Old Northamptonians Sports Club but I could clearly see that a match was in progress. I quickly found the entrance and paid my £4 fee. As I only had a tenner this caused some consternation and the man on the gate had to run into the rugby club to get some change. Unfortunately for him, as he disappeared around the corner the away side took the lead with a powerful header from Sam O'Neill. Perfect timing for me though.
Chenecks Billing Road ground is part of the rugby club and is completely open on two sides. The car park end, where I had entered the ground, has the club house and tea bar. On the Billing Road side of the ground there is a small covered seating area, the dugouts and what looks like an old Anderson shelter (I'm sure that it isn't).
The unusual name of the club, Chenecks, is apparently derived from the school house names of Northampton Grammar School. The club was founded to give the boys of the rugby playing Grammar School the opportunity to play football.
The rain wasn't too bad now, so I tool up a position on the sidelines to watch the remainder of the first half. The game was very evenly matched. Olney looked to be slightly the more organised, in my opinion, but the Chenecks forward line movement was causing a few problems for their defence. Two minutes before half-time the home side drew themselves level with a strike from Montel Dore and that is how it stayed until the whistle.
The second half began with the rain steadily falling. Again, there was little to choose between the sides. The front two for Chenecks were still causing problems but the away defence and goalkeeper always seemed to be there when it mattered. Olney were also fashioning chances of their own forcing the home side into a couple of last ditch tackles.
Just after the hour mark a right-wing dross was very nicely volleyed home by Ben Lewington to give Chenecks a 2-1 advantage. A few minutes later it really should have been 3-1 when first the away keeper made a great save and then, when the defence gave the ball away too easily, a shot was cleared off the line. Two great pieces of defending but both chances should really have been buried.
Chenecks were made to rue those misses when a lovely through ball saw Christian Smail go through one on one and finish sweetly to level the scores.
With 15 minutes remaining both sides were looking to find a winner but it was not to be. In all honesty, a draw was a fair result. There was so little to choose between the teams throughout the match that any winning goal would have been harsh on the other team.
It remains for me to say a big thank you to the ground staff at Chenecks for getting the game on. Without their work I would have had a fruitless two and a half hour round trip.
Northampton ON Chenecks - @onchenecksfc1
Olney Town - @olneytownfc