So, as I said, this evening's fare was being served up at Chancery Lane, Thrapton. A UCL Division One clash between Thrapston Town and Irchester United and a chace to visit a ground that I hadn't been to before.
Chancery Lane, like Irchester's Alfred Street, is a three-sided ground with an open side that is shared with the cricket club. There is quite limited parking on the site, but plenty of street parking very nearby. The club house, snack bar and players/officials facilities are all at the car park end, behind one of the goals, with no access for spectators on the cricket ground side. The opposite side to the cricket square hosts a covered standing area and a covered seating area, with the dugouts in between the stands. All backed, and overhung, by trees giving a very rural feel to the stadium.
For the first twenty minutes the game was fairly even but, as the game wore on, it became clear that t was Irchester who posed the greater threat going forward. Just before the half-hour mark the away side came close to taking the lead when their number 11, from 20 yards, lifted an effort over the home keeper but saw his attempt go just wide.
A minute later, amidst some good Irchester pressure, the Thrapston keeper was called into action again, pushing a low effort away which, thankfully for Thrapston, did not fall to any attacking players, and was cleared away.
It wasn't all one was traffic but, in general, it was Irchester who looked livelier and more inventive. On 42 minutes and with the half drawing to a close, the home keeper did well to parry a shot up into the air. Once again he was pleased to see the ball fall to a defender who headed it off the line. However, he need not have worried as the referee had already blown for a free-kick.
That was the end of the first-half action.
HT Thrapston Town 0 Irchester United 0. An even start but Irchester looking far more likely to take the points at this stage.
There was a response from Irchester but the home defence was holding firm and, on 68 minutes, Thrapston almost doubled their lead. A good, powerful header from their number 7 was pushed over the bar by the fingertips of the Irchester keeper. A fine attempt matched by an equally good save.
It was the last time that the Irchester keeper was stretched as his outfield colleagues pushed and pushed for an equaliser. There was no lack of effort or endeavour from Irchester but very little in the way of clear cut chances.
Thrapston held firm for the remainder of the half and took a valuable three points to draw level in the table with their opponents.
FT Thrapston Town 1 Irchester United 0.
Ground No. 136
Programme: None available