The crowd of 317 were not to know the drama that would unfold that evening.
A quick note for newbies to the ground. Programmes are for sale outside the main turnstile and are not available inside. However, if there is a queue you might lose your place so, go in and then ask a kindly steward by the main gate if you just lean through and purchase a programme.
Hardenhuish has become my favourite ground, not because of the result (as will be told later) but because it is a proper football ground. Covered on 3 sides, there is an array of structures around the ground, all different shapes and sizes, offering both standing and seating areas. The ground has clearly grown organically and has a great charm to it. With only the far goal not having a covered area behind it, there is feeling of the sloped playing surface being tightly enclosed which creates a good atmosphere. I have to say that I immediately loved the place. If it was closer to home, I would visit more often without a doubt. As it is, I will certainly make an effort to visit every time Stourbridge go there.
The game. Well, what can I say about the game? It was one of the most extraordinary matches that I have been witness to, which is saying a lot seeing as I was in Munich for the infamous 1-5 game and at the Battle of Bramall Lane when Neil Warnock got the game abandoned.
Everything started fairly quietly. Both sides looked to pass the ball about, both looked fairly threatening. The Chippenham number 7, in particular, looked very lively.
Then it all sprang into life.
On 6 minutes a Ryan Rowe header put Stourbridge ahead. Seven minutes later an appalling assault by Chippenham centre half Tindle on Sean Geddes lead to the match's first red card. A further seven minutes passed before a weak headed backpass was latched into by Rowe to put Stourbridge two ahead.
Just a couple of minutes later it was 0-3 when a Geddes shot took a deflection to loop over the keeper and into the net.
Still only halfway through the first half, Chippenham were reduced to nine when a goalbound header was palmed away by Bluebirds defender Harvey. Step forward Sean Geddes, 11 successful spot kicks this season. Not this time though! Chippenham keeper John got down well to his right to push it against a post and out. At this point I was really struggling to tweet the events before the next incident happened.
Probably the most extraordinary statistic about this game was that from midway through the first half, playing against 9 men, it took the Glassboys 44 minutes to score again. In fact, for the first 10 minutes of the second half, Chippenham had the better of the game. Then on 67 minutes another long range Geddes effort nestled inside the bottom left corner sparking a flurry of goals in the last 20 minutes. Three more from Ryan Rowe and two Luke Benbow goals later the game finished Chippenham Town 0 Stourbridge 9.
To be fair to the Chippenham support behind the goal that they were defending in the second half, they took the result with great humour and dignity, staying to the bitter end to support their team. As one Black Country wag said "Yow'm good supporters. If they'm 1 down at half time, I'm off 'um". I'm not sure that this translated that well in rural Wiltshire, but I think they got the drift.
So, certainly Stourbridge's best away win for many a year (I'm sure some statto out there can tell me the exact date and where this results sits in the overall history book) and, as it happened, the end of a managerial reign at Chippenham who sacked their manager and his assistant the next day.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Hardenhuish, not just because of the scoreline. It really is a fantastic place to watch football. I would encourage anyone interested in visiting proper football stadia to pay a visit. I have nothing against places like the Emirates, which is a superb arena, or even Wembley (which is not such a great arena) but they don't have the charm and history that these old grounds have, IMO.
Chippenham Town - @chiptownfc
Stourbridge FC - @sfcofficial