Coincidentally, on the morning of the game I received an email on my website from the Baldock club secretary, Lee Rusbridge, who had been looking at the website and was wondering if I fancied a trip to Baldock before the end of the season. Great minds think alike.
Heading over to Stotfold the rain was getting heavier and heavier. I was really starting to wonder if, like Quorn a few weeks back, I would arrive to find the floodlights dark and the match postponed. However, Lee had said he would drop me a message if the game got called off and, after frequent stops to check my Twitter feed, I arrived in Stotfold to find floodlights blazing and the game on.
Roker Park sits back off the road and as is accessed via a narrow drive way which opens onto a reasonably sized car park directly behind one of the goals. Just to the left of the car park is the club house and changing facilities. The dugouts are on the right hand side of the playing surface as you look from the car park. opposite these are the two covered areas, one standing and one seating. The pitch slopes slightly from the car park.
As a former West Brom season ticket holder Baldock Town, at least in their former incarnation, are quite dear to my heart being the first club of a certain Kevin Phillips or Super Kev as he was affectionately known at The Hawthorns. Interestingly, one of Phillips' other clubs was Sunderland who, of course, used to play at Roker Park. The coincidences don't stop there either. Baldock's opponents this evening happen to be Winslow United. A former player and supporter of Winslow is Ayden Callaghan (he of Hollyoaks fame) who is also a fervent Wolves supporter. I'm sure he won't thank me for mentioning this but Super Kev liked nothing better than scoring against Wolves.
In the build up to kick off conditions were steadily getting worse. The rain was heavier and the wind had picked up to the extent that the rain was almost blowing horizontally down the slope towards the end that Winslow were defending in the first half. Unsurprisingly, it was Baldock who started the better, kicking down the slope and with the wind behind them, they set about laying siege to the Winslow goal.
It took 12 minutes for the first goal to arrive and, when it did, it was a very nicely worked move that set it up. A neat one-two set Owen Robertson free down the left flank. His low cross was scuffed by a defender which allowed Luke Hennesey to nip in and lift the ball deftly over the United keeper to make it 1-0.
It was all Baldock at this point. The Winslow defence, when they did win the ball back, were finding that it was coming straight back at them. Therefore, it was no great surprise when Baldock increased their lead. A corner from the left was over-hit and fell beyond the far post. Roberston retrieved it, jinked around a player and made himself just enough room to measure a perfect cross for Stuart Pearson to head in for 2-0.
At this point, three-nil down, kicking into a strong wind, many teams would have folded. So it is great credit to Winslow that they refused to sit back like lambs to the slaughter. For thirty minutes the game had been pretty much played in the Winslow half but, as the weather improved slightly, the wind dropped and the rain slowed, Winslow began to stem the flow of red shirts and even to push forward themselves.
HT Baldock Town 3 Winslow United 0. A well deserved lead for Baldock but great admiration for the fighting spirit shown by Winslow after going three behind so early on.
After a cup of tea and a chat about all things football in the clubhouse, it was time to head out for the second half. Winslow now had the advantage of kicking down the incline but not so much from the wind, which had subsided somewhat.
Baldock continued to knock the ball about even though the pitch was getting increasingly sticky in places. At times they played some really impressive stuff and clearly like to keep the ball on ground and always seemed to be looking to give options to the man on the ball.
Shortly after Lee had pointed out the home number 10, Anthony James, as being their top scorer and someone who often scored spectacular goals the player took his cue and produced a stunner. Winslow thought that they had repelled a dangerous looking Baldock attack but when the ball looped towards James he smashed it from 25 yards, left-footed, over the keeper and into the net. It was a magnificent strike, perfectly executed. A goal that the aforementioned Super Kev would have been proud of. 4-0.
Four minutes later it was five. Once again Robertson, who was a constant threat all evening, had a big hand in the goal producing a perfect cross once again, this time for Josh Furness to powerfully head home. 5-0.
There was clearly no way back into the game for Winslow now but, to be fair, heads still didn't seem to drop. The Baldock defence was proving to be as tight as their attack was deadly though. When Winslow did manage to get over the halfway line, the Reds back-four was cleaning up very efficiently.
With 18 minutes left to play Furness wriggled free on the right and fizzed in a powerful effort from the angle of the 18 yard box. The keeper managed to push it against the bar but it fell perfectly for James to head in for his second and Baldock's sixth. 6-0.
It says something to the determination of a well beaten Winslow side that they managed to prevent Baldock notching a seventh goal in the remaining 20 minutes. Not only that but they did manage to bring home keeper Jack Farmer into action a couple of times. For Baldock, James did manage to get the ball in the net a third time but was denied his hat-trick by an offside flag.
FT Baldock Town 6 Winslow United 0. Baldock climb to third in the table and have a real chance of pushing for the title despite a tricky looking run-in. Winslow remain just below mid-table but are well clear of the basement battle.
Baldock Town - @baldocktownfc
Winslow United - @winslowutdfc