I spoke with BHTFC manager Ian directly after the Leiston game who said ‘after the way that game played out its a tad disappointing that we haven’t picked up all three points!’
He was right but more on that later.
The longest Town league away trip to Leiston (Suffolk Coast) started on Friday afternoon as super fan Ian Gander (Sponge) and I travelled up the M11, in the old 206, on route to Mildenhall. We had decided to make an occasion of the trip by first having an evening at Mildenhall dogs. It turned into an interesting night. The facilities are a little tired but the welcome was nice as was the fish and chips supper. As for the racing we both had a couple of pick ups but I stupidly went big time on trap 2 in the last race, perhaps ‘several’ pints had kicked in. Somersham Rocky pinged out well but failed to hang on.
We awoke to a sunny morning as we made the 60 mile trek east to Leiston. East Anglia is very rural, big expanses of country side interspersed with the odd village with Ipswich and Norwich being the focal towns. The B roads, kinda tricky !. We couldn’t go all that away with out seeing some of the sights. As you can see from the photo we took in the Sizewell Nuclear Power Plant.
Meanwhile 4 members of the clubs ‘Barmy Army’ had been making the gruelling 4 hour train trip up from Mid Sussex. They made it to the Engineers Armes (just off the town square) around 1pm and got straight on it. It was lovely to mix with the locals who seemed to be very proud of their town and football club. Leiston only has a population of 6000 but it seemed there was a atmosphere of old wealth and land ownership. Perhaps that wasn’t surprising as early in the 19th century Steam Tractor maker Garrets was a huge employer in the town which made the area very wealthy. Since then the power station is now the major employer. It made sense then that Leiston Fc, who get about 150 crowd, must be benefitting from some of that wealth along the way.
The boys really enjoyed their time in the pub perhaps charmed by Katie behind the bar. They eventually dragged themselves away getting to the ground just on kick off. Victoria Road is a neat stadium, very nice club house and a cute covered terrace behind one of the goals. With sharp showers and a stiff breeze blowing virtually all of the 20 Hill fans stood under it for the 1st half.
Given the conditions and a very heavy pitch a flowing game of football ensued. Hill adapted very well and got their passing game together. Goal machine Sam Gargan never really looked settled up front and after 20 mins he went off injured to be replaced by Town legend Pat Harding. He nearly scored with his first touch.
Lee Harding then should of scored when one on one with the keeper down the right. The hosts were happy with slinging long balls into the box which keeper Josh James handled very well. Nil nil at half time.
After a scrappy opening goal by the hosts just moments into the 2nd half it was all Hill after that. Using the breeze they launched attack after a attack. Buoyed on by the Barmy Army who were now singing their hearts out exposed to some heavy weather. On around 70 mins a penalty was awarded and with Joe Keehan not around Pat stepped up. But the keeper made a great save. However Harding is a seasoned pro, he got his head down and continued to work hard and then got his reward slotting home a loose ball one one. In a frantic finale Hill could and perhaps should have stolen all three points ! Great Game.
Chappers told me: “I would of taken a point but as the game went on we were the stronger and had good chances to score. We are all trying to get better at this club and whilst it was a good performance we have just talked in the dressing room saying that this was the type of game that we should be winning!”
Great day out for the club and supporters, there was a lovely moment when Ian and his staff came over the travelling fans and thanked them for the support.
lost at the dogs (undisclosed!)
The next edition will come from Ewood Park Blackburn when we find out if the Albion can pick themselves up.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!