Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Stoke City - The Britannia Stadium

18th November 2001

Stoke 2-0 Lewes

I have always thought it would be fun thing to do: to choose at random an English non-league club who had made it through to the first round of the FA Cup, and to go and watch their tie.  I would then follow whoever won this tie in the next round and so on, until the final.  

Indeed, I believe some folks have indulged this peculiar behaviour regularly.  But I can only assume such folks do not have the (totally welcome) encumbrance of a young family with all the obligations that entails.

The main entrance to Stoke City's Britannia Stadium.

Another external view of the ground.

"Dad, who are those other two men?"

So this trip to the Britannia Stadium to watch Stoke City entertain Lewes of the Ryman League Division Two, was my token gesture to the aforementioned.  Although ostensibly a first round tie, to get this far Lewes had already played nine qualifying matches (including a couple of replays) against such mysterious names as Hassocks FC and Mangotsfield.  

In fact, Lewes had actually been drawn at home in the tie, but had chosen to take the match away from their wonderfully named Dripping Pan ground, presumably in the hope of making a few more bob.

A shock result certainly never really looked on the cards and, indeed Stoke strolled past their part-time opponents, who included a decorator, a police officer and an art dealer in their side.  The home side’s goals were scored by Peter HANDYSIDE in the 17th minute, and by Brynjar GUNNARSON 12 minutes after the break.  

Still, the few hundred souls who made the long trip up from East Sussex made the most of the occasion, and I for one felt privileged to have spent 90 minutes in their company sharing their club’s Big Day.

The Lewes FC players take their bow.

Panorama of The Britannia Stadium, Stoke.

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