Scarborough Athletic v Staleybridge Celtic, Saturday 4th January 2020, 3pm

Jen and I had bought a chair off eBay that needed picking up from Scarborough. It’s a place where we’ve visited and holidayed at and even though it’s mid-winter we decided to stop over for a change of scenery. We’d stayed nearby the summer before last and had enjoyed the donkey rides with the grandkids and a bit of sword fighting at the castle.

We needed different activities this time though as the donkey man takes the winter off and Jen and I had forgotten to bring our swords. That meant the next best option was nipping along to the Flamingoland stadium to watch Scarborough Athletic’s seventh tier Northern Premier fixture with Staleybridge Celtic instead.

I arrived at the ground with a few minutes to go to kick-off and realised that I had no cash in my wallet. I couldn’t find out from anyone in the queue if I could pay with a card and so had to retrace my steps back towards the town centre to find a cash point. I missed the first quarter of an hour and after paying my twelve quid admission I was relieved to find that there was still no score.

Flush with cash again I got myself a bacon sandwich and a coffee and watched from the corner near to the turnstiles for a while. Once I’d finished scoffing I passed by the small covered terrace behind the goal that contained some of the travelling support.  One of the away fans was quizzing the home keeper as to what his go to karaoke choice was. I’m not sure if this was intended to be banter or abuse but it was more like two fellas simply passing the time of day whilst the ball was elsewhere.

For the remainder of the first half I took a seat in the centre section of the stand opposite the tunnel. Over on the tunnel side there was a main stand that I think was entirely hospitality. It was the place that I’d first tried to get in there by mistake without realising what it was. Perhaps they would have taken my card after all.

Celtic opened the scoring towards the end of the half. The fans around me thought that it was a bit fortunate. I’d say, scrappy. It looked to have taken a lucky bounce off a defender and the finish seemed scuffed, but they all count.  It inspired a chant of “Come on Burra” and so I felt at home for a while.

In the second half I moved around a bit, which is one of the benefits of lower league games. If the Celtic goal could have been considered a touch spawny, there was nothing attributable to good luck in Scarborough’s equaliser, with a well hit shot from the edge of the box giving the visiting keeper no chance.

With the floodlights on Athletic pushed for the winner. They should probably have taken the points with at least three decent chances going begging. Overall though, a draw felt like a fair result and the game made up for the lack of donkeys at the beach.

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