Shotton Colliery v Darlington Town, Tuesday 16th November 2021, 7.45pm

One of the things that I’d planned to do on coming back to the UK was to get my Grandson Harry more involved in going to football. It’s getting on for two years since we’ve been to a game together and when some childcare duties clashed with a match that I’d been intending to go to I took him along.

He was wearing his ‘leavers’ hoodie that his class had all been given at school that afternoon. As it’s only November I assumed that he’d been expelled.

The last game that we had attended together was the Boro against Spurs in the Cup and so I thought an eleventh tier Wearside Division One fixture between Shotton Colliery and Redcar Town might not hold his interest for long. It was two quid in for me and fifty pence for him. No programmes, team sheets or seats. There was a covered standing section in case it rained but we just stayed on the barrier close to the half-way line.

Shotton were in blue and a man down from about a quarter of an hour in after an uncontrolled tackle that sparked plenty of shoving from both teams. There was niggle throughout the match but no goals in the first half. We warmed up with a coffee and a tea from a hut behind one of the goals.

Redcar took advantage of having the extra man and went ahead early in the second half. They wasted a lot of chances to kill the game off before scoring at the death with a lofted shot from at least forty yards that caught the keeper just far enough off his line to dip in. Harry reckoned that it was a decent game and so I’ll bring him along again. Whilst games where you don’t care who wins are fine, I’ll have to get him to some Boro games too so that he can watch his team and learn all about disappointment.

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