Changing my plans at the last minute isn’t unheard of, and a chance to offload the kids for the night (meaning myself and the wife can get a rare evening out together) calls for the late postponement of a rail/bus trip to AFC Sudbury and the substitution of a short drive to Deeping Rangers instead.
Based in Market Deeping (just the other side of Stamford), these guys are top of the United Counties League Premier by a country mile and probably a shoe-in for Unibond/British Gas next season (assuming they meet the grade AND apply) so I’m getting this one in in advance.
Arriving a trifle early I drive around a bit and find a superb chippie – just as well because when I get to the ground hot food is conspicuous by its absence. The Outgang Road ground is on the very outskirts of the town and shares a site with other sports, including the Tennis Club whose bar is open to supporters. There’s good news here in the form of two handpumps, both selling Everards beers. Sky Sports News is on but as there’s no TV matches on today I can’t report whether they show any Live stuff.
The stadium boasts a small but tidy main stand on the half way line, and concrete hard standing all around. Behind one goal there’s a meccano covering, with a couple more off-the-shelf efforts either side of the dug-outs. The programme is on sale at the turnstile and costs a quid. Information inside is limited to the basics – primarily results, league table, pen pics and history of the visitors.
Talking of whom, Blackstone (who hail from nearby Stamford) are in the bottom three and surely canon fodder. But Rangers are not on their game and are fortunate to go in at the break a goal up. It’s a comedy moment and I split my sides as a visiting defender, fully twelve yards out and unchallenged, deposits the ball into the corner of his own net, presumably for safe-keeping.
After the interval it’s still the home team who labour away, but it’s Blackstone who know where the goal is, making the most of their limited chances to run-out 3-1 winners, to the delight of their hardy band of supporters hollering from the main stand.
Floodlight pylon count: 4