Bit of a peculiar FA Cup occasion, this one. The mighty York City taking out some minnows with a funny name from that hotbed of football, Newcastle, in the final qualifying round. Should be a cracker, I thought. But it was actually a muted affair largely on account of the hosts having no tradition, no real fans and, well, next to no ground. It was like watching a training match.
Bertie and I went in with the hoards of York lads for the first half. I recognised lots of familiar faces - and became aquainted with a new character called Stumpy, a one-legged, bare-chested, stubbled wino with a holler like a pirate. Lovely fella, really. We joined the home fans for the second half walkabout.
City went 1-0 up early on and you expected them to get a hatful but that never happened and they made a bit of meal of it. Had Benfield had more luck they could've earned a replay.
And so, after three rounds in the north-east, we bid a sad farewell to the region. For the climax of the competition, the first round proper, we shall head south to Lincolnshire. Next up: Gainsborough Trinity v. Barnet ...
Great quote from the ex-York coach of Benfield. Speaking about York's game against a low-ranked team some years ago, he said: "The fans were within touching distance at Hednesford and it was very intimidating. I got spat on and a meat pie landed on my head at one point. The gravy was actually dribbling down my face." Mmmm.