Over the coming weeks, talkSPORT presenter and champion of Non-League football Tony Incenzo will be getting to the very heart of the community game with a series of exclusive blogs as he ground hops around grassroots clubs up and down the country.
First up is Gloucestershire-based Lydney Town.
Lydney Town 4-0 Easington Sports
Lydney Recreation Ground, Swan Road, Lydney, Gloucestershire GL15 5RU
Saturday, November 26th 2016
Bluefin Sport Hellenic League Challenge Cup Second Round
Admission: £5 (bundled with matchday programme)
A 280 mile round trip for me to Gloucestershire. The Hellenic League is one of my favourite Step 5 leagues as it covers a vast area from the west of London right out towards the Welsh border.
Lydney is a market town in the picturesque Forest of Dean and is located on the west bank of the UK’s longest river, the Severn.
I was a little apprehensive about travelling as Lydney’s previous home game was abandoned due to floodlight failure, but club officials assured me that the problem had been rectified.
Nicknamed the Severnsiders, Lydney Town have done well to survive in an area that is very much a Rugby stronghold. The football club were originally formed in 1911 and played in local and county leagues until 1969 when they folded due to a lack of committee members. However, the club re-formed a couple of years later thanks to the efforts of the town’s avid football lovers.
They have since had two spells in the Hellenic League from 1980 to 1984 and from 2006 onwards, last winning promotion to the Premier Division in 2015.
The well-maintained Recreation Ground is at the end of a narrow lane leading from the town centre. There are two seated stands on one side of the pitch giving a seating capacity of 100 plus covered standing.
Twenty-eight pages, professionally-produced and included in the matchday admission price. The front cover displays a colour action photo. Inside, there is a good blend of club notes, pen pictures, stats and match reports.
Playing opposition from a division below, Lydney raced into an early lead courtesy of a goal by Jake Morgan. A big turning point came in the 35th minute when home goalkeeper Rich Thomas saved a penalty from Andrew Stidder. Within seconds, Lydney were down the other end to score a second goal through Declan Morley-Lyne.
After the break, Niall Halford and Ryan Pendry extended the scoreline to give the Severnsiders a comfortable 4-0 win. This match was played against the backcloth of huge cheers coming from the nearby rugby ground where a large crowd roared on Lydney Rugby Club.
I chatted with Lydney Town chairman Ashley Hancock and media man Wayne Jones. They both spoke with great pride about how their club has developed the facilities at the Recreation Ground in recent years. The pitch has been fully enclosed, floodlights erected and the grandstands opened to meet Hellenic League Premier Division Step 5 criteria.
— Lydney Town AFC (@LydneyTownAFC) November 27, 2016
The two gentlemen also told me a very sad story about a home match against Brackley Town in 1981 played in thunderstorm. When a bolt of lightning hit the pitch, all the players fell to the ground and Brackley defender Andy Thompson subsequently died of irreversible brain damage following cardiac arrest.
Tony Incenzo is a reporter for talkSPORT Radio and Sky TV. You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo