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Wednesday 20th August 2013 ko 18.15

Hampshire Premier League Senior Division

COLDEN COMMON 2 (L Magee 35 Barrett 90)

OVERTON UNITED 5 (Bode 64 Englefield 78 81 Parry 90 90)

Att 37

Entry FREE

Programme £1

If you head down the M3 past Winchester then head east along the South Downs, passing through Twyford, you’ll reach the small village of Colden Common. You’re close to Marwell Zoological Park which houses 1,200 animals of 235 different species, and is a major attraction in the area. One their more unusual requests came on 22nd May 2011 when Hampshire Constabulary contacted them for advice on how to tranquilise a white tiger lurking in long grass near Hedge End. The tiger turned out to be a life-size cuddly toy!

However, the village itself is probably best known for the events of 12th February 1974. In 1958, short-term planning permission had been granted for the storage of old tyres in a disused claypit and brickyard in Vears Lane. Permission was repeatedly extended until by 1974 it was estimated that the dump extended some thirty-feet upwards out of the deep pit. The dump caught fire and between 65,000 and 70,000 tons of tyres caught alight, with at one point 68 fire engines in attendance to put out the blaze. The fire-crews remained on site until 27th February damping down and the local schools ran out of red and black paint as the children recorded the event!

The football team play at the Recreation Ground on Main Road. There’s a clubhouse and a roped off pitch, and to be frank, very little else. Yet this was a hugely enjoyable visit, the game helped, but it was the club that once again made my evening wonderful, and I’m coming to the conclusion this is a friendly league.

The club are the only programme issuers in their league. A paper-based souvenir isn’t prerequisite for me, I’m far more interested in the football and the people, but this was an excellent publication, and judging by the display in the clubhouse one they’ve kept up for many years. They’re a friendly bunch too, and it was a real pleasure to enjoy a mug of tea before the game and exchange a joke.

The game lived up to the personalities, even of it did turn out to be a massive disappointment for the hosts. They took the lead too, Liam Magee’s looping header from a corner wrong-footing Luke Strickland in the Overton goal and dropping agonizingly under the crossbar. Common could and probably should have led by more at half-time, a mixture of goalkeeping heroics and the woodwork kept the score at 1-0.

In fact it was injuries that cost Common the game. They’d lost Phil Curtis to a knee injury early on, and made their other changes on the hour. Almost immediately after that two more players, Martin Beck and Gary Fuller pulled up injured. They carried on as best as they could, although Beck couldn’t see out the rest of the game, and Overton took full advantage.

Oliver Bode nodded in Overton’s equaliser, also from a corner, before Myles Englefield scored a rapid brace, the second courtesy of a spectacular overhead kick. With the clock running down, a long free-kick found Dave Parry who beat two tired challenges to fire past Strickland.

Amazingly, Common found it within themselves to answer, although the Overton centre-halves will wonder how Harry Barrett was able to race through the middle uncontested, to slot past an exposed Strickland. It didn’t matter too much as Parry’s amazing 25 yard blast from the left was worthy of winning any game, and was a fitting end to any game anywhere.

Colden Common as a name doesn’t suggest warmth which is a real shame, they were and are a lovely place to spend a couple of hours with on a warm evening.

If you’d like to pay them a visit, here’s their excellent website