Sussex Intermediate Cup, First Round
Ferring 0 Newtown Villa 7 (att 20)
A seven-goal home defeat against a team from a lower league is hardly a cause for celebration, but for Ferring FC it represented progress of a sort.
Their five league matches this season have all been lost, conceding 78 goals in the process. Three times they've let in 18, and their best result was a 9-2 home defeat. Progress in the county cup, against a team from the West Sussex League, was never likely, but Ferring made a game of it, at least in the first half.
Newtown Villa had to work hard for their 2-0 half time lead, but they ran riot after the break and could easily have inflicted another double-digit defeat on the hosts.
The attraction of this fixture for me, apart from the likelihood of seeing a few goals, was to visit Ferring's Glebelands home while it's still hosting football at a reasonable level. The club play at 'step seven', in division two of the Southern Combination League, and it's not a bad venue for what is, essentially, a public recreation ground.
There's a substantial seated stand next to the pitch. It's fenced off and, officially at least, out of use, but a few intrepid spectators used it to shelter from the heavy rain. The cosy clubhouse is set back from the pitch, but also offers a little shelter.
For a club that's had such a difficult start to 2016/17 it had a better feel than I'd expected. A full team with several subs, plans on display in the clubhouse to enclose the pitch an install floodlights (no timescales other than 'when we've got the money'), and plenty of local support.
Ferring has the feel of a 'proper' local football club, and fingers crossed results will soon improve and the club will once again thrive.