On Sunday 15th August 2010 we went to the Worlds Oldest Football Ground to watch Hallam begin their FA Cup campaign against Atherton Collieries.
It was a lovely sunny Sunday and so we decided to go to nearby Hallam FC to watch them face Atherton Collieries in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round.
I had been to Hallam twice before, against Pickering Town in 2008 and Burscough in the FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round last year. However since it was such nice weather and an FA Cup Extra Preliminary game, which neither me nor my Dad had seen before, we decided to go.
On arrival we headed through the turnstile and bought a programme before going in to the club house. It is very nice with various things on the walls, from newspaper cuttings to shirts signed by the likes of Diego Maradona and Pele.
Hallam are in the North East Counties Premier, while Atherton Collieries are in North West Counties First Division, so in theory Hallam were the better side. However, it was Atherton who got off to a great start, hitting the crossbar within a couple of minutes of the kick off.
Against the run of play Hallam took the lead, shooting uphill, Miles Ridall scored on the 18th minute, much to the delight of many of the 195 in attendance.
7 minutes later Atherton got a much deserved equaliser when Paul Atherton scored to level things up. This is how it stayed until half time.
During half time I had a hot dog (for only 80p!) and met ex Premiership referee Uriah Rennie, who was in attendance for todays game.
Atherton Collieries continued to have most of the chances in the second half. Two goals in 5 minutes from Andy Walker and Phil Williams gave the away side a 3-1 lead and it looked all over.
Hallam made it an exciting finish when Ridall got his second on the 84th minute but it was too little too late for Hallam and there dreams of going to Wembley were over. Atherton Collieries now host Evo-Stik league side Prescot Cables in the Preliminary Round.
I enjoyed my day at Hallam FC, the weather certainly helped things and the game was entertaining. I have now been to Sandygate 3 times, but have only seen Hallam win once.