I don't think I've seen as one-sided a second half as we did today. Hyde threw everything forward and would have emerged winners from this re-arranged tie if there was any natural justice. The young goalie mistimed collecting a long back pass for the first and was bundled into his own net under a rough challege for the winner.
It was Non-League Day today, where fans of league clubs are encouraged to support their local teams. As it was a replayed game (Northwich had played an ineligible player in the original game) then it was only £8 for me and kid4. Sadly there were only 250 others on for a decent game. But the opportunity of a cup run is such a lifeline for players at this level. How they must dream of getting drawn at home in the First round proper to Sheffield United or some other team with a big away following.
A couple of seasons ago, at the depths of my disdain for the Venky's disastrous reign at Blackburn Rovers, I had a bit of a Non-League Season. I caught Hyde on an upward bounce and enjoyed it, even contemplating doing an away trip before sense took hold. It was familiar and robust again today; the Shed was in decent potty mouthed voice and we laughed a lot, even at the predictable cry of "Ref! Get him offf! He could have killed him!"
We're sticking with Rovers, but Hyde feels like an old local pub that we pop back to. It's also something different that we can enjoy without any real emotional connection or commitment to. I do enjoy these experiences and am still keen to chalk off my Greater Manchester stadiums - Curzon Ashton, FC United and Man City's new bowl on the campus beckon. I also keep pondering doing a season following the FA Cup - starting at the nearest game to our house at the earliest possible stage and seeing how far I could do. Sadly, like the quest to do the 92 it's just not practical with the kids at the age they are and everything else that needs doing.
So, today, for me the Wembley dream was very much over. For Hyde, it's back to the business of a long trip to Whitby Town for a league game on Wednesday night.