Matt’s Monologue: Special Night Matches

I know it means the cricket season is over, the nights are drawing in and the days are getting colder, but there is just something special about watching football under floodlights.

So here we are; it is mid September and Tranmere are at home game to Aldershot.

Okay, it is not exactly a glamour tie. But there just seems something exciting about it.

I genuinely look forward to that winter period – apart from the fact I need my thermal socks on, as well as gloves and several layers to keep warm.

I am not quite sure what it is? The standard of football does not improve, and neither does the condition of the pitch.

But I bet if you look back over some of your favourite footballing memories, plenty come from a time a night match.

Perhaps it is the glow of the pitch under the bright lights, or even the smell of the hot dogs and onions carrying better in the cold air.

Or even just the sense of anticipation that the season is now reaching a really important stage, with cup competitions briefly taking centre stage and points to be won in a promotion race or relegation battle.

From my recollection though, the atmosphere is often so much better at Prenton Park for an evening kick off.

One game that springs to mind is a 1-0 win over Bristol City when Ronnie Moore’ was enjoying his first season in charge in his first spell as manager.

Do not get me wrong, there was nothing particularly noteworthy about the game. But when John Mullin netted a late goal to steal the points, I remember the Kop absolutely erupting.

One match that certainly holds plenty of importance was THAT comeback win over Southampton.

Perhaps special circumstances stand for this game – it was an F.A. Cup fifth round replay and a home tie against Liverpool awaited the winner.

It was surely written in the stars that John Aldridge would be bale to guide his side to a match against the team he supported as a boy.

Of course, we all know what happened.

Tranmere went 3-0 down before performing a something quite sensational.

First Paul Rideout scored one. Then he scored another. And then he incredibly completed his hat-trick.

Then, with time running out, Stuart Barlow bagged the winner in front of a jubilant Kop.

The thing is, even at 3-1 down, the ground was expectant and the atmosphere was absolutely electric.

You could almost sense something special was about to happen – although of course you would have been ejected for even suggesting Tranmere might win.

But that is what night games can bring you.

The sight of your own breath lit up by the floodlights, the players casting long shadows on the pitch and the scoreboard glowing in the night.

Sometimes, these things all seem to combine to spark something.

And although we are not quite at that freezing cold stage yet, this is the first real night match at Prenton Park this season – and let’s hope it can provide some more special memories.


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