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Home Town Advantage
by Avis Hickman-Gibb

Two nil. Or even, one nil. That’s really all they needed.

“Wouldn’t it be a boost for the whole town?” the butcher asked his customers.

“Just think of the revenue we’d pull in, in the next rounds - even the possibility of getting to the quarters or semis; maybe all the way to The Final,” the baker enthused as he sold his beautifully browned loaves to the eager populace, his eyes shining.

“We could make sure; you know give the boys a helping hand,” whispered the candle dipper at the craft market to those people who bought in bulk against predicted power cuts this winter.

The visiting team really didn’t stand a chance. Their evening meal was made of tainted beef, specially prepared and kept separate from the generally available stock. The soup rolls had been spread with a culture culled from a slide in the cottage hospital fridge. And the candles shone their light dimly enough to mask the tricks.

Even so, the boys nearly didn’t make it. It had been two one against at half time. But over the course of the final forty five, forty eight with stoppages, the switch in the score finally made it to three two. And even with the opposition dropping like flies, they were lucky to get those extra two.

The town had a good day; thank you very much. From the club, to the retailers, to the supporters. But they all knew that next match, the boys’d be playing away. No room for manoeuvre there then. But a share of the revenue would be very welcome. Still, perhaps the quarters were a little ambitious?

But there was always next year, if they could get the first match at home. Get a leg up, as it were.