After last Tuesday's FA Cup replay defeat at the hands of Isthmian League Sutton United, the Kent side Welling United were looking forward to a change of fortunes on their return to GM Vauxhall Conference action at home to Southport.
After all, having beaten Stalybridge, Slough and Stevenage in quick succession to establish themselves in mid table, they seemed to have the Indian sign over teams starting with the letter "S".
So Saturday's 5-3 home defeat came as something of a shock, not least because Kevin Hales' team gave away a staggering three own goals.
"It was incredible," spokesman Paul Carter said, "not least because the game had started with two cracking goals in the first seven minutes and was well balanced at 1-1."
Then, however, in 21 minutes of madness, Welling handed Southport a 4- 1 lead without one of their opponents getting on the scoresheet.
"First John Farley tried to make a clearance only for the ball to go in off goalkeeper Glen Knight's back," Carter said. "Then Steve Perkins stuck his foot out to intercept a cross and crashed the ball in off the underside of the bar.
"But the third one capped the lot. Paul Futcher chipped the ball down the middle and Steve thought he would knock it back safely to Glen with a little, cushioning header. What he didn't know was that the keeper was right behind him, wanting to claim the ball himself. It went right over his head and rolled over the line."
Poor Perkins stayed on the field for just eight more minutes before Hales ended his miserable afternoon, sending on another striker in the hope of salvaging something from the match.
It almost worked as Welling hit back with two rapid second-half goals but Southport scored again to clinch a 5-3 victory that will almost certainly find a way into the Conference record books.
When Frank Lampard Jnr made his West Ham debut as an 18-year-old trainee in January 1996, it gave his father, Frank Snr, a distinction he could share with his friend and boss, Harry Redknapp, who had also seen his son make the grade as a top-flight professional player.
But there is more than just that to link the two families. Harry also happens to be Frank Jnr's uncle, while Frank Snr is uncle to Liverpool's, Jamie Redknapp.
"We married two sisters," Frank Snr said, "so there has always been that connection. "I suppose I was to blame," he added. "We were both players, Harry and I, and when I started to go out with my wife, who was then called Pat Harris, she told me that her older sister, Sandra, used to go out with Harry.
"So I suggested a foursome, Harry and Sandra got together again and it ended up with both couples getting married." They have each been guests at the other's silver wedding celebrations in the last two years.
Although football was part of family life for the Redknapps and Lampards when the two former West Ham stars were growing up, they were the first in their families to play professionally.
Harry, who brought Jamie to the fore at Bournemouth before his pounds 350,000 transfer to Anfield in 1991, might have had a second son, Mark, in the game only for injury to deny him the chance of playing at a senior level.
Premiership Team Of The Week
Paolo Di Canio
County enhance their performance
The transformation in fortunes being enjoyed by Notts County since they were relegated from the Second Division of the Nationwide League last season brought manager Sam Allardyce the divisional Manager of the Month award for September.
Some supporters of rival clubs are wondering whether a more appropriate award might be titled along the lines of pharmacist of the month.
This follows the disclosure that more than half his players have been using a performance enhancer to improve their effectiveness. Despite being held to a draw by struggling Darlington on Saturday, County are joint leaders of thre Third Division with Peterborough and Exeter.
The powder they have been taking - Creotine - is perfectly legal, although its use by a number of leading athletes has caused raised eyebrows.
Creotine occurs naturally in the body but extra doses help muscles retain energy and can significantly boost a player's stamina. Allardyce admitted last week that six or seven of his players had been using the supplement on a regular basis. "I'm sure it has helped them," the manager said.
Just 20 grammes a day for five days, taken dissolved in a carbohydrate drink, can provide a player with enough extra mileage to sail through those vital closing minutes when mistakes induced by tired limbs can prove critical.
County receive their Creotine from Workout World, whose spokesman Rob Turner says: "It is one of the few substances like it that is legal because it is contained naturally in the body. It can improve strength and endurance by 15-20 per cent." Maybe it is no coincidence that County are developing the habit of snatching late winning goals, although they could not manage one against Darlington on Saturday. Indeed, both goals came in the opening four minutes.
Good Boys . . .
Dennis Bergkamp 11
Chris Sutton 10
Ian Wright 9
John Hartson 8
Kevin Gallacher 7
Benito Carbone 7
. . . and Bad Boys
The Season's Red And Yellow Cards
Almost two years since his last Premiership match, the former England international midfielder is still seeking the exit from Stamford Bridge his career desperately needs after a brief trial with Southampton last month came to nothing. Signed for pounds 1.25m from Manchester City in August 1994, the one-time Arsenal favourite's progress was interrupted by a broken toe in October 1995 and, when Ruud Gullit became manager during his absence, Rocastle's career went into limbo. A spell on loan to Norwich last season raised his hopes of a move but he failed to agree terms with the East Anglian club.
With eight goals already to his name this season, the Carlisle-born England Under-19 international. who will be 20 later this month, is being monitored by Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester United. Carlisle chairman Michael Knighton last week denied he had agreed a pounds 1m fee with Kenny Dalglish for the young striker, but a move away from Brunton Park seems only a matter of time.
Wednesday's manager need not worry about lean times at Hillsborough costing him his job. Give him a crumpled raincoat and a fat cigar butt and the perceptive pundit could take over from Peter Falk in a remake of Columbo.
Rumours: Fact and Fiction from the Sunday papers
If column inches are a barometer of the truth factor in a gossip item, then Derby County fans can prepare to welcome Nick Barmby to Pride Park. The People, News of the World, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Mirror are all convinced that Derby manager Jim Smith is lining up a pounds 4 70 pounds 4.5m offer for the out-of-favour former England international, even though Derby hardly seem short of forwards, with Jamaican international Deon Burton vying with Dean Sturridge, Francesco Baiano and Paulo Wanchope for a regular place... Dennis Bergkamp's splendid start to the season is said to have rekindled interest in Italy, despite the relative failure of his tenure at Internazionale. The News of the World believes Milan boss Fabio Capello will offer George Weah or Patrick Kluivert plus cash to persuade Arsenal to part with their non-flying Dutchman... The same paper reckons Leicester City must brace themselves for a battle to keep manager Martin O'Neill, said to be at the top of both Sheffield Wednesday and Tottenham's hit lists should they decide to pull the plug on their present incumbents. The story suggests the key to keeping the Ulsterman at Filbert Street could be his share of a pounds 12m windfall expected from Leicester's Stock Exchange float... According to The People, Everton manager Howard Kendall has his eye on Manchester United's Andy Cole and will offer Duncan Ferguson as part of a swap deal, as well as planning a pounds 1.5m swoop for the Sparta Rotterdam striker Dennis de Noyer... the Sunday Mirror re-runs an already-denied tale that homesick Italian Benito Carbone wants to quit Sheffield Wednesday, while the News of the World says ex-Wednesday boss Trevor Francis wants to take David Hirst, the team-mate with whom Carbone clashed on the pitch recently, to Birmingham for pounds 600,000.
The 1st Eleven
England's best 11 results against Italy
4-0 Turin 1948
2-0 White Hart Lane 1949
2-0 Wembley 1977
2-0 Nantes 1997
3-2 Highbury 1934
3-2 Rome 1961
3-2 New York 1976
2-2 Milan 1939
2-2 Wembley 1959
1-1 Rome 1933
1-1 Florence 1952Reuse content