The players and fans watch on as the penalty shoot-out gets under way in the League One Play-Off Semi-Final second leg

How I watched football: 2018-19

A Friday night in May. The Valley is packed. It’s the 87th minute of the second-leg of the League One play-off semi-final and Charlton Athletic lead 3-2 on aggregate.

“Well, whatever happens it’s been a great season,” says James above the din.
“Aye,” I reply, “but it’d be nice to have half an hour more of it”.

About 90 seconds later Andy Butler got his head on a corner, the ball found the net, and the two of us, along with a thousand or so others, were lost in a wave of seat-tumbling stranger-grabbing sky-punching scarf-twirling collective bedlam.

That was being a Doncaster Rovers supporter in 2018-19; thrilling unpredictability to the last. It may not have ended in glory, but supporting your home town team, particularly a lower league one, will always be about the journey rather than the destination. And after the turgid beigeness of 2017-18, this was like stepping off a rail replacement bus service and onto The Flying Scotsman. Herbie Kane’s magic feet, James Coppinger’s touch and vision, an FA Cup run that pulled a town together and goals, so many goals. What more could you wish for than that?

Beyond Rovers, this felt like a season of optimism. I didn’t see a single goalless draw in 2018-19, and only once – a deceptively cold afternoon at Cockfosters – did I find myself wondering why I’d bothered. Even my local side, the perennially awful Lewisham Borough, found form, winning more league games this season than they had in the previous three campaigns combined, including the double over Forest Hill Park in the Ladywell-classico. “You’re becoming a bit of a Lewisham fan,” said the chairman when he made a point of saying hello to me at Thamesmead. He’s not wrong.

The only real low points came with the national team. Ryan Giggs’ Wales side remain a baffling watch, a side packed with talent and potential but lacking any sort of coherent plan. June’s double-header away in Croatia and Hungary typified this; a glorious trip let down only by the football – it’s the Welsh experience I fell for all those years ago, a sign perhaps that after a rough year or so, the world is back on its axis.

by Glen Wilson

Below is a photograph from every match I attended this season. No expensive cameras, no special lenses. Just an old iPhone and the Instagram app.

Match 1, August

Doncaster Rovers fans welcome their team onto the field ahead of the opening game of the season at Southend United's Roots Hall; Rovers would go on to win 3-2

Southend United 2-3 Doncaster Rovers
League One at Roots Hall

 

Match 2, August 2017

Doncaster Rovers take a short corner in their League One victory over Wycombe Wanderers at Keepmoat Stadium

Doncaster Rovers 3-0 Wycombe Wanderers
League One at Keepmoat Stadium

 

Match 3, August

The view from the back of the covered terrace at The Recreation Ground as Harrogate Town go on the attack in the National League fixture

Aldershot Town 0-2 Harrogate Town
National League at The Recreation Ground

 

Match 4, August

A spectator watches on at Ladywell Arena as the home team goalkeeper gathers a cross in the Southern Counties East League Division One match

Lewisham Borough 1-4 Sporting Club Thamesmead
Southern Counties East League Division One at Ladywell Arena

 

Match 5, August

Spectators watch on during the Croydon derby at Croydon Arena in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division

Croydon 1-4 AFC Croydon Athletic
Southern Counties East League Premier Division at Croydon Arena

 

Match 6, August

The visitors go close to adding another goal during the FA Cup Preliminary Round tie at Mill Road

Arundel 1-7 Herne Bay
FA Cup Preliminary Round at Mill Road

 

Match 7, September

Wales on the attack as the sun sets during their 3-0 defeat to England in the Women's World Cup Qualifier at Rodney Parade

Wales 0-3 England
FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifier at Rodney Parade

 

Match 8, September

A Cardiff Draconians player wheels away in celebration as Newport Corinthians goalkeeper and defender retrieve the ball from the net, following the visitors third goal in a 4-1 Welsh Cup win at Coronation Park, beneath the Newport Transporter Bridge

Newport Corinthians 1-4 Cardiff Draconians
Welsh Cup 1st Qualifying Round at Coronation Park

 

Match 9, September

Wales 4-1 Republic of Ireland

Wales 4-1 Republic of Ireland
UEFA Nations League at Cardiff City Stadium

 

Match 10, October

A spectator sits on a steeplechase hurdle to watch the Southern Counties East League Division One match at Ladywell Arena

Lewisham Borough 1-6 Erith & Belvedere
Southern Counties East League Division One at Ladywell Arena

 

Match 11, October

A steward and a spectator in a mobility scooter look out at the field during half-time of the League One fixture at Keepmoat Stadium

Doncaster Rovers 0-4 Fleetwood Town
League One at Keepmoat Stadium

 

Match 12, October

Doncaster Rovers fans look on during their side's 3-2 win at Rochdale's Spotland Stadium in League One

Rochdale 2-3 Doncaster Rovers
League One at Spotland

 

Match 13, October

Spectators watch on under the floodlights during the first Ladywell-classico of the season in Southern Counties East League Division One

Forest Hill Park 0-2 Lewisham Borough
Southern East Counties League Division One at Ladywell Arena

 

Match 14, October

Two players prepare to challenge for a header during the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division game at Chalk Lane

Cockfosters 0-1 Colney Heath
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division at Chalk Lane

 

Match 15, November

Doncaster Rovers fans during the Remembrance minute's silence ahead of the League One game at The Valley

Charlton Athletic 2-0 Doncaster Rovers
League One at The Valley

 

Match 16, November

Supporters watch on as Bamber Bridge defend a long throw-in at Causeway Lane

Matlock Town 2-1 Bamber Bridge
Northern Premier League Premier Division at Causeway Lane

 

Match 17, November

The lights go out ahead of the teams' entrance to the Cardiff City Stadium for the Nations League tie between Wales and Denmark

Wales 1-2 Denmark
UEFA Nations League at Cardiff City Stadium

 

Match 18, November

The visiting bench watches on as two players wait for the ball to drop during the Southern Counties East League Division One match at Ladywell Arena

Lewisham Borough 3-0 Snodland Town
Southern Counties East League Division One

 

Match 19, December

Empty home stands at The Valley as Rovers defend a corner in the FA Cup second round tie

Charlton Athletic 0-2 Doncaster Rovers
FA Cup 2nd Round at The Valley

 

Match 20, December

Supporters look on during the closing stages of the League One tie at Keepmoat Stadium

Doncaster Rovers 3-0 Scunthorpe United
League One at Keepmoat Stadium

 

Match 21, December

Shadows of spectators cast against the back wall of the covered terrace at Buxton's Silverlands during the Boxing Day Peak Derby in the Northern Premier League Premier Division

Buxton 2-2 Matlock Town
Northern Premier League Premier Division at Silverlands

 

Match 22, December

Home fans watch their side on the attack during the Welsh Premier League fixture at The Oval

Caernarfon Town 3-3 Llandudno
Welsh Premier League at The Oval

 

Match 23, January

Doncaster Rovers fabs watch on as their team defends a corner at Deepdale during a 3-1 win over Preston North End in the FA Cup third round

Preston North End 1-3 Doncaster Rovers
FA Cup Third Round at Deepdale

 

Match 24, January

Bearsted score a goal during the Southern Counties East League Premier Division game at St Paul's Sports Ground

Fisher 3-2 Bearsted
Southern Counties East League premier Division at St Paul’s Sports Ground

 

Match 25, January

Doncaster Rovers players have a pre-match huddle ahead of the FA Cup 4th round tie at Keepmoat Stadium

Doncaster Rovers 2-1 Oldham Athletic
FA Cup Fourth Round at Keepmoat Stadium

 

Match 26, February

Welling Town defend a corner during their 3-1 win at Lewisham Borough's Ladywell Arena in Southern Counties East League Division One

Lewisham Borough 1-3 Welling Town
Southern Counties East League Division One at Ladywell Arena

 

Match 27, February

Ali Crawford takes a second half corner during the FA Cup fifth round tie at Keepmoat Stadium

Doncaster Rovers 0-2 Crystal Palace
FA Cup Fifth Round at Keepmoat Stadium

 

Match 28, February

A Peckham Town player takes a corner kick during their 4-2 Kent County League Premier Division win over Kings Hill

Peckham Town 4-2 Kings Hill
Kent County League Premier Division at The Menace Arena

 

Match 29, March

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FK Fotbal Třinec 1-2 FK Ústí nad Labem
Czech 2. Liga at Stadion Rudolfa Labaje

 

Match 30, March

The home side go close to a second goal during the Slovak Premier League game

MŠK Žilina 2-1 FC Zlaté Moravce
Slovak Superliga at Štadión pod Dubňom

 

Match 31, March

Danny Andrew takes a free-kick during Rovers defeat at Kingsmeadow in the League One fixture

AFC Wimbledon 2-0 Doncaster Rovers
League One at Kingsmeadow

 

Match 32, March

Wales fans pass a flag along the stand ahead of Wales' 1-0 UEFA European Championship Qualifier win over Slovakia at Cardiff City Stadium

Wales 1-0 Slovakia
UEFA European Championships Qualifier at Cardiff City Stadium

 

Match 33, March

A bag full of popular STAND fanzines outside the Keepmoat Stadium ahead of Doncaster Rovers' League One match with Walsall

Doncaster Rovers 3-1 Walsall
League One at Keepmoat Stadium

 

Match 34, April

A tractor behind the goal at Bayliss Avenue as SC Thamesmead take on Lewisham Borough in Southern Counties East League Division One

Sporting Club Thamesmead 2-1 Lewisham Borough
Southern Counties East League Division One at Bayliss Avenue

 

Match 35, April

Riber Castle stands on the hill-top above Causeway Lane, where Matlock Town take on Witton Albion in the Northern Premier League Premier Division

Matlock Town 1-2 Witton Albion
Northern Premier League Premier Division at Causeway Lane

 

Match 36, April

A photographer tries to catch an image of a Glebe corner during the Southern Counties East League Premier Division

Glebe 1-0 Bearsted
Southern Counties East League Premier Division at Foxbury Avenue

 

Match 37, April

The Lewisham players enter the field beneath tree blossoms ahead of the second half of the Ladywell-classico in Southern Counties League Division One

Lewisham Borough 3-1 Forest Hill Park
Southern Counties East League Division One at Ladywell Arena

 

Match 38, May

The sun sets as substitutes warm up during the Isthmian League Premier Division Play-Off Semi-Final at The War Memorial Sports Ground

Carshalton Athletic 1-2 Merstham
Isthmian League Premier Division Play-Off Semi-Final at The War Memorial Sports Ground

 

Match 39, May

Doncaster Rovers fans stream onto the field at full-time in the League One fixture, to celebrate securing a play-off spot

Doncaster Rovers 2-0 Coventry City
League One at Keepmoat Stadium

 

Match 40, May

The players enter the Keepmoat Stadium pitch ahead of the League One Play-Off Semi-Final first leg

Doncaster Rovers 1-2 Charlton Athletic
League One Play-Off Semi-Final first leg at Keepmoat Stadium

 

Match 41, May

Doncaster Rovers supporters have one last cigarette before the penalty shoot out in the League One Play Off Semi-Final second leg at The Valley

Charlton Athletic 2-3 Doncaster Rovers
League One Play-Off Semi-Final second leg at The Valley

 

Match 42, May

Chagos Islands pull a goal back from the penalty spot during the CONIFA international friendly at Whyteleafe

Cascadia 6-3 Chagos Islands
CONIFA International Friendly at Church Road, Whyteleafe

 

Match 43, June

A Wales supporter's hat in front of the main stand at Osijek's Gradski Stadion ahead of the UEFA European Championship Qualifier

Croatia 2-1 Wales
UEFA Euroepan Championships Qualifier at Gradski Stadion, Osijek

 

Match 44, June

Wales fans watch on in the Groupama Arena as David Brooks takes a corner in the UEFA European Championships Qualifier

Hungary 1-0 Wales
UEFA Euroepan Championships Qualifier at Groupama Arena, Budapest

 

To see more photographs from 2018-19, and previous seasons, follow @popularstand on Instagram

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