Friday evening's Middlesex County League Division One (Central & East) match between Stonewall FC and The Wilberforce Wanderers was so much more than 90 minutes of football as it was a celebration of the new partnership between the Football Association and Stonewall as the FA become a Stonewall Diversity Champion. Before the game there were some inspiring stories told to people gathered in the bar area - I thought those from Aslie Pitter MBE, who formed Stonewall FC back in 1991, were especially important and meaningful.
I'm sure back then none of the players involved in the club's early days would of thought that in 2018 The National Stadium would be lit up in rainbow colours with many of the 1,054 crowd gathered triumphantly singing 'Stand Up If You Love Stonewall' during the second half of the game.
It was a truly amazing night and shows how far the beautiful game has come in respect of inclusion for all and showcased the hard work of many people who are striving to eradicate all forms of discrimination within football.
WILBERFORCE WANDERERS PRIOR TO KICK OFF AT WEMBLEY
Going into the game Stonewall had an impressive record of five wins in their seven league games played (two had come when wins were awarded against "Sporting Club of London" and "FC Star of London") with The Wilberforce Wanderers on four wins from eight played - two had been awarded against "The Curve" and "FC Star of London".
The Wanderers had summed up their previous game against "FC Roast" by tweeting "10 goal thriller at @NewRiverSport this afternoon, Wilby running out 6-4 winners in a competitive game against @fcroast1, a wonderful game for the neutral and crowd of 1, if not the defensive coaches..."
They were formed in 2002 and were originally an Old Boy's team of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. They have toured in countries including Malawi, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway and Ireland. Their goal keeper Joe Garrord has been with the club for sixteen years and has over 300 appearances to his name.
Wanderers had taken the lead in the first half via Stuart Gardener to the delight of their fans in the stadium and could of made it 0-2 from the penalty spot which was put wide of the goal.
Stonewall gradually got back in the game with James Baker placing a shot over the bar after a knock down by midfielder Jay Lemonius - they then equalised via a Nasar Nakhli looping header which the Wanderer's defender was unlucky not to keep out on the line. The half time score was 1-1.
The Wanderers looked the brighter side in the second half with Toby Kirk and Joe Pak (who had scored four goals in the previous game) looking bright up front but it was Stonewall who scored two more goals to win the game.
Mike Sholly made it 2-1 with a sensational volley just inside the box following a free kick from the right hand side and then just as the fourth official had indicated 2 minutes of added time it was Ollie Rabie who made it 3-1 with header from a corner.
In their next game (this Saturday) Stonewall travel to "NW London" for a top of the table 1st v 2nd league game. NW London like to score lots with 31 goals scored in their 8 league games played with Stonewall being very strong in defence conceding just 5 goals in their 8 games played.
The Wilberforce Wanderers travel to "Hereford Palace" who are struggling near the foot of the table having lost all of their league games played - they do have one win awarded against "Sporting Club of London" - they have let in 74 goals in their 8 league games officially played.
Both games are played very close to each other with Stonewall's game at The Park Club in Acton Lane to the South of the A40 Westway and The Wanderers to the North on the pitches close the HMP Wormwood Scrubs.