A midweek trip to neighbours Grays Athletic should not have posed too many problems for Ryman League Division One North side Waltham Forest, other than the fact they are sitting in sixteenth place in the table and their hosts, fifth.
But with the police closing the A12 and all traffic being diverted, it meant the players heading to Wednesday evenings’ game were all trapped in a horrendous traffic jam.
At 7.30pm manager Adawale Ojalebi and four players were at the ground, and by 7.45pm that had increased to eight players.
The manager had to change the team sheet three times, before handing it in to the officials to accommodate new players arriving.
Despite all of that trauma, the Stags managed to battle out a creditable 0-0 draw, their third clean sheet in four matches in 2012.
A record of played four, won two drawn one and lost one is in stark contrast to the last two months of 2011 when they failed to win a game.
Manager Ojelabi has achieved this with a background of player comings and goings and an injury to their first choice goalkeeper, and the unavailability of one of their regular centre halves due to work commitments on the south coast.
With the loss of young striker Courtney White back to Billericay after his loan spell, and two academy players Ellis Sands and Lewis Frost returning to their parent club, Dagenham Redbridge, it will put even more of strain on the strength and depth of the squad in the comings weeks, when they face some tough games, including Leiston, top of the table, and second placed Enfield Town.
But given the renewed spirit and the proposed additional recruitment of new players, the club hope results will continue to improve and the team will start to move up towards a mid-table position.
> Charlie Ward