CARROW Road, October 18 1986, Norwich City 1 (Drinkell) West Ham United 1 (Goddard). It's a place, date and result etched into my memory.

It was the first football match I went to and set up a lifetime of elation and disappointment (but mostly disappointment) following West Ham.

In truth, I remember very little from the game, other than the fact the pillow my dad insisted on me carrying to the game to enhance my view had to be searched at the turnstile (in hindsight, if more fans had taken pillows to games during the height of football hooliganism it might have save a lot of angst).

But I loved the raw emotion of football fans; especially the roar that greeted a goal.

However, as was often the case when following West Ham away, my dad had bought tickets among the home supporters, in the "family enclosure", with the instruction to keep quiet if West Ham scored.

I managed to. My grandad didn't, jumping up, shouting and wildly waving his flatcap (this was a bit a giveaway to his Cockney roots whether we was waving it or not), to be greeted by angry demands to "sit down" and "get out" by the locals.

I wonder if my son, Sammy, five, will remember his first game?

If he doesn't, I won't blame him.

It was only a couple of weeks ago but even I can't recall what happened in the tepid first half.

The second half, however, was decent. Courtney Senior and Luke Gambin were real bright sparks and Luke Norris took his penalty with aplomb.

As with most kids, Sammy, was more interested in watching the South Stand "ultras" making lots of noise and pondering why Eddie the Eagle didn't seem to be taking it as seriously as everyone else.

Truth be told, he will probably remember the pre-match hotdog, half-time slushy and post-match ice cream above all else.

But he has asked to go back.

The U's continue to struggle to fill the Community Stadium but I think they are doing everything they can. Here's why:

Value: My ticket was £24 and that meant Sammy got in for free. (You can actually take four under-11s for free with every full price ticket).

Access: We parked ten minutes' walk from the stadium for free and were on the A12 within 15 minutes of the final whistle. Compare that to West Ham's ground (old or new) and you'll be stuck in queues for the Underground for at least 45 minutes.

Experience: The atmosphere was decent (being next to the South Stand helped) and there were minimal queues for toilets and refreshments.

Entertainment: The match lacked quality overall but there were flashes of brilliance...but, most importantly, the U's won.

I hope Sammy grows up a U's fan, but whether he does or not, this will be etched on his memory forever: Community Stadium, August 24, Colchester United 1 (Norris) Northampton Town 0.