These sombre photographs show football grounds during the Covid 19 pandemic. They recall restricted crowds, closed facilities and social distancing. There aren’t many people pictured; the few of us who still went tended to avoid one another. Despite everything, an ersatz matchday experience still felt much better than none at all.

Results have been shown even though for minor non-League teams the 2020-2021 season was never completed.

7 March 2020: Carlisle United 0 Colchester United 3

Although we didn’t realise it then, this dull, damp afternoon would be our last football for quite a while. Pub barmaids were discussing rising infection rates; gadgies smoked slyly behind the Warwick as a smaller-than-usual gate eyed each other warily.

3 October 2020: Mossley 1 Tadcaster Albion 1 

Mossley stewards seemed worried about the effect today’s wet weather might have on social distancing. They prowled Seel Park’s limited covered accommodation, encouraging fans to remain in their “bubbles”. Two policemen also turned up but went away when the rain got worse.

10 October 2020: Marine 2 Tadcaster Albion 0

Merseyside had soaring infection rates, but – like many other clubs – Marine combined crowd safety with a warm welcome. Three months later Tottenham would play here in Rossett Park’s biggest ever game. No fans were allowed to watch.

17 October 2020: Avro 3 Whitchurch Alport 1

Fans from Shropshire were advised against visiting Oldham, at that time among the UK’s coronavirus hotspots and shortly afterwards – along with all of Greater Manchester – placed under severe additional restrictions. Only half a dozen travelled; the ground’s carefully-painted distancing markers proved largely surplus to requirements.

24 October 2020: Stalybridge Celtic 0 Basford United 1

Daylight faded fast today. More games were off than on; the bright lights of Stalyvegas felt a distant memory. Distancing rules meant Basford players had to go outside the ground and access their dressing room via the executive suite. “Boots off first”, instructed their captain: “Show respect.”

31 October 2020: Hyde United 2 Frickley Athletic 1 

Another national lockdown followed this match. Fans anxiously listening to news reports spoiled a beautiful (if chilly) afternoon. The Ewen Fields DJ did his best, playing Halloween music followed by various tiger-themed songs; like so much nowadays, though, it simply emphasised how much we had lost.

19 December 2020: Colne 2 Prescot Cables 0

Colne looked like a ghost town. Panicked Christmas restrictions were announced during this game, but – despite today’s bitter wind – no-one rushed off afterwards. Family groups (defying restrictions) hugged each other, fully aware that 250 miles away Boris Johnson’s incompetent policymaking had just rendered their Christmases far less merry and bright.

26 December 2020: Stockport Town 0 New Mills 0

A grim, grey Boxing Day derby. Despite today’s very early kick-off fans began queuing long before the turnstiles opened. Covid had nearly won; everyone here knew it, but still kept going to the game – any game – while they still could.

30 December 2020: Darwen 2 Ashton Town 0

Overnight snow badly affected already decimated fixture lists. The Anchor Ground’s reduced capacity sold out well before kick-off, with many unlucky fans forced to watch from adjacent wasteland. Twenty-four hours later we were locked down again. There would be no more football to watch this season.