Rothley Imperials 1 Goodrich 5
I normally miss this first preliminary round of the Vase due to an annual golfing weekend. Due to a date change, I had a rare opportunity o fit in a game from this round. I have a happy evening when the cup draws are made in July pouring over the fixtures, searching for games that take my fancy. I like to visit a new ground from as many different leagues as I can throughout the season. The only Leicestershire senior side I’d visited before was Friar Lane & Epworth, they then had the audacity to get promoted. I chose Rothley Imperials so that I could get a ground once again ticked in this league. I chose to go via London as a frequent service runs from St Pancras with Leicester as the first stop. St Pancras is very well run for a London terminus with covered walkways, good facilities & escalators. The hardest job is finding the platform and trains. On boarding my train, I took a seat only to notice that the LED showed it as reserved from London to Nottingham, this was the same for about 75% of the seats, I eventually found an unreserved seat. When the train departed, there were only about 20 people on the carriage, why were all these seats showing as reserved? I was feeling a bit peckish having reached Leicester, so I went into Smiths to buy a kitkat. 65p they were charging and I’m sorry, but these chains should not take advantage of having a captive audience by charging way over the odds for a standard chocolate bar. Needless to say, they ended up getting nothing from me.
I arrived at Barrow upon Soar, a delightful village. No eating places in the village centre, so I set off on my route. I quickly came across a canal with a couple of riverside pubs. I chose the Riverside inn, an inspired choice. I had to wait a while for my bacon & mushroom baguette, but it was gorgeous. Well cooked, lean bacon. Plump, tasty mushrooms and bread as fresh as could be. It came with chips cooked in fresh oil that were piping hot and just dissolved in your mouth. Visit this pub if you get the chance! I washed it down with a bottle of Magners, the brand that has made cider trendy again and is on a mission to take over the World. Nice as it is, why has this drink become so popular? I watched some of the rugby World cup over lunch as the All blacks took apart Italy. I’m not a great watcher of rugby. I’m not sure if I’m imagining it, but the game seemed to be twice as fast from when I last saw it & was quite entertaining. I set off for the ground following my walkit.com directions. Thanks to whoever sent me along the side of the A6 for a mile, talk about taking your life in your hands. I arrived eventually at the destination according to the postcode in the Cherry red handbook, no sign of a ground. I asked a couple of people who had no idea what I was talking about, so I rang the club. The call went to voicemail & I had that sinking feeling. Not knowing what to do, I was about to ask again in a farm shop when my mobile went. A lady from the club had just missed my call, had dialled 1471 & called me back. It turned out I was a 20 minute walk away from the club although on the right road. Many thanks to that lady for taking the effort to call me, I’m not sure I would have got there without her assistance & precise directions. I arrived with 3 minutes to spare before kick-off.
I received a warm welcome at this club which was already in my good books. There is an end to end slope on the pitch which is surrounded by a white rail. The one downside is the hedges surrounding the pitch in which balls were frequently being lost although there’s not a lot you can do about that. The clubhouse is a good size with a nice bar and halftime tea quaintly served from a table in mugs looking suspiciously like they’d come from ICEA. Not that I’m knocking them, the tea was top draw.
The game itself was certainly watchable. Rothley were as keen as mustard but Goodrich were always in cruise mode. They were 3-0 up by halftime, all goals coming from corners, 2 from headers and one that went straight in. A couple of tap ins in the second half gave Goodrich a more than comfortable lead before Rothley scored a consolation on 90 mins with a bullet header by Wignall. Rothley, with a bit of composure in front of goal, could have made this a tighter game.
I decided to call for a taxi back to the station but of course, there were non available. I decided to chance walking into Silesby, an inspired ide which only took about 30 mins. A train delayed by 20 mins arrived almost straight away & they were serving complimentary coffee on the train back to London.
Certainly not a dull start to my Vase journey & I’ve made a mental note to visit Barrow Town & Silesby FC in the not too distant future.
What I love about this competition, is that it will finish in front of thousands of people at Wembley stadium and started for me, behind a kindergarten in front of about 50 people, in deepest Leicestershire.