Bustleholme 2 Barton Town Old Boys 0
I took a leaf out of my wife’s book when choosing the game for this round. I often give her a list of FA cup fixtures at the beginning of the season & ask her to select a game. She always picks a name that she likes. That’s kind of why I selected Bustleholme. An unusual name in a league that I rarely seem to visit. So off I set and encountered a different variety of train woes on the way. Firstly the ticket barriers at Kings Cross were about 25 deep. Honestly, the rail network for a major city in the World is plain embarrassing at weekends. Then on boarding my Virgin train at Euston, we were informed that the computer had stuck and seat reservations had not downloaded. Absolute chaos as people were obviously sitting anywhere & those that had booked seats were not happy to find others in their seats. It didn’t come to blows but there were a couple of near misses. My attempts to read on the journey to Wolverhampton were thwarted by the constant chatter from the couple behind me. I can’t really complain as they were only talking but their conversation was dull beyond belief. The only amusing moment came when we pulled into Coventry & the man stated that he’d been there before. “Oh yes” said the lady. “Yes” said the man, “Melissa sent me to Coventry, Angela sent me to Coventry & Rosie sent me to Coventry”. There was a pause and the lady said, “Why do you always bring Angela into the conversation?” Finally we had an awkward silence for about 5 minutes.
I reached Coseley station and from there it is a straightforward 25 minute walk to the ground initially along some pleasant, quiet roads. On reaching the high street I soon bumped into ‘Frydays chippy & diner’ and had an excellent pie and chips sitting inside and on a proper plate – An excellent lunch. Amusingly there is a newsagents opposite called ‘Fags and mags’, I love bumping into places like this on my travels.
Bustleholme share grounds with Tipton and play at the local leisure complex. It has a running track around the pitch which I hate as it is so difficult to find a good viewing spot. But the facility is fabulous with an excellent building housing a bar and function rooms, several synthetic football pitches and tennis courts and seemingly plenty more besides. This club does everything the right way. They are family/community based and were set up by a group of people who wanted a local team. Their roots are still firmly in the community and a new team has started up every year with the Bustleholme name since its inception. The kids team that warmed up on a separate part of the pitch to the main team before the game had a great time playing on the huge mound behind the far goal during the game & another group of youngsters made excellent ballboys. The PA announcer interviewed both chairman on the pitch before the game with a roaming mic. I think I’ve only seen this sort of thing at Conference level before.
We were treated to a lovely, sunny day although the temperature plummeted when the sun went down. The ground has a reasonable sized stand and an imposing mound towers over the whole far side of the pitch. There was a small portakabin where tea drinks were sold and the ladies did an excellent job. The promised burger van didn’t arrive as it crashed on route & the PA announcer wittily announced that there was plenty of hot food on the M6 if required. To be fair to Bustleholme, they quickly arranged burgers etc to be available in the leisure club on order. Nothing seems to face the officials here!
The game itself was okay without being outstanding. Bustleholme scored on 15 mins when a player was tripped running to meet a low cross but he fell on the ball and it trickled over the line. Barton got more into it and had a lot of possession without looking particularly dangerous. They threw the kitchen sink at Butleholme in the last 15 minutes but fell to the sucker punch counter attack as Bustleholme doubled their lead with literally the last kick of the game.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to a club that seems to do everything the right way.