Stotfold 0 Long Buckby 3
I examined the draw for this round of the Vase & for once made an instant decision. I’d go to Cadbury Heath in Bristol. Yeah right! The cold weather arrived, followed by frost, followed by ice, followed by snow, followed by more snow and with ridiculously low temperatures, I didn’t stand a chance. The one saving grace was that the game was called off on the Friday. To be honest, I’d given up finding anywhere that was on & I wasn’t far wrong. Matches fell on the Friday & Saturday morning left, right & centre. The Saturday itself was a lot warmer than it had been with a balmy 4 degrees rumoured and a gentle thaw was in place. And then a miracle occurred. At about 10:30, a Vase match passed a pitch inspection and the ground in question was Stotfold, a mere 18 miles from home. This turned out to be the only game that beat the freeze. My wife had suggested we go to see Harry Potter & I got the “Oh, for God’s sake” look when I asked who he played for. But to be fair, she kindly offered to drive me if there was a pub lunch in it for her. I looked out the Good pub guide before she had finished her sentence & found the nearest pub we had yet to visit. This turned out to be the Three horseshoes in the village of Hinxworth about 5 miles from the ground. This was a charming place with thatched roof, roaring open fire and a nice selection of food & beer. The welcome could not have been bettered and I started to worry that I’d be late for the game as the barman was so chatty. I had a superb ultimate BLT club sandwich which also had cooked chicken & mayonnaise on the freshest bread I think I’ve ever tasted and all held together with a kebab skewer. It seemed apt to choose a pint of ‘Fireside’ which slipped down very nicely. I highly recommend this pub if you ever get a chance to visit.
Thr ground was easy to find with the lights visible from over a mile away. There is a medium sized stand and another covered standing area. A good clubhouse which was very warming at half time with hot drinks available from the tea hut. It was nice to see a photographer friend of mine who had been re-directed from Vicarage Road to cover this match, clearly the game of the day then!
Gentle drizzle gave way to heavy rain and murk on a desperate afternoon for football. Puddles in the centre circle took me back to the 1970’s., difficult to play in but it’s always amusing when the ball sticks in the water.A reasonably even start and it stayed that way until Long Buckby scored. The first came on 19 mins. A ball over the top through the right channel saw a striker get there just in front of the defender and lob the ball over the keeper. The second came on the half hour and was a nice goal. A nifty one-two on the edge of the area freed the initial passer to niftily loft a finish over the diving keeper. The last goal came on 38 mins as a shot from the right of the area caught a deflection, popped up and was headed into an empty net. The pitch deteriorated in the second half, both sides did well to keep coming although the quality was understandably all over the place and only a couple of handy saves by the two keepers kept the score as it was.
No classic and a ground I’ve visited before but with the conditions we were experiencing, I was grateful for anything.