Ashton & Backwell 0 Fairford Town 1
I had originally planned to visit Hengrove. But on closer examination of the draw, I noticed this club that I didn't know. On looking them up, I discovered that they were in the Somerset county league and this seemed too good an opportunity to miss. I tend to visit county league grounds at the fag end of the season & although they serve a purpose, it was nice to get in a competitive game at a small club.
My initial train was 13 minutes late this week with overhead cables the problem of the day. I probably take a train into London on about 30 occasions throughout the year. I think it probably leaves on time about 3 or 4 times. Every week you get an electronic voice apologising for the late running and hoping it doesn't cause an inconvenience. What's the point of apologising if you're then not ever going to improve things?
The journey from London to Bristol was fairly quiet until a pack of brownies got on at Swindon. They were full of beans and it was amazing listening to other women around me who wall started recounting memories of when they were in the Brownies themselves. I actually think that Brownies should run the country! The Governement decrees that mobile phones should not be used in cars and yet every day, you see several people blatantly ignoring this law. One Brownie suggests playing eye-spy and the whole carriage decides this is a great idea and about 20 different games were on the go within minutes.
I travelled to Nailsea station where it is about a 20 minute walk to the ground along a couple of straight, busy roads.
I stopped at a chippy where I luckily arrived about 5 minutes before they closed. The pie and chips were spot on and they even gave you a plastic fork to make it easier to eat. Nice touch!
The football ground can be found off the main high street next to a recreation ground. On a glorious day, this was a nice spot and I had a quick walk round before entering the ground.
I was offered a pleasant welcome and also purchased a programme which was basically just a photocopied sheet. I never mind this as I know clubs like this cannot afford a huge expense and at least they went to the effort of creating something at all.
The ground itself was okay. Nice clubhouse buildings and the pitch is surrounded by hard blue wired fencing. A lot of foliage lying on the hard standing made it quite tricky to walk round.
Ashton were two levels below Fairford but rally took the game to them. They had an excellent, contrasting pair of forwards who both caused numerous problems and they were easily the better first half team without quite causing the chances that their play deserved. The second half became more even as Fairford’s strength and experience started to come through. In the last 15 mins, Fairford were right on top and the Ashton keeper made three superb saves. No breakthrough and extra time yet again for me in the vase. The first half of extra was a bit messy with tiredness and a couple of injury stoppages. Fairford made what was eventually an inevitable breakthrough with 7 minutes remaining.
A bold effort by a club that I hope climbs the ladder and an enjoyable day out.