Laverstock & Ford 0 Roman Glass St George 1
When the draws for the early rounds of the FA competitons are published, I'm a bit like a kid in a sweet shop. So many weird and wonderful names that I've never visited, what to choose?
I narrowed it down by deciding to visit the Wessex league division 1 as I hadn't seen a game in this league for a while. I decided on AFC Porchester and that's how things stood for a couple of months. That is, until I realised that Porchester had been promoted last season, so being the anal person that I am, I changed venues. After some deliberation, I decided on Laverstock and Ford.
The paralympics were in full swing that made London even busier than usual, but just like the Olympics themselves, there was a lovely buzz in the city which was full of excited, happy faces, all kinds of nationalities and helpful volunteers around every corner. If only it was always like this.
On travelling the escolater up to Waterloo station, I saw a couple of girls coming down eating ice lollies. Slightly unusual I thought but shrugged it off. About 4 people later, somebody else was eating an ice lolly, then another, then another....When I reached the concourse, people far and wide were all eating ice lollies. I though I'd walked in on some kind of weird flash mob. Having 30 minutes to spare, I decided to investigate. I soon bumped into some volunteers with boxes galore, handing out these strawberry split lollies, with Virgin's name on the otherwise plain wrapper. I guess it was something to do with the olympics as well. What was nice to see is how this kind of brought everyone together. Young children, OAP's, policemen, businessmen, hoodies,everyone just standing around eating an ice lolly.
I've been to Salisbury 4 times in just over a year for various reasons and therefore knew where I was going once I arrived. What I wasn't sure of was which stop to stand at once I reached the bus station. I called into the information office to ask. A woman behind the desk was counting money and there was a look of despair in her face when she thought I wwas going to interrupt her and put her off. "Just a minute sir" she almost shrieked. I patiently waited a couple of minutes for her to finish, the desire to randomly ay numbers out loud almost overwhelming.
The bus journey to Laverstock was so quick, I almost missed my stop. I walked up the road towards the ground and found a one-stop convenience store opposite the entrance. I bought a slightly ropey ham and mustard sandwhich which was okay but I fancied something more substantial.
I gentleman at the gate gave me a very warm welcome and was full of good humour, apparently there was a wedding on also in the function room, people kept asking him where to park even though there was a cardboard sign right next to him with the word parking on it and an arrow pointing towards an adjacent field.
I have to say, the ground verged on the charming. Lovely views, an unusual little stand dressed around the nea corner flag, nearby rivers and bridges, it really is a delight. I visited the tea hut and again the lady serving was delightful. I ordered sausage and chips which weere cooked fresh. When they arrived, I was presented with two perfectly cooked, plump pork sausages and piping hot chips that you could tell were cooked in fresh oil, the nicest food I've eaten at a non-league ground for a long time. A gentleman official from the club then came and chatted to me for 10 mens, very knowledgable and passionate about non-league football, he turned out to be the husband of the lady in the tea hut and again was extremely good company.
I took a stroll around the ground to the sound of chiming church bells and the sight of four parachutists dropping from the sky in the near distance.
The grass was perhaps a little long on the pitch but it played well enough.
Laverstock had put a completely fresh team together following their relegation last season and you could see that there was still a bit of gelling that needed to take place. Roman Glass had the best first half chances with the Laverstock keeper making a handful of useful stops.
at half-time Roman Glass stayed out on the pitch for their team talk. It was a lovely afternoon but this was still quite unusual. What was more unusual was the bride from the forementioned wedding strolling along the car park and asking to have her picture taken with the team. They happily obliged and annoyingly I didn't get there in time to capture that moment. Still, another first at a non-league game for me.
The second half was more of a scrappy affair. Roman Glass scored on 68 minutes with a far post header from a free kick. Lots of complaints from Laverstock but I didn't see anything wrong.
Laverstock threw not exactly the kitchen sink, more like a few taps and a soap dispenser at Roman Glass in the last 15 minutes. There were a few scarea and Laverstock did have one effort disallowed for offside, but Roman Glass just about deserved the win.
After my disspiriting experience in my last Vase game at Herne Bay, this totally restored my faith in the competition.
A terrific club full of the nicest people I've met on the circuit for a long time. My only sadness is that I'm unlikely to return.
Give them a visit if you can.