Pelsall Villa 0 Coventry Sphinx 2
We had been invited to a friends 50th birthday party several months ago which was being held on this particular Saturday in Sutton Coldfield. I very much wanted to go but also didn't want to miss another Vase round. So I suggested to my wife that we drive up early, take in a pub for lunch, go to a game, make it to the party and then stay overnight in a hotel. She didn't take much persuading, so I eagerly awaited the Vase draw.
The nearest game that I could find was at Pelsall Villa, so routes were planned and an itinerary put together.
For a change, the motorways were behaving themselves and we arrived at our chosen pub in good time. We usually select a pub from The Good pub guide and our chosen venue was The Red lion in the village of Crick. It is literally, 2 mins off the M1 and is just in Northamptonshire. It's not much to look at as you pull up but has plenty of room inside. We received a warm welcome and found a pleasant spot to sit. The menu had a good choice of home made food all for only £5. I've never seen mince and dumplings on a pub menu, chose that in a heartbeat and when it came I had a large portion with chips, carrots, cabbage and a nice gravy. All washed down with a pint of Bombadier, this was a fabulous lunch.
The rest of the journey was fine although the area of Great Barr seems to have an obsession with speed bumps.
We arrived at the ground which is set in a surprisingly leafy area and my wife elected to stay in the car and read for a couple of hours whilst I watched the game, I thought it best not to mention the possibility of extra-time.
There is a seated, covered area behind the near goal, a tiny covered shed on the near side whilst corrugated fencing surrounds the pitch. The tea hut was basic but efficient and there is a clubhouse with bar across the car park. This pitch had probably the steepest slope that I'd seen in a good many years and must be tough to play off. The 6 yard box at the far end at the bottom of the slope looked quite boggy and I would imagine there are a fair amount of postponements.
The kick-off was delayed for a few minutes as one of the goal nets was not secured properly. Why do officials not check this on their warm-up? This problem occurs several times in a season and could so easily be avoided.
The first half was less than inspiring. At the risk of causing offence, it reminded me of watching a school game with players accidently kicking the ball with their wrong foot, miss-placed passes and the ball constantly being passed out of play. The ball was also deliberately kicked away at least 5 times in the half and irritates the hell out of me, the sooner it is stamped out of the Brittish game, the better.
The second half started in the dsame manner and to add insult, it started raining, it then started raining heavily and it was all under the seated stand.
Finally, on 68 mins we got a goal. A Pelsall clearance was fluffed, a low cross in went under the foot of the giant centre half and a Coventry striker placed his finish well.
After this, it was all Pelsall who suddenly looked a different team and had waves of attacks. One shot was blocked on the line and I'm still not quite sure how.
But on 78 mins, Coventry made it safe when they shot home from the left of the area.
No classic and not a ground that I really warmed to, but it had its unique points and is certainly worth a visit.