Bradford Town 0 Highworth Town 2
For the first time in weeks I wasn't spending Saturday morning sat in front of a computer desperately trying to find a match of interest that hasn't been postponed. Cold but dry and there was never any doubt about this going ahead.
Transport for London's little joke this Saturday was to put on a part closure of the Circle and Hammersmith & City line making the trip to Paddington slightly more tricky than it normally is. I still reached Paddington with a comfortable 45 minutes to spare and enjoyed a gentle stroll along the path next to the canal before catching my train to Bath Spa.
An incident free journey until the train was swamped by rugby fans at Chippenham, then when I needed to change platforms at Bath with only about 5 minutes to spare, I had huge problems getting through the subway due to the sheer quantity of people. The fact that most rugby fans are built like brick out-houses didn't make it any easier.
But made it I did and the journey to Bradford-On-Avon is a pleasant 10 minute train trip. The town has brickwork and architecture that is very easy on the eye, similar in fact to Bath itself and the ground was an interesting 10 minute walk from the station. I thought I'd gone the wrong way as about 25 fans walked past me the other way but I presume they had just arrived by coach and were going to find a pub.
There is a clubhouse available next to a bowls green but it was packed out with folk watching the North London derby so I went back outside to explore.
There was a little tea hut and I ordered a steak pie for a very reasonably priced 80p. Although warm on the outside, it was still cold on the inside once you bit into it and was really quite horrible.
The ground was cracking, a small stand with some ramshackle huts and sheds next to it and then a most attractive dry stoned wall running parallel to the main road. Lots of interesting buildings to see and a pitch that had been well prepared although muddy through the centre.
Highworth fans let off about half a dozen smoke bombs throughout the afternoon which made a loud bang and succeeded only in frightening small children in the ground - Classy lads!
Highworth kept up my season of early goals scoring after only 5 minutes. A free kick 25 yards out to the right of the goal was floated to the far post, a lovely decoy run left the centre forward clear and he steered a header home. Fairly even for the rest of the half with if anything, Bradford having the majority of the attacking an possession. But the killer second goal came on 43 mins, a corner from the right made its way back out to the taker, the cross hit the first man who headed it out to the 22 yard mark where a midfielder placed a very neat curling shot into the bottom right hand corner. The second half was all about discipline and the lack of it which ultimately destroyed the game as a spectacle with a series of squabbles and lengthy injuries. Firstly Highworth lost a man for 2 yellows, the second utterly blatant. Then Bradford lost any chance of getting back into the contest for a stamp as a corner was taken, completely bizarre thing to do. Then Bradford lost another man a couple of minutes from the end for a second yellow.
The complete lack of discipline makes you wonder whether clubs from this level are really equipped to take on important games like this. A clear head by Bradford and they had a glorious chance of going through.