Wednesday 29th February 2012 ko 7.45pm
Western League Premier Division
HALLEN 3 (Andrews 11 Bright 69 King 86)
RADSTOCK TOWN 0
Entry & Programme £6
So, how did you spend your “extra” day? I finally got round to visiting a team I’d seen about 10 years ago away at Bideford, and found their story interesting. They’d had a long stint in the Hellenic League and had fought tooth and nail to be transfered to the Western League, eventually taking their case to the FA to get their way.
Hallen is on the southernmost edge of Gloucestershire, close to the Severn estuary. You can see the red lights atop the Avonmouth and Second Severn Bridges from the ground. The village has a rural feel to it, with its pub and war memorial but is marooned, trapped between the M49, M5 and the M4 to the north. Despite the M5 being clearly visible from the village, it takes a good 10 minutes to drive from the Cribbs Causeway turn on the M5 to reach the ground.
Co-incidentally the Hallen Centre ground was built at least in part from monies secured from the sale of the land that allowed the huge Cribbs Causeway shopping complex to be built. The Asda Store in its former guise of Carrefour was once the largest supermarket in the UK.
The money has allowed the club to build an excellent ground, with the undoubted centrepiece being the Frank Fairman stand, which wouldn’t look out of place at a ground of a far higher status. That said the club haven’t rested on their laurels, as the new turnstile block was put to work for the first time. It’s a converted bus shelter, with the turnstiles themselves being procured for a cut-down price, second hand from a firm near Henley-on-Thames! As ever it was the people involved with the club that made the place, as I learned more about the club, and their hopes for the future.
On the pitch I felt the score was a little rough on Radstock who looked a competant side. It was they who made the better start with neat clipped passing catching the home defence cold, but other than a snap shot that shaved the outside of the post it all came to nothing. Hallen took the lead after ten minutes when Billy George crossed to the far side of the penalty area. Radstock keeper Austin Byfield blocked Tom Collett’s shot only for Greg Andrews to follow up to pass into the empty net.
Radstock always looked dangerous, but Hallen’s second goal on 69 minutes killed the game. Neat passing play between George, Collett and Jaz Bright resulted with the full-back overlapping, completely missed by the defence, and firing home.
I was having a chat with the one of the substitutes, Ryan King at this point. He thought as I did that Radstock were worth at least a goal but it wasn’t to be, as it was to be to be him who had the final say, coming on to side-foot home from the edge of the box.
So, two “H’s” in two days, and in both cases excellent visits. I’ll look on both with considerable fondness.