Tuesday 4th November 2014 ko 19.30
Western League Division One
RADSTOCK TOWN 4 (Carter 6 Harvey 26 Hardiman 89 Metcalf 90)
WINCANTON TOWN 2 (Jordan 68 Chant 90)
Perhaps its just my ignorance, but until I visited nearby Welton Rovers, you can see their lights as you travel south from Bath, I didn’t associate Somerset with coal mining. That was genuinely my error, the pits were started in the late 18th century and at one point were owned by the Waldegrave family, you may remember MP William Waldegrave, but the last pit finally closed in 1973. The clues are still there, be it the “Miners” nickname of the football club, or the rows of terraces miners’ cottagers as you climb the hill towards the Southfields Recreation Ground.
It’s an atmospheric drive up that hill, with the floodlights poking up above the rows of houses, and when you’ve spotted the “Free Range Childen,” sign please do remember to slow down, the gentleman operating the pay booth does wear a day-glo jacket, but the light is lacking!
I parked up in the field beyond the near goal, and took a deep breath for a couple of reasons, firstly I could hear Stiff Little Fingers being played over the PA, and that fact seemed to resonate with the weather, it was cold! In fact it was cold enough to give you, well stiff fingers, and even I’m not sure what a Belfast punk band would make of a blogger using them to write about a Somerset-based football team.
Southfields is one of those wonderful places where you do just have to explore. I loved the bench seats and the vintage programme in the clubhouse, but the club backed it up by being welcoming to go with it. The club do need a little help though; the programme is called “Sounds of the Sea,” after a song that the team used to march on to the pitch to, but the copy has been lost, and no one knows who recorded it, or even the lyrics! Can anyone help them?
There was a relaxed atmosphere and it was a pleasure to buy a mug of tea and record the line-ups.Thankfully that didn’t extend to the game which was one of the best I’ve seen all season. I’d expected top-of-the-table Wincanton Town to win, and this didn’t seem to be them having an off-night. It was just that mid-table Radstock’s commitment was total and they found a way to win against the odds.
Certainly to this neutral, the two sides’ styles complemented, I really didn’t notice referee Paul Cunningham, and the pace of the game was far higher than you could possibly expect from part-time players.
Wincanton found themselves two down at the break, Ady Harvey’s curving strike was worthy of a far larger audience, but fought back to 2-1, and the three goals in the last-minute and stoppage time was a wonderful coda.
Twice Radstock beat a high defensive line to take the points with Wincanton responding with just about the last kick of the game. I loved watching it, and in many respects the game and its location is the epitome of what this blog is all about.
All power to Radstock’s elbow, there are good things happening in this part of Somerset.