Saturday 5th October 2019 ko 19.45
Western League Division One
WARMINSTER TOWN 2 (Miluk 30 Vincent 33)
Allen sent off 45 (Serious Foul Play)
BRISTOL TELEPHONES 3 (Bamfield 14 57 D Golding 48)
Maybe it was the darkness, or maybe it was the benefit of years of experience but I felt relaxed if a little tired as the coach parked up by Weymouth Street. Even the looming rain didn’t dampen my optimism. Perhaps I shouldn’t haven’t felt that way, the club hadn’t been exactly forthcoming with their plans, but the Saturday evening slot is where you often see the big crowds. For the life of me we couldn’t see something as flat as what we’d experienced at Devizes could we?
Of course not. The Saturday evening slot pulls in people from far and wide, including folks who’ve followed their team in the afternoon then opted to have an evening out. I showed my pass at the gate and soon found while Warminster might not have been particularly communicative with us in the build-up to the hop, there was nothing remotely wrong with their plans or their execution.
But in the time before kick-off what I couldn’t get out of my mind was just how full the place was! I’d worked out that at Devizes the vast majority of the crowd were groundhoppers and most of those had carried their day on to here, but the local support was tremendous. That was even more remarkable when you consider who they were playing.
I think everyone enjoyed the hop’s visit to Bristol Telephones last year but their season was to prove traumatic and they ended up finishing rock bottom of the league and only kept their league status with the help of a reprieve from the FA. I have a lot of sympathy with them, they’ve moved heaven and earth to get their ground up to Step 6 standards, but on the pitch they’ve continued to struggle and came into this game with just two points to their name.
So you’d have this one down as a not very attractive home banker wouldn’t you? Well I did, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m sure many will point to Francois Allen’s dismissal on the stroke of half time as the pivotal moment. For all the world it looked as if he’d received a 10 minute sin-bin for dissent, but clearly he’d said or done something far worse, as he didn’t reappear for the second half.
As the rain sheeted down the players on both sides had to dig deep, and to the delight of their small band of fans it was Telephones that found that little bit extra to turn the game in their favour. As I write this, Telephones have lost every league tie since this game which I look at with some sadness; I hope they don’t have to rely on the FA again.
For Warminster I’m sure they’ll look on the evening with mixed feelings. It was a superb event, and the club were great hosts, but I’m sure they wish they’d done better on the pitch.