So far for so little

15 09 2007

Welshpool Town 2 Bangor City 0
Welsh Premier League

Another away game, another coach trip. The coach was early this time and we left Farrar Road on time, unfortunately it was only half full. The journey was pleasant enough; jokes and stories filled the empty space. I won the quiz, earning the nickname “Statto“. We arrived in plenty of time. Nige (a notable absentee due to work) told us, via a text, of a pub that was “a stone’s throw” from the ground.
It was my first trip here and to say I was underwhelmed by the surroundings would be an understatement but more about that later. We left for the pub, just a stone’s throw away. I don’t know what Nige uses to throw stones, a howitzer maybe, but it took an eternity to get there. It was a pleasant location; the ambiance was nice, the food was eminently edible and the TV based entertainment enjoyable. We cheered Portugal as they nearly scored against the All Blacks. Most of us were less than thrilled by Liverpool’s performance. We drained our glasses and left for the “ground” at about 2:10.
After arriving at the “ground” it was clear that an open gate could provide us with free entry. Geraint and I decided to try but a small fence seemed to prevent us. As Geraint and I walked back I stopped to pick something up. Nev’s nephew told me to climb over the fence as it was free. Just to be on the safe side I went to the nearby Cricket/Rugby club. After using their facilities I noticing the Wales were losing so I left to enter the “ground”.
The “ground”  is really a fence, a shed and 2 goals. As we’re meant to be watching a game in a national league the standard of the facilities was execrable. You weren’t even allowed to stand on one side as it was a cricket pitch, luckily for us stewards were exempt. It’s just like Llanrwst’s ground and they’re two leagues below the Welsh Premier.
The first half was characterised by Bangor applying quite a bit of pressure but accruing little reward. McGuigan was object of a lot of banter and he seemed to take it all in good heart. Unfortunately he didn’t let it put him off; he made some very good saves. Welshpool must have practiced jumping during their training sessions this week; their approach seemed to centre upon jumping into Bangor players as they were airborne. The ref seemed a little pernickity; Les was penalised for what looked like running alongside one of Welshpool’s players.
At half time I had a slightly uneasy feeling, had we wasted our best opportunities to score? As We made our way back to the ground for the second half, over the holy cricket pitch, the sun was still out. It was a pleasant afternoon to watch football. About 10 minutes into the second half we should have had a penalty, the ball clearly hit the hands of a Welshpudlian defender, but we didn’t get one. I certainly wouldn’t have missed it that was for sure. My worst fears were realised in the second half.
Something unusual must have happened at half time; The same players were playing for Bangor but something was missing; the spirit had been stolen and we looked listless. Welshpool scored their first a couple of minutes after the penalty that should have been. They scored their second goal about ten minutes later and we didn’t look like getting back into it.
In my experience teams tend to stroke the ball about having gained confidence from a 2 goal lead. Welshpool were simply content to lump the ball forward. To lose to a team playing like that was the soul-destroying part of the afternoon. The game finished and we went to Angels, the post match venue. Now I’d been here I could tick it off and not bother with it again.
That feeling seemed to be a consensus with all of the people who’d never been here before. Having said that the welcome was very warm, as usually happens at nearly all of the grounds. One thing that cheered us all up was the toilet from the 23rd Century. The hand dryer was magic!! At first it was confusing, it looked like a charger for something cordless. When you finally worked out that you should put your hands in the slot, it was a revelation. You slowly drew your hands out and your hands were dry, no need for wiping, one word – sensational!!!
We got some sustenance on the way to the bus and had our usual mix of singing, jokes and arguments on the way home. There was a new ingredient this trip; guess what was in my bag. I couldn’t play. By the time the trip was nearly over I’d regained the faith again.




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