Ground Number: 662
Saturday 31st December 2012
AFC Bridgnorth 3-1 Willenhall Town
WMRL Premier Division
AFC BRIDGNORTH - A BRIEF HISTORY
AFC Bridgnorth are one of football's youngest clubs, having been formed in 2013. They are the phoenix club of Bridgnorth Town who existed from 1949 until 2013, playing mainly in the Southern League and Midland Alliance. They've enjoyed incredible success since reforming, finishing as West Midlands Regional League Division 1 champions. Since 2014 they have been in the WMRL Premier, which sits at step 6 of the non-league pyramid. They have finished the last 2 seasons as runner-up, although this season has seen a massive downturn in form, with them sitting in 15th at the time of the game.
Since reforming, AFC Bridgnorth have never got further than the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup. They've had a mini-run in the FA Vase however. Last season they beat Cadbury Athletic, Willenhall Town, & Radford before losing to Midland League runner-up Alvechurch in the 2nd Round. The club were also runners-up in the TJ Vickers Cup losing to Ellesmere Rangers in the 2014 final.
This was the second part of our New Years Eve double and was a ground that both myself and Chris had wanted to visit for a while in Crown Meadow. Being close to the town, we were hoping that there would be just enough time for a pre-match meal, should the traffic be kind to us. From our game at AFC Wulfrunians we left at 1.55, making the fairly simple 12-mile journey to Bridgnorth. We went through the town on the way in, which looked very pleasant and it was a shame we didn't really have time to stop, with us getting to the ground at 2.25. We went in and headed straight for the bar, with me enjoying a pint of Strongbow Cloudy Apple. It's no great shakes in the cider stakes, but it was pleasant enough and well chilled. Later on, at half-time, we would have some chips, which were decent enough, though they did take a while to be cooked.
We made our way outside to watch the game, and having enjoyed our earlier game, we were hoping for a decent contest. We were not disappointed, with AFC Bridgnorth taking the lead after just a couple of minutes. The ball was played to Anwar Olugbon who tricked the keeper into committing, put him on his backside and slotted past him into the empty net. It was 2-0 just before the break - the ball dropped nicely for Karl Griffiths who rifled home. Willenhall pulled one back on 65 minutes, a cracking header that gave the home keeper no chance. Five minutes later, the visitors thought they had equalised, however, Liam Wilkinson's shot in a goalmouth scramble was ruled out for offside as it was deflected in by a player in an offside position. A minute later the game was put to bed, with Bridgnorth making it 3-1 when Griffiths got his second, tapping home from a low cross. It was probably deserved on the balance of play, but an unfortunate day for Willenhall was compounded in the final 5 minutes as Cavan Chapman was sent off for reacting to the crowd following a foul.
It was nearly 5 by the time Chris and I left and we put the radio on TalkSPORT, first to listen to the results and reports from the days games, then the commentary of the Liverpool v Manchester City game which the hosts won 1-0. It was a slow journey at first, stuck behind dawdlers on the smaller roads until we got to the motorways around Birmingham. After a brief stop at Morrisons for fuel, I dropped Chris off in Wavendon at 7.15, getting home myself just after 8. I started my blog before having a couple of pints with Match Of The Day, though towards the end of it, I was falling asleep. I stayed awake long enough to toast the new year with my parents, but less than 10 minutes into the new year, I was in bed watching last night's Coronation Street. 2016 might have been a mixed year for me, but it was a good one groundhopping wise. I ended the year having seen 173 games and 116 new grounds, having met many great people, visited some lovely places and of course seen some decent games.
CROWN MEADOW is a delightful ground with plenty of little bits and pieces to look at. The seated stand is comprised of a few rows of seats, though it's pretty long, with enough seating for around 200 supporters. There is further cover behind the near goal, and although it's a fairly large area, it doesn't have steps. The rest of the ground is open, though there are a fair few benches, with most dedicated in memory to former supporters and club officials.
The pleasant looking town of Bridgnorth is a half-mile walk or drive away and has a Wetherspoons as well as several other nice looking pubs and takeaways. Back at the ground the bar is above average - no real cider, but Strongbow Cloudy Apple which I've never seen on draught before, as well as Dark Fruits. I can't remember what there was for ale drinkers, but everything is well-kept and the bar is nice with sports TV. Food is a bit limited, but the chips I had were OK, and there was a good choice of sauces.