Ground Number: 800
Friday 12th October 2018
Brislington 2-3 Odd Down
Western League Premier Division
BRISLINGTON FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was established in 1956, initially as an under-16 side playing in the Bristol Church of England League. In 1965 they joined the Bristol & Suburban League before moving up to the Somerset League in the 1970s. Brislington were three times league runners-up before being crowned champions in 1989. Following another runners-up spot in 1991, the club made the step up to the Western League, initially in Division 1. They coped with the higher standard very well, never finishing lower than 8th and in 1995 they were Division 1 champions. Brislington have played in the Western Premier ever since and have never been in danger of being relegated, 17th place in 2007 being the lowest they have finished. The club has enjoyed two runners-up spots in 2003 & 2013. Last season saw a disappointing finish of 16th, but a slight improvement this season saw them in 10th at the time of kick-off.
In the FA Cup, the 2013/14 season saw an excellent run. Barnstaple Town, St Blazey, Wells City, Truro City and Weston Super-Mare were beaten before a narrow 1-0 home defeat to Welling United, then of the Conference Premier in the 4th Qualifying Round. In the FA Vase, the 2004/05 season produced the best run. That year they beat Tuffley Rovers, Tavistock, Bishops Cleeve, Torrington and Woodford United prior to a 1-0 defeat at Enfield in the 4th Round. Local cup wins include the Somerset Senior Cup four times, the Somerset Intermediate Cup twice, the Somerset Premier Cup in 1996 and the Somerset Junior Cup in 1964. Well-known names to have played for the club include former Doncaster Rovers striker Colin Cramb and former Bristol Rovers midfielder David Mehew.
I'd been lucky with Western Hop scheduling in the past, with the weekends falling on dates when Wycombe were away from home. This season had seen luck not on my side, with home games scheduled on this season's Western Hop and most of the other ones that interested me too. I'd still be able to do the Friday and Sunday games though and so booked the time off work. Thankfully fellow hopper Chris was available to keep me company and help out with fuel costs. It would mean a big detour to go to Milton Keynes, but it would work out cheaper for me in the long run. It was also a good way to celebrate my 800th ground, especially as Groundhop UK, the organisation that got me into groundhopping at step 5 and below, was also directing this hop.
The day of the game came and I had my best night's sleep in a while, waking at 8.30. After breakfast, a bath and a fresh change of clothes, I walked 4 miles down town, buying various bits before meeting my Dad for a lift back. I had Oxtail soup and a seeded flatbread for lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon compiling a CD of amusing parody songs for Chris and I's journey later. I also sorted some of my old football photos, prior to leaving at 2.30. I got to Chris at 3.45 and he used his local knowledge to get us a lot of the way without hitting any traffic. It was overall a decent journey for a Friday night. We opted not to stop and got to the ground at 6.40. It was £7 entry including programme and I also bought a nice pennant for £2. From there it was into the clubhouse for a can of Natch and a Chilli Con Carne and Chips, both of which were good. I had a walk around the ground, chatting to few familiar and friendly faces. I grabbed a good spot on halfway near the dugouts to watch the game from.
The game started brightly with chances for both sides, the hosts slightly edging it. It was Odd Down that took the lead though, George Lloyd rounding the home keeper and shooting into the vacant net after he'd chased down a loose ball. Bridlington had a few chances, as did Odd Down but neither keeper was worked too hard. Bridlington equalised on 40 minutes, Clarke Taylor got away down the right and kept a cool head to finish past Odd Down keeper Aaron Sainsbury. The visitors probably had the better of the second half but their rhythm was interrupted by a couple of injuries that took a while to treat. Brislington took the lead around 20 minutes from time with a great goal from Connor Biggs. His effort from well outside the area clipped the bar on its way in. It was an equally spectacular effort that levelled things up for Odd Down around 5 minutes later, a looping shot from around the same distance, this time by Lloyd for his second that had real venom behind the shot. The same player completed his hat trick a few minutes later when he was on the end of a well-worked free kick to give his side the lead.
That was how it finished, even though the hosts came close to an equaliser. It had been a great game, excellently hosted and a great night out. I went to the local Co-Op in search of some local cider but was disappointed. Instead, we had a Chinese where the menu was very limited, us both opting for a Singapore Chow Mein. The bloke serving it was a bit confused, only doing one portion, but it was quick enough to do another. In the end, it was very nice and not too greasy. We left at 10.20 but due to road closures, there were a fair few extra miles added onto the journey. At least we had The Two Mikes on the radio to keep us, or more precisely me company. Thanks to an early start at work and a fair few ciders for him, he slept most of the journey. There was a brief panic when we got back to his at 12.40 when he thought he'd lost his front door key, but thankfully he'd left it on his bed. I got home myself an hour later and typed some of my blog whilst watching Coronation Street. With me not having to leave for the Wycombe game until around 11 am the following morning, it didn't matter that I stayed up for a while.
BRISLINGTON STADIUM is an excellent venue for step 5 with almost the whole ground being under cover. The main seated area - the Colin Arnold Memorial Stand is supposed to hold 150, but it felt bigger than that. The rest of the ground is standing, save for a few seats on the other side. Facilities at the ground are very good, the bar has three types of Thatchers Cider on, plus a choice of cans and bottles - and the same applies for ales. Food is good value and there's a decent choice. The club shop is also good and well-priced. There's not much in the immediate vicinity of the ground, so its good that the facilities there are decent.