Thursday, 7 November 2019

02/11/19 Review: Warminster Town vs AFC Portchester

Warminster Town 3-1 AFC Portchester (FA Vase, Second Round)
Weymouth Street

In a world of postponements, cancellations and rained off games, Tom and I were so far dodging showers like the stray dogs we are and with two games already ticked off in Cardiff on the Friday night and the fabulous Winterfield Road earlier on the day of this visit, we saw that there was still fun to be had and thus we drove over to Warminster to see what the first of our two FA Vase games would offer.

Love me a set of black and red gates... not a bad start
I'll be the first to admit that I am a lover of the Western League and having not tread these grounds for a while, since visiting Springfield in Cadbury Heath back in 2018, I was thrilled to be checking out my eleventh and one of the oldest in the league in the form of Weymouth Street. Of the five I'd seen in this division up until now, West Clewes is my standout ground of note so far and with the arrival of Fareham based side AFC Portchester, we traipsed through the leaves and into the doors of this second round vase game. Although the ground itself is basic it reeks of that delightful Western League character that I've come to love over the years and as the rain dropped down on us we took in the ambience amongst a healthy crowd, a gust of leaves floating around us and of course the whiff of farts descending from the clubhouse that contained a mass of England rugby fans who had clearly gone from optimistic, to heartbroken, to drunk- aka, "the full English".

Still, decent little beer hut nevertheless
Although the match had already began, Tom and I made our usual pre-match predictions and due to the nature of knowing very little about the away side I plucked out a 1-1 draw for my guess, whilst Tom put full faith in his western roots and went with an 8-0 home win. My only reasoning for him at this stage was that he'd already had a beer! In fairness though, at least my Severn Beach amigo got the result right and the hosts were off to a good start by the time we'd got settled and we just about caught the sight of the ball rolling in as Francois Allen wheeled away celebrating the hosts gaining the upper hand. Warminster 1-0 Portchester.

The magic of the Vase
The whole first-half was pretty well controlled by the home side and despite some resistance from their south coast opposition, who sit fourth in the Wessex Premier League, it would ultimately be a near-perfect first-half for the hosts as they doubled the lead through left-winger Butler. As the right-wing ball came in for the tidy finish, Warminster's keeper led the celebrations by sliding around in the mud and urging the fans to get involved. Warminster 2-0 Portchester. The 143-mile round-trip for the visitors would certainly feel like a sour one if they couldn't get back into the second forty-five and for a while they looked like they had a chance as the ball was slid in to the home goal with plenty of time left to give the Royals a glimpse of hope, for a brief moment at least. Warminster 2-1 Portchester. Yup, that goal seemed to remind Warminster that they were not home and dry yet and they responded in emphatic fashion by thumping home a swerving looping strike to give the drunken rugby lads at least some glory for the day with not too much time left for a comeback. Warminster 3-1 Portchester.

The shed end were going mental too... well, maybe not
In fairness the rugby lot certainly helped to raise the atmosphere and as the final whistle eventually sounded there were many chants of "we are the red and black army" receding from the outside of the clubhouse. The players showed their appreciation and also cheers of their own knowing that they were in the hat for the next round. Since then, they know that an away trip to Roman Glass St. George's awaits. Can they topple Bristol's oldest club? We'll soon find out!

No comments:

Post a Comment