Saturday, 9 November 2019

03/11/19 Review: Thornbury Town vs Cribbs

Thornbury Town 1-3 Cribbs [AET] (FA Vase, Second Round)
Mundy Playing Fields

Is there anything better than standing in a cold field on a hungover Sunday afternoon? If there is, I certainly haven't it yet and Thornbury Town would prove to be the "middle of nowhere" part of the country I found myself in to complete a great weekend in the West Country that contained four new grounds as I pursue the big 200. Accompanied, as I always am in the these parts, by the Severn Beach Trojan also known as Tom, it was time to dust off the despair of yesterday's two game, ten goal, five pub and twelve pint Saturday to see if Thornbury Town could shock their higher level opponents in the FA Vase.

If I said he was crazed for the vase, it would be no lie
With everything from The Anchor to The Butcher's Hook ticked off the night before, we made our journey back out to South Gloucestershire knowing that the game rested upon the fate of the clouds. Thankfully, as with the other three games we got to, fortune favoured the bold and the choice to get the game on by Thornbury Town was rewarded as a cold but dry afternoon granted me the chance to visit on of Tom's favourite locals in the form of the Mundy Playing Fields. Today's opponents were from just ten miles away in Cribbs Causeway and the Western League Premier side would be sure to be up for the challenge against the Hellenic Western Division side. Cribbs FC, who were the first Western League side I visited back in May 2016 in a match that also went to Extra Time, started the day as favourites even though the mid-table step five club were coming up against a side who've only lost once in the league so far, albeit in the tier below. So far we'd struggled to successfully predict the results in any of the three games attended, which would soon become four as Tom this time predicted a 3-1 home win whilst I expected a 1-4 defeat for the hosts.
Ahh well, at least I got to appreciate another corner stand
I'm not sure if I missed the memo when it was decided that non-league clubs should start to bung their main stand in the corner, but after visiting Chirk AAA earlier in the season I was left yet again flabbergasted as the only seating area was located in hardly the most prime of locations. The rest of the ground was very pretty but also rather bare, with the highlight for me being the open feel to Mundy Playing Fields and in particular the bush that surrounded a lot of the ground. The game had already kicked-off by the time we popped into the clubhouse for a hair of the dog and with the club announcing that they'd already sold out of most hot food we took that as a good sign for the club in terms of crowd numbers.

And true enough, there they were
In terms of game action, the first-half was so far fairly open with the visitors certainly looking more competitive in terms of physicality, but also making it harder for themselves by portraying the passing skills that one would not expect to see at any level. In truth, it was so bad in parts that even the young linesman on our side of the field was giving advice to the players, with a particular moment of humour coming as he appeared to talk a Cribbs lad through a corner that he was taking. I can only think that the reason behind his supporting of the visitors was due to the fact that Thornbury lined up with an absolute eyesore of a shirt numbers game. From what I could gather, the back four of the hosts eleven seemed to be numbers 11, 8, 10 and 6, which began to make me feel nauseous! Either that, or the hangover was taking over.

Still, at least you couldn't see that monstrosity from the main stand
With no goals scored in the first-half, the teams went in to regroup (and hopefully change into more appropriate kit numbers for their positions) meaning that we could spend a few moments back in the clubhouse warming up after what had admittedly been a chilly opener. Thankfully, we'd only have to stand out and shiver for another 45 minutes- or so we thought!

Second-half; time to show us the goals
Floodlights now on, it was time to get down to the proper action of the game and as per the first-half it was the visitors who looked the most likely. Mark Viner, posing as one of the Non-League's many Jaap Stam lookalikes, had put in a good defensive display so far for the hosts and the tough man kept up his persona in the second-half as he took down a player before bending down to him and shouting "get up, ya prick". Just past the hour-mark though and it would be advice that would come back to haunt the reds as Jake Hodgson got up to bullet home a header and give Cribbs the lead. Thornbury 0-1 Cribbs. The game had craved a goal, in fairness, so thankfully one came in time to allow for the match to open out a bit. It's always nice to see a lower league side trying to get back into a game of this magnitude, with some crumbling and falling into a pummelling, others trying their hardest until they get knackered, and of course those who make the unexpected comeback.

The question was though, which type of side were the Mundy men going to be?
As the home side tried their damnedest to grab an equaliser, they left a lot of holes at the back and had the Cribbs subs been a bit sharper we could've seen the game taken out of their grasp. The darkness was now upon us and we approached the last five minutes, meaning that it was time for Thornbury to become heroes or go out as zeroes. Thankfully for the hosts, they chose to give it a proper go and when Brandon Benjamin got the opportunity he hit a great strike, hard and low, which bobbled off the post and into the goal, meaning that on both occasions watching Cribbs they would go into the end of 90 minutes with a 1-1 draw. Thornbury 1-1 Cribbs. Shortly after the goal the game drew to a close, well, at least we thought it had. A lot of people started to move toward the exit but as the players stood beside their respective dugouts we started to hear murmurs of extra-time. Weirdly, the prevailing rumour was that the game would go to ET, but then if it wasn't decided within the two hours there would then be a replay- seemed a bit mental to me, but then again I suppose back in't day they did just used to keep replaying games until someone won. Bring back the days of golden goal, I say.

Come on lads, some of us have a 100-mile journey home after this!
Ultimately our dilly-dallying during the short break in play meant that as we eventually decided to queue up for a final bevvy we would miss the next goal which came in the form of an unfortunate Thornbury O.G. Thornbury 1-2 Cribbs. With a goal scored in the opening minute of extra-time, we would then have to wait until the last minute of it before the final one- and it came from a fairly comprehensive counter that led to an eventual tap-in for Ethan Feltham to set-up an away trip to another local side in Bitton in the third round. Thornbury 1-3 Cribbs. For me though, it was time to head back into town for some barely edible fish and chips before driving back up the M5, back home to Stafford. As always, it was a delightful weekend down in the West Country and I am glad to see that Tom is enjoying footy in Thornbury, a definite new local favourite for my Severn Beach comrade.

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