Bedfont Sports 1 Bracknell Town 1 (26th January 2019)
A short-ish write-up and a rather ropey set of pictures for a rather ropey game, where a last minute equaliser prevented the most interesting thing about it being the fact that it was played half a mile from the end of Heathrow’s southern runway.
The succession of flights coming in to land every minute and half or so would also be the noisiest thing all afternoon at many non-league venues, but especially here, when the drab game and low crowd would conspire to make this one of the quietest venues I’ve attended a game in.
Bedfont are a pretty new club, only forming in 2002, and while their ground is hardly an architectural marvel, it does at least have cover on all four sides, and is made a good degree more colourful by the painting of a mural of supporters all round the ground. One day, no doubt, Bedfont would like to have as many actual three-dimensional supporters in the ground.
After the cosiness of the small but well-equipped club bar, the cold and the empty space of the ground was almost a shock. I’ll generously suggest that the players suffered a similar shock, as the first half was utterly appalling, as the attacks of both sides were about as sharp as an elephant’s leg. It was not only obvious it would get to half time still 0-0 from fairly on, but ending 0-0 looked most likely too.
It improved, a bit, after half time. Maybe both teams thought the other so poor up front that they might as well go for it. Neither team was raining in the shots, but you at least got a feeling that something might happen.
And “something” did happen after an hour, when the home side opened the scoring. A saved shot was followed up, and the ball tucked away from a tight angle, to put the hosts ahead, slightly against the run of play.
Bracknell’s game was a relentless succession of overhit crosses and through-balls that failed to get through anywhere. But just as it was looking like their increased efforts would come to nothing – and it had been looking like that for quite while – a ball towards the back post was volleyed hard and low, just inside the keeper’s post. 1-1 in the 90th minute, Bracknell celebrated, and the home keeper sat in the goalmouth and could do nothing but take a consolidatory swig from his water bottle.
The last of one of several “keenly debated” fouls in the match was made about 25 yards out from the Bedfont goal, deep into stoppage time. The teams lined up for a direct shot, and looking for glory, it was aimed at the home goal. The aim, sadly, was hopeless, and it flew high and wide, and looked in more danger of bouncing onto the southern runway than into the Bedfont net. The ref blew immediately. He’d had enough, and with the cold and wind closing in, and the rather poor game overall, he probably wasn’t the only one.