Sunday, 3 April 2011

Broken Glass

Saturday 2nd April 2011
Western League Division 1
Bell Hill, Bristol

some photos of the game are below in the slideshow below:

After last week’s non report as such it is back to normal. Today sees me meet up again with a friend of mine Colin Buchanan who is a Cheltenham Town supporter and lives in the town. This day like most other when we meet up is when Cheltenham have an away game. It takes around 1 hour 40 minutes to make the 90 mile journey along the motorway network. There is though a more scenic route which takes you through the picturesque Cotswold Hills and I have travelled between Leicester and Cheltenham this way on numerous occasions, and the Cotswolds are one of my favourite places I have visited in the UK.

Having a look at the fixtures within an hour’s drive of Colin’s house there were a few options that stood out. These included Monmouth Town, Cinderford Town and various games in the Gloucestershire County League, but one stood head and shoulders above all others. This was not due to the importance of the game etc but because Roman Glass are moving into Oaklands Park, Almondsbury next season with Winterbourne United. Regular readers will know that we visited Winterbourne in September for the same reason as our visit to Roman Glass today.

The traffic was light and I encountered on problems all the way down to Cheltenham and then to Bristol itself. We found our way to the ground with the help of the sat-nav but as we had plenty of time on our hands we went looking for somewhere to have a drink. We eventually ended up at the Fleur de Lis pub in the village of Pucklechurch (which was about a fifteen minute drive from the ground) and due to driving only had the one drink – a pint of Doom Bar by the Sharp’s Brewery in Cornwall. Not a bad drink at all. Not my favourite but certainly drinkable on a pleasant spring afternoon.

The club are based in the St. George suburb of Bristol and were formed in 1995 through a merger between Bristol St George FC and Roman Glass FC. Bristol St George were formed in 1885, became founder members of the Gloucestershire FA in 1886 and joined the Bristol & District League (BDL) in 1892. In 1895 the BDL became known as the Western League (WL) and they remained in the WL until 1899. Between 1897 and 1899 they also competed in the Birmingham & District League. In 1901 they rejoined the WL for two more seasons before dropping back to play in local competitions. In 1928 they joined the WL again for a third time but left in 1935 for the Bristol & District League. In the 1957 they were founder members of the Bristol Premier Combination (BPC) and won the division 1 title five years in succession between 1963 and 1968. The Gloucestershire County League (GCL) was founded in 1968 with St. George being one of the founder members. They were runners-up in the inaugural season and one year later crowned champions. They remained in the GCL until 1987 when they were expelled due to the deterioration of the facilities at their ground and rejoined the BPC. The BPC title was won in the 1992/93 season but with no promotion the club nosedived and were in serious danger of folding until Roman Glass stepped in.
                Roman Glass were formed in 1960 as a street team called Wyndham Wanderers and competed in the Bristol Church of England League. In 1974 they joined the Bristol & District League before changing their name to Roman Glass FC in 1980. After the merger in 1995 which resulted in the present name being adopted, they won promotion to the premier division of the BPC at the first attempt. In 1999 they won the BPC title and with it promotion to the GCL. The GCL title was won twice in 2002 and 2007, the latter resulting in promotion to division 1 of the WL. The three seasons spent in the WL have seen them finish in 10th, 16th and 18th place respectively. This season the club are struggling again and currently find themselves in 18th place in the 19 team division. They have won just six games from 28 matches played and recorded just 23 points. They are currently seven points above bottom placed Elmore. Opponents today Chard Town are also in the lower half of the table and are only five points better off having played four games more.

Roman Glass currently play their home games at Bell Hill on Whiteway Road which is located down a narrow drive between houses 168 and 170. There are no floodlights, hard standing is on one side of the ground only and a stand straddles the half way line behind the two dugouts. There is also a social club on site and along with alcoholic beverages the club were selling tea and coffee plus a selection of baps.

The game was reasonably entertaining with both sides looking to go forward at every opportunity, though very few clear cut opportunities were created. The game was played at a fast pace throughout, the approach play from both teams was decent but the two things that let themselves down was the final ball and / or the end product.

Chard took the lead after four minutes when following some good work in the middle of the field by Sam Clark, he then fed the ball out wide left and the subsequent cross gave Sam Spurway a simple finish who was unmarked in the six yard box. Like previously stated there were few clear cut chances and I can’t recall either keeper making a save of note. The hosts nearly equalised midway through the half when a free kick was headed just wide of the post, while Chard could have doubled their lead when a cross was put wide. The second half saw Roman Glass have the better of things in terms of chances and possession and the closest they came to an equaliser came just after the hour mark when a volley from outside the area crashed against the top of the bar. Chard struggled to make an impact though with around twenty minutes left Sam Clark had his shot saved by the legs of the Roman Glass keeper. The equaliser which was thoroughly deserved came in the 74th minute when a shot looped over the back peddling Chard keeper into the net. The game then appeared to be petering out into a 1-1 draw but with Chard’s best spell of the second half coming in the final five minutes, they won it with a goal about two minutes from time. Roman Glass could not clear a corner and the ball was bundled home by Max Westlake from about three yards to give them all three points.

Admission: £4
Programme: £1
Attendance: 40 (official)
Match rating: 3/5

Overall Roman Glass are another very friendly and welcoming club that I visited this season. This was a first taste of Western League football for me and, if this is what I have to look forward to then hopefully it won’t be too long before I am back for more. Good luck also goes to Roman Glass in their application to get their Bell Hill ground up to the required standard for Step 6 football and their move to Oaklands Park, Almondsbury is only a temporary one.
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