Posted by sean on November 15, 2011 at 12:31 am in Bath City with No Comments


Bath City 1-1 Dagenham & Redbridge
FA Cup – Round 1
Saturday 12th November 2011 – 15:00 

The world’s greatest cup competition returned on Saturday. Two weeks earlier, the FA Cup draw sent The Romans on a trip to Dagenham & Redbridge – a place I had never been to before. I knew it was in Essex and Stacey Solomon came from there, so expected a cross between this and this.

As it was the FA Cup, there was huge interest. Two coaches were filled with die-hard City fans. Even more travelled independently. Away support has been poor in the league this season and less that 30 fans have booked to go to the less-glamorous Southport in the league next week. Don’t get me started on those fans who only show up on the big occasion, or I’ll swear.

The coach made the trip along the M4. A familiar route during Bath City’s days in the Conference South and one we’ll probably be making about 20 times next season (see the league table). The coach was ‘buzzing’. You could feel the anticipation in the air. Even the surrounding wildlife was unable to contain its excitement, with a bird flying head first into the coach, smearing brain down the side of the window. I guess that’s what they call ‘The magic of the FA Cup’

On route we stopped at Clacket Lane services. I like this service station. It sounds like if should be a name of a character in the TV sitcom Father Ted. “Now Dougal, make sure you don’t act like an egit when Father Paddy Clacket comes round for tea”.

I bought a baguette in the service station. £4.10. I’m sure there are places in Mayfair and Park Lane where I can get a 3-course meal for that price. According to the label, the baguette was freshly made by Nicole. Pity Nicole had used a week-old loaf and processed cheese. I ate it anyway. You don’t know what food these football grounds serve up, so have to make do with overpriced service station rubbish.

We got to the game after the traditional tour of the town (basically, the coach driver got lost again). There was then mass confusion on arrival, when fans who ordered tickets in advance found themselves in the same queue as supporters buying tickets on the day. Mayhem. Somehow everything got sorted out and we made our way into the bar. It was one of these clubhouses where you had to pay to get in. 50 pence. This naturally caused various grumbles amongst the travelling supporters “If we get a replay, we should charge them £500 to get into our bar” I seem to recall one fan muttering.

I was disappointed but not surprised at the lack of ciders on offer. Strongbow or Bulmers. So basically, no ciders on offer. I decided to avoid both and go with Doom Bar – a lovely Cornish real ale and a more than an adequate substitute for an alcopop which brands itself as a cider. I enjoyed my drink, alongside my fellow City supporters and fans of Dagenham & Redbridge, who I found to be very pleasant and nothing like the cartoon characters in the above link I posted. They were a credit to their club. The Newport County FA Cup game against Shrewsbury was on the big screen. Since our visit to Newport in January, The Exiles have erected a new away stand, which we were able to witness in all its glory on the TV. I must admit, it looks good. I just hope it doesn’t rain as its uncovered. It probably will rain and I’ll get a cold.


After the drinks had been consumed, we made our way into the ground. Dagenham somewhat underestimated our away support for cup matches, so did not allocate us the normal large stand behind the goal. Instead, we were crammed into the 200-seater family enclosure. To be honest, that was good. We had a far better view of the game and were able to generate a fantastic atmosphere. At one point, every single fan joined in with the singing – although I think a couple wearing Bath Rugby tops refrained from participating with the “We hate rugby” song.

Photo from our stand

The match was preceded with a wonderful ceremony and moments silence to remember those soldiers who had lost their lives fighting for their country. It was perfectly observed by both sets of supporters.

When things did kick off, it wasn’t long until Bath City took the lead. Sean Canham taking advantage of a defensive mistake and following Marley Watkins’ pass, before cooly slotting the ball past the keeper…

Look at me, I’m almost writing a match report! I don’t think ‘cooly’ is a word though, or at least Bill Gates doesn’t as Microsoft Word is underlining it in red. I’m waiting for that annoying paper clip to appear asking “It looks like you are illiterate. Would you like me to help you with your spelling?”

I digress.

The match carried on. Dagenham equalised. They could have scored again. Then it was half time. (See, back to my normal standard of match reporting)

There was controversy in the second half, when Marley Watkins was hauled to the ground by Dagenham’s goalkeeper. I naturally assumed it was a red card, but the referee only produced a yellow. Like 199 other Bath City fans, I was truly amazed. I hadn’t seen a decision that poor since Howard Webb last officiated a Manchester United game. By the end of the match, I had ran out of expletives to use at the referee. Shameful. Don’t worry, I washed by mouth out with Carex hand soap afterwards.

Sorry!

The result? Bath City drew. What does this mean? All back to Twerton Park a week today for the replay, although it is now not a week today as ESPN have decided to televise the match. Therefore it will be shown a week Wednesday. The money from the televised game will come in very handy, no doubt paying for many new goldfish in the boardroom. Oh joy.

One final word on the so-called ‘Channel of the Year’ – ITV. If you want to show highlights of the greatest cup competition in the world, please show them during the traditional Saturday night slot. Do not show a total lack of respect to the competition, the fans and clubs involved by confiding it to Sunday morning. As the Leeds fans once said, ITV is fucking shit.

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