Posted by sean on January 31, 2010 at 7:14 pm in Bath City with No Comments

Any football fan that travels to away games will have their favourite trips and those they wish they could avoid. My journey to Thurrock, a fortnight ago, was the latter. This weekend, however, was my best away game of the season – a trip to the beautiful city of St. Albans.

St. Albans play at Clarence Park – a picturesque football ground situated in the centre of the town’s park. The stadium is deep in football history, playing host to various football teams in the past, including Enfield and the Arsenal Reserves. The Arsenal Ladies team still use the ground for some of their European matches. Along with Bath City’s Twerton Park and Hayes Lane, home of Bromley FC, Clarence Park is one of the few remaining ‘traditional’ football grounds in a country of ugly, sterile, ‘flat-packed’ stadia.

Bath had experienced snow on the Friday night. Nothing as severe as the weather from earlier in the month, which saw the country ground to a halt, but enough to see any football game plunged into doubt. As the coach made the long trip along the M25 through the snow-covered countryside, there was concern amongst travelling supporters that our efforts would be pointless and the game would be postponed.

When we arrived at St. Albans, we were greeted to a winter’s scene fitting for a Christmas card. Our worries were relieved though when we entered the ground to see a January sun thawing the ice, with any snow in the stadium’s shade being cleared by some loyal club ground staff and fans. It was clear the game would be played.

Despite the sunshine and the pitch confirmed as playable, it was still a bitterly cold afternoon. Luckily, this did not affect the Bath City supporters, who were in full-voice, even before kick off. The players had obviously been drinking the same water as the fans and were clearly full of enthusiasm, threatening the St. Albans defence within seconds of the game’s start. Despite a heroic performance from the home team’s goalkeeper, the deadlock was broken within five minutes – Chris Holland, grabbing the game’s opening goal.

City continued their pressure on a poor, demoralised St. Albans side, much to the delight of the travelling fans and anguish of home supporters. Still, the early 1-0 score line was unchanged at the half time interval, installing worry in some of the pessimistic Bath City followers, who have all too often seen their team fail to win due to missed chances.

The second half performance was very similar to that of the first 45 minutes. City dominated, while St. Albans all but rolled over and had their bellies tickled. As any football supporter, especially a Bath City one, will tell you, a 1-0 lead is never enough. Therefore, when Kaid Mohammed’s cross was met by in-form Lewis Hogg, there were jubilant celebrations.

We had won 2-0. It could have been 8-0. Still, the long journey back was enjoyable due to the fantastic performance and victory. I also had more reasons to smile as Leeds beat Colchester 2-0, getting back to winning ways once more.

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