RAMBLE: Bristol City -v- Wednesday

RAMBLE: Bristol City -v- Wednesday

Having experienced an away day to forget at Brighton last month, I was looking forward to my first taste of Wednesday action in over a month.

It would be my third visit to Ashton Gate, having seen us draw 1-1 there way back in 2003 and seen the dismal 1-0 defeat towards the end of the ill-fated 2009-10 season.

I had to get there first though.

Having met Jordan and Jamie (our driver for the day) we set off slightly later than planned to give Jamie time to polish off a sausage sandwich.

Jamie had given us a fright the previous day when he told us his car had failed its MOT but we were good to go with new brake pads installed!

Bristol should be the easiest drive in the world from London and despite the usual traffic getting across the city to the M4 we were well on course to get there in plenty of time for a couple of beers and a steady walk up to the ground.

Me and Jordan cracked open our first beers of the day and we discussed everything from the Boat Race to the London mayoral election to cycle lanes.

It was all going swimmingly until we checked the traffic alerts. Two lanes closed at Swindon meant congestion and an expected delay of an hour and a half.

Oh bugger.

Luckily we were barely past Reading at this point so we had plenty of time to come up with a back-up plan.

If in doubt, consult the map

If in doubt, consult the map

After consulting Jamie’s 2004 AA Road Map of Britain (who needs Google Maps?) we decided to take a detour at Newbury, follow the A4 past Swindon and then get back on the motorway once we’d got past the accident. Simple right?

It started to go wrong quite quickly when we were forced to choose between two different lanes and none of us knew which way to go. ‘RIGHT’ was the right answer but sadly I said this about two seconds after we’d turned left.

Not to worry, we went a mile down the road and turned around. Ten minutes later we were back where we’d started and having gone the right way this time we were back on course.

Now you expect an A road to be nice and wide, ideally a dual carriageway but they obviously do roads a bit differently in Wiltshire.

We passed through a succession of small villages (or large hamlets – we couldn’t quite decide between us), drove straight through the Saturday market in Marlborough and edged slowly but surely towards Chippenham.

An hour after leaving the motorway we were still an hour and a half from Bristol and making it for kick off was becoming a concern. As was the fact the beer had gone to our bladders.

'Are you sure we're still on an A road?'

‘Are you sure we’re still on an A road?’

Fortunately a quick pit stop down a country lane saw to that and after discussing the local football rivalry (Lokomotiv Chippenham v CSKA Calne we decided on) we went down yet another narrow lane and, lo and behold, we were back on the M4. Only an hour behind schedule.

The rest of the journey was simple enough despite the quirks of Bristol traffic management and come 2.30 we’d parked up within walking distance of the ground.

My navigation skills failed me miserably as we walked the wrong way up the road and then down a dead end but eventually we were on a main road and on the right track.

But then we saw some familiar faces walking (or should that be staggering?) towards us. James, JP, Tom and Mark were walking straight towards us – in the opposite direction to everyone else.

‘Where are you going?’

‘To the ground’

‘But it’s this way’

‘Are you sure?’

They’d made it to Bristol in plenty of time for a few sherbets but sadly this had done nothing for their navigation skills. I somehow managed to convince them we knew where we were going and come 2.50pm we were in the ground (via a makeshift alley next to a building site as the club continue to upgrade Ashton Gate).

JHKitchen3

Big enough for 1,400 fans? Yea why not!

The arrangements felt very makeshift as we made our way into a tiny concourse, which had a tiny window selling refreshments and a tiny gents loo. Not ideal.

Jamie managed to get the beers in and we got to our seats a couple of beers into the game.

At that stage it felt like a result that we’d even made it but sadly we felt rather differently come 5pm.

There’d been some strange goings on with the teamsheet before the game. Firstly Gary Hooper wasn’t named in the squad, then the club were forced to make an embarrassing late change having named one too many loan players in the squad.

The good news was that Barry Bannan was back and he was involved in the action as Wednesday made a decent start, with Aiden McGeady forcing Wednesdayite Richard O’Donnell into a smart save right in front of us.

City put a cross in at the other end but it was easily dealt with by our ‘keeper.

Not the greatest view in the world

Not the greatest view in the world

‘Well held Westy’ I shouted.

‘That’s Wildsmith,’ said the woman stood next to me.

Oh. Another late change then.

It all added to the uneasiness surrounding our team selection and I’d barely got my head around it all when City took the lead.

In fairness to them they put together a good, pacey move and from my low vantage point it was hard to see what happened but a couple of shots came in, Lee Tomlin’s effort hitting the post, before bouncing off Wildsmith’s back and into the net.

0-1.

Unlucky but our the home side had managed to get through our defence far too easily. We’d barely touched the ball by the time City had doubled the lead.

Another quick move left our defenders in a daze and Wildsmith was helpless again as Bobby Reid fired past him.

Already we were facing an uphill battle. Playing Alex Lopez and Bannan in the middle with Kieran Lee out wide didn’t seem to be working as the home side had so much space and our full backs were having a torrid time dealing with the pace coming at them. Michael Turner also appeared to be at sixes and sevens.

At least one Wednesdayite was enjoying himself

At least one Wednesdayite was enjoying himself

Despite being stood a couple of seats away from me, Jordan was in full on rant mode within the half hour and before half time he disappeared to the concourse to refresh himself and get the half time beers in.

Me and Jamie joined him soon afterwards as Liam Palmer brought down Tomlin and he just beat Wildsmith’s dive to make it 3-0 before half time.

A lost cause? At this stage it looked likely.

HALF TIME: Bristol City 3-0 Wednesday

The half time break at least offered some entertainment as the well lubricated Wednesday fans did they best to get the stewards to join in with their songs. One stern-faced man in an orange jacket did his best to go along with it but when people started to lift him up he was having none of it and scarpered.

Jordan seemed to be taking an age to get the beers (he later revealed he’d spilt two pints all over himself) and we’d barely made a dent in them by the time the second half kicked off.

Just time to finish our pints before the second half...oh it's 4-0!

Just time to finish our pints before the second half…oh it’s 4-0!

We didn’t rush back to our seats.

Strangely the concourse actually offered a view of the pitch (albeit not much of it) so we decided to stand where we were while we finished up.

Moments into the half a big cheer went up and despite not seeing it from where I was stood it turned out Bristol City had another penalty. This time Jonathan Kodjia (apparently) dispatched it and the game was up.

There was a temptation to just leave at this point but we’d paid our money so we decided to rejoin the fray.

We actually made a better fist of it in the second half with Ross Wallace curling home a delightful free kick on the hour but despite huffing and puffing we weren’t breaking down the door.

We decided we’d had enough when the board went up for injury time and consoled ourself with the thought of a beer in an actual glass and some April sunshine.

FULL TIME: Bristol City 4-1 Wednesday

James and the lads had seemingly not sobered up by full time as we had to tell them which way to go on the way out of the ground and then they managed to go into a Thai restaurant rather than the pub next door.

No-one was really in the mood to talk about the match but a few of us headed into the beer garden to soak up the last of the sun.

You little beauty!

You little beauty!

My attention turned to the later-than-usual Grand National. I must have bet on the National a dozen times and never won a penny so when news filtered through that I’d backed the winner at 50-1 I was understandably chuffed. It put some shine on an otherwise fruitless day!

Sadly (or should that be fortunately?) Jamie was staying over so we didn’t have a lift back but after a brief detour to Bristol Parkway (apparently it’s in South Gloucestershire, not Bristol) me and Jordan were on our way back to Paddington, on a carriage full of furious Chelsea fans.

And we thought we’d had a bad day…


Craig
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @CraigSWFC


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