Saturday 2nd October
FA Vase 1st Round Proper
Brighouse Town 3 Eccleshill United 3
(After Extra Time)
Tea hut purchases: Tea 70p, Crisps 45p
Weather: Dry, chilly, light cloud
Parking: In the crowded grid locked club car parkIt was ten past two when the Match Shed swung into the Brighouse Town car park and it was almost jammed solid. Not wanting to leave the vehicle on the isolated lane leading down to the ground I had the choice of two final spaces, in a bog squeezed beside the entrance gate or stuck out in the centre aisle perilously close to the oncoming traffic. Images of a part submerged Match Shed bubbling in the bog at the final whistle resulted in me plumping for the centre aisle. I checked other vehicles could easily get past me before locking up and entering the ground. This proved a lucky choice as I was one of the few drivers not blocked in by foolhardy late comers when it came to leaving at the end of the game (I hate being stuck waiting for some ignorant car-dumping oaf to wander back from the toilets or wherever they've been 25 minutes after everbody else has gone home). Brighouse mention that the car park is monitored in the match programme, perhaps they might consider putting a simple 'Car Park Full' sign at the gate to deter those who would grid-lock sensible drivers who've made the effort to arrive early.You may reckon I'm going on a bit here about something as minor as car park management. The whole car parking issue was magnified early in the second half of this game when the Brighouse keeper received a serious facial injury. An ambulance was immediately called. What resulted is that when the ambulance arrived it couldn't get through the blocked car park. It took that long for the route to be cleared we were already half way through extra time before the ambulance got access! All this time the injured player had been sat waiting wrapped in a thermol blanket waiting to get to hospital! Perhaps a lessen can be learned for future reference?
Brighouse have suffered greatly from the recent fire at the ground and although they have received a portakabin unit from Staveley FC (a tremendous friendly gesture) the reality is that the club can only offer a very limited service to visiting supporters. As regards Tea Hut facilities this means hot drinks, crisps and chocolate but no hot pies and burgers for greedy bloaters like me I'm afraid. Something which made me wish I'd brought a few sandwiches later in the afternoon. Everybody hopes that the insurance money comes through sooner than later and the club can get back to full service ASAP.A crowd of 111 had gathered for this local derby, Eccleshill United are only down the road in Bradford and although they play in a division below Brighouse in the same Northern Counties East set up, their travelling supporters appeared mighty confident. Eccleshill knocked another top division side out of this competition in the previous qualifying round, that was another local side, Liversedge, the Eccleshill supporters couldn't see why Brighouse shouldn't go the same way! Both sides ripped into the proceedings right from the start, Brighouse with their precise passing patterns whilst Eccleshill opted for a more direct approach.When Brighouse confidently went 1-0 up I thought that may be the start of a convincing win, how wrong could I be? Eccleshill simply would not give up and their determined style witnessed them come back at Brighouse 3 times in succession. Brighouse led 1-0, 2-1 and then 3-2 but every time the visitors dug deep and dragged themselves back into the match. The visiting keeper Tahj Bell made some tremendous saves along the way in what turned out to be a really good game of football. The term 'end to end' summed this game up perfectly, it could have finished 15 all, they were still going full pelt at each other deep into extra time, when the final whistle went at 19 minutes to six I'd certainly had my 5 quid moneys worth, this was proper cup tie football.The unfortunate injury to the home keeper Lee Ashforth put a sad twist on the afternoon and I'm sure everyone wishes him a speedy recovery and a lot of local supporters of good non league football will be looking forward to Tuesdays replay. On a slightly off game topic, one of the things I cannot stand in the modern game is players wearing their socks over their knees like silly schoolgirls (I blame the overated John Terry as one of the main perpetrators), well today was the first time I've ever seen the Referee doing the very same thing, absolutely shocking, I hope the referees assessor nips this in the bud before any more silly business gets out of hand, we need to keep traditional standards in our game and a sensible dress code is included in that remit.
I've done quite a bit of moaning in this visit report, my apologies if I've gone over the top, must be the fact that I didn't get my usual grub quota, something had to cop for it.