Tuesday 1st September 2020
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
MILLBROOK 0 BRIDGWATER TOWN 1
Admission: £5 & £3 concessions
Programme: £1 on cover but given out free
Parking: Back up the nearby housing estate
Weather: Calm sunny evening, ground looked lovely
Thankfully there were no millionaire opinionated Managers & pampered players sat on sun loungers in exclusive foreign hotels instead of turning out for the FA Cup tonight, we'll be spared that embarrassment until mid winter. The disrespectful antics of Klopp & Co couldn't be further from the pride Millbrook Football Club had for our greatest Cup Competition this evening. This was their first ever FA Cup tie in their 132 year history. It is a sad fact of money-mad modern football that only non league clubs and a diminishing number of lower football league sides treat the competition with the respect it deserves.
That very same respect and the work and effort Millbrook have applied to get a continually improving Jenkins Park ready for this occasion was rewarded by an impressive turn out of football supporters.
Jenkins Park, (named after local Millbrook born professional footballer and my boyhood hero centre forward Reg Jenkins who still remains a legend at the Spotland home of Rochdale AFC) was buzzing with eager anticipation when I arrived. There was half an hour before kick off and the car park was full. I've been here a good few times before and its the first time I've had to dump The Match Shed in the nearby housing estate. There was ale and al fresco burgers everywhere as punters enjoyed the vista of the well kept ground from outside the clubhouse. I just hope many of those enjoying the occasion will be back for the bread and butter games in the South West Peninsula League East.
Bridgwater Town play at the level above Millbrook, Step 5, in the Toolstation Western League. They provided stern committed opposition, this included the ability to play free flowing football alongside the craft of rugged defending. It is a credit to the current standard of football in the SWPL that Millbrook not only matched their esteemed visitors, they actually out played them. The pressure the home side applied in the second half would have seen most sides crack open, not Bridgwater, they dug the trench and defended it with all they'd got. It was one of their rare counter attacks that broke the spell of the magical Jenkins Park spectacle. A speculative shot from the corner of the 18 yard area on a rare jaunt forward somehow slipped into the corner of the Millbrook net and a multitude of groans hummed across the local fields down to the Tamar beyond. Bridgwater got the shovels out and dug the trench deeper. Millbrook threw all they'd got at them, goalmouth scrambles and battered woodwork ensued but the Bridgwater ranks held firm.
Wonderful cup tie.
Makes me cower with shame when I think of our big wig, big gob cash ridden big club Managers. Just watch them put the stiffs and the kids out next time they play a lower league club in the 3rd round proper. Get to an FA Cup match now if you can, it's miles better with the non league clubs involved.
If you've not been to Jenkins Park yet, try it, you won't be disappointed, lovely clubhouse, proper tea hut grub wise, a charismatic main stand and some jolly decent football to watch. Nice picturesque village to sample too.