Report by Kate Holmes
This match was all ticket, with Watford given about 769 tickets. We
returned about 50 to Bristol, so using my mathematical abilities, we must
have had about 700 fans there. I knew the ground was going to be a little
sub-standard, even for this division, but I didn't expect it to be this
bad. In comparison to this ground, Reading's is like Wembley, and that is
no exaggeration. We were lucky as well that we were playing them at this
time of year on a gloriously sunny day, as it could have been a lot lot
The coaches rolled up at the ground about ten minutes before kick off -
third Saturday away match running the official club transport has struggled
to make kick off. We were taken all round the houses - literally - and the
ground came in the middle of a rather nice looking residential area. As
the coach turned into the car park we were awarded our first view of the
ground. I don't think I have ever heard an entire coach load of Hornets
laugh as loud. I don't think the Rovers fans were too impressed by our
reaction. The really sad thing is they are proud of this little ground.
We went through what was labelled as a turnstile but was really a gate, and
were straight onto the tiniest terraced area I have seen for many years.
It made the little corner we get given at Sunderland look positively
palatial. It was also full of Hornets. I was lucky enough to get to the
front, and found someone I knew so at least I could see the goal in front
I will do my best to describe this ground. Basically there are only two
sides to it at the moment, one end behind the goal of terracing for home
fans, and the side we were on. It had a little bit of a stand in the
middle, with appallingly small terracing either side. We were to the left,
down by the corner flag along the side of the pitch. It was great for
giving abuse to the linesman, not that any of us did of course. Behind the
goal to our left was just a hand rail, and beyond that a fence. Nothing
more. Opposite us, there was a stand undergoing construction, so at least
it will look a little better. I have been to many a non-league ground that
is far better than this, notably Stevenage Borough, whose ground wasn't
good enough (apparently) to get into the league. The really classy part of
this set up was the location of the changing rooms. Having got there late,
I didn't see where the players disappeared to. Opposite us, at the other
corner flag was what could only be described as a double decker portacabin.
Watford were given the top one, and had to make their way down a rather
precarious looking staircase to get to the pitch. Most of us were too busy
laughing to greet our players.
Taking a look at the state of the pitch, I was extremely grateful to be
playing them at this time of year. On Sky the other night they had a scene
taken from one of the rugby matches played there in January, and the pitch
was a mud bath. The pitch was in a worse state than Chesham's (where our
Reserves now play) and that is with grass on it. It made it difficult for
players to run with the ball, as they kept losing their footing, or the
ball would get stuck in a rut.
We kept to the same side that has done so well recently, with Page
recovering from injury, and had Penrice, Rams and Johnno on the bench.
Once again we started well, and Big Dev caused no end of problems against
his old club. They seemed scared to go anywhere near him, and it was no
surprise when we scored after 15 minutes. We won a corner, and Porter
dinked it over. Big Dev was on the end of it, and ran through totally
unchallenged to put the ball into the net beyond the keeper. After that it
just seemed to be a case of how many we were going to get. Their keeper
was definitely dodgy, and with our fans putting him off every time he
kicked the ball, he started to take the ball further and further away from
Big Dev had other chances to score, and Wayne Andrews should have scored
when he was put through one-on-one with the keeper. The keeper saved it,
and Bazelely following up couldn't put the ball into the rather gaping net.
I think this gave Rovers a bit of encouragement, as they started to attack
a little more. They nearly grabbed an equaliser right on half time when
Watford Reject Beadle hit the post. Kevin Miller did not have a save to
make all half.
The half time entertainment was provided by our Junior Hornets beating
their kids in a relay race round the edge of the pitch. Their fans were
booing all of our kids, so Stuart Murdoch's son turned to the packed
terrace behind the goal and signalled the score. Apparently they started
to throw things at him after that.
The second half was very poor as far as action goes. Most of it seemed to
be concentrated in our penalty area, without them creating a notable
chance, or up by the right touchline where I couldn't see anything.
Neither side looked like scoring again, although Watford decided to give us
a 20 minute panic instead of the usual 10. We brought on Penrice to play
against his former club, and he made a bit of a difference for a while.
The only other incidents revolved around Peter Beadle. In the first half
he lashed out at Keith Millen who responded by flattening him off the ball.
In the second half, Beadle collided with Robert Page, who kicked him, and
then Gibbsy smashed into Beadle when winning a header. Lovely stuff. As
you can probably tell, I'm now struggling to recall anything else that
It was a relief to hear the final whistle, as it was extremely hot, very
uncomfortable on the terrace, and the game was not of a very good standard.
To quote a friend of mine - Winning Ugly. It doesn't matter how we do it
just so long as we do. I am prepared for this sort of game all season, and
as long as it is only one season, I think I can cope. I'm getting used to
this winning lark, and that makes it more away wins than we managed all
last season. A few more would go down rather nicely.