SPEED! - author unknown

When you're sitting on a bench overlooking Mountain Hare football pitch staring at your watch because your lift to Salisbury is 45 minutes late and it's already half past twelve, you begin to question your own sanity. This is what mobile phones were made for, a couple of phone calls later it transpires that our driver was stuck in McDonalds at Dowlais Top, our navigator was waiting at Blaen Dowlais, the catering manager was walking up Twyn Hill and I was on this bench. Was it worth setting out ? Salisbury's not far from Southampton, the car arrives at 12.40 and off we set, no stops, all for a football match.
Bath really could do with a bypass road, lovely scenery there to be fair but slow progress for us, then we hit the miles and miles of speed cameras, it must be a dangerous road that A36, anyway with our trusty programme directions in hand we arrive at Salisbury's ground with five minutes to spare.
No time for booze, it could be a long afternoon. I'd never been to Salisbury before and so wasn't ready for the unusual architecture of their ground (which was signposted and at the end of a cul de sac), a Gloucester type roofed terrace behind one goal and a small grandstand that uses every inch of space allowed to the ground, the other two sides are just open grass banks with small walkways at ground level. First stop, food ! Hot dog wasn't bad but what about the main event? The tea! Disappointing, weak and luke warm, myself and Wingnut bought two rounds each with no improvement. The best tea to be had at the moment is either at Aberdare Bus Station or Hing Hongs.
I spent most of the first half dodging the multitude of wasps on the terrace, the Martyrs had started promisingly and eventually Mitch smashed the ball into the roof of the net from a yard out following excellent work from Lee Baddeley, half-time and it's 1-0 to the mighty Martyrs. Now for the great nonleague tradition of swapping sides, usually no problem but a bit like driving up Jubilee Road, Godreaman with the narrow walkways. Up went the flags, first you had to climb over a corrugated sheet then traverse a swamp before attaching the material to the scaffolding pipes, this stadium remember has been designed not just thrown together.
The lads continue to dominate the match with the 100 or so Merthyr fans enjoying themselves, Lee Baddeley scores from a corner (another goal from a corner!!) and the points surely were won. Alas, we relaxed and Salisbury to their credit took the chances that we gave them to them, their first goal being particularly bad. At the end, most Merthyr fans saw it as two points dropped rather than a point gained, but to be fair it shows how far this club has come in a short time that we're beginning to expect to win matches, let's not get carried away yet, it's a long season and we'll hit a bad patch eventually it's how the players react then that's important. I'll take the point away from home !!


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