Bibury's ground is just off Aldsworth Road on the North Eastern boundary of the village. This, for me, is a very good thing because it means that I isn't have to drive through the village to get to the ground. Bibury is a very popular tourist destination and on a warm Bank Holiday weekend would, no doubt, be heaving with tourists and coaches. It's a beautiful village. I have driven though it many times but definitely one to be avoided in the holiday season.
The football club has a reasonable large car park s well as plenty of places to park on the grass behind one of the goals or even on the opposite side of the pitch. The main pitch is lengthways on from the road. The car park/access road, runs down one side of the pitch leading to a clubhouse and players & officials changing block. The are also dugouts on this side of the pitch. The clubhouse also has a Cotswold Café attached to it, serving drinks and food (I recommend the egg bap and tea) from a hatch overlooking a small areas with tables. There are also seating areas outside the clubhouse which also have a good view of the pitch. The pitch itself does have quite a bit of a slope across and down towards the car park and service road. There is another pitch on the opposite side, at right-angles to the main pitch. This pitch, somewhat bizarrely, also seems to have floodlighting on both sides (although it did look to be quite old). It's a nice setup overall and on a warm, sunny day like this afternoon, it's certainly a very nice place to watch football.
Coming into the game the clubs sat 8th and 7th respectively. Bibury were six points adrift of their visitors but had three games in hand. Both sides still had slim hopes of getting into the top three and gaining promotion. However, in all fairness, both required maximum ponts from their remaining games and for the teams above them to drop some points.
The reverse fixture at Viney was played in October, with the visitors making the trip back across the Severn with all three points after a 3-1 win thanks to a Scott Reynolds hat-trick. Bibury have won one, lost one and drawn one in their last three and, despite being the league's third top scorers with 62, they only had a goal difference of 5 before kick-off, having conceded more than any other team in the to half. Viney, it has to be said, like a draw. Four of their last seven games have ended this way, seven over the entire season. However, they have only lost once in the last ten and that was at leaders Stonehouse Town Reserves.
Apologies for the lack of names in the report. I'll be more than happy to edit it if anyone wants to supply the them.
With only three minutes on the clock Viney created, or to be precise were handed, the opportunity to get the game off to a blistering start. The home side conceded possession deep inside their own half which allowed Viney's Number 10 to burst clear. He rounded the keeper well but for reasons known only to himself took an extra touch when he could have rolled the ball into an empty net. That touch allowed a Bibury defender to get back onto the line and when the shot finally came in, the defender was able to scramble it clear. It was a huge chance missed by the visitors.
The miss seemed to affect the Viney team adversely. For the next 15 minutes they found themselves on the back foot as Bibury pressed for an opener. However, despite having the majority of the possession, the home side failed to create and clear cut opportunities. That was until the 18th minute when they were awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the penalty area in a fairly central location. Number 18 stepped up, beat the defensive wall and keeper, but was unlucky to see his effort clip the top of the bar and go over.
That opportunity for Bibury finally sparked some life back into Viney and they were next to come close when their Number 7 fired in a free-kick from way out on the left flank but the home keeper was equal to it, palming it away to safety. Then, just past the half hour mark, Viney again created a half chance. Numebr 15 broke down the right side and drove in a low cross that travelled through to the far post where Number 17 was running in but was unable to keep his shot down.
On 37 minutes Viney's Number 15 had his coaching staff screaming in frustration as he managed to get himself clean through. His first touch took him a little too wide and his shot screwed across the face of the goal for a goal kick. Back up the other end, some five minutes later, Bibury swung in a free-kick form their left wing. Their Number 7 met it on the stretch but he too could not control his shot enough to get it on target.
Then, into injury time in the first half Bibury had the best chance of the game so far. A drop ball was awarded some 25 yards out after a shot hit the referee. The Bibury player lofted the ball into the penalty area where their Number 7 got his head to it, directing the ball across the box onto the head of Number 10 but he planted his header wide of the post.
HT Bibury 0 Viney St Swithans 0. A half lacking in any real rhythm from either team. Very few chances were created but the home side probably edged it in terms of possession. I commented on Twitter that I thought one moment of quality could win it. As it turned out, I was wrong.
When they did restart it was the home side who came out flying, taking the lead in the 49th minute with a break down their right wing. The ball was driven across the six-yard box. A couple of players went for it at the near post and the ball seemed to pop up in the air perfectly for Owen Smart to loop a header over the Viney keeper. 1-0.
The response was almost instant from the visitors. Less than three minutes after going behind they won a corner on the left. The ball was played into the mix where an unmarked Reece Styles was on hand to volley home. 1-1. It was a much more lively start to the second half, with both sides showing a lot more adventure than in the first 45 minutes. Just a minute or so after the equaliser, goal scorer Smart was in again for Bibury but this time could only shoot straight into the arms of a grateful visiting stopper.
The game then settled into a similar pattern to the first half. Neither side able to capitalise on the goal flurry after the restart.
After 73 minutes a long ball from Viney went over the heads of the Bibury back-line. Their keeper was off his line quickly but miscued his clearance which fell to Styles on the right side of the box. he quickly fed Kieran Fabiani on the edge of the area who wasted no time in planting a shot past the stranded keeper and a defender desperately trying to get back to cover. 1-2
After that the home side threw bodies forward in an effort to get an equaliser but the visitors held strong to take the vital three points.
FT Bibury 1 Viney St Swithans 2. The game was ultimately won following a mistake rather than by a piece of individual quality. However, I always have some sympathy for goalkeepers. Outfield players make mistakes all of the time but they rarely lead to a goal. When the last line of defence gets it wrong, it quite often leads to a goal. This, in my opinion, is why you have to be a certain type of character to pull on the gloves.
The win sees Viney jump up to sixth spot, still nine points adrift of third placed Smiths Barometrics but with a game in hand. Bibury remain eighth, sixteen points off third spot but still have more games to play than anyone else, seven in total. Both will need plenty of mistakes from teams above them to make a dent in the promotion spots. Both teams are back in action on Wednesday if you fancy catching a game. Bibury travel to top of the table Stonehouse Town Reserves for a 19:30 kick-off (Oldends Lane is a cracking ground if you've not been). Viney have an 18:30 kick-off at home to Broadwell Amateurs Reserves who are in the relegation zone on goal difference only.
Bibury(Squad): Carter, Cook, Davies, Evans, Harding(c), Jones, Outram, Shannon, Slack, O.Smart, Sutton. Subs: H.Smart, O'Neill
Ground Number: 315