There was ample parking even though there was another game already in progress on the pitch next to Bugbrooke's ground. An interesting set-up greets you when you enter the ground, in the corner diagonally opposite the clubhouse. There is no turnstile, no gate as such, you can just walk in. However, as you walk around towards the club house you will come across a strategically positioned table and a (on this day anyway) jovial local who will take your entrance fee from you (£5). There didn't appear to be a programme available. The clubhouse block runs almost half the length of the pitch and incorporates a bar, tea bar, the changing rooms and a small covered seating area. There is also car parking, for players and staff, behind the goal nearest to the car park (the one you walk behind when you come in). These cars are protected from some stray shots by netting directly behind the goal. There is a similar setup at the end to reduce the number of balls flying out of the ground. The dugouts are opposite the clubhouse on the car park side of the ground.
The first incident and, as it panned out, only real incident of the first half, happened before a ball had been kicked. When the teams made their way to edge of the pitch ready to be lead out, it became clear that they were both wearing white shirts. The away side, Blackstones, didn't have a spare kit with them so a local official made a quick dash to fetch the yellow Bugbrooke away kit. Blackstones quickly changed into this and we kicked off almost 10 minutes behind schedule.
As I said, this incident was pretty much the most exciting thing that happened in the first half. I like to look for positive points in a game but there really wasn't a lot happening. Neither team was stringing any passing moves together and it was almost 15 minutes before there was a meaningful attempt at goal. Even that went harmlessly wide. The Blackstones captain did his best to liven things up by getting involved in some off the ball shenanigans and pretty much kicking anything in a white shirt but even that did not save the half from being a non-event.
The second half was a much better game of football than the first with the home side stepping their game up and trying to move the ball much quicker than they did earlier. The half was only a few minutes old when the home side's better movement paid off. A decent move down the right lead to a searching far post cross which was bravely headed home by the stooping Bugbrooke left-back. He got a bang on the head for his troubles but nothing too bad and was able to continue immediately.
The expected Blackstones fight-back never really materialised and it was the home side who, throughout the second half, continued to play the better football. They should really have scored again and put the game to bed way before they finally did. It was, in fact, into the 90th minute by the time a ball over the top of the defence allowed one of the Bugbrooke midfielders to spring the offside trap and slot home for 2-0.
The home side deserved their victory on the strength of the second half alone but, in truth, this was not the best game of football that I have ever seen.
Bugbrooke St Michael - @bugbrookeUCL