As always before I visit a new ground I try to do a little research on the local area and, after consulting Wikipedia, I discovered that Ian Anderson front-man of Jethro Tull, famous for playing the flute whilst balancing on one leg, is (or was) a resident of the village. I didn't see him at the game but that would be one hell of a celebrity supporter and surely Mother Goose would make the perfect walk-on music?
Minety play at Minety Playing Fields which they share with the rugby club, accessed from a service road off Hornbury Hill. There is a reasonable amount of parking within the club and also parking available in the streets close by. There is a good sized clubhouse, not open at the moment of course but the club had erected a tent outside so that they could still serve. There were also food outlets in the car park, one of which had an online menu that you could order from in advance. Signage for the toilets was very clear with an entrance and separate exit, in line with Covid restrictions. The pitch itself, which does slope a little, looked in pretty good shape. All in all, the football club gives an impression of a club way above the level that they play at, which is effectively Step 12. I've certainly been to grounds at a much higher level that did not feel as professional or organised.
Coming into the game Minety, on the back of two wins against Siddington and Tredworth's Division One companions Quedgeley Wanderers Reserves, had already achieved qualification to the Cup knockout round, which gave them the opportunity to give a run out to some of the squad players. Tredworth were in second spot on goal difference from Quedgeley but, with a winnable game against the group's lowest ranked team, Siddington, to come, knew that a result today could see them ultimately top the group and avoid a tricky looking knockout tie at Shrewton United.
Andrew Lincoln, the referee who sparked the title of the last blog, was not officiating this game. However, he was at the game as a spectator and it was very good to have the chance to chat to him throughout the match. It was also very good to meet Rob Needham, coach and match reporter for Minety, who very kindly gave me a Minety FC mug just before kick-off. A very nice gesture, very much appreciated.
The home side started the game quickly and on the front foot. Kicking down the slight slope, they looked very much up for the game. That was until Tredworth showed their higher league class for the first time, breaking with pace down the left flank. A low, hard cross beat everyone except for the Tiger's Lee Smith who was lurking at the back post to open the scoring. 0-1
Going behind didn't seem to phase the home side though, and they continued to play some great football keeping the ball in the visitors half for quite long periods. Despite that though, they rarely posed a serious threat to the Tiger's goal except for one occasion where they were unlucky to see an effort cleared off the line. Maybe I am also being a little unkind on Tredworth too. Although they were not getting as much of the ball, they never really seemed to be too stretched at the back and were very dangerous when they did break. They showed as much on 42 minutes when, after a little scramble in the home box, they thudded an effort off the post.
HT Minety 0 Tredworth Tigers 1. Some great football on show from both sides. Minety look very good on the ball but lacked the final incisive pass to break down a well organised Tredworth defence.
Tigers were on the front foot now and had Minety back-peddling again just a minute later, Smith very unlucky not to get his second goal.
I think it is fair to say that, from this point onwards, it looked unlikely that the home side would get back into the game. Tredworth looked a well prepared side, very solid across the whole pitch, not shy about putting in a tackle (this was definitely the most physical game I had seen in this tournament so far), and certainly didn't look like a team that would let a two goal lead slide. Having said that, Minety were by no means throwing the towel in. They continued to play some very good football and, in my eyes, posed a particular threat when they used the pace and exuberance of Jethro Kingsley out wide.
However, the away side finally made it completely safe on 77 minutes with a goal not too dissimilar from their first. A break down the left flank, a low cross but this time turned in by Mark Ford. 0-3.
FT Minety 0 Tredworth Tigers 3. A very solid performance form Tigers who showed their Division One pedigree when and where it really mattered. They were well organised at the back but were made to work for the win by a much-changed Minety side. There was plenty of good football on show from both sides which produced a lively and enjoyable game to watch. With that and the lovely Spring weather, it felt great to be back out watching football again. Goo luck to both clubs in the remaaindder of the competition.
On a final note, the Wikipedia page for the village of Minety states "It has a primary school and a successful rugby club." I think the author needs to start thinking about changing that to "It has a primary school and successful football & rugby clubs".
Ground Number: 258