The Saints play their home games at The Recreation Park in Bradville, a suburb of Milton Keynes. The ground is situated within the New Bradwell Sports Club, a facility shared with the local cricket team. Access to the ground is via a narrow service road which opens up into a small car park adjacent to the club house. From the club house there are two paved pathways that lead across the 50 yards to the football pitch. Around the pitch there are, closest to the club house side, a relatively new changing facility block. Opposite this is the main, an only, stand which has seating for just over 50 people and additional covered standing areas. The dugouts are also on this side of the playing surface. The rest of the ground is given to hard standing which now stretches around about three-quarters of the ground.
Despite recent weather the playing surface, which has a slight slope from left to right as you look from the club house, looked like it had stood up well to the rain. One last detail of the ground and it's surroundings. Just behind the clubhouse and the cricket pitch there is an unusual feature for a football ground, a windmill. A little research into this revealed that Bradwell Windmill, as it is called, has recently been extensively restored and has become operational again after 138 years.
Onto the game in question. Visitors Edgware Town, sitting pretty in second place, had not lost a league game since the second match of the season, a 1-0 home defeat to Buckingham Athletic. The home side, after a rocky start, had been rapidly improving and were on a run of 5 consecutive league victories which had seen them move up the table. It promised to be a good game.
There seemed to be a little confusion about the kick-off time. Having seen it advertised as a 7.30 ko, I got there nice and early only to find that it was actually a 7.45 start. To add to the confusion, when the teams appeared, New Bradwell were wearing their green change colours and Edgware, who normally play in green, were in their yellow and blue change kit.
The game kicked off with the home side playing down the slope. It was apparent from quite early in the game that these two sides were quite
evenly matched. Work rate from both sides was high and there was a good tempo the game even though neither side were managing to muster any real clear cut opportunities. If anything, Edgware seemed to have slightly more pace about their attacking but the home defence was coping admirably with the threat. In fact, despite the away side edging possession, it was New Bradwell who came closest to taking the lead in the first half when a stinging drive from outside the box brought a full stretch save from the Edgware keeper.
Ther referee brough the first 45 minutes to a close with the score still at 0-0. All to play for in the second half.
So, after a trip to the club house and a very welcome, warming, cup of tea it was back out to watch the rest of the game. This time taking up a position on the near side, closer to the home support.
Kicking up the slope the home side seemed to be rejuvenated after the break and immediately were on the attack. Just 5 minutes into the half and they had the lead. Sylvester picked the ball up midway inside the Edgware half, drove forward past a couple of challenges and then let fly from 20 yards sending the ball past the keepers left hand and into the corner of the net. A very nicely taken goal.
The goal lead to an Edgeware response. They pushed forward with much more conviction forcing the home keeper to work much harder than in the first half. However, with about 15 minutes left on the clock, Saints gave away a free-kick on their left flank, just outside the box.
The kick was driven across the box by Adem Ali and, as far as I could see, flew directly into the far corner.
At 1-1 the Edgware tails were up and for the next 5 minutes they pressed hard for a winner. The New Bradwell defence, to their credit, was resolute and weathered the brief storm with some great last ditch tackles and more commanding goalkeeping from Green. As New Bradwell regained some composure they began to mount some counter attacks of their and, on one of these occasions a through ball was gathered by the
Edgware keeper only for Nicholls to follow in with, what looked a very late sliding tackle. From my vantage point I immediately thought it was a red card and, sure enough, after a brief melee the referee sent Nicholls off. The locals were not happy and the player himself seemed to think it was a fair 50-50 challenge but, as a neutral, I thought it was a very late challenge and worthy of the red.
Strangely though it was Saints who seemed to be bolstered by the sending off. Despite their one man deficit they set about taking the game to Edgware with a renewed vigour.
So it was, with just a couple of minutes remaining, Tom Traas swung in a cross from the left wing from which an attacker and defender both threw themselves at. Both missed and the ball continued on it's way, evading the dive of the home keeper and dropping into the far corner.
2-1 to the home side and this is exactly how it stayed. A fine win for New Bradwell who jump up to fifth in the table. Edgware stay in second place a point behind leaders Crawley Green.
All in all, a good night's entertainment. On an evening when all of the talk on the radio was about Liverpool protesting massive ticket price rises, 100 of us watched a good game, played by committed players all for the price of the petrol to get there. That is value for money.
New Bradwell St Peter - @nbspofficial
Edgware Town - @edgwaretownfc