A great season for Bishopston United Football Club

The 'A' team

Bishopston United Football have enjoyed a fantastic season. Bishopston Matters is pleased to publish the match report kindly provided below by the team.

Another great season for the Bishopston United under 14’s A and B teams came to a climactic head this week. Both teams had reached their respective Cup finals but for the A’s there was first the question of whether they had clinched the League winner’s title for a second successive season.

With all of their games completed the A’s were sitting pretty in top position but fierce local rivals, Golden Hill Sonics had their final game of the season to play. A win would put them level on points with the A’s, a win by 5 goals would see them as champions. Whilst the A’s had a training session at their home pitch at Redland Green School, one of their coaches, wearing a tightly wound scarf and large dark sunglasses was dispatched to the Sonics’ ground to observe proceedings and report back the ongoing score to the nervous players at home.

The game was going well for the Sonics and they were 4 – 1 up at half time. Timid hearts were pounding  on the 3G astro-turf pitch at the local school – passes were going amiss and the coaches were finding it difficult to maintain the attention of the nervous teenagers as they went about their drills in preparation for Wednesdays cup final against Thornbury Town.

Updates from the Sonics game became more sporadic in nature which added to the tension and sense of unease. Eventually the result came through – Golden Hill had won, but only by a 5-3 scoreline which meant the A’s were champions again! The celebrations promptly followed.

In what can only be described as an ‘interesting’ sporting gesture, 8 of the successful side then waited outside the house of one of their school friends who plays for the Sonics to, ahem, ‘welcome him home’ after the match. Fortunately for all concerned, a family event meant that the welcoming committee never got to meet their intended pray!

Bishopston United was created about 10 years ago by parents of Bishop Road Primary School, who’s children had taken part in the hugely popular ‘Football Crazy’ sessions on Saturday mornings at the school field on Bishop Road. At the time there wasn’t a local side in existence and the boys would have to choose which ‘out of area’ team they wanted to play for. What evolved was an FA Charter Standard club which currently has teams at U16, U14, U13 and U12 level. It has been a stellar year for the Club, with the U16’s recently winning their Cup Final versus local rivals Rockleaze Rangers 3 – 0. The U13’s finished third in their league and the U12’s were league runners up and cup semi finalists.

Many of the year groups are now amalgamations of boys from different local schools, sometimes Sefton Park or as in the case of the U14’s, with Westbury Park Foxes. Both of the U14 teams play in the Bristol Saturday Youth League with matches taking place on Saturday mornings.

The scene was set then for an epic few days for the club. First up was the A’s cup final which was played at Keynsham Town FC. The season’s previous meetings between BUFC and Thornbury had yielded 2 wins to Bishopston to the 1 of Thornbury, it was always likely to be a tense affair.

Bishopston started well but first blood was drawn by Thornbury after a long ball bounced over the head of the Bishopston centre half and the Thornbury striker coolly lobbed the on-rushing keeper and the ball nestled frustratingly in the back of the Bishopston net. The initiative swung Thornbury’s way and with 5 minutes of the half left they scored a deserved second. Half time meant a change of personnel, change of tactics and a change of form. The A’s came out transformed and completely dominated the opening exchanges with Danny Jaffar, Eddie Marshall and Tom Johnson all having good opportunities to reduce the deficit. Alas, as they continued to press another breakaway goal meant their task was all but insurmountable. Up popped Gabe Kerfoot with a smart finish to give fresh hope but despite peppering the Thornbury area for the next 15 minutes the only further scoring was at the other end of the pitch with Thornbury’s Ollie Chappell rounding off a memorable night  for him and Thornbury with his 4th goal of the match to seal a deserved victory. A 4 – 1 defeat was not what the A’s were hoping for and they were unsurprisingly subdued at the after match presentation ceremony.

The 'B' team

Just 2 nights later the B’s stepped forward for their turn in the spotlight as they faced Division B run away champion’s St Andrews at Brislington FC. St Andrews is another team drawn from 2 local schools, this time Ashley Down and Sefton Park.

The first half was a cagey affair with both sides having chances in a disjointed 35 minutes of football as both teams took their time to adjust to the large hard grass pitch with its inherent uneven bounce. Again at half time there was a shuffling of personnel and a change in formation from a 4-5-1 formation to a more conventional 4-4-2 with the intention to put more pressure on St Andrew’s strong defensive line.

Right from the whistle it was one-way traffic and all in United’s favour. Wave after wave of attacks were launched with the more direct approach yielding everything but the eagerly awaited first goal. Both attackers Matt Dilliston and Iwan Hughes had chances and with Joey Gompels,  Rida  Niami Iaa Rossi, and Tom Wistow driving them forward from midfield, it seemed a goal would come at any time. With 15 minutes to play, on came Aidan Slattery to play at right midfield. With 8 minutes remaining it was Aidan who popped up at the right place at the right time on the edge of the 18 yard box. As the ball fell to him his first shot was blocked but the rebound bounced up for him almost at shoulder height. He instinctively adjusted his body position and volleyed the ball toward the goal. A sudden hush descended upon the rowdy United support as all were transfixed by the speedy thunderbolt that had been launched from Aidan’s right boot. A gasp escaped from open mouths as the ball thundered into the bar and then down toward the goal-line…did it cross the line?? Minds instantly flicked to a Lampard Goal for England that was not given…but before heads were held in disappointed hands the ball bounced up again and fell this time convincingly into the corner of the net. The joy was instant and the whole team ran over to congratulate their understated hero.

8 very tense minutes ensued but again, much to the relief of coaches and supporters alike Bishopston continued to dominate possession. The referee seemed to look down at his watch and the put his whistle towards his mouth but no, he had sold a dummy to the crowd as he nonchalantly scratched his nose and what was this, a rare foray into the Bishopston half for St Andrews. Surely not, surely not? The Bishopston keeper Olie Domaille who had been outstanding in the first half, surged from his ground to clear the ball. But no, the attacking player got there first and Ollie could only shepherd him out toward the corner flag. Some fantastic defensive challenges ensued and thankfully, Domaille was comfortably in position when the shot finally came in. Still time for one last attack and what a beautiful attack it turned out to be. Gompels picked the ball up on the left, he slipped it inside to Rida who in turn passed through the channel for Hughes. The Welsh wizard beat one man then burst through into the box his hard left footed shot flew under the St Andrews keeper and almost burst the old ‘onion bag’.

The final whistle followed shortly after the restart with this time a dignified celebration ensuing with full credit given to their worthy opponents. The cup was awarded to the B team Captain Alex Warden who gave an impromptu but very gracious speech and the evening was complete.

A great end to a great season with much to look forward to next year for all at Bishopston United.

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