Bristol Rovers V Crawley Town 2nd April 2016

Or: Back to winning ways.

The trouble with Bristol District travel is that occasionally, very occasionally, all buses run to time, connections meet up and the traffic is light. I have learned that it can take anything between 30 minutes and two hours to travel the same 8 mile routes in to town at the same time on the same day of the week. This morning I caught the 10.25 and was in the Triangle in Bristol at 11.12, a full 48 minutes early after a 47 minute journey.

Pre-Match Pubs

Eldon House


I settled outside to play with the internet and watch the world go by for the half hour before opening.  This part of Bristol has a curious mix of student groups walking down to the town from bed sit Clifton and well-to-do locals taking children and animals for good life affirming walks. More oddly, individuals arrived, parked their cars badly, then walked behind the pub and re-emerged 5 minutes or so later and drove away again. One day I will go and check what is going on there; or maybe not.

Ronnie and Bob arrived almost to the stroke of 12. The pub clock was on Landlords time and showed they were two minutes late but I did know better and they were heartily congratulated in the manner that befits those on a sure upward learning curve. We sat outside and continued the speculation regarding the short stay parkers. We then did the full recap of last weekend’s exploits. Their Derby day out sounded wet and fruitful. They of course knew what I had done as they are one of the few who actually read this nonsense. The Ronster had to protest about the report of his football demise but grudgingly agreed that he was well beaten and no more would be said about it. The four handpumps were from the local staples so the least often found Bath Independence (6) was my choice

Hope and Anchor


The reason we chose this part of town was because this pub was holding the second part of the Beer Festival held last week in the Volunteer. We had left over tokens and promissory notes to the value of a few halves to use on their selection of 20 plus beers. The casks were inside and at room temperature. The back garden was firing up for a later barbecue. We settled to the front bar that has taken on much of the air of the Volunteer, being cosy and apparently smaller than in its previous format. The beers were very good and my dark beer selections were Alchemy Borovo Dark (8) and Twisted Oak Slippery Slope (7). As we had allowed extra time I indulged myself with a final Twisted Oak Citra for contrast (6).

The arrangement of tables makes it much easier for cross table chat and so we were engaged with obvious CAMRA beer and pub tickers across the room. The pub entertainment came in the form of a rather brutal welcome to the pub for a couple bringing their dog in after a walk. Unlike the Bag of Cats along the road the fetish here is to encourage dogs to be your friend. This friendliness can, however, have its dangers when fruity affections of the canine variety are not controlled. One suspects the dog population of Clifton may well be increased in the next few months of so. One unhappy customer retreated hastily to the garden.

We too departed when the 2.15 taxi arrived to take the three of us and the later arrived Mumbles to the game.

Bristol Rovers 3 Crawley Town 0; Attendance 8,250 (99 Red Devils)

Crawley made it difficult for 55 minutes by delaying the game at every opportunity and packing the defence so that we went longer than usual to find the front two. What was important though was the back four defending far higher up the pitch than last week and so denying space for Crawley to use. Lockyer was back and it showed.

I was handed the opportunity to vocalise the feelings of my fellow watchers in the West Stand towards the referee. Mr Fred Graham was in full self-important mode but made the rare error of running his diagonals a bit too close to our sometimes critical feedback zone. He certainly heard the kind advice offered as witnessed by his eventual attempt at expressing boredom when directed again to be consistent. In all fairness he was consistent in his poor decision making. He certainly will have a rare collection of bookings as for the second week in a row Chris (I never make a tackle, so how come I get booked) Lines picked up another one. Perhaps he had been chatting before the game with last week’s ref and earmarked Linesy as a thug in midfield.

The best chant of the day was a repeated refrain of “We never score from Corners” after Taylor did so not once, but twice. Liam Lawrence picked out the top corner and did a celebration that involved minimal running, no surprise there then. Damon did an imitation of a jilted Bridegroom as Carol abandoned us to sample the prawn sandwiches above us. The 99 Red Devils didn’t even have a red balloon each to pop as they left. They just trudged off and left us to party in our own way. This was perfectly done in the clubhouse bar. We all knew the league table after the Exeter 2 Plymouth 1 result was announced yet it doesn’t really count until you see it on the Sky Sports T.V. programme. With a rising “wooooaaaah” the table arrived and cheers went up for our, on goal difference, third position. Lord Powell dished out yet more train tickets and then we all moved on.

Entertainment Value (Out of 5): 2

Man of the Match: Tom Lockyer


Drapers Arms

Ronnie now assumed the role of beer selector in chief so he decided I should have the GWB Ruby Porter (5) to follow my Electric Bear Wit (5). The Bear Wit was a passable Wheat Beer that did exactly what a wheat beer does to me. It makes me want to drink more dark beer as a contrast. By now we had joined the remnants of those CAMRA folk not at the members’ weekend in Liverpool. Andy Gray was rather tired, poor chap. and did a passable imitation of Ronnie on a Saturday night crawl by “resting his eyes”. I might well have done the same but for the antics of our Rolls Royce working choir who took every opportunity possible to practice their singing.

Bus to town at 6.25

The Bank

The long term effect of playing five a side football apparently

This is one of the under-rated and less lauded pubs in the centre. The beer is always good and often quite different to that on offer nearby. So it was that we settled to our beers and finished the post-match game dissections. The Prescott Super 6 (6) did a job. The pub was nicely busy and for once the juke box did not interfere with the atmosphere. This was turning in to a pleasant and comfortable evening. I must mention that one member of our foursome couldn’t resist the childish temptation to race us to the pub by taking his alternative route. Having spotted his subterfuge we strolled gently in leaving just enough time for him to buy the beers, Cheers chap!

The White Lion

This was a much earlier visit than usual. The guest ale was a Wickwar Try Time (4). The pub was lacking one who was not welcome as a drinking chum so the boys were happy. I sat outside so that I might spot Rose arriving to take me home and some twenty minutes later she did and I left for home, Casualty and Match of the Day; or at least a sleep through them.

Pub of the day: Hope and Anchor

Beer of the day: Alchemy Borovo Dark

Next up: Northampton Town A Saturday 9th April 2016

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