Thursday, 19 October 2017

Paulton Rovers F.C. - Winterfield Road

Paulton Rovers F.C.
Paulton Rovers F.C.
Winterfield Road Stadium
Winterfield Road
BS39 7RF

Ground Number: 55
Date: Saturday 14th October 2017
Score: Paulton Rovers F.C. 2-3 Sutton United F.C.
Competition: FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round
Attendance: 601

One of the best things about being a supporter of a non-league club is the excitement of possibly getting into the 1st Round of the FA Cup and possibly getting a draw against a League One or Two side and could massively help the finances of your club and this was something that my team (Sutton United) experienced last season as we made it to the 5th Round of the FA Cup and ended up losing 2-0 at home to Arsenal.
After pulling off results against Forest Green Rovers, Dartford, Cheltenham, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United, our club was one of the main talking points of English football last season and now we had the chance to possibly redo it all again but our first opponents in the FA Cup were Paulton Rovers of the Southern League Division One South and West (3 leagues below Sutton). Just before the draw for the 4th Qualifying Round, my fellow groundhopping friend Joseph (runs YouTube Channel `Groundhopping FC`) was talking about who we wanted and he said "would you go Paulton if you got them?" and I said "yes of course".
Funnily enough, we got Paulton away in the draw but I was really happy that we had got them because I wanted an away draw to a team I have never been to before and that is exactly what we got. As soon as the draw was finished, I called my dad and told him who we got in the draw and he as also really happy with the draw and I was very excited for the game but I had just under two weeks until the game. Weirdly the two weeks running up to the game went quite fast but that is probably due to me because focused a lot on college at the moment and time flies when you are distracted.
Sutton beat AFC Fylde at home 3-2 in the National League on Saturday which put us into good spirits for Paulton away next Saturday. The week running up to the game was mainly spent doing coursework in college which was good as it helped me take my mind off the game even though I wasn't massively excited for the game yet. Friday arrived and I was still yet not very excited but I woke up at 6:30am as I had college at 9am and I was doing coursework all day and I finished college at 4:15pm and I got the bus home and by the time I got home, I was starting to get more excited for the game as I didn't have to worry about college this weekend.
I had a quick shower when I got home and then got my things ready as I was going to be sleeping round my dad's tonight. My dad arrived at 7:30pm and we got back to my dads at 8pm and then had some dinner and then watched Birmingham vs Cardiff on TV and Birmingham won 1-0. I then spent some time on my phone and I then spent some time looking into the history of Paulton Rovers F.C. before going to bed.
Paulton Rovers F.C. were founded in 1881 and their nickname is `The Rovers. The club currently play their home games at Winterfield Road, the ground has a capacity of 2,500 and there are 253 seats. The club also currently play in the Southern League Division One South and West. The club originally started out playing in the Western Football League and then were playing in the Somerset County League and the Western League again throughout the 1960's, 70's and 80's. The club had some strong finishes in the 1990's and they were promoted to the Southern League Division One South and West in 2004.
In the 2009/10 season, Paulton made it to the 1st Round of the FA Cup and got drawn at home to Norwich City and the game was televised but Paulton lost 7-0 in front of 2,070 people. At the end of the 2013/14 season, the club managed to get promoted via the play-offs to the Southern League Premier. At the end of the 2015/16 season, Paulton were relegated down to the Southern League Division One South and West which is where they still currently play.

I woke up quite early in the morning at 7am and my dad was still asleep so I went on YouTube on my phone and this helped pass the time and my dad woke up just before 8am. He then went and had a shower and I also had a quick shower after he was finished and we got dressed and then had breakfast which was muffins. We then got all of ours things ready before leaving my dads at 9am. We then drove up the road and picked up our friend Tony and then drove to my Uncle Ben's house and we then drove up to Worcester Park and picked up my Uncle Kevin and his girlfriends son Mikey as they were also coming with us. We drove up to the M25 and stayed on there for about 15 minutes and then joined the M3. Whilst driving along the M3 in convey, we decided to stop in Fleet Services.
I myself got a chocolate frappuccino from Starbucks and my dad got a coffee, Tony got some snacks from WHSmith and Ben, Kevin and Mikey got some breakfast from Burger King. We then left Fleet Services at 10:45am feeling quite confused because Google Maps said it would take us just 2h 30m to get to Paulton and yet we had been on the road for nearly two hours and we were only at Fleet but we continued our journey to the West Country.
We then joined the A303 and we had to quickly stop in the services just before Stonehenge as Mikey needed the toilet but we was back on our way within a few minutes. There was a lot of traffic up by Stonehenge and we was stuck in the traffic for around 15 minutes but it soon cleared. We were in some really deep country roads going towards Paulton and there wasn't a single sign for Paulton. As we continued to drive through the countryside, we started to pass through some towns such as Frome but with about 3 miles to the ground, there was a sign for Paulton Rovers FC and we then saw a couple of signs for Paulton and we finally arrived in the small town of Paulton at 1:35pm after being on the road for over 4 hours.
We parked up and went inside the bar. The bar is very big and has a lot of facilities such as TV which has Sky Sports, dart boards and pool tables and this is everything I look for in a bar. We watched the Liverpool vs Manchester United game and I had a can of coke as they didn't have any coke zero. After having a small drink, we headed into the ground and it cost £2 entry for me which is very reasonable and we then clipped up my flags and then walked round the ground to take some pictures.
Winterfield Road has a capacity of 2,500 and there are 253 seats. The ground has quite a lot of cover and there isn't much open space in the ground and has a very compact feeling. The ground is very traditional and doesn't have many new or modern features. The main stand looks like it was opened some time around WW2 and next to this small and traditional seated stand is a newer stand which holds around 150 seats. Opposite the two seated stands is a covered terrace that is quite narrow and doesn't provide the best view of the pitch. Behind one of the goals is a large covered terrace and behind the other goal is a narrow uncovered terrace. The ground is very good for the level and could definitely fit in the National League South.
After walking round the ground, we went to the tea bar and got something to eat and drink, I went for a cheeseburger and a Dr Pepper which cost around £4. They also sold Paulton Rovers pin badges in the tea bar and seeing as they were only £2, I decided to get one. We then walked round to the covered terrace behind the goal and eat our cheeseburgers. The burger itself was really nice and I would defintely recommend getting a cheeseburger if you ever find yourself at Paulton Rovers. Dan (another Sutton fan) came round and he wanted to put up his 18ft flag as well and seeing as he couldn't climb on the terrace to get it, I volunteered so I climbed up on the terrace and clipped his flag and by the time I had done that, the teams were coming out and there was a loud roar from the 600 or so people inside the ground.
We started chanting as the teams shook hands and both teams clapped their fans and it almost felt like Sutton had took more fans as we had taken at least 200 and it felt like we had outnumbered Paulton away from home but I think the attendance was split from around 60% Paulton fans and 40% Sutton fans. Thankfully, Sutton were kicking towards our end that we had clipped our flags up which was a relief as we didnt have to bother about taking them down, walking round to the other end and clipping them back up.
Sutton started the first half very strong as they were clearly looking like the team that were 3 leagues above Paulton and were creating a lot of chances and were giving Paulton many chances to get into the game. Sutton deservedly took the lead in the 10th minute by winger Kieron Cadogan as he was put through by Craig Eastmond and the U's were 1-0 up and the travelling Sutton loyal went wild. After Sutton going 1-0 up, Paulton seemed to feed on Sutton's confidence and they were awarded a corner which lead to Paulton scoring as they scored from a shot after the ball was passed a few times.
Paulton then seemed to be much back into the game and this wasn't good news for Sutton because Paulton were starting to gain more possession and we were letting them play their style of football and they were looking dangerous. Sutton did have a few chances to go back into the lead but Paulton's goalkeepers kept the score at 1-1.
Half time and it was 1-1 and so far, we were letting Paulton get into the game too much and were letting them play their style of football and we knew that we would have to show them why we are in the National League. We took the flags down and then walked round to the other end which is open and has no cover and I wasn't really looking forward to it because the Sutton loyal would be more spread out and there wouldn't be much of an atmosphere but we kept our spirits high. The fence behind the goal was too high for me to reach and was impossible to climb so my Uncle Ben got my Uncle Kevin on his shoulders and he clipped the flag up and I put my smaller flag on the pitch side barrier and by the time we had set both flags up, the teams were back out ready for the second half.
Sutton started the second half with a lot of confidence and it seemed like Paul Doswell had really motivated them during half time to not let Paulton play their game and it benefited Sutton and Kieron Cadogan got his second goal of the game in the 49th minute and Sutton were showing Paulton why we are the side that are three leagues higher. 5 minutes later, Sutton defender Louis John scored a great header that went right in the bottom corner and with it only being the 54th minute, it seemed like that was game over but it is never game over in the FA Cup.
Sutton continued to dominate the next 15 minutes but Paulton then seemed to start getting back into the game and with only 13 minutes to go, Jamie Butler dropped the ball and Paulton got the ball and rolled into the back of the net and with just over 10 minutes remaining, Paulton had got themselves back into the game. Paulton continued to press on and so did Sutton to try and finish off the game but Paulton were unlucky to find the equaliser and it finished Paulton Rovers 2-3 Sutton United and we were through to the FA Cup 1st Round.
We walked out of the ground feeling very happy that we were in the draw for the next round of the FA Cup. We walked back to the car and then waited for my Uncle Ben as he was parked in the car park inside the ground. We only had to wait 20 seconds but we followed him back down all the country roads and within about an hour we were back at Stonehenge. I was feeling very hungry by now and I really needed the toilet so we stopped in the small services we stopped at earlier and I went to the toilet and then got a Burger King.
I eat my dinner and we then set back off and then joined the M3 and within another hour or so, we was back on the M25 and we got back on the A3 and then we went our separate ways at New Malden. Ben dropped Kevin and Mikey off home whereas we dropped Tony off home and we got back to my dads house at 10:15pm feeling not very tired but we had really enjoyed our day at Paulton Rovers and I would recommend going there if you live within an two hours drive from the ground.
Stadium: 8/10
Bar: 10/10
Food and Drink: 8/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Friendliness: 10/10
Value For Money: 10/10
Overall Rating: 8.3/10

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