Bishop Sutton FC
Ground Number: 627
Friday 7th October 2016
Bishop Sutton 0-1 Keynsham Town
BISHOP SUTTON AFC - A BRIEF HISTORY
Though football in Bishop Sutton dates back to the early 1900's, this club were formed in 1977. They started out in the Bristol & Avon League, before moving to the Somerset League. In 1991, they joined the Western League, initially in its second tier. They gradually worked their way up the tables, improving season after season and winning promotion as Champions in 1998. Generally they struggled, but they did manage to have a long unbroken spell in the top flight of the Western League. The golden years undoubtedly came between 2010 and 2013 in league terms - 3 top 6 finishes were followed by the Western League Championship in 2012/13, however they chose not to accept promotion. Since then, they have suffered a torrid time with just 6 wins in the last 2 seasons, resulting in their relegation back to Division 1 in 2015. Last season was the low point, finishing bottom of the Western Division 1 and winning twice all season. Fortunately they have already beaten that this season - 3 wins and 2 draws sees them sitting just above the relegation zone in 20th place.
In the FA Cup Bishop Sutton had their best ever run in 2003/04 when they reached the 2nd Qualifying Round. They beat Falmouth & Welton Rovers before a 4-1 defeat to current Southern League side Paulton Rovers. 1995/96 saw them reach the FA Vase 4rd Round with notable victories over Dorking and Bridgwater Town before they lost out to AFC Lymington. Locally, the club were winners oif the Somerset Junior Cup in 1981. Notable residents of Bishops Sutton have included politician Liam Fox and former Wales international Andy Williams who played for Southampton & Swindon Town.
I'd been looking forward to the Western Hop since the inaugural event last year, which was well organised and provided me with a chance to see some games in a league that I've not had much experience in. As ever though, accommodation was not as plentiful or good value as it is in the rest of the country. So I was glad when I checked on Google Maps when the hop was announced and found that Bishop's Sutton was only 60 miles away from home and that I'd be able to go home after the game and thus save on accommodation. However, it turned out I'd been too hasty and searched for the village in Hampshire, rather than the one in Bristol during my initial quick check. It wasn't quite as bad as the hopper who travelled up toEdinburghh expecting to see Hibernian play a European Cup game, only to find a deserted ground and the actual home team being HIBERNIANS of Malta. I relaised my incorrect assumption when starting this blog the night before, and swiftly booked a hotel in nearby Wookey Hole for £40 a night. I could have saved more by booking somewhere with poor reviews, but decided not to take the risk going on some of the reviews on Trip Advisor.
On the day of the game I went down town and got some bits that I needed for the weekend before coming home and having lunch. I chilled for a bit before leaving just after 2pm as I wanted a look around Bristol. More accurately I wanted to go to the Bristol Cider Shop. I got there about 4.30 and though it was good, it was not as big as I'd expected. The same could be said of the Apple Cider boat where I went after putting my purchased bottles in the car. There I had a half of Old Bristolian which was specifically produced for them and was very nice. On the way back to the car I stopped at a takeaway called Snappys Pizza and got a half pound burger and fries. I got back to my car at 5.50 and after a 40 minute drive got to the ground at 6.30. I gave my name to the bloke on the gate and he let me in. Chris and Laurence were not yet there so I had one of the bottles of cider that I'd bought earlier. I also bought a Bishop Sutton pennant for a bargain £3, as well as a large portion of chips for £2.The mobile signal was dreadful, though it did at least mean I'd not be distracted from the game, what with the Internet having circa 1998 speeds.
The game kicked off on time and it was a decent first half, though lack of quality in the final third meant it was goalless at half time. Bishops Sutton had a bucket load of chances in the second half but thanks to a couple of great saves from the keeper and some dodgy finishing, they'd still not broken the deadlock with 15 minutes to go. Keynsham than had a spell of dominance and they too were denied by some timely blocks and smart saves. Right at the death Keynsham grabbed a winner, calmly slotted into the bottom right hand corner from just inside the area. It was very harsh on Bishop Sutton who had made a mockery of the league table and they if anyone deserved the win.
I drove the 10 miles back to the hotel I was staying at in Wookey Hole, arriving at 10pm. The mobile signal was again non existent, so I took a bottle of cider and drank it whilst I used the free WiFi to catch up online. After all that was done I noticed it was 10.40 so I went to the pub across the road as I knew they did Wilkins Cider which was excellent and one I'd not had for ages. Amazingly, despite it being a real real ale mecca it was deserted and I was one of a handful of customers in there and the others looked like staff or hangers on to be honest. About 11 I went back to my room, fetching another bottle of cider from my boot. I watched Coronation Street and some YouTube videos before going to bed at 1am.
LAKEVIEW is a smart and tidy setup, tucked away in the countryside. There were decent food facilities with the chips being great value and a range of other items. Drink wise the bar did Thatchers Gold and Doombar amongst others. Merchandise was available, all at reasonable prices. There is a pub around half a mile from the ground, called The Red Lion and an Indian restaurant next door.
The ground itself has all the standing accommodation on one side. The largest of the 2 stands has around 100 seats and another 50 standing, whilst there is space for another 50 standing in a smaller stand. The rest of the ground is open and very well kept. This friendly club are well worth a visit.