Due to a distinctly unfavourable forecast for the Birmingham/Black Country area for this afternoon, I change my plans to watch a West Midlands League match and decide instead to head west for the city of Hereford. I am now going to see Westfields take on last years Midland Combination Premier champions, the village side from Brocton, situated close to Stafford.
On arriving at Worcester's Shrub Hill rail station, I find to my dismay that there are engineering works on the Hereford line today. Of course this means I have to take the option of the replacement bus service. This will mean that I will not have much time to explore the city on my arrival as I'm sure the journey will take twice the usual time.
Unfortunately this is the way it pans out but on the plus side, I can take in the glorious country views on the way. As we are nearing Hereford, I think I see where the Bartestree football ground is situated, who play in the West Midlands League and who I'd like to visit in the future.
We are taken to the forecourt of the rail station and I make my way on the 10 minute walk to the city centre. I decide to go to the bus station and there I go in to a nearby cafe and have a breakfast butty.
When I get to the pedestrianised High Street, I find that there are more food stalls than usual and am told by a stall holder that there is a food festival taking place.
I walk to the allpay Park ground of Westfields, which is just past the ground of Lads Club, who have a game that's already started, probably their reserve team who play in the Herefordshire League.
I pay the £6 entrance fee and £1 for the glossy programme. It's sunny at the moment but there are clouds coming our way. Rain wasn't forecast for around here today but you never know?
The Westfields team troop out in their usual claret and blue and visitors Brocton in their green and white. Brocton find themselves at the bottom of the table after 3 games played, so are finding life a bit harder after promotion last season.
When they kick-off with Westfields attacking the end where I'm stood, I'm surprised to see that Dene Whittal-Williams is playing at No.9 rather than his usual central defensive position.
(Dene Whittal-Williams sees an intended cross snapped up by the Brocton keeper)
The dead lock is broken after 14 minutes when the ball is played to Zac Sirrell who cleverly finds space on the right and beating the off-side trap and pulls the ball back for Jamie Cuss to push in to the net.
Just 12 minutes later though, Brocton draw level, when a great cross from the left is met by No.9 Gary Fife, who guides the ball in at the near post.
(Jamie Cuss gains possession near the Brocton goal)
Westfields go close near the end of the half when a left wing cross is met full on the valley by Jamie Cuss and his shot crashes against the cross bar and over. Could have been a spectacular goal!
The weather has deteriorated during the first 45 minutes and we had a brief few minutes of rain near the end. Although it stops during the interval, the oncoming clouds don't bode well.
The second half sees Westfields largely on top but without threatening the Brocton goal. In fact Gary Fife very nearly scores a second but fires over with a fierce shot from a few yards out.
Westfields however gradually get back on top and with their full backs pushing down the flanks are getting more urgent in their efforts to score the winning goal.
The rain has come back too, the conditions adding to the drama of the last stages of the match.
With just 3 minutes to go, the hosts win a free kick on the right. The ball is driven in low, skidding of the wet turf and looks to deflect off a defender before going past the flailing arms of the keeper.
(Here Westfields players celebrate their late second goal)
So Westfields have won the game at the death. They seemed to want it more than their opponents who maybe had settled on holding on for a draw.
It's been a disappointing match, with Westfields looking out of sorts and not the same team that was playing with a free flowing style 2 years ago. The attendance though was an impressive 148.
Brocton I'm sure will improve after their stuttering start but definitely need to improve in attack because from what I saw today, only the experienced Gary Fife looks to be a threat up front.
When I am travelling back to Worcester, the rain soon stops and when the coach is climbing up the side of the Malvern Hills, I can see across Herefordshire over to the Welsh mountains, with the setting sun gleaming out from the rain clouds. We cut through the Hills at Wyche and start on our way down on to Great Malvern. Below us a rainbow is shining and makes me wish I could take a photo of this spectacle from the confines of the coach.
PS. I sent some of my match photos to Brocton, which have been put on their website by their Publicity Officer, Adam Checkley. He also told me that any visiting 'groundhoppers' are always most welcome at the club. Very sociable!