I arrived in Bristol to light rain but it was evident that it had been raining for some time because of the deep puddles dotted around the ground.
Being my first trip to Ashton Gate I was eager to get inside and find out what it was like. ‘The Gate’ is an impressive Stadium with large seating stands on each side. But if you looked closely you could see that the stands didn’t go up evenly. Therefore you had a steep section then a flat one.
The Notts fans were housed behind one of the goals. Around 200 travelling fans occupied the seats – which had no backs I might add! – Hoping the Pies would be the team to end the homeside’s run of 7 straight wins in all competitions.
There were spells when Notts tried to pass it around but they were soon let down by stray or slack passing.
City had the better of the early chances with Aaron Brown heading wide in front of a virtually open goal on 8 minutes.
Notts did manage to open up the City defence on a few occasions but none good enough to result in Notts taking the lead. Stallard had the best chance when he should have chipped the advancing keeper but instead had a shot which was parried across the face of the goal.
Then just before the break Notts got what they wanted – a goal. Heffernan got the ball in the box then twisted through a few players before putting a shot past the home keeper.
So the teams went in at half time soaking wet, but Notts were the happiest… they were in the lead!
As half time went on it was looking increasingly likely that the match would be abandoned as the rain kept falling and puddles were appearing everywhere on the pitch. But to everyone’s surprise the teams started the second half.
It soon became clear, however, that the referee would probably have second thoughts about calling it off. The ball wasn’t rolling and was more like floating around on the sodden pitch.
After just 3 minutes the game was halted and the teams taken inside. It was decided that they would check 10 minutes later to see if conditions had improved, but realistically there was no way the game could carry on.
Sure enough it was decided that a replay was the best option. Even though I’m sure the Notts team (and fans!) would have wanted to carry on the match that they were winning because there are not many times that you will be in front against Bristol City.
On the way out we were all issued with vouchers entitling us to come to the replay for half price, but I would imagine a lot of those fans wouldn’t make the trek again on a Tuesday night when the fixture is rearranged.