Sunday, 28 October 2018

Clarence Park - St Albans City

St Albans City - Clarence Park

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St Albans City Football Club
Clarence Park
York Road
St Albans


St Albans City Football Club were formed in April 1908. Moving about in various leagues early on in the club's history such as the Herts County and Spartan Leagues, the club's successful period was in the early 1920's. The club won the Isthmian League Premier Division 3 times over that period, winning the title in 1923-24, 1926-27 and 1927-28. Before the Isthmian League title winning days, the club made their 1st record win with a 14-0 win over Aylesbury United in the Spartan League in October 1912. Also 2 years prior to winning their 1st Isthmian League title win, they made history with the most goals in a single match, the club just lost in a FA Cup replay with Dulwich Hamlet in 1922 losing 7-8, with the Saints all-time goalscorer scoring 7 times called Wilfred Minter. Minter went on to score 356 times for the Saints in 362 appearances. The club then remained in the Isthmian League until 2004 when a year before, they had just escaped relegation by 3 points, the club secured a place in the Conference South with a remarkable 4-3 and 5-4 Play-off victories at Heybridge Swifts and Bedford Town respectively. Midway through the following campaign City were rooted to the foot of the table and facing an immediate return to the Isthmian League. Their fortunes changed with the appointment of the experienced Colin Lippiatt, assistant manager to Geoff Chapple during Woking's numerous successes during the 1980s, who moulded a struggling outfit into an attack-minded one that rose to the safety of 14th place. The 2005–06 Conference South season kicked off with two consecutive defeats before Lippiatt's side found their rhythm and ultimately pushed Weymouth for the championship right to the final week of the season. City, scorers of 14 goals more than the second highest scoring team in the Division, had to settle for second place but successfully claimed a place in the Conference by overcoming Histon in the Play-off final in front of 3,175 spectators at Stevenage. St Alban's stay in the Conference National proved to be short lived and after just one season the club has returned to Conference South. The 2007-08 campaign saw the Saints on course for a second successive relegation as two managers, Ritchie Hanlon and then Dave Anderson, were dismissed within the first six months of the season. Former Saints boss Steve Castle returned in January but it was only with the return for a second spell of goalkeeper Paul Bastock that City’s fortunes improved dramatically with relegation avoided during the final week of the season. Castle won the Conference South Manager of the Month award for March while Bastock, after his first six games, collected the Conference South Player of the Month award. The 2013–2014 season was a major success with pre-season signings of the calibre of John Frendo who was the league's top scorer the previous season. After an indifferent start that saw St Albans lose 4 games up to the end of September, it was the arrival of Rambir Marwa in midfield that saw a change in fortunes. St Albans made the FA Cup 1st Round for the 1st time since 2002 losing 8–1 at home to Mansfield Town in front of 3000+ supporters and they also made the FA Trophy 2nd Round losing to eventual winners Cambridge United. A new record of away wins without defeat was also set (16). St Albans finished the season 4th and won the play-offs defeating Chesham United 3–1 in the final in front of 2900 fans. In 2014-15, the club returned to the Conference South and finished 13th. A strong finish in the last few weeks of the season resulted in joint managers, Jimmy Gray and Graham Golds, receiving the league's manager of the month award.


St Albans City 2-0 Welling United
Tuesday 30th October 2018
Vanarama Conference South

I decided with this game a while back whilst scrolling through the fixtures and seeing this one crop up. I remember going to Three Bridges with my Dartford supporting good friend Phil and remember him saying the ground wasn't far from the station, so this was bound to be ticked off in the near future. After seeing great photos of the ground whilst browsing various sites online, I decided to stick with this one. I'd done a decent research on the ground online (Well it's better than grounds I've planned to do in the past haha) St Albans I'd yet to see at any ground as the away team, whilst I've only seen Welling the once, which was in Pre-Season of 2014 against my team of course Gillingham. (You can view Welling's ground here) When I was looking at the table, I only noticed seeing Welling currently top of the Conference South whilst St Albans were in the Play Offs, so had a feeling it might be a good game with a good number of goals in.

On the day of the game, I left home shortly after 5pm. A quick change on the next stop as the train got cancelled, but only had to wait a few minutes, I arrived into London Bridge an hour later. I caught the 6.21pm train from London Bridge towards Bedford and I arrived into St Albans just before 7pm. A 10 minute walk later and I arrived at the ground and took some photos. Tonight's entry was £15 admission with a £2.50 programme which I pretty much expected anyway. I went around the ground and took some photos and browsed through Facebook and Twitter whilst killing a bit of time and also tried to see who was in both teams for this evening's game. After looking at the programme, I noticed an ex Gills player Dean McDonald in Welling's squad, but wasn't in the starting 11. For St Albans only ones I recognised were Clovis Kamdjo who previously played at Barnet, and Ben Herd who previously played for Shrewsbury and Aldershot.


The game was far from a classic which was quite surprising I felt as both teams had been doing fairly well which Welling sitting on top and St Albans just sitting in the Play Offs. St Albans took the lead on 9 minutes when Soloman Sambou was put through in goal only to slot it into the corner past the keeper. For me it looked just offside as you've seen them given, but a nice tidy finish from Sambou to put the hosts in front. With both sides having a number of chances, HT blew with the hosts going into the break 1-0 up. I thought Welling done ok, threatened at times but had a feeling it probably wasn't going to be their night with St Albans doing well to frustrate them. 2nd half and the hosts doubled the lead from a cross from Tom Bender (another one I forgot to mention who I had recognised) and David Moyo slotted it in past the keeper. 20 minutes later and FT with St Albans picking up the 3 points. A great win for the hosts and probably deserved. Welling were ok and you could see why they're top for a reason but tonight wasn't their night and nothing really fell for them. It was one where had they have been there all night, they still wouldn't have scored. Tonight for me was Ground 144 and Game 32 for the season. A great little ground to watch football, although it was freezing, I won't lie!


Clarence Park is the home of St Albans City FC and has been since the club's existence. The ground holds just over 5,000 with around 667 seats. Next to the ground is a cricket ground, with the 1st ever cricket match being played in 1875 when Hertfordshire played Somerset. Also in the 1973 Women's Cricket World Cup, the ground held a women's cricket match between New Zealand Women and Trinidad & Tobago Women. Clarence Park is fairly close to St Albans City railway station, around a 10 minute walk.


Thursday, 18 October 2018

Eden Park Avenue - Beckenham Town

Beckenham Town - Eden Park Avenue

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Beckenham Town Football Club
Eden Park Avenue


The original Beckenham Town were established in the late 19th century, affiliating to the Kent County Football Association in 1887. In 1923, the club joined Division One of the London League and won Division One 5 years later which won them promotion to the Premier Division. However the club finished 2nd bottom in their 1st season in the Premier Division, they ended the 1929-30 season in last place and saw them relegated back to Division One. Following that, with promotion and relegations between Premier Division and Division One, after the club finished bottom of Division One in 1934-35 the club left the League. They had also entered a team into the Kent County Amateur League a few seasons before and continued to play in the Premier Division of the Western Section until rejoining the London League in 1951 where they were placed in the Premier Division. The club remained there for 10 years before joining the Aetolian League. This merged with the London League in 1964 to form the Greater London League which saw Beckenham get placed in Section B. A 5th place finish saw them finish in the League's inaugural season which won them a place in the Premier Division for the 1965-66 season. However, the following season they finished 2nd bottom and were relegated into Division One and the club folded in 1969. 2 years later, the club reformed in 71, and the club were based on the Stanhope Rovers junior team. The club started playing in the South East London Amateur League and  they joined Division Two of the new London Spartan League in 1975. In 1982 the club transferred to Division One of the Kent League which became the Premier Division in 1998. The club finished runners-up in 2005-06 and the Kent League was then renamed to the Southern Counties League in 2013. The club has also won the Kent Senior Trophy in 2014 and their best FA Cup runs have been the 2nd qualifying rounds 3 times, 1992-93, 2010-11 and 2011-12.


Beckenham Town 2-3 Fisher
Wednesday 17th October 2018
Southern Counties East Football League

My 1st visit to Beckenham came in October 2018. I didn't have much choice on this night so it was a fairly easy choice to make. Originally the night before I was thinking about going to Westfield v Ashford Town in the FA Trophy, but then after finding out Gills had arranged a friendly with Sevenoaks and a fiver to get in, with my dad having not been to Sevenoaks's ground before, I thought why not. I hadn't done much research on both teams heading into the game except hearing on Twitter that it was a game you couldn't possibly miss with Beckenham sitting on top of the table and Fisher fairly close being behind them in 4th.

I arrived to the ground shortly after 7pm after a quick change at London Bridge and then onto Eden Park. £8 admission and £1 programme for tonight's game. After looking at both squads, again there wasn't really anyone I recognised except for Beckenham's Nathan Paul who I believe was at Maidstone United for a brief amount of time. After doing my usual thing of going round the ground and taking photos, I took to my spot and stood on the side of the pitch. The game got under way and Fisher raced into a 2 goal lead with goals from Harry Tobin and Mathieu Ramsey putting Fisher in front. Half time came and Fisher head into the break with a deserved 2-0 lead and probably could have been more. I put my tweet up at HT, as I was quite impressed with Fisher's number 11 which turned out to be Mathieu Ramsey, a quick great feet player and not afraid to take anyone on. 2nd half, Beckenham were a completely different side and they pulled one back on early on 46 minutes from Eku Dean, a shot which took a deflection and stood the keeper with no chance to save it. Beckenham equalised a few minutes later from Shameek Farrell, a great run on the left hand side, a ball into the ball and a easy finish from Farrell. Even then Beckenham still had chances as they also hit the bar. Beckenham's hearts broke as with 18 minutes to go as I couldn't see much from the other end but it looked a scramble of a goal and they made it 3-2 thanks to Tunde Aderonmu. A brawl at the end saw Beckenham get a player sent off, and Fisher only to get a booking despite Beckenham's player got fouled, felt the ref bottled that but that's football. Great game for a neutral which saw me tick off ground 143. After the game, problems with the trains saw one get cancelled, but eventually got home shortly after midnight.


The club have been playing at Eden Park Avenue since July 1980 having previously played at Stanhope Grove. The ground has a total capacity of 4,000 with 120 seated and covered. Eden Park train station is the closest to the ground, around a 5 minute walk.


Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Community Stadium - Crowborough Athletic

Crowborough Athletic - Community Stadium

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Crowborough Athletic Football Club
Crowborough Community Stadium
Fermor Road, Aldervale Cottages
East Sussex


Crowborough Athletic Football Club were formed in 1894. They played in the local leagues in the Tunbridge Wells area until the late 70's, when they joined the Sussex County League. In the early 50's, the club settled in their new home of Alderbrook Recreation Ground which is now known as the Community Stadium. Since the early 50's, they have won the Mid-Sussex Senior Charity Cup twice in 1952 and 1954. In 1977-78, the club won the Division Two Cup in the Sussex County League and remained in Division Two until relegation to Division Three in 1983-84. The club were promoted back to Division Two in 1986-87 and in 1992-93, the club were promoted to Division One after title rivals Stamco only needing a point to win the title and were promoted. They then remained in Division One until 1996 when they finished bottom and were relegated back into Division Two. Relegations and promotions occurred from then onwards, the club were promoted to Isthmian Division One South in 2008. However, after the majority of the team left following the withdrawal of financial support from a major benefactor, the club finished bottom in their 1st season and were relegated back to the Sussex County League. In 2014, the club transferred to the Southern Counties League and became members of the Premier Division in 2016 when the league gained a Second Division.


Crowborough Athletic 3-1 Bearsted
Tuesday 9th October 2018
Southern Counties East Football League

After seeing Gillingham's terrific win at Portsmouth who are the League leaders and hadn't lost a game yet, it was back to Groundhopping duties for me. Even though Gillingham were playing, they were only playing in the Checkatrade Trophy against Spurs Under 21's, plus as my boycott of the competition continues, my original game for tonight was going to be Corinthian-Casuals v Whitehawk in the Isthmian League. But as Dad asked me if there was any local or localish games on, I noticed on Kentish Football that Crowborough were at home to Bearsted who funnily enough I watched last Tuesday as they beat Tunbridge Wells at home 3-2. It also is quite funny as well to think my 1st ever visit to Bearsted's ground (which you can see photos of from here) as that night, Bearsted were at home to none other than Crowborough. As it looked a pain to get to by public transport from home to Crowborough, I took the option of getting a lift from home to Crowborough in the car which took no more than 40 minutes. After leaving home shortly after 6.30pm, we arrived in plenty of time at around 7.15pm.

After taking photos, we then went in the ground at £7 admission and a free programme which it wasn't, but the man at the turnstile just let us have it for free, can't complain haha. After going round the ground taking photos, the game then kicked off. 1st half I thought Bearsted had slightly the better half of the game although it was 0-0 at the break. HT came and I went and bought some cheesy chips and put a tweet up on Twitter with my usual HT analysis. Once I had done that, I noticed Dad talking to someone which happened to be another Gills fan living in Crowborough, a very small world indeed. After talking all Gills with him, the 2nd half got under way and Crowborough took the lead after 62 minutes, a free-kick over the top which saw Bearsted's number 5 slice his kick which nearly ended up being an own goal, came off the post and fell easily to Crowborough's Leppard, with an easy finish. The 2nd goal came a few minutes later with a penalty scored right down the middle in the roof of the net. Bearsted pulled 1 back on 82 minutes but Crowborough wrapped the game up with a smart move from Elvis Onyenze, a very quick player indeed who impressed me in the 2nd half and a cool finish to wrap the game up. FT whistle blew and Bearsted's winning run of 8 games comes to an end at Crowborough. 4 goals and still surprisingly haven't seen a 0-0 draw yet haha. Crowborough's ground was ground 142 so far.

Always nice to get a mention from other blogs, you can read up Crows Unofficial report by clicking here.


Crowborough Athletic have been playing at now what is called The Community Stadium since the early 50's. The club did briefly groundshare at Maidstone United's Gallagher Stadium before moving back to the Community Stadium. The ground holds 2,000 with about 150 seats on the side of the pitch. Crowborough train station is the nearest to the ground although hearing it's about a 30 minute walk to the ground. Luckily I got a lift to Crowborough when I went so I wouldn't know usually!