Sunday, 9 December 2018

Winch's Field - Herne Bay

Herne Bay - Winch's Field

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Herne Bay Football Club
Winch's Field
Stanley Gardens
Herne Bay


Herne Bay Football Club were formed in 1886. The 1st League they played was the East Kent League which later on won it 3 times, 1st time being in 1903. They joined Division Two of the Kent League in 1896 and finished bottom 2 years running in 1897 and 1898. They went on to win the East Kent League title four seasons in row between 1901–02 and 1905–06, before re-joining Division Two (East) of the Kent League in 1909. However, they left the league after a single season. They later folded in 1913. After reforming, Herne Bay joined Division Two of the Eastern Section of the Kent County League in 1934. They remained in the division until World War II, playing in the North Division in 1939–40 and the East Division in 1945–46, a season which saw them finish bottom of the table. They were then placed in the North Division in 1946–47, again finishing bottom, and continued in the division in 1947–48 until league reorganisation saw them placed in Division One for the 1948–49 season. In 1953 the club returned to Division Two of the Kent League after moving to their Winch's Field ground, although they were one of only two first teams playing in the division. Herne Bay were Division Two champions in 1954–55 and runners-up the following season, but were not promoted until the end of the 1956–57 season. Their first season in Division One saw them finish bottom of the table. When the Kent League folded in 1959, the club were founder members of the Aetolian League, joining Division One. At the end of the 1963–64, the Aetolian league merged with the London League into the Greater London League, with Herne Bay leaving to join Division Two of the Athenian League instead. They were Division Two champions in 1970–71, earning promotion to Division One. However, after finishing bottom of Division One in 1973–74 the club left to join the reformed Kent League. The 1988–89 season saw Herne Bay finish bottom of the Kent League, but in 1991–92 they were league champions. They were runners-up the following season, before winning a second league title in 1993–94. The club went on to win back-to-back championships in 1996–97 and 1997–98. They finished as runners-up in 2000–01, 2004–05, 2009–10 and 2010–11 before winning the league again in 2011–12, this time earning promotion to Division One South of the Isthmian League. The 2011–12 season also saw the club reach the semi-finals of the FA Vase, eventually losing 4–3 on aggregate to West Auckland Town. 


Herne Bay 1-4 Gillingham
Tuesday 11th December 2018
Kent Senior Cup

After seeing a 1st win for me at Glanford Park on Saturday, another Tuesday game became Ground 147 on a very cold night in Herne Bay as Gills took on Herne Bay in the Quarter Finals of the Kent Senior Cup and successful it was as well. I had only previously watched Herne Bay the once this season at Ramsgate, which turned out to be a thrilling 5-4 win for the Bay. On the day of the game, I went with Dad in the car, after leaving home shortly after 6.15pm, we arrived at the ground around 7.25pm and parked round the corner of the ground.

After taking the usual amount of photos I do, I happened to have met Mr Stat Man himself, Lee who goes home and away with Gills and known him for a number of years now. I discovered this was of course a new ground for him tonight as well, after talking all Gills with him, the game kicked off. The game was a fairly decent watch without sounding biased. We took the lead on 15 minutes from a great finish by Callum Reilly who is one of our 1st teamers currently on suspension after picking up a straight red at Bristol Rovers the other week. Few minutes later and it was 2-0, a great ball in from Reilly himself, and youngster Henry Woods was there to finish to make it 2-0. 2-0 didn't stay 2-0 for long as Herne Bay pulled one back, a cross which should have been dealt with, as the last touch came off a Gills player which looked like to be youngster Ryan Huckle, and Herne Bay were back in the game, but after a quiet spell from then till HT, 3-1 came with a smart finish from Bradley Stevenson. HT came, and I made my way round to the other goal where Gills were shooting. 2nd half was really quiet and not a lot happened, other than we wrapped the game up on 60 minutes as Bradley Stevenson again finished with a lovely chip to make it 4-1 and book ourselves in the semi-finals of the Kent Senior Cup. A very cold night at Winch's Field but a ground ticked off the list. I arrived home shortly before 11pm afterwards.


The club have been playing at Winch's Field since the club reformed in the 1930's. The club had been playing at Memorial Park which apparently had previously been a rubbish tip. The new ground at Winch's Field cost £5,000 to build, and a crowd over 1,000 were in attendance for the 1st game at Winch's Field in August 1953, seeing a 2-2 draw with Tunbridge Wells. The ground holds 3,000 of which 200 is seated and 1,500 under cover. Herne Bay station is the nearest to the ground, around a 10-15 minute walk according to Google Maps.


Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The Carlsberg Stadium - Biggleswade Town

Biggleswade Town - The Carlsberg Stadium

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Biggleswade Town Football Club
The Carlsberg Stadium
Langford Road
SG18 9JT


Biggleswade Town Football Club were formed in 1874, known then as Biggleswade, later becoming known as Biggleswade & District, playing friendlies and cup matches until the late 1890's. In 1902 they were founder members of the Biggleswade and District League, and were its first champions, also winning the Bedfordshire Senior Cup that year. The club went on to win the league twice more before World War I, also playing in the Bedford & District League between 1909 and 1912 and winning one title. In 1920 Biggleswade Town joined the Northamptonshire League, which became the United Counties League in 1934, and won the Bedfordshire Premier Cup in 1922–23 and 1927–28. After World War II the club adopted its current name and joined the Spartan League in 1945. They returned to the UCL in 1951, before switching to the Eastern Counties League in 1955. During their time in the ECL they set the record for biggest away win with a 12–0 victory over Newmarket Town. In 2007–08 Biggleswade Town won the Bedfordshire Premier Cup for a third time, beating Luton Town 3–2 in the final. The following season they won the league title, earning promotion to Division One Midlands of the Southern League. In 2010 the division was renamed Division One Central, and the 2010–11 season saw Biggleswade finish fourth, qualifying for the promotion play-offs and losing 2–0 to Daventry Town in the semi-finals. In 2012–13 they finished fourth again, and in the subsequently play-offs they beat Godalming Town 2–1 in the semi-finals and Rugby Town 3–1 to earn promotion to the Premier Division. In 2014–15 the club reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time, losing 4–1 at Stourbridge.


Biggleswade Town 2-0 Needham Market
Tuesday 4th December 2018
Southern Premier Central

After seeing Gillingham get to the 3rd round of the FA Cup for the 1st time in 7 years on Sunday, it was back to Groundhopping duties for me on Tuesday with a visit to Biggleswade. Again there wasn't too much in choice wise, when this cropped up whilst checking the fixtures, I decided with this one, depending if I could get to the ground via train, and it turned out I could. I left shortly after half 4ish, with 1 change at London Bridge, once I changed at London Bridge, it was a straight Thameslink train from London Bridge to Biggleswade via Stevenage and Hitchin. I arrived to Biggleswade shortly after 7pm and with a quick 10 minute walk to the ground at least, I arrived to the ground not so long afterwards. Tonight's admission was £10 with a £2 programme which was fairly reasonable I thought. I went the ground usually I normally do taking photos and not long afterwards both teams came out.

The game itself probably wasn't the best. Especially the 1st half, it was a fairly scrappy 1st half, both teams not really creating much, with the ball mainly in the middle of the pitch a lot of the time. 2nd half Biggleswade upped their game as they took the lead on 51 minutes, s corner which looped over Needham's players, the ball came back across and Bradley Bell put the hosts in front. The game was done and dusted was Bradley Bell once again put the ball into the net after the original shot by the lad White was saved and Bell put it into the empty net to kill the game off. Needham did have a chance to equalise before Biggleswade killed the game off, but how their number 9 missed, I really don't know. It was basically a 1 on 1 chance. FT blew and it was quite good timing as the game finished at around 9.40, and a quick 10 minute walk back to the station, and I left Biggleswade shortly after 10pm and arrived back into London after 11. 20 minute wait later at London Bridge, I left London and arrived home shortly after midnight. Ground 146 for me tonight at Biggleswade and Game number 42 for the season. 


Biggleswade Town have been playing at Langford Road, or known as The Carlsberg Stadium since the start of the 2008-09 season after playing at their previous ground Fairfield Road, which was shared with a local cricket club. In 2006, the club left Fairfield Road and ground-shared with Bedford United & Valerio whilst the new ground was being built on Langford Road. It is also home to Biggleswade FC as well. The ground has a capacity of 3,000 of which 300 are seated. Biggleswade station is around a 10-15 minute walk to the ground.


Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Arbour Park - Slough Town

Slough Town - Arbour Park

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Slough Town Football Club
Arbour Park
Stoke Road


Slough Town Football Club were formed in 1893 as Slough. The history of the club began when 3 teams, Swifts, Slough Albion and Young Men's Friendly Society formed a new club between them. The team initially played in the Southern Alliance alongside the likes of Spurs and Windsor & Eton before later on moving to the Great Western Suburban League. In 1921, the club attempted to join the Isthmian League but lost out to Wycombe Wanderers in the voting. Instead then, the club joined the Spartan League. In 1936 the owners of the club's ground, The Dolphin Stadium, sold up to a greyhound racing consortium, which ordered the football club to vacate the stadium three years later. After being forced to ground-share with Maidenhead United for several years, the club agreed to a merge with Slough Centre FC. to return to a ground in their home town. The new club took the name Slough United FC. After The Second World War Slough United was reluctant to re-join the Spartan League and led a breakaway movement to form a new league, which became the Corinthian League. It was from this that the club derived its nickname of "The Rebels". Shortly after this the two clubs which had merged to form Slough United separated once again, with the former Slough FC continuing under the new name of Slough Town FC. Slough Town had their first ever league success in 1951, when they won the Corinthian League. For the rest of the fifties they were limited to cup success, winning the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup in 1955, and the Berks & Bucks Benevolent Cup four times. In 1973, Slough Town joined Division 1 of the Isthmian League, and in their first season were promoted to the Premier Division as runners-up. For many years Slough Town had been tenants at the Slough Greyhound Stadium, but in 1974 they were required to leave, so they moved to Wexham Park. Their accumulation of trophies continued, as they won the Isthmian League Cup in 1976, and the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup in 1977. In 1981 they were Isthmian League champions for the first time, completing the double by winning the Isthmian League Cup for the second time. The Berks & Bucks Senior Cup was also won, making this the most successful year in their history. The eighties did not see any more trophy success, but the club did reach the second round of the FA Cup in 1980, 1983, 1986 and 1987. Their finest moment was in 1983, when they beat 3rd Division Millwall in the first round. Their FA Cup success continued, with eight first round appearances in the nineties. The trophy drought ended in 1990 with a second Isthmian League title, and this gained them promotion to the Conference, the top level of non-league football. Slough Town had gained promotion to the Conference, the top level of non-league football, in 1990. The club struggled for a couple of seasons and briefly went into receivership in 1991. They finished an excellent fifth in 1993, but slumped and were relegated the following season. They were promoted straight back to the Conference the next year, despite finishing as runners-up to Enfield in the Isthmian League, because Enfield were unable to take their place in the top flight. The 2017-18 season was one of their best for many years. In December they reached the second round of the FA Cup against Rochdale at home. The game was televised by BT Sport and Slough lost 4-0. With records broken for points attained and goals scored they went on to finish 3rd in the league. Slough were in play off action again. After a home 3-1 win against Kettering Town they played away to King's Lynn Town in the final. By virtue of an 89th minute winner from Manny Williams, they won 2-1 and thus secured promotion to the National League South for the forthcoming season.


Slough Town 1-1 Sutton United (Slough win on penalties 8-7)
Tuesday 20th November 2018
FA Cup 1st Round Replay

My 1st visit to Slough came in November 2018. Originally I was thinking about doing this game anyway before my team Gillingham (should they beat Hartlepool in the FA Cup) got drawn with them. So in some ways it probably was quite fitting we could be playing them in the FA Cup 2nd Round. After doing a bit of planning for the game, as Tuesday came, I left home shortly after half 4 and arrived into London about half past 5. A quick Bakerloo tube ride to Paddington and I left after 6 and arrived into Slough around 6.45.

I arrived to the ground shortly after 7pm and took some photos outside the ground. Awful weather to be precise and I couldn't wait to get into the ground and keep under shelter. Admission for tonight's game was £13 and £2 for a programme which I thought was reasonable enough. Went in the ground and after taking more photos, I went to look to see if there was any food stalls going about. Sadly I didn't see any, but there was a massive food place in the big main stand but annoyingly, the queue was massive and overheard a steward say to someone the queue wasn't going down quickly, so in the end didn't bother queuing up. The game kicked off and Sutton raced into the lead after 12 minutes when Harry Beautyman gave the visitors an early lead and looked a well worked goal too. Sutton had chances to double the lead especially as they hit the bar as well but couldn't convert them and headed into the break in the lead. Slough had a couple of good chances but nothing really threatening I thought. 2nd half got under way and Slough put Sutton under a lot of pressure and finally got the equaliser from 9 minutes to go from a free-kick just outside of the area from James Dobson. Typically as soon as Slough scored I had a feeling it would head into extra time. I didn't stay until all of extra time as I wanted to go and catch my train and not having to rely on other specific trains. As I left just before half time in extra time, as I left Slough back to London Paddington, I was keeping updates via Twitter with the penalty shoot-out and heading Slough won 8-7 on pens. So Slough make it through to the 2nd round of the FA Cup and will either be playing my team Gillingham or Hartlepool United in Round 2. Shortly after that, I arrived home shortly after midnight after ticking off Ground 145.

*UPDATE: As I finish typing this up on Wednesday night, it has been confirmed Gills will be heading to Arbour Park for Round 2 of the FA Cup, so 2 visits in a space of 3 weeks for me haha!


Slough Town 0-1 Gillingham
Sunday 2nd December 2018
FA Cup 2nd Round

My 2nd visit to Arbour Park came in a space of 2-3 weeks. After Gillingham made it through to Round 2 of the FA Cup, and with the game being selected by BBC Extended Highlights, and also the game being on the Sunday, it was only natural I would be going to Slough. I was feeling a bit mixed heading into the game. As Gills picked up a fantastic win on the road at Bristol Rovers in midweek, I was sort of feeling confident but at the same time, as our history against clubs especially in Non-League are woeful over the years, aka Burscough away in 2005, and Brackley Town twice in 2013 and 2016, I wouldn't have been majorly surprised if there was another upset on the cards. Onto the day of the game, originally there was meant to be 5 of us in the car, but ended up being the 3. My Dad, me, Nick, Dave and Nick's mate. As Nick's mate pulled out for unknown reasons, and Dave feeling unwell, it was only us 3 in the car in the end. After getting picked up and leaving home after half 10, we arrived to Slough just before Midday. After grabbing a bite to eat at the burger van, we wandered round the ground and spoke to some Slough supporters who were very welcoming. We also saw a couple of Gills players walking to the ground, and started singing Noel M'bo's song and gave me a handshake which was fairly decent, seemed like a decent bloke too. As time got on, we went in the ground and went to get a fairly decent spot, which in the end didn't matter. As our away end was filling up, was getting slightly annoying as in the end the majority of fans couldn't see the game which was poor. As on the website it was meant to be terracing tickets, as I sort of thought it would be maybe behind the goal, or at least half of it, but sadly this wasn't the case. Luckily the game wasn't up to much cop anyway, a 2nd half goal from Darren Oldaker separated the 2 sides, and a cracking finish it was as well. So we booked our place into Round 3 for the 1st time in 7 years, hopefully a nice little cup run would be superb for us. Other than the view and the game, it was a decent day out overall. We arrived home just before 6ish with another visit to Slough done.


VISIT 1: Slough Town 1-1 Sutton United (Slough win on Pens) 20/11/18 - FA Cup
VISIT 2: Slough Town 0-1 Gillingham 2/12/18 - FA Cup


Slough Town have been playing at Arbour Park since 2016, with their 1st game there with a 2-1 win over Hayes & Yeading. Previously before that, they started the 2016-17 season playing their 1st few games at Beaconsfield Town's Holloways Park. For many years since the early 1930's, they played at the Dolphin Stadium which is just east of the town centre of Slough. From 73 onwards they played at the Wexham Park Stadium and at the end of the 2002-03 season, financial disagreements with the stadium's owners led to the club's eviction. During the next 4 seasons, the club were ground-sharing with Windsor & Eton at their Stag Meadow ground, and then in the summer of 2007, the club agreed a 3 year ground-share with Beaconsfield SYCOB. Arbour Park has a capacity of 2,000 and from Slough railway station to the ground is around a 10-15 minute walk.