Friday 18 August 2023

Cobham - Reg Madgwick Stadium

Cobham FC
Reg Madgwick Stadium
Leg O' Mutton Field
Downside Bridge Road
KT11 3EP

07850 211165

Ground Number: 270
Friday 3rd May 2013
Colliers Wood United 2-0 Horley Town
Combined Counties League - Premier Division


The club was formed on 5 November 1886 by villagers connected with the local coffee tavern, following the local vicar offering to supply a football. They played in local leagues at first, winning the Kingston & District League in 1929 & 1930 and progressing to the Surrey Intermediate League (Central) and the Surrey Senior League. They often struggled in the latter, but in 1978, the league was renamed the Home Counties League, which was renamed the Combined Counties League the following year. Whilst the league was a single-tier division, finishes ranged from runners-up behind Ash United in 1999 to 21st in 2003. Following their lowest season, a second tier was introduced. Cobham were placed in the Premier Divison but continued to struggle and got relegated in 2009. In 2018, they finished as runners-up behind Worcester Park and were promoted back to the Premier Division. They remain in the top tier to this day, now playing in the regionalised Premier South.

Cobham have had 24 FA Cup campaigns. Their best showing has been four 1st Qualifying Round appearances. In the FA Vase, 2020/21 saw their run as they beat Greenwich Borough, Crawley Down Gatwick, Risborough Rangers, Clapton & Stowmarket Town prior to a 1-0 defeat to Leighton Town in the 5th Round. Local cup wins include the Surrey Intermediate (Central) League Cup in 1934 and 1936. The record attendance came for a 1975 charity match when 2,000 fans turned up. The village of Cobham has a population of 10,000 and is where the Chelsea FC training ground is located.


I was mainly concentrating on clubs from steps 1-4 but had enjoyed a few good games at step 5, not least, the NCEL hop that I did just over a month ago. I knew the Combined Counties League quite well, having watched a fair few AFC Wimbledon games when they were in this league, back in 2003. The clubs must miss AFC Wimbledon's extra fans and revenue that they bought. The league had changed a fair bit since I'd last seen it, but there were still some familiar names in it.  As for the current teams, Colliers Wood were in real danger of relegation if results went against them, but fears would be eased if they could win tonight. Horley meanwhile were in a safe mid-table position and going nowhere division-wise. Guernsey, in 2nd, were in the crazy situation of having to play 4 games in 4 days over the bank holiday weekend, this being due to a large number of postponements due to bad weather.

As it was nearing the end of the season and was a nice sunny day, I decided I would try and find a game to watch. It certainly beat staying in and would be nice to get some fresh air. The only viable option was Colliers Wood United v Horley Town, being played at Cobham FC, because of troubles with their own pitch that had been ongoing for a few months. Actually, it would be my first of 4 days in a row of football, with the Wycombe Wanderers Legends match on Saturday and playoff finals for the Ryman and Southern Leagues on Sunday and Monday. I finished work at lunchtime and spent the afternoon at home. After dinner I left at 6.20 and had a fairly uneventful journey, arriving in Cobham an hour later. After going in and getting a programme, I went to the bar for a Bulmers. By the time I had finished my drink, the teams were just kicking off and so I picked a spot along the side.


Horley were the better side during the first half, but they nearly got big help from the Colliers Wood keeper John McBride. He missed a pass back and the ball rolled right along the goal line before being cleared for a corner. The best entertainment of the first half was watching Horley's Scottish manager Ali Rennie get upset at a number of decisions that the referee was making. To be fair, he had a point, the referee even admitted he had cocked up! The second half was a different story with Colliers Wood starting to play like a side that was doing their best to avoid relegation. Midway through the second half, they got a penalty. After the injury that resulted in the penalty was treated, they converted it to give them the lead. They continued to have the better of the game and sealed the victory on 86 minutes when Mario Embalo lifted the ball over the outcoming keeper. The visitors did have the chance to get one back in the last minute when they came close with a free-kick but it wasn't to be. So with this result, Colliers Wood move 4 points clear of the relegation and that should just about see them safe, barring Hartley Wintney pulling something special out of the bag.

0-0 v Met Police, FA Cup PR, 18/08/23

As with many grounds I'd been to in the early days of my blog, I was keen to revisit to update my blog. I'd only really adopted the current format around 2016, so any grounds before that, I was always open to revisiting and polishing up my blog entries. This was especially true when the FA Cup is thrown into the mix. It would be just over eight years since I had last seen Epsom & Ewell play at Chipstead but lose 4-0 to Erith & Belvedere. I remember the programme was superb and the food was great too. As ever when blogging, I went down a bit of a rabbit hole. Epsom & Ewell left their West Street ground in 1993. It looked like a great venue but is now the site of the Gibraltar Recreation Ground according to the old postcode I found. Though in all likelihood, it was the housing estate right next to it as no remnants of the ground remained. Since leaving, they've shared at Banstead Athletic (1993-2010). I saw them lose 4-2 to Windsor & Eton there in 2004. They'd then moved on to Merstham (2010 - 2012), Chipstead (2012-2020), Leatherhead (2020-22) and now Cobham (2022 - present) They were now further away from home at 12 miles west by road than they had ever been. For a historic club with a lot of stories to tell, that was a real shame and it was a credit to the people behind the scenes that they had kept on going.

Looking at the respective clubs' FA Cup histories, Epsom & Ewell were real veterans, their first campaign was in 1927 and they'd participated well over seventy times. Their best campaign had seen them reach the 1st Round in 1993, losing 4-2 at Clapton Orient before their opponents moved to Leyton and became Leyton Orient. They last made the 1st Qualifying Round in 2012 losing 4-0 at Bognor Regis Town. The 2nd Qualifying Round was last reached in 2000 losing 5-1 at Horsham. 1984 saw them reach the 3rd Qualifying Round and a remarkable 5-4 defeat to Bognor Regis Town. They've suffered quite a few hammerings over the years, the worst in 1945 when they lost 11-0 at Walton & Hersham. Their record win came in 1949 as they beat Guildford 6-0. Metropolitan Police had a far superior FA Cup record having reached the 3rd Round on no less than five occasions. Their last appearance was as recently as 2018 when they lost 2-0 to Newport County. They had reached the 3rd Qualifying Round in the past two seasons. Their worst loss had come in 1932, their first appearance in the first round as they lost 9-0 at Northampton Town. They'd had two 7-0 wins, beating Viking Sports in 1995 and Chessington & Hook United in 2006. They'd also won 8-1 at Chesham United in 1986. The two sides had met five times before in the FA Cup, the most common tie in this round. Metropolitan Police won 5-0 in the first clash, way back in 1946, a Preliminary Round game. They also won 3-0 in a 1987 2nd Qualifying Round clash. The 1954 1st Qualifying Round clash saw Epsom win 2-1 whilst they also won 2-0 in a 1989 Preliminary Round replay after the original game ended 0-0.
Epsom & Ewell had beaten Horsham YMCA 2-1 to get this far. However, their form in the Combined Counties South had not been good. They'd lost both of their games so far 2-1 at Fleet Town and 3-1 to Redhill. Metropolitan Police had taken voluntary relegation to the Southern League D1 Central due to player issues. A level above Epsom & Ewell but they had lost 4-0 to Sutton Common Rovers in their only game so far. The hosts started in a yellow strip whilst the visitors were in blue shirts and black shorts. It was the Met Police who started better, coming close a couple of times early on. Overall, it was a dull first half. the visitors with the vast majority of possession, but very shot-shy. The rain came down in the second half and the hosts spent a lot of time in the visitors half. However, the defence had everything under control. Epsom & Ewell were much quicker going forward and Ade Batula clipped the bar with a speculative shot in added time. But no goals came, but more rain did and I got a soaking walking back to the car.

LEG O' MUTTON FIELD is a decent ground for this level, but would probably need improvements were they to be promoted. On a sunny Friday night, it was a nice place to watch football though. The ground is mainly open standing, with a small area of cover behind one goal. There is a main stand, one of those metal pre-fabricated ones, holding around 100. There is a small bar at the ground which offers cans and bottles, whilst the tea bar is also in this building.


The ground had been named the Reg Madgwick Stadium for many years in memory of a former committee member at Cobham FC. The ground had enjoyed a face-lift and now had two metal seated stands, around 100 capacity in total to tick boxes. A more traditional smaller terrace was still in situ. The ground was fully caged with tea bar and bar outside the ground. No price lists were displayed for either that I could see but it appeared to be simple fayre at fair prices. Parking was around five minutes walk away, in a nearby pay and display which was free after 7. The town was not too far away whilst the train station was a few miles away. Overall the ground was well kept but more functional than anything. For Epsom & Ewell games, entry is £8, a well-presented programme £1.50. 

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