Waltham Abbey FC
Ground Number: 285
Tuesday 30th July 2013
Waltham Abbey 1-1 Chesham United
WALTHAM ABBEY FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was established in 1944 as an amalgamation of two youth sides that played football during the Second World War. A further partnership followed as the team played in local football, joining the London Spartan League, and winning Division 1 at the first attempt, Various changes happened but a bad season during 2000/01 saw them resign from the league in April. They were forced to step down to the lowly London Intermediate League where they struggled. Even so, they were admitted to the Essex Senior League for the 2002/03 season. By 2006, they were runners-up to AFC Hornchurch, winning promotion to the Isthmian League D1 North. 2009 saw a 4th place finish and victories over Brentwood Town and Concord Rangers to reach the Isthmian Premier. They'd last one season, finishing second-bottom. Since then, they have been at step 4, generally in mid-table. Firstly in the Isthmian D1 North and for the last two seasons in the Southern D1 Central.
The 2014/15 season saw Waltham Abbey enjoy their best FA Cup run. They beat Cockfosters, Barkingside and North Greenford United before a narrow 2-1 defeat at Harrow Borough in the 3rd Qualifying Round. In the other FA Competitions, the club reached the 2nd Round of the FA Vase in 1997 and the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy in 2021. Local honours include the Essex Junior Cup in 1976, the London Senior Cup in 1999 and the Ray Bailey Memorial Cup in 1995 & 1997. 2005 was a special year as Waltham Abbey won the Essex Senior League Cup, the Gordon Brasted Trophy and the Middlesex Millenium Cup as well as gaining promotion. The town of Waltham Abbey has a population of just over 22,000 and is located near Epping Forest. The most famous person from the area is Portsmouth defender Connor Ogilvie.
MY FIRST VISIT
For about a week before this game, I had been planning on going to Merstham v Metropolitan Police, seeing that the club had been offering free entry. But then on the morning of the game, I saw that Waltham Abbey v Chesham United was also free to get in. I had no real preference between the 2 games, but I could get my usual companion Anwar to help out with petrol to Waltham Abbey, even though it would add around 20 miles to the journey. I'd enjoy the company as usual and it would help with keeping my costs down as well. I texted him to see if he was up for it, he replied in the affirmative and so I decided to go there. I spent the rest of the day relaxing at home, apart from a quick trip down Wycombe with my Dad where I bought some diet Irn Bru for tonight and got completely soaked as the rain was hammering it down. After a dinner of Chilli Con Carne, I left home at 5.45, picking up Anwar in Aylesbury at 6.15. We had an unexpected extra guest in Ben, a good mate who lives in Chesham and who wanted to see his local team play. We picked him up in Chesham at around 6.40 and were soon on our way to the game.
We arrived at 7.25 after a trouble-free journey on the M25 for once. We checked out the clubhouse and then went into the ground and got some pictures. There were no programmes or teamsheets as expected, but it was disappointing not to have any tannoy announcements. I was glad that free entry was offered as promised and after a grotty day, it was a pleasant warm summer evening to watch football. The first half was all Waltham Abbey and they looked to be a really decent side apart from their keeper. It was his mistake that led to Chesham's number 9 seeing his cross going straight in as the glovesman flapped at it. The goal was against the run of play and Waltham Abbey got back on level terms on 43 minutes. A player was felled in the area and from the resulting penalty was put straight down the middle by their number 9. Chesham had a goal disallowed before halftime in what was an entertaining first period. The second half still saw some decent football but with not as many chances as the first. In the end, my pre-match prediction was correct and it finished all square. The highlight of the second half was a bit of handbags after both players went for a ball too high and it resulted in a minor injury. There was an entertaining scuffle, which is always good to see, such is its rarity. It was another easy drive home and after dropping the lads off I was back home just after 11.
MY SECOND VISIT
2-1 v Edgware & Kingsbury (FA Cup EP Replay 08/08/23)
2-1 v Edgware & Kingsbury (FA Cup EP Replay 08/08/23)
Since my last blog entry, I've seen a few games. I'd been looking to cut down on my travelling so I took a stroll down my second nearest club, Penn & Tylers Green on Tuesday. It was (hopefully) my final Friendly of the season and I'd lost interest by the end as Uxbridge easily won 4-0. Then on Friday, it was the start of the FA Cup. Again, I went for the most local, this time Edgware & Kingsbury v Waltham Abbey. It was a horrible journey for the last stretch, average speed cameras galore through some right slums, It was not the nicest ground, the vast majority of branding was for Hendon FC and any mention of Edgware was using their old Edgware Town badge. A poor cider, Magners was a fiver a bottle and some guy spent the whole match abusing Waltham Abbey, taking up prime position behind the goal they were attacking to do so. But my overall feeling was of positivity for the night. Entry was a reasonable £7 and it was a good game alongside a few people I knew. On the pitch, it was Edgware & Kingsbury (last season 6th at step 5) v Waltham Abbey (last season 11th at step 4). It was a good contest on the pitch, with Edgware more than holding their own and taking the lead on 24 minutes through Emerson Dju's low finish. They looked to have won it but in the end, an equaliser in the 13th minute of injury time by Elliott Sartorius meant it went to a replay. It looked to be a spectacular strike from the other end of the pitch, although Twitter noted a deflection. Either way, I'd be interested in seeing a video if it emerges. The replay would certainly be considered as I've not been to Waltham Abbey in a decade.
In the end, despite strong competition from Fakenham Town, I opted for Waltham Abbey. This was partly due to me not fancying a long journey and partly due to me wanting to see the conclusion of the tie that I'd watched on Friday night. It was a rubbish weekend apart from that with Wycombe losing 3-0 to Exeter City in an awful performance, followed by the usual hard Sunday at work. Monday was even worse with another driver going into my car and driving off without exchanging details. It meant an evening phoning insurers and a £350 excess bill. The day of the game, I was off work and I walked down Wycombe and reported the incident at the police station as their online form was not working. I was made to feel like a criminal by the desk sergeant for not capturing the other car's number place but I had fulfilled my legal obligation. I got a few nice bits before walking back, both ways with lots of rain as seems to be the trend recently. I had a dinner of pizza before leaving home at 6. It was a reasonable journey over with me arriving an hour later. I got some pictures of the outside before going in. Entry was £10 as is becoming commonplace at this level. Irritatingly, it was cash only but I scraped enough together. A thin programme is £2 but I got the last one. Sadly I didn't get one in the original game and Edgware & Kingsbury failed to reply to my Tweet asking for a digital or paid printed copy. I met fellow hopper Richard who was also doing a revisit, he had come over from Aylesbury. I whiled away the time before kickoff by typing this blog and sorting photos.
A security camera provided an annoying soundtrack to the game as it squawked away behind fans as they stood on the far, raised side which offered the best view of the action. As per last time, Edgware and Kingsbury made a bright start. Waltham Abbey had their chances too, with a thunderous long-range shot producing a great save from the visiting keeper. It looked like they had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out. The hosts were enjoying a good spell, but it was a real end-to-end game. Asher Silverman sustained an injury for Waltham Abbey, having to come off and go to A&E. Hopefully not too serious but by now his team were well in control and were a goalmouth scramble away from taking the lead on 28 minutes. As in the first game, Emerson Dju opened the scoring for Edgware as he was on the end of a good breakaway move on 36 minutes, rounding the keeper before slotting the ball into the net. Harrison Walker limped off for the hosts near the end and seven minutes of injury time were played. Emerson Dju went off for the visitors as the damp pitch made the ball zip around more easily but with the potential for mistakes. Waltham Abbey finally got their equaliser on 52 minutes, a great ball from the right found Ben Baker who lashed into the empty net from ten yards out. Edgware were defending stoutly and having some chances on the break, a typical gutsy underdogs performance. Waltham Abbey were always on top though and they got a late goal on 88 minutes as Aaron Eyoma fired home from the edge of the area past the despairing keeper's dive. The visitors had a late rally but their luck was out.
The attendance was 220 on a wet but mild evening. It had been a compelling contest but I think Edgware and Kingsbury missed out in the first game, certainly their chances were hampered when Dju went off. They'd done themselves proud over the two games though. I left at 9.50 and had a reasonable journey home. The M25 was apparently closed two junctions before I was due to get off but it was a bit half-arsed. It was partially coned and there were red X's on the lanes. Some went through these but I wasn't taking any chances with all the cameras they have. As it happened, I was able to come off and go straight back on and after another diversion, was home an hour later. Wycombe had won 2-0 at Milton Keynes in the League Cup after their weekend disaster. The FA Cup results were well hidden on the FA site but a notable cupset was step 6 Okehampton Argyle winning 2-0 at higher league Brixham.THE GROUND
CAPPERSHOTS has been tidied up a bit since I last went to take pictures. It's one of the older and more traditional grounds out there. There are 3 areas of cover. A stand holding around 200 that looks a bit odd with blue seats. I'd imagine that they came from another ground or they got them at a good price. It's certainly something a bit different to the proliferation of pre-fabricated metal stands that you see almost everywhere now. The other 2 areas are covered terracing, holding another 5-600. The steps on the one behind the goal are really steep, which is handy for short people like me! There is further terracing at various points around the ground.
There is a pretty standard clubhouse for this level, which has Sky. There is also a small range of stuff for sale in the bar, including keyrings, badges and ski hats. The best thing is the tea bar. They do a great range of stuff including Chinese Chicken, steak rolls, plus the usual fare. It's nice to see some clubs put some imagination into what they offer. Overall, I'd recommend coming here. The people were friendly and it's a good ground to visit. I think they only get double figures for league games, and there were only around 50 people when I went, despite the free entry. The club deserves better and the local population should drag themselves off their sofas and come down and watch some proper football, instead of sitting and watching the footy on Sky.
2023 GROUND UPDATE
CAPPERSHOTS had seen some nice updates since my last visit. I also learned that the seats in their stand came from Manchester City's old Maine Road ground. The ground had been smartened up and given some licks of paint. There were also a couple of new metal stands, one seating and one standing. The bar had been smartened up and a smart electronic scoreboard was added. This was very useful, offering details of substitutions and scorers as well as a clock. Elsewhere, the tea bar had scaled back its range slightly but still offered a decent choice at good value prices.