Spelthorne Sports FC
Spelthorne Sports Club
296 Staines Road West
Ground Number 457
Tuesday 3rd February 2015
Spelthorne Sports 4-0 Horley Town
Combined Counties Premier
When I started planning fixtures for this week, I had a huge list of 54 possibilities. Basically with the weather being the way it was, I had planned in every game at a ground I had not visited, even including some Welsh ones and others as far away as Marine. But these plans were severely cut back when Anwar text me to say that he could not make it due to family commitments. As the weather was poor anyway, I decided to save money and eat at home. This meant that my choice was down to one game realistically - Spelthorne Sports v Horley Town in the Combined Counties League, and I was fully expecting a night in on a Tuesday for the first time since June.
Spelthorne Sports were formed in 1922 but played in local leagues up until 2011 when they joined the Combined Counties League at Division 1 level, which is step 6 of the non league Pyramid. They adapted well, finishing 7th and 6th in their first 2 seasons. It was last season that they won Division 1, going unbeaten for the whole campaign and winning 22 out of their 30 league games. That was part of an incredible 46 match unbeaten run which came to an end when they lost to higher league Hanworth Villa in the final of the Combined Counties League Challenge Cup. Not that this detracted from a great season with them winning both the Middlesex Intermediate Cup and the CCL Division 1 Challenge Cup.
This season had seen them start well and they were just above mid table in the league which is decent progress considering recent history. They also made their debut in the FA Vase, beating Bedfordshire side Langford in a replay. They then faced Risborough Rangers beating them 2-1. Ther first round proved their limit though as Sussex side Pagham disposed of them 2-1 to end their mini cup run. They won their first 7 league games too, but have since fallen away.
On the day of the game I woke up at 9am after a good nights sleep. Though it was my day off from work, I still had some casual work to do, and for this I had to go to Tesco in Amersham and go and check some prices of various things. I also bought a few things, but they didn't have all the things I wanted so I went down Wycombe. I spent the afternoon at home, checking Twitter, but there was no news from either club, even when I tweeted them. Horley Town were usually reasonable at updating their Twitter, but Spelthorne had not posted for weeks. Luckily a player called Ashley Nadison for Horley spotted my tweet and let me know that the game was on. I was still sceptical that it would go ahead with falling temperatures forecast.
I had my dinner of Spaghetti Bolognese before checking Twitter one last time, getting my stuff together and leaving at 6.20. My Sat Nav said I would get there around 7, and it was right, even the M25 was clear, when normally whatever time you go, you get stuck around Heathrow Airport. Soon enough I was near the ground, and was really pleased to see the floodlights lighting up the night Sky. Night matches are always special, but it was even more of a welcome sight on a night like this.
I found myself a parking space and walked to the ground, paying my entry and getting a programme from a friendly man on the gate. Normally I'd say that £7 was a quid or 2 too much for step 5, but on a night like this, I was just glad to get a game in. Also I appreciate that running costs for clubs are ever rising, and with fairly small crowds, they need to get the money from somewhere. As for the programme, there was not a huge amount to read, but it had all the essentials. It was also printed on nice quality paper and was worth the quid I paid for it. After I had gone round and got some pictures, I found a place in the covered side stand and checked my phone for Facebook updates while I waited for the game to start.
The game started with the lower placed visitors seizing the initiative and taking the game to the hosts, but it was Spelthorne who took the lead on 19 minutes when their player ran though the defence before slotting past the keeper. This bought them into the game more but it was still Horley that were edging it. The game reached it's decisive point on 42 minutes when a soft penalty was awarded. It looked nothing more than 2 players coming together but the referee and linesman both agreed that there was an infringement and the spot kick was duly converted.
At half time I dropped my stuff back at my car and went in the bar to keep warm and watch 10 minutes of the Man U v Cambridge FA Cup game. I then went back into the ground and retook my place for the second half. The second goal really seemed to have knocked the stuffing out of Horley team and from here on in it was pretty much an easy victory for Spelthorne. They were unlucky not to make it 3 right after the break when the keeper flapped at a corner and the ball was scrambled away. They did increase their lead on 52 minutes with a curling shot from just inside the area. Horley's night went from bad to worse on the hour mark when they had a player stretchered off with a suspected fracture and gashed leg. An ambulance even had to be called to take him away at the end of the game. Their misery was complete on 83 minutes when Spelthorne got their 4th after a goalmouth scramble.
It had been a decent night's viewing, even if it wasn't a thriller. I went back to my car and drove home, listening to the football on the way back. I made good time and got back by 10.10. I watched some Youtube videos and some TV before getting to bed just before midnight, which was a bit earlier than usual after coming back from a groundhop.
SPELTHORNE SPORTS CLUB is a basic but well kept venue. It is mainly open, with only 2 areas of cover. There is some covered standing along the side that could probably hold 100 at a push. The seating area is behind the goal and isn't your typical Arena type stand. It holds around 50 and is made out of wood making it really nice to look at.
The tea bar offers the usual range of stuff, as does the clubhouse. It is warm and pleasant in there though and has BT Sport and Sky Sports for the live footy. Overall I'd recommend a visit here, especially if the weather is bad, as their pitch seems to hold up really well.