Friday 22 July 2011

Bedfont Town - The Orchard

Bedfont & Feltham FC
The Orchard
Hatton Road
TW14 9QT

0208 890 7264

Ground Number: 166
Thursday 21st July 2011
Bedfont Town 1-1 AFC Wimbledon (2-3 on penalties)
John Morris Memorial Trophy


The club was formed in May 2012 following a merger between Bedfont Town (established as Bedfont Green in 1965) and Feltham (established in 1991 as Feltham & Hounslow Borough). Despite Bedfont plying their trade in the step 4 Southern League Central, it was decided that the new club would take the place of Bedfont Town in the step 6 Combined Counties Division 1, so as to cut down on travelling costs. The changes bought some decent results, two 5th place finishes in their first two seasons. The 2015/16 season saw a runners-up spot, 3 points behind CB Hounslow United and this was good enough for promotion to the Premier. They'd only last at the higher level for one season, finishing second-bottom and some 13 points adrift of safety. Last season saw a hangover with the club finishing in 17th place. In the summer Adam Bessent joined from Staines Lammas who had unfairly been booted out of the league due to ground grading - this despite the venue being good enough to host football at this level for over a decade, but their loss was Bedfont & Feltham's gain. This season has started very well for Bedfont & Feltham as they are currently unbeaten at the top of the league. Getting off to a cracking start helped, an 11-0 thumping of Bagshot earned them the TalkSPORT 2 ' Non-League Team Of The Week' award. A 3-3 draw at Dorking Wanderers reserves was followed up with a 5-0 hammering of Sandhurst Town on Saturday.

In the FA Cup, 2015/16 saw the club's best FA Cup run as they beat London Tigers and AFC Hayes (both after replays) A tough test against AFC Rushden & Diamonds awaited them in the 1st Qualifying Round where the run ended, despite a credible performance in the 2-1 defeat. The FA Vase has proved trickier, the best run being the 1st Round in 2013 where they lost 1-0 at Welwyn Garden City. Local cup wins include the CCL Division 1 Challenge Cup, lifted in 2015 as they beat Worcester Park 4-3 on penalties in the final as well as the Middlesex Premier Cup a year earlier.


I first visited the original Bedfont club on the way back from giving my parents a lift to Heathrow on a non-matchday. As I was taking a photograph of the outside of the ground a bloke pulled into the car park and asked "What the f**k are you doing" This was pretty much the limit of his vocabulary for the whole conversation, with me explaining that all I wanted was a few photos for my own personal collection, not to be used on any site or for commercial purposes. Peppered with bad language he told me he was going to take down my number plate and report me to the police. "Fine" was all I could muster, such was my utter bemusement at how a human being could act like that with 2 young kids in the back of the car. That was in July 2004. So when the original Bedfont club went bust in 2010, I didn't shed too many tears after this experience. Luckily, there was a tenant to move into The Orchard, namely Bedfont Town and also Feltham (the two would merge a couple of years later) 

I drove to the game, giving mates Dale and Paul a lift to keep me company. We got to the ground well in advance of kick off, though I felt that the £8 entrance fee was a bit much for a friendly against a football league teams reserve side.  The game was in memory of John Morris who served both clubs well in the past and died in 2009. AFC Wimbledon, freshly promoted to the Football League named a young squad for the game against a side managed by one of their former heroes, goal ace Kevin Cooper. Chris Bush gave the Dons the lead on 18 minutes with a low shot from inside the area. It was all square on 27 minutes, Gabriel Odunake with a goal on the break for Bedfont. The hosts took the game to Wimbledon and looked the most likely to score, but it remained 1-1 at full-time. The game went straight to a penalty shootout, footage of which is above. Bedfont missed their first three penalties through Harris, Cooper and Savage but Kabuye and O'Sullivan scored their final two. Wimbledon's misses on kicks 2 & 4 by Rose and Dos Santos ensured it went right to the death but with  Reece Jones, goalkeeper Jack Turner and Chris Bush converting successfully, the visitors prevailed 3-2.


Originally, I was going to save my revisit to Bedfont for the following night, as British Airways FC shared there. But hopper unavailability and an upcoming costly weekend led me to scale back my plans and go to the Bedfont & Feltham v Frimley Green match on Tuesday instead, rather than do an extra game. When I checked out the excellent website, I was pleased to see that admission was only £5 and that a digital programme would be available. Most hoppers prefer a paper copy, but for me, they soon take up too much space once you have a few, so I'm not that fussed. The day of the game came and I'd had a reasonable night's sleep on my day off.  I did my usual walk down town before getting a lift back home with my Dad and having lunch. The afternoon was spent researching my next few games - Friday at US Portsmouth v Sholing, Saturday at Bradford City v Wycombe Wanderers and whatever I decide to do on Bank Holiday Monday. I left around 6.40, making good time and getting to Bedfont at 7. After getting some pictures of the outside and going in, I was glad to meet Chesham United supporter and fellow groundhopper Giles and we had a brief chat. Entry was an excellent value £5 as promised and so I caught up online as I waited for kick off. I also had a brief look at the programme on my tablet and noted that Frimley Green had a few players listed that were not in the programme, including a new goalkeeper, which would turn out to make a difference.

The first half saw the hosts start on the front foot and dominate the opening stages, having several chances in the process. Frimley Green did come back into it though and soon had the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out for offside. Bedfont & Feltham soon got back into their stride, hitting the right-hand post around 25 minutes in. It had been a fairly physical game, the Frimley Green keeper had already taken a clattering and soon after there were accusations of spitting, but after consultation with his linesman, the referee saw nothing. On the half-hour mark, the hosts were awarded a penalty. Michael Capon stepped up and hit the effort low to the left but Frimley Green keeper Chris Harris guessed correctly and palmed the ball away. Shortly before halftime, Bedont & Feltham's Georgie Rooke went off with a painful-looking injury and was replaced, but the game was still goalless at the interval. The second half saw more of the same, Bedfont & Feltham having the majority of chances, but Frimley Green dangerous on the break. The finishing wasn't the best but Harris was having an inspired night in goal for the visitors and he produced a great point-blank save to deny Bedfont the lead. There were some lovely moves from both teams most notably for the hosts when Michael Capon smartly cut back to Kyle Russell who came close, firing narrowly high and wide. It had been a physical game, but not overly dirty. It turned sour around 10 minutes from time when a tackle by Ross Nunn sparked a huge melee. Referee Phil Jones had already blown to punish the challenge which took the player as well as the ball but as the players waded into each other, no amount of frantic whistling could stop their bust-up. The result was a yellow and red card apiece, substitute Farhad Mahboudi for Bedfont & Feltham and a player for Frimley Green who I could not identify. There were still chances for both sides, but in the end, despite the attackers best efforts, it ended 0-0.

The game had been the fourth 0-0 draw that I'd seen in ten matches but was anything but dull. Clear man of the match was visiting keeper Chris Harris who kept Bedfont & Feltham at bay. The referee had a tricky job at times, but generally, he kept a lid on things and did well. I guess that's the neutrality that you get as groundhopper, I'm not sure if I'd have been so impartial had it been a Wycombe game. Talking of my own team, they carried on from where they left off on Saturday's poor performance at home to Bristol Rovers by going behind after 4 minutes down at Plymouth. Fortunately, they recovered in the second half to draw 1-1, Matt Bloomfield getting a rare goal and in the end, we really should have won it. It was a good draw, especially against a team whose manager, fans and Twitter account who have been exceptionally bitter in the oast few years. They've constantly moaned about anything and everything they can, seeing fouls where there are none and complaining about the game being stopped while our injured players get treatment. I listened to reports of this and other local games when I left just before 9.50, getting in at 10.25. I stayed up for around half an hour, but as ever, couldn't get to sleep, drifting off around 1 am, meaning I only got a few hours sleep before work the following morning.


THE ORCHARD is a compact and tidy ground which is well maintained and kept. There are 2 small seated stands along each side, the newest of which, The John Morris Stand, opened on the night of my first visit. There are also covered areas behind each goal, but the majority of the ground is open as you would expect at this level. The ground is a not near any pubs that I could remember, but there was a large bar at the ground as well as a tea bar offering a decent choice of food.




1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your positive write-up, and for mentioning the online programme. I decided to put a PDF of the programme online this year, as well as having our usual paper copy available at the gate. Best regards, Rob Healy, programme editor.