Thursday, 29 December 2011

Burnham - The Gore

Burnham FC
The Gore
Wymers Wood Road

01628 668654

Ground Number: 49

Saturday 29th July 2000
Burnham 0-2 Wycombe Wanderers
Pre-Season Friendly


BURNHAM were formed in 1878 and for their early years played in strictly local leagues such as the Wycombe Combination, Reading Combination and Great Western Combination. In 1971 they joined the Hellenic League in its second tier and after two runners-up spots, they were promoted to the Premier Division. The higher level did not faze them and after a series of top-half finishes, they were crowned Hellenic League champions in 1976. Moves to the Athenian and Spartan Leagues followed before a move to the Southern League in 1985 coincided with a merger with Hillingdon Borough to become BURNHAM & HILLINGDON. 

They took Hillingdon's place in the Southern League and their new identity lasted for a couple of seasons before they reverted to their former name. 1988/89 saw their best ever finish of 9th in the then step 3 Southern League Southern Division. Results didn't last though and by 1995 a bottom placed finish saw them relegated back to the Hellenic League. Four seasons were spent here before returning to the Southern League as Hellenic Champions in 1999. They stayed in the Southern League's second tier up until 2013 when they were champions of Division 1 South & West. They spent two seasons in the Southern Premier, although the last few seasons have been a struggle, with a double relegation back to the Hellenic Premier. It's not got much better for Burnham this season, with them bottom of the Hellenic Premier and looking set to drop to step 6 for the first time since the non-league pyramid was established in 1979.

The 2005/06 season saw Burnham's best ever FA Cup run when they reached the 1st Round before losing to that season's Conference champions Aldershot Town. In the FA Trophy, the 1999/2000 season saw their best ever progress in the FA Trophy as they took Conference side Scarborough to a replay before bowing out 6-0. The FA Vase semi-finals were reached in 1982/83 before they lost on 4-2 aggregate to Halesowen Town. There's been a lot of league cups lifted in various competitions as well as the Wycombe Senior Cup and Slough Cup, both on nine occasions. The most well-known player to progress from Burnham in recent times is Ryan Bird who moved to Portsmouth, while former England player Luther Blissett managed the first team briefly this season and is now manager of the under 18's.


My first visit to The Gore was in July 2000. Wycombe's first team were away in Ireland on a pre-season tour, but our reserves were playing at Burnham and so I decided to go. And it was a 2-0 victory for our second string, a goal from Leeyon Pheelan and a Peter Holsgrove penalty were the scorers. I don't remember much about the game, but I do remember watching from the balcony of the old club bar and having a pretty decent view. As well as a couple more games involving Wycombe reserve sides, I also attended a 4th Qualifying Round game there when they beat Canvey Island 2-1 in a replay. This was part of their FA Cup run which ended in the next round with a 3-1 home defeat to Aldershot Town. The other two visits were for low-key Wycombe games - a pre-season friendly and a Berks & Bucks Cup semi-final where we were actually the home side as our reserve team were based at The Gore.


I'd recently discovered the Allied Counties Youth League when trying to figure out how to revisit some of my previously visited ground without using up valuable and limited Tuesdays and Saturdays. I'd already revisited North Greenford and Windsor and had been impressed with the standard and honesty of the football. It was also a more economical and most importantly, convenient way to update my blog. Tonight was the the first of six days of consecutive football games, all being well and I was left with the choice of two options. Burnham triumphed over Uxbridge by the virtue of it being nearer, and also the fact that they were slightly less likely to play Wycombe next pre-season, due to their lower league status. The day of the game was not too bad at work, with me staying on until 2, before going down town to get my car washed and do a few other things that needed doing. I came back and after having a bath and starting this blog, had dinner. After doing some research for my games later in the week, I left home at 7PM.

Like their first team, Burnham's youth side were also not having the best of seasons. That said, they were a long way off being bottom, and given the right run of results, could well still finish in the top half this season. Marlow were sitting in 4th, having had a decent season, but they had played more games than anyone else. It was a decent journey over to Burnham and I got there at 7.35, paying £5 to get in, which was a bit above average for this league. I recognised a couple of the officials - local referee Ernie Moore and linesman Dan Burford who I used to go to Wycombe away games with at one point. 

The game started with hosts Burnham well on top and they took the lead after 15 minutes. My view of the goal wasn't the best as I was up the other end of the ground. They continued to have the upper hand and Marlow's keeper made a good save, tipping the ball around the post to prevent a second. It took the visitors until 33 minutes to have their first real shot on target and when a looping cross was put in, their number 10 headed it home from 6 yards. This changed the game and they were the better side up until half time. They took the lead in the opening minute of the second period. Initially hitting the post, they followed up from close range, despite the best efforts of a home defender on the line. They were on top for a fair while, but like the hosts, they failed to seize the initiative. Burnham started to have a good spell and they got their equaliser on 78 minutes with a low shot from just inside the area. The best goal of the night was saved until last when Burnham retook the lead ten minutes from time. Tyrese Corbin-Chandler ending a mazy run with a confident finish into the bottom left-hand corner.

The result lifted Burnham up to 5th in the table, three points behind the side they defeated tonight and giving the table a really different complexion. The crowd of 29 was split fairly evenly amongst the two sides, with Marlow having the most vocal support. It was a close but entertaining game that I was pleased to have attended.It had only cost me £8 including petrol too. On the way home I listened to the aftermath of Chelsea's 1-0 win over Man U in the FA Cup, but the standout result of the night for me came in this league as bottom side Aylesbury gained their first win of the season with a 7-4 victory over Oxford City. I got in just before 10, typing up my blog, before watching TV in bed.


THE GORE has seen one major redevelopment in my visits there, a main stand with a small capacity but extensive hospitality facilities, which must bring in a decent amount of money for the club. Previously it was a smaller stand with basic facilities. The rest of the ground is open standing, with the exception of a small piece of covered standing on the other side. The bar was pretty smart, with a standard range of drinks, whilst I don't recall any tea bar or club shop details. The overall capacity of the ground is 2,500, with around 200 seats and a further 150 under covered standing.


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