Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Staines Town - Wheatsheaf Park

Staines Town FC
Wheatsheaf Park
Wheatsheaf Lane
TW18 2PD

07825 067232
Official Website


Ground Number: 119
Saturday 29th July 2006
Staines Town 2-2 Wycombe Wanderers
Pre-Season Friendly


The club was formed in 1892 and was known under various guises such as Staines, Staines Albany, Staines Lagonda and Staines Vale prior to folding and quickly reforming around 1935. They soon adopted their current monicker and after spells in the Hellenic, Spartan and Athenian leagues, they joined the Isthmian League in 1973. Starting in Division 2, they were champions within two seasons, winning promotion to the soon to be rebadged Premier Division in 1977. They'd remain there until 1984 when they were demoted due to ground grading issues. With the required facilities now in place, they won promotion back as Division 1 champions in 1989. They'd continue to alternate between the two leagues over the next 20 years and would win promotion into the Conference South in 2009, following a runners-up spot and a playoff final victory over Carshalton Athletic. Staines Town would have their best ever finish of 8th in the Conference South in 2014, only to be relegated back to the Isthmian Premier the following season. They've been there ever since, with bottom-half finishes being the order of the day since their return.

In the FA Cup, Staines Town have had a number of notable runs in recent years. They have reached the 2nd round on two occasions - losing 5-0 to Peterborough United in 2007 and Millwall in 2009 after taking the Lions to a replay. These runs included notable wins over Football League opponents in Stockport County and Shrewsbury Town. In 2004, the club reached the 4th Round of the FA Trophy - beating Barking, Croydon Athletic, Burgess Hill Town and Bath City, prior to facing Halifax Town. Despite gaining a 1-1 draw up in Yorkshire, they lost the home replay 3-2. Locally, Staines Town have won a host of local trophies including the Middlesex Senior Cup on ten occasions. Notable people from the town of Staines itself include the fictional character 'Ali G' and EastEnders actress Nina Wadia.


My first visit to Wheatsheaf Park came on Saturday 29th July 2006 as a youthful Wycombe side made its way to Isthmian Premier side Staines Town. With most of the first team squad playing a behind closed doors game at Nottingham Forest, it was left to assistant Ian Culverhouse to take the side. Steve Guppy, Sergio Torres and Stefan Oakes were the sole first-team representatives as 276 fans witnessed a reasonably entertaining 2-2 draw. After Wycombe missed a few early chances, Staines top scorer Ali Chaaban put his side ahead after 14 minutes with a real poachers goal from close range. Staines had an effort ruled out for offside in between two Tom Cadmore goals, both headers from Steve Guppy crosses to see Wycombe lead 2-1. The game then petered out and it looked as if Wycombe would hold on for the win but Pete Castle had other ideas, heading home six minutes from time to make the game all square.

Much better viewing was had on my second visit. This was at the start of the 2011/12 season, again in a friendly. This time the full Wycombe squad made the trip and romped to an emphatic 5-0 victory. Wycombe played 2 completely different teams in each half. The first half side roared into a 4-0 lead, Stuart Beavon, Jesse Kewley-Graham and a brace from Matt McClure were the scorers. It looked like it was going to be a cakewalk as we played a stronger side in the second half, but there was only one further goal, future Liverpool player Jordan Ibe got the best goal of the game, despite only being 15 at the time.

My penultimate visit came a season later. This time it was a mixed Wycombe side that travelled over to Middlesex. Included were trialists Karlton Watson - a defender released by Nottingham Forest who went on to play for Leicester City U23, Telford United and Boston United before dropping out of football. There was also Algerian midfielder Mahrez Bettache who came from Fulham but went on to play for Corinthian Casuals, Hendon and this season, Braintree Town. Reece Hall gave the hosts the lead in the first half, but new Wycombe signing equalised with a rare goal, five minutes into the second period. Grant Basey provided the cross for him to head home and did the same for the man of the match Josh Scowen whose headed gave Wycombe victory eight minutes from time.


I'd failed to find a game on Sunday, which was the first day of my week off from work, so I was keen to go to a game on Monday. With the only new ground being Widnes, it was going to have to be a revisit. After failing to persuade fellow hopper Anwar to come to Dorchester v Salisbury with me, I started to look more local. The FA Youth Cup came up trumps, throwing up a decent looking tie in Staines Town. As with many of my blog entries, I made a rushed write-up as I had around 170 grounds already visited when I started my blog and so a revisit was in order. It was over 5 years since my last visit and with prices a lot cheaper for youth games, it was a good time to make a revisit.  On the day of the game, I was considering walking down town and getting some much-needed exercise. In the end, though, I couldn't be bothered as I had no reason to go down. Instead, I sat at home, catching up on various things, including writing this blog. The afternoon was spent doing various other things, including watching some Youtube videos. 

After having dinner and getting my stuff together, I left just after 6.30. Thankfully, the roads were really good, despite it being the tail end of the rush hour. I got to the ground at 7.15 paying a very reasonable £4 to get in, which included a decent single sheet programme. I've seen a few clubs complain that producing a programme is too much hard work or that they make a loss. Surely something like this, which contains all the essentials is the way forward, cheap to produce and not too much work. I went around getting pictures of the ground, which like many other venues looked and felt a lot better under lights. There were a number of familiar names on the teamsheet. Ones of Staines keepers was Julian Schwarzer, son of former Premiership star Mark. On the bench, the Staines assistant was the former Farnborough player Jim Wigmore whilst for the opponents, the well-known former non-league keeper Les Cleeveley was the manager, with former Wimbledon midfielder Peter Fear amongst his coaching staff.

The visitors took the lead on 7 minutes and it was a goal that would have graced any game with Dominic Timms' shot from the edge of the area. It was all square 4 minutes later when a corner from the right was rifled in at the near post with the shot deflecting in off the unlucky keeper for an own goal. Staines could have gone ahead on 23 minutes, but the goal was ruled out for offside. Carshalton were the better side in the first half and they took the lead just before halftime. A long ball from the goalkeeper was chased by Jeff Youhou, he controlled well and fired a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the area. The game petered out for much of the second half, but Staines were improving. They got the equaliser on 68 minutes, Carshalton's defence failed to clear the ball and Gabriel Piorkowski latched onto the shot and finished from around 10 yards. Staines were well on top by now, but the game looked as if it was heading for extra time. Nathaniel Olawole had other ideas, flicking home a high ball two minutes from time. The visiting keeper did his best to keep it out, but it was ruled to have crossed the line. It had been a decent contest overall and a good value night out. I made my way home, listening to TalkSPORT on the way back, getting in just after 10. I wrote up my blog before watching Corrie and going to bed. I was hoping for a good night's sleep, as I have a late one tomorrow, with a trip up to Cheshire to see Congleton Town play Irlam.


WHEATSHEAF PARK is a smart modern ground and really good for the Conference South. The best view is from the main stand, holding around 300 and offering a good view as it raised above the ground. There is also some covered terracing, holding 800,  while the rest is open standing. There is a bar at the ground, or you can do as I did and buy a couple of cans from the local shop which has a better selection.view There is also a programme shop which has a good selection at just 20p each.


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