Canvey Island FC
Ground Number: 222
Saturday 13th October 2012
Canvey Island 1-1 Bognor Regis Town
Isthmian League Premier Division
As I had had a few days up north earlier this week with plenty of travelling, I was planning on keeping fairly local for this Saturday's game. Initially, I was planning on going to Banbury v Weymouth to meet a mate, but he couldn't make it, so I looked for an alternative. I was considering Whyteleafe or Corby Town but when I saw that Canvey Island was offering free entry for all Premiership and Football League season ticket holders, I decided on that, even though it wasn't my first choice. It was Non-League day, an idea thought up by a QPR and Harrow Borough fan to promote the non-league game during international weekends. There were all kinds of special events going on, including a 3 match hop in Cheshire and various ticket offers including gaining free entry if you dressed up as a pirate at Bexhill United of the Sussex County League!
I set off around 1PM after watching Soccer AM and getting ready. Well, I say getting ready, I faffed around for ages trying to download a Youtube video to listen to in the car, a random waffle about computers. But after several attempts and half an hour later I gave up and got on my way. I went straight to the ground for once, arriving just before 2.30. As had been promised on the website, I showed my Wycombe season ticket an got in for nowt. So to put a bit of money in the club coffers I bought a programme, a couple of portions of chips, a Bovril and a pennant to add to my collection.
I had seen Bognor Regis Town fairly recently, in an epic 4-4 draw against Godalming Town in last seasons Ryman League Division 1 South playoff semi-final, which eventually went to penalties. Bognor won through, then went on to beat Dulwich Hamlet to progress to the Ryman Premier. The last time I saw Canvey Island was way back in 2006 when they played at Burnham in an FA Cup tie, progressing through in a competition they have a lot of history in, having famously beaten Port Vale and Wigan Athletic in recent years. There was one former Wycombe player for the sides, former sub keeper Ashlee Jones played for the home side, he was with Wycombe in our 08/09 season under Peter Taylor as we won promotion up to League 1 in unconvincing fashion. He went onto deputise at Darlington and Braintree Town amongst others but now seems to have found his level at Ryman Premier. He went on to make some good saves throughout the afternoon.
The game itself started well and Bognor had a lot of the first half. They deservedly took the lead early on, but about 5 minutes later Canvey equalised. Bognor continued to have the better of the first half but it was still level at the break, having been a good first off. I went and got some more pictures of the ground at halftime and also went and got my coat from my car as it was getting pretty chilly. The second half was a different kettle of fish. It was not as open as the first half and Canvey Island had the better of it. There were chances for both sides to win it near the end, but in the end, it stayed 1-1. I'd had another enjoyable day out at a new club and after a fairly simple journey, I arrived home at 6.30. I worked out how much I had spent on my 39 games this season, and it turned out to be £653 - and we are only a couple of months into the season. Still, I have enjoyed it, so I guess it's worth the money.
PARK LANE is a traditional non-league ground and has hosted Conference Football in recent years. I had actually been there before when on the way to a Southend v Wycombe game. The main seated area is at one end of the ground, along the side and reaches the halfway line. Opposite there are a couple of small covered terraces whilst the rest of the ground is open standing. One end of the ground has a very big terrace for this level, and although open offers the best view in the ground The ground certainly has a lot of colour to it and the yellow and blue gives the place a bright and homely feel. The tea bar is pretty decent whilst being unspectacular, same with the bar which has a load of Canvey Island history on the walls and also Sky Sports. The club shop is good as well, I got a pennant for just £3 and there was a large selection of old Canvey programmes at cheap prices.