Tuesday 7 February 2023

Chertsey Town - Alwyns Lane

Chertsey Town FC
Alwyns Lane
KT16 9DW

01932 561774
Official Website

Ground Number: 255
Tuesday 19th March 2013
Chertsey Town 3-2 Northwood
Southern League - Division 1 Central


The club was established in 1890 as Chertsey FC, adding the 'Town' suffix in 1951. They played their early years in local leagues such as the West Surrey League and Surrey Intermediate League. Following the end of the Second World War, they joined the Surrey Senior League, winning it in 1959, 1961 & 1962. The club turned semi-pro and had short spells in the Metropolitan and Greater London Leagues. They then joined the Spartan League in 1967, not really tasting success until 1975 when they finished as runners-up to Farnborough Town. They then had a spell in the Athenian League before a single season in the Combined Counties League, finishing as runners-up to British Aerospace (Weybridge). A move to the Isthmian League Division 2 South followed but they were placed in Division 3 in 1991 following reorganisation.

They bounced back straight away as runners-up to Edgware Town and then came second to Newbury Town in 1994 after amassing 102 points. A 3rd place finish behind Worthing and Boreham Wood saw a third promotion in four years in 1995. The 15th-place Isthmian Premier finish a year later was the best in the club's history, with it sitting at step 2 of non-league at the time. They soon suffered a loss of form, being relegated in 1997 and 2000 to find themselves in Division 2. Aside from a single season in Division 1 South, they remained there until 2006 when the Division was dropped and Chertsey Town joined the Combined Counties League Premier. They were runners-up to North Greenford United in 2010 and Guildford City a year later. After the latter finish, they were promoted to the Southern League D1 Central. Three unsuccessful seasons were spent there before they were relegated back to the CCL. They were champions in 2019, this time going up to the Isthmian League D1 South Central. Last season they finished as runners-up to Bracknell Town, beating Basingstoke Town in the playoff semi-finals but losing to Hanwell Town in the final. This season sees them making another charge for promotion.

The club's best season in the FA Cup came in 2021. They started out with a 4-1 win at Lingfield before a 4-0 win at Erith & Belvedere. A 1-0 home win over Chesham United followed, who played a step above them. A 1-0 win at Jersey Bulls set up a 4th Qualifying Round tie at Southend United where they lost 4-1. Four times the FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round was reached and reached the FA Vase Quarter Finals in 1988 (losing to Bashley) and 1992 (losing to Bamber Bridge). They won the FA Vase in 2021. Woodley United, Tadley Calleva, Flackwell Heath, Horndean, Redbridge, AFC St Austell, Irlam, West Auckland Town and Northwich Victoria on the way to the final. On 19 May 2019, Chertsey Town earned a 3–1 victory against Cray Valley Paper Mills. After going a goal down in the first half, Sam Flegg quickly responded before Jake Baxter and Quincy Rowe sealed the win in extra time in front of 42,962 spectators.

Local cup wins include the Combined Counties League Cup in 1986, the Isthmian League Cup in 1994, the Southern Combination Challenge Cup in 1999, the Surrey Senior League Challenge Cup twice and the Surrey Junior Cup in 1897. The club record attendance was 2,150 against Aldershot Town for an Isthmian League Division Two game on 4th December 1993. The town of Chertsey is located in Surrey and has a population of around 16,000. Famous people from the town include actress Gemma Bissix and Dan & Justin Hawkins of The Darkness. Chesney Hawkes also lived in the town when he penned his 1991 hit 'The One & Only'.


After a shocking Saturday, football-wise, I would be glad to be getting to a game tonight. It turned out to be my first Saturday without football since June 26th - before the season started. The nightmare started just after 11am on Saturday when the shocking news came through that the Wycombe game had been postponed. It was the only game in the entire Football League to be postponed and below in the Blue Square Premier, the only other one to go was at Newport - where another Rugby team played. You see, as well as the dreadful weather and endless winter that has gone on, London Wasps are also partly to blame. 30 huge rugby players tearing up the pitch with their second-rate sport had totally buggered the pitch - you could clearly see the damaged areas were the ones that were waterlogged. In fact, our pitch looks pretty shabby and has prevented the team from playing it on the deck on occasion, which is far more effective for us. In fact, Wasps have been a disaster for Wycombe Wanderers FC ever since they set foot in Wycombe. When they came in 2002, after QPR no longer wanted to house them (this was due to Fulham needing a groundshare while they rebuilt Craven Cottage) they were billed as being no trouble to the club and providing valuable extra revenue to help out Wycombe's finances. And at the time, I worked down the ground on matchdays and so the extra cash did not go amiss for me personally. But looking back, it has been very bad for the club. They have taken a large chunk of Wycombe's support. At first, fans still came back to Wycombe occasionally, but as the financial situation worsens across the UK, it was one or the other, and many chose Wasps over Wycombe. Maybe not surprising as when they first came, we were playing some dreadful stuff in the latter days of Lawrie Sanchez's reign, and then under Tony Adams. And there was the case of one of our games against Morecambe being moved to a Friday night, as Wasps wanted it for live TV coverage on Saturday - so we had to play second fiddle to our tenants on that occasion. And fast forward to the current day. Recently the club/supporters trust admitted that there was no advantage to having Wasps here and that we were making no money out of it. And to put the cherry on the cake, there is the latest case of Wasps' unpaid rent - reported to be up to £200K in some places, whilst the football club struggles to make ends meet. 
And my tale of woe didn't stop with the lack of action at Adams Park. I was just getting in the bath as the news broke about the Wycombe game. Which didn't leave me much time to plan where to go.

After seeing lots of games off, I searched through the remaining ones near(ish) me. I settled on Chippenham Town v Leamington in the Southern League as it looked like a good game and meant that I could see my mate Sean, who is a Swindon Supermarine fan as well and gain some welcome company. The Leamington Twitter said it was confirmed as being on, so I didn't bother putting in any backups. The Chippenham website and Twitter were next to useless, with no mention of the postponement or confirmation of the game being on, even as late as Sunday afternoon when I last looked on it. All was going well. I left home at 12.30PM, arriving at Swindon train station to meet Sean at 2PM. We were soon on the way and listened to the pre-match build-up on BBC Wiltshire, which had great coverage of the non-league game, unlike our diabolical local station. We got to the ground at about 2.40, only to be greeted by some people walking away from the ground, and saying it had been called off by the referee. Thinking they were having a laugh, I went up to the ground and the awful news was confirmed. I had wasted 200 miles (nearly) worth of fuel, only to see the game called off at the last minute. I took Sean back to Swindon. I got home at 6.30, having wasted 6 hours and plenty of money on a fruitless expedition. On the way home I had seen a car on the M4 go up in smoke, just like my football plans. The emergency services dealt with it excellently, allowing the passengers of the car to cross the road safely, and not causing much delay for others in the process. And no one was hurt to my knowledge, so it ended well for everyone. A far cry from some of the incidents I have been stuck in where roads are closed for ages while investigators drag their heels. And of course, some of the accidents can be pretty nasty, which is no good for anyone, especially the party that did not make the driving error.

On the day of today's game, I was working for once, in fact, it would be a busy 6 day week for me with extra work on Wednesday afternoon as well, which would help out a great deal with my recent spending. I had decided to stay fairly local as I was up at 4am. Even though I had drawn up a massive list after Saturday's debacle, I had narrowed the choice down to 2 games. Both were in the Southern League Division 1 Central which I am getting close to completing, and that has provided me with some good games this season. Chertsey Town v Northwood and Fleet Town v Ashford Town (Middlesex) were the 2 contenders. Chertsey had the claim of being closer, while Fleet had avoiding the M25 and had a programme shop in its favour. It was going to the wire, and I spent the afternoon chatting on Facebook whilst mulling over the 2 options. In the end, I decided on Chertsey. This was due to the fact that I could leave as late as 6.30, plus the fact that they replied to my tweet within 30 seconds. Fleet Town had an out-of-date Twitter, and I couldn't be bothered with ringing. Add to the fact that a lot of games out that way had already fallen by the wayside and it was a fairly easy decision. 
Apart from the London Road going out of Wycombe being a bit slow, it was a decent journey. I left home at 6.45 and by 7.30 was parking my car up in a side street. The club car park was full and had what looked like a personalised number plate for Didier Drogba, but I didn't see the former Chelsea player in attendance at the match! After paying to get in and getting a programme, I went around taking a few pictures before getting a seat in the stand to watch the game from.

The game itself was entertaining. Northwood had slightly the better of the opening 10 minutes, but from then on Chertsey started to edge it. It was 0-0 at halftime, but one thing that I did notice was that Northwood seemed to be the stronger side physically. Not in a dirty way, but they had the strength to knock their opponents off the ball fairly, whilst Chertsey seemed the more skilful side. The second half saw a glut of goals. It was 1-0 to the home side just after the restart. Good work on the left-hand side and a good cross allowed Pomroy to open the scoring. It was 2-0 not long after, Knight rounding the keeper and slotting home. Chertsey then let their guard down and almost straight away after the restart the visitors got one back. Hawkins capitalised after Chertsey failed to clear their lines. It was much the same story minutes later, this time White profited to make it all square. But Chertsey still looked the better team. They got their winner on 69 minutes. It was that man Knight again, who according to his song, only had one hand, but he looked the best player on the night. There were further chances for both sides, but no further goals. All in all, it had been a decent game, as had every game I have seen in this league this season. After another easy journey home, I was back home by 10.20 but stayed up until about 1 as I had a lot of stuff to do. As it turned out, it was a blessing in disguise that I went to Chertsey, with Fleet suffering a similar late call-off just before kick-off that happened at Chippenham on Saturday. I really would not have been happy suffering the same fate 2 games in a row.

Chertsey Town 0-3 Thatcham Town, Isthmian D1 SC - 07/02/23

I'd be on my own on this day, owing to both of my hopping pals being busy elsewhere. I had three options: a new ground at Roffey or revisits to Chertsey or Baldock Town. In the end, the weather dictated proceedings. It was due to be no more than 2 degrees and dropping at the other two options and with Chertsey being the closest, I opted for that. The day of the game came and I spent the morning doing a speed awareness course online. I then walked down town and picked up a few things before returning to spend the afternoon at home. After a fish and chips dinner, I left at 6.45. I have a good journey over and get the last space in the car park when I arrive at 7.30. Entry is £10, fairly standard for this level now. As it turns out, my other two candidates for games are starting at least, though had Anwar been available, our planned game at Hartpury University was off.
Chertsey Town sat 4th in the league and they had beaten Chipstead 3-0 at home on Saturday. Recent results had been mixed with a penalties defeat at Leatherhead in the game before that and a 2-0 defeat at Uxbridge in the game prior. They'd also lost 2-1 at home to Binfield but had won 2-1 at Tooting & Mitcham in recent times. Visitors Thatcham Town were in 12th. They were unbeaten in 5 with 1-1 draws at Merstham & Marlow, a 2-1 win at Guernsey, a 4-2 win at South Park (Reigate) and a 2-0 win over Tooting & Mitcham. The game started brightly but without testing either keeper. I went off to get some chips, a decent portion for £2.50 when Thatcham opened the scoring on 25 minutes. A square ball across the area found Nathan Jones who drilled home from around 15 yards with me right behind the goal with the delighted visiting fans. They were good value for their halftime lead. Chertsey did have some chances in the second half but Thatcham grabbed their second on 74 minutes, a superb strike into the top right-hand corner by Jordan Alves. It was another excellent strike that gave them their third, a shot from wide out right found the top left, this time scored by Callum Willmoth on 83 minutes. It was a deserved win in the end, despite a late rally by the hosts.
It was freezing by the time the game finished at 9.45. The journey home was good with me getting back at 10.30. The ground was pretty much the same the second time around, although as a more experienced hopper, I appreciated it more. The bar had been given a makeover and this looked a lot better than the last time. I also tried the food which was decent and solid football fare. Good value but nothing exceptional. Car parking was quite tight though, probably best to park up and walk. Everyone was friendly as usual and there was a crowd of 238.

I had been to ALWYNS LANE in the past to take pictures, back in the mid-2000s, hence the Isthmian League sign and daylight. From what I remembered it was a decent non-league ground with a good stand and lots of cover. Upon returning to the ground for this game, not a lot has changed, although I was able to look in more detail. It is one of the older non-league grounds. From a distance, the main stand looks like any other, but when you go in there, it's a bit ramshackle and has supporting pillars which can be a pain. But the elevated view makes up for it. And it's nice to see some traditional stands when most have been replaced. 2 sides of the ground are terracing. Behind the goal to the right and opposite the main stand, although this one has a very low roof. The remaining goal is uncovered standing. The bar sells mainly cans and bottles but does the job fine. There was no club shop that I saw and I didn't visit the tea bar, which is situated behind the covered end.



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