Thursday, 21 March 2013

Chertsey Town - Alwyns Lane

Chertsey Town FC
Alwyns Lane
KT16 9DW

01932 561774
Official Website
Alternative Official Website (Pitchero)

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


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 at just after 11am on Saturday when the shock 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 play. 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 occasions, 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 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 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 was 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 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 and stopped off at a pub hoping for a pint of real cider. But it turned out to be only Thatchers Gold, which although nice, is just a keg cider and one which I have had many times before. Eventually, 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 in the Southern League Division 1 Central which I am getting close to complete, and that has provided me with some good games this season. Chertsey Town v Northwood and Fleet Town v Ashford Town (Middlesex) being the 2 contenders. Chertsey had the claim of being closer, while Fleet had avoiding the M25 and having 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 upon Chertsey. This being 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 half time, but one thing that I did notice that Northwood seemed to be a 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.


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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