Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Waltham Abbey - Cappershots



Waltham Abbey FC
Cappershots
Sewardstone Road
Waltham Abbey
Essex
EN9 1NX

01992 711287
Official Website
Twitter






Ground Number: 285
Tuesday 30th July 2013
Waltham Abbey 1-1 Chesham United
Friendly







MY VISIT

For about a week before this game, I had been planning on going to Merstham v Metropolitan Police, seeing that the club had been offering free entry. But then on the morning of the game, I saw that Waltham Abbey v Chesham United was also free to get in. I had no real preference between the 2 games, but I could get my usual companion Anwar to help out with petrol to Waltham Abbey, even though it would add around 20 miles to the journey. I'd enjoy the company as usual and it would help with keeping my costs down as well. I texted him to see if he was up for it, he replied in the affirmative and so I decided to go there. I spent the rest of the day relaxing at home, apart from a quick trip down town with my Dad where I bought some diet Irn Bru for tonight and got completely soaked as the rain was hammering it down. After a dinner of Chilli Con Carne, I left home at 5.45, picking up Anwar in Aylesbury at 6.15. We had an unexpected extra guest in Ben, a good mate who lives in Chesham and who wanted to see his local team play. He is also a man who had made it his personal mission to empty his bowels in as many different football stadiums as possible, an amusing if slightly strange target. We picked him up in Chesham at around 6.40 and were soon on our way to the game.



We arrived at 7.25 after a trouble-free journey on the M25 for once. We checked out the clubhouse and then went into the ground and got some pictures. There was no programmes or teamsheets as expected, but it was disappointing not to have any tannoy announcements. I was glad that the free entry was offered as promised and after a grotty day, it was a pleasant warm summers evening to watch football.
The first half was all Waltham Abbey and they looked to be a really decent side apart from their keeper. It was his mistake that led to Chesham's number 9 seeing his cross going straight in as the glovesman flapped at it. The goal was against the run of play and Waltham Abbey got back on level terms on 43 minutes. A player was felled in the area and from the resulting penalty was put straight down the middle by their number 9. Chesham had a goal disallowed before half time in what was an entertaining first period. The second half still saw some decent football but with not as many chances as the first. In the end, my pre-match prediction was correct and it finished all square. The highlight of the second half was a bit of handbags after both players went for a ball too high and it resulted in a minor injury. There was an entertaining scuffle, which is always good to see, such is its rarity. It was another easy drive home and after dropping the lads off I was back home just after 11.




THE GROUND

CAPPERSHOTS has been tidied up a bit since I last went to take pictures. It's one of the older and more traditional grounds out there. There are 3 areas of cover. A stand holding around 200 that looks a bit odd with blue seats. I'd imagine that they came from another ground or they got them at a good price. It's certainly something a bit different to the proliferation of pre-fabricated metal stands that you see almost everywhere now. The other 2 areas are covered terracing, holding another 5-600. The steps on the one behind the goal are really steep, which is handy for short people like me! There is further terracing at various points around the ground.

There is a pretty standard clubhouse for this level, which has Sky. There is also a small range of stuff for sale in the bar, including keyrings, badges and ski hats. The best thing is the tea bar. They do a great range of stuff including Chinese Chicken, steak rolls, plus the usual fare. It's nice to see some clubs put some imagination into what they offer. Overall, I'd recommend coming here. The people were friendly and it's a good ground to visit. I think they only get double figures for league games, and there were only around 50 people when I went, despite the free entry. The club deserves better and the local population should drag themselves off their sofas and come down and watch some proper football, instead of sitting and watching the footy on Sky. 


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Walton Casuals - Waterside Stadium



Walton Casuals FC
Waterside Stadium
Waterside Drive
Walton on Thames
Surrey
KT11 2JP

01932 621626





Ground Number: 284
Saturday 27th July 2013
Walton Casuals 4-0 Woking XI
Friendly








MY VISIT

There was hardly any fixtures that took my fancy scheduled for today. I spent the whole week looking for inspiration, some ground near a town or a Wetherspoons so I could complete the cider festival that they were holding. It got to Saturday morning and I had to make a choice. In the end, I plumped for the shortest trip available out of the grounds I had still left to do at step 1-4 of non-league. The game was Walton Casuals v Woking. It would only be their reserves too, as the first team had a game, but a game is a game. 
During the previous week, I had been taking a break from groundhopping and watching Wycombe play instead Firstly a great 2-2 draw with Premiership side Aston Villa on Saturday, where we played really well and should have beaten them. Then on Wednesday, I set off for Burnham, expecting the game to go ahead. But it was called off about five minutes after I left home, not that I found out until I got there. It was due to the poor state of the pitch, totally understandable that it was called as there was a huge pothole on the pitch that could have caused a nasty injury. Finally, on Friday night I travelled to Oxford City for our final preseason game. We didn't play particularly well, and in the end, the 1-1 draw was a fair result.

On the day I had decided to set off early and go to Staines for a bit of shopping and to see if I could complete the cider festival at Wetherspoons (I had done 15/16 so far). I left just before 12 and it took me just under an hour to get there with traffic. First stop was the town's Wetherspoons but I had tried all of the ones that they had so I left it. I had a quick look around the shops, buying nothing apart from a duck spring roll and some chicken thighs for my lunch. After a 30 minute drive, I got to Walton Casuals at 2.10. I settled down in the bar and got myself a cold pint of Strongbow to cool me down while I sat in the bar and looked through Facebook and Twitter. A fiver to get in was not too bad, but I was disappointed that there were no teamsheets or programmes as is often the case with these small friendlies. The game was advertised on their website as a Woking XI, but when I got to the ground it said Kingston Academy. It amounted to pretty much the same thing anyway, basically a load of players trying out for Woking. In any case, I didn't have a clue who was playing for each team, as there were no announcements either.



Walton were easily the better side, with them being more experienced. But it took them until 17 minutes to score their first when big midfielder Scott Day headed in from a corner. And it was Day who set up the second on 38 minutes as his hard work set up Graeme Purdie for a simple finish. Woking started the second half a lot better and I was impressed by their blonde-haired number 10 who worked hard all afternoon, showed some good skill and went closest to scoring for his side when his free-kick forced a good save out of the Walton keeper. But it was 3-0 14 minutes into the second half when David Francis scored from outside the area. The game died down a bit after that as both sides made mass changes. There was just time at the end for Scott Day to get his second, he was easily Walton's best player on the day. It took me around an hour to get home, apart from going near Walton town centre the traffic was fine and I got in just before 5.45, having had a good day.



THE GROUND

WATERSIDE PARK is set amongst lovely green scenery, and as the name suggests, by a river. It certainly makes for a nice place to be on a warm summers day. The ground is fairly decent, as with many teams who have come up from step 5, they have had to upgrade their ground and have opted for metal stands to get as much value as possible. There is still a small area of the old cover right in front of you as you go through the turnstiles. Opposite that is the only seating accommodation in the ground, covered and holding around 200. Behind each goal, there are areas of cover, whilst the rest of the ground is open hard standing.

There was a club shop at the ground, which was closed when I went. This was a shame as it looked quite big and claimed to do old programmes too. The bar was nice and modern with plasma screens and Sky Sports. I didn't have anything from the tea bar, but it looked to have a good selection of stuff.