Wednesday 9 August 2023

Colliers Wood United - Wibbandune Sports Ground

Colliers Wood United FC
Wibbandune Sports Ground
(Opposite) 199-213 Robin Hood Way
A3 Southbound
West Wimbledon
SW20 3AA

0208 942 8062

Ground Number: 417
Friday 3rd October 2014
AFC Croydon Athletic 0-3 Chessington & Hook
FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round


The club was established in 1874 under the name Vandyke, the origins of this name I am not sure. They were briefly known as Vandyke Colliers United between 1997 and 1999 when they adopted their current name. The first 117 years were spent in local leagues such as the Wimbledon & Sutton, Surrey Intermediate and Surrey Senior which they won in 1970. In 1991, after leaving their local recreation ground, they moved to their current home of the Wibbandune Sports Ground. This allowed them to make the step up to the Surrey County Premier League which they won on goal difference in 1998. The facilities were not yet up to scratch so they would remain in the league until 2003, by which time they had finished as runners-up three times. That year, they joined the Combined Counties League having a brilliant season and finishing as runners-up behind AFC Guildford in Division 1. They've remained in the Premier Division ever since. Finishes have ranged from 4th in 2006 to 9th in 2010.

Colliers Wood United's best-ever season in the FA Cup came in 2016. They beat AFC Croydon Athletic, Banstead Athletic and Eastbourne Town before losing to Merstham in a 2nd Qualifying Round replay. During the 2014/15 season, they reached the FA Vase 4th Round. They beat Holmesdale, Shoreham, Ringmer, Pagham and Lingfield before losing 4-2 at Ascot United. Local cup honours include the Surrey Premier League Challenge Cup in 1995, the Surrey Intermediate Cup in 1992 and the Surrey FA Saturday Premier Cup in 1998.

Colliers Wood is an area in Merton, southwest London. It is a mostly residential area but has a busy high street around Colliers Wood tube station on London Underground's Northern line. The high street is part of the A24, a major road route roughly following the Northern Line, running from London through Tooting and other areas. The population is just under 11,000. Colliers Wood takes its name from a wood that stood to the east of Colliers Wood High Street, approximately where Warren, Marlborough and Birdhurst Roads are now. Contemporary Ordnance Survey maps show that this wood remained at least until the 1870s but had been cleared for development by the mid-1890s.


Once again I was on the hunt for Friday night football. Though after a hat trick of long journeys, I was staying a bit closer to home this time for an FA Vase tie. It was to be played at Colliers Wood United, due to AFC Croydon Athletic's ground being out of action. Ironically I had seen the hosts, Colliers Wood United play a 'home' game around 15 months ago but that was played at Cobham FC's 'Leg o Mutton Field' ground as Wibbandune had suffered from bad flooding. I would still have the annoyance of Friday night traffic though - when I went to see tonight's visitors Chessington & Hook last season, I left just before 6PM and didn't get there till 8.10! It was a fairly long day at work for me on the day of the game. It was really busy and I didn't get out until 1.45 after starting at 5am. I went home, had my lunch and a bath and checked various sites on the Internet before leaving at 4.45.

After a couple of horror trips going through London in the past, I was expecting the worst for a Friday night game. It was still pretty dismal with me suffering 50 minutes delay, but better than in the past. I got to the ground at 6.45 after making the common mistake of missing the ground's well-hidden entrance. Rather than drive 4 miles to have another possible failed attempt, I decided to park on the other side of the A3 and walk across the footbridge. All went well from then on, I found the ground easily after crossing the bridge, paying £6 to get in and £1 for a programme. There was not much to do around the area so I went to the clubhouse and got myself a bottle of Bulmers for £3.20. I then went outside and waited for the game to start. I talked to a follower of my blog before the game and stood with him to watch the first half.

Croydon had the better of the game early on and forced a good save out of the visiting keeper. However, on 11 minutes Chessington opened the scoring in a rare attack, the goal coming from a close-range finish just inside the right-hand post. From then on Chessington were well on top, and very unlucky not to be further ahead by halftime. Despite a couple of chances at the start of the second period for Croydon, the visitors doubled their lead on 54 minutes with a header and it was just reward as they had the better of the opening 10 minutes of the second period. The home side were just not at the races and it was 3-0 to Chessington on 61 minutes as they got a totally free header from a good cross. Croydon had a golden chance on 70 minutes when they were presented with a penalty after a foul in the area but it just wasn't their night as the weak spot-kick was saved by the goalkeeper. Things didn't get any better and after a couple of fouls, there was a bit of argy-bargy between some players. Generally, the referee got things correct, but it was strange that he booked a Chessington player for a foul on the halfway line where the tackle was not so bad, and a slightly heavier tackle just outside the area by a Croydon player went unpunished, card wise, at least.


It was a much simpler drive home, and I was back 45 minutes after leaving, getting in at 10.15. I was peckish by then so had some pasta and a bag of Marmite crisps. I also had a couple of bottles of homemade cider while doing this blog, before watching TV in bed. Next up is Wycombe Wanderers v Northampton Town tomorrow, and we could potentially go top if we win, thanks to Cambridge winning at leaders Burton Albion. That situation is totally nuts considering we needed a miracle to stay up last season.
2-0 v Abbey Rangers, FA Cup EP Replay 09/08/23

As with many grounds that I had visited in my early days of groundhopping, I was keen to visit again and improve my blog. This was especially true when the FA Cup came into play with me keen to improve on the paltry number of games that I'd been to last year. In the topsy-turvy world of groundhopping and ground shares, Colliers Wood had not been the home team the last time I had visited Wibbandune., instead it had been AFC Croydon Athletic using the ground for an FA Vase game as their own ground was out of action. By contrast, I had seen Colliers Wood United as the home team at Cobham over a year before that. Cobham was another team that I'd like to revisit and I pencilled in another visit for Epsom & Ewell v Met Police on 18th August. It would be another bracketed tick - groundhopper speak for going to a ground where it is not the landlord's home game but it was Friday night and the FA Cup.

On Saturday, it was Wycombe Wanderers v Exeter City. It was initially meant to be an FA Cup game but I'd given it the swerve because everything was so far away. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as my intended game at Wythenshawe was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. I'd have gone on the coach too, so finding a replacement could have been tricky. It was equally unpleasant in Wycombe, utterly ludicrous for August. The usual pre-match couple of pints were enjoyed as well as a nice hot wings meal. But then the rain was biblical on the final walk to the ground and it didn't get much better from there. The bar at Wycombe was crap with poor cider and bad service. I got in on a freebie and wished I hadn't. 1-0 down after 24 seconds, 2-0 down after three minutes, Wycombe gave out an abhorrent performance devoid of any cohesion or commitment. Seven new signings didn't help but it really was a hard watch. I was just glad that I didn't buy a season ticket. A couple of pints did nothing to soften the blow but thanks to the £2 fare cap I got a cheap bus home where more cans were enjoyed as well as a pizza. It was time to decide what cup replay I'd be going to. In the end, I could not resist the lure of seeing part two of the Edgware - Waltham Abbey saga that I'd seen on Friday. That was Tuesday sorted and it would be another revisit on Wednesday to Colliers Wood v Abbey Rangers.
I'd debated whether to go on the train or drive. Both had their pluses and minuses. The train would allow me to chill and have a couple of pints but it was not the best location, even with London's decent transport system. Driving was equally tricky as the ground entrance was hidden off a fast dual carriageway. In the end, I decided to drive and take a tip from last time by parking on the other side and making use of the footbridge. The day of the game was a reasonable day at work with me finishing at 3. I came home and had a couple of hours to rest and catch up before an early dinner. I left at 5.40 and it was true to form a ropey journey. There was around half an hour delay, the bulk of it getting off the M25 at Junction 10. A place was secured in Robin Hood Way opposite with a short walk over the bridge to the ground. A friendly welcome, 'one and a programme cost a well-priced £7 and I wasn't going to quibble at that, even if it did seem too good to be true.
The sun was impeding my view, the stand on the other side offered a better view of the action. The two sides played in the Combined Counties South Premier and were closely matched with Colliers Wood finishing 5th last season and Abbey Rangers 4th. The league had elected not to start early and so the 0-0 draw between the two sides on Saturday was the first competitive action of the season. Abbey Rangers were on top early on, firing a free kick wide and then forcing some great saves out of the keeper from the resulting series of corners. However, it was Colliers Wood United who took the lead on 22 minutes, a breakaway goal scored by the well-travelled Evans Lamboh, a name I recognised from when he played for Risborough Rangers amongst other local teams to me. The hosts then entered a period of dominance, having a header disallowed for offside. They doubled their lead on 28 minutes when Del Davies squared for Marlon Pinder who had a fairly simple job to finish. Abbey  Rangers faded and the hosts looked comfortable going into the break where an attendance of 152 was announced. The hosts started the second half brightly, looking to add to their lead. I stood talking to fellow hopper Jason but Colliers Wood looked to see the game out without much fuss. They had the better of the chances until a late Abbey Rangers rally but the visitors must regret not taking advantage of their early dominance. The game finished quite late for a 7.30 kickoff and it was 9.40 by the time I left. It was a slow journey at the start, past Brentford and onto the motorway but I was home an hour later. 

WIBBANDUNE SPORTS GROUND is a fairly typical step 5 venue. Despite being right on the busy A3 it is surrounded by pleasant greenery and apart from the traffic noise is a nice peaceful place to watch football. There are 2 areas of cover - a seated stand on one side holding around 100 and covered standing for 150 on the other. The rest of the ground is open.

There is nowhere nearby, so it's a shame that the only food is rolls, from in the clubhouse. Talking of the clubhouse, there is plenty of football stuff on the walls, and a basic range of drinks are available at the normal prices. The programme is good value for £1, well presented and with a good number of stats in it too.



Not a lot had happened bar cosmetic changes. Although I noticed that the seated stand had generous legroom and the programme was well-presented. Aside from that, it was nice to get some daytime photos.

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