Horley Town FC
The New Defence
Court Lodge Road
Ground Number: 521
Tuesday 22nd September 2015
Horley Town 3-0 Sutton Common Rovers
For a change on a Tuesday I'd be on my own. My usual hopping companion Anwar was on a tight budget as he was going to Arsenal on Wednesday and he also had to look after his kids on the Tuesday. With the nearest potential groundhop being Lutterworth Athletic, he decided against it and so I was left to search for something on my own. I looked through the Non League Paper for the shortest journeys and I plumped for Horley Town as I was getting close to completing the Combined Counties League. Croydon Athletic v Beckenham Town was the shortest trip but I didn't fancy tackling rush hour London. Lingfield and Loxwood were also in the reckoning and I kept them in mind should my original choice be weather affected.
HORLEY TOWN were founded in 1895, known back then as Horley FC. In 1975 they changed their name to the present monicker. Initially playing in the local Surrey Leagues they were members of the Combined Counties League from 1984-96 when it was just a single tier league. They finished a best ever 5th in 1995 but finished bottom of the pile the following season, and were relegated back to the Surrey Intermediate League. They rejoined the Combined Counties League in 2003 have been an ever present in the Premier Division apart from one season in 2006-07 where they spent a season in Division 1 due to ground grading issues. They have had a best ever finish of 5th on 2 occasions, in 2006 and 2008.
Their best progress in the FA Cup had been the 1st Qualifying Round which they have reached on 3 occasions. The most recent was in 2013 when they got past Sevenoaks Town and Holmesdale before losing to Whyteleafe. The following season saw them reach the 3rd Round of the FA Vase where they lost 3-1 to Greenwich Borough. A few local cups have been won, most recently the Surrey Junior Cup in 2009, while their most famous former player was Nicky Forster who starred for the club as a youngster before going on to have an excellent career in the Football League.
On the day of the game I was off work as per usual for a Tuesday. Usually I'd walk down town for a bit of exercise but sadly due to the rain I had to get a lift down with my Dad. I picked up a some Irn Bru before coming back home. At least the extra time gained allowed me to catch up on the TV I had missed by going to sleep early last night and also do a few other jobs that I'd been needing to do. I had dinner and left at 5.15 as I needed to fill my car up with diesel if I wanted to get there and back.
It wasn't a bad journey over for the time of night with only 15 minutes delay around the usual problem area on the M25 at Heathrow. By 6.50 I was at Horley's ground, paying £6 to get in. I went for a walk around the ground, going to toilet before doing a circuit of the pitch and taking pictures. By the time I'd gone round the programmes had arrived and with 35 minutes until kick off I went and sat in the bar and flicked through the programme as well as catching up on Facebook.
The visitors dominated the opening 10 minutes without really threatening but it was Horley who had the first real chance on the break when Liam Cox's cross from the right flashed across the goaline before going just wide of the left hand post. Though Sutton continued to press it was another cross from the right that opened the scoring. The ball hit the post only for the visiting defender Kieran Wright to deflect the ball into his own net, despite being under no pressure. The game quietened down a bit after that with the hosts looking comfortable in possession but Sutton did spurn a great opportunity to make it all square just before the break.
Horley had the better of the game at the start of the second half and they doubled their lead on 54 minutes when Ryan Brackpool netted from close range. An error in the Sutton defence was taken advantage of by Leyton Regards on 70 minutes to give Horley Town a 3-0 lead and seemingly settling the game.
After the game I made good progress on the journey home. Initially I tried to listen to BBC Radio Surrey, knowing that the area's Conference teams had been in action. But there was no sports programme so I stuck my Two Mikes podcast on instead and that kept me entertained until I arrived home an hour later. I caught up on Facebook and watched a bit of TV before going to sleep just before midnight.
THE NEW DEFENCE is a smart and modern ground. The main stand which is built into the main building is nicely designed and holds just over a hundred people. There is further cover behind both goals, probably adding around another 200 covered standing. The rest of the ground is open standing. There is a bar and tea bar but I didn't make any purchases from either on the night, though they looked to be your usual football fare.