Saturday 28 April 2018

Kent Football United - Glentworth Sports Club

Kent Football United
Glentworth Sports Club
Cranford Road

Ground Number: 771
Saturday 28th April 2018
Kent Football United 5-2 Forest Hill Park
Southern Counties East D1


The club was formed in 2010 following the collapsed merger of two local clubs. Erith Town eventually pulled out, but the other club, Dartford Town, can trace their history back to 1999 with their later years spent in the South London Alliance. Originally known as Erith & Dartford Town, they changed their name to Kent Football United in 2012. The club was a founder member of the Kent Invicta League in 2011 but generally struggled and finished in the bottom half. The league was absorbed into the Southern Counties East League at the start of last season and this saw a huge upturn in fortunes with a very credible 4th place finish. They would be matching that this season but have had 12 points deducted for four separate three-point fines for playing ineligible players and as a result, sit 9th after last weekends games.

Kent Football United have not yet played in the FA Cup due to lack of facilities and for the same reason, no longer compete in the FA Vase. They did play in the latter for three seasons thanks to a groundshare at VCD Athletic. They went out at the first hurdle on each occasion, their best performance seeing them take Lingfield to a penalty shoot-out after a 3-3 draw. There have been no local honours, but 2013/14 saw the team reach the Quater Finals of the Kent Invicta League Cup, London Senior Trophy and Kent Hospital Cup. The club also has a number of other teams - including a ladies side and several junior teams, The most well-known player to turn out for the club is winger Justin Amaluzor - he kicked off his senior career with 4 appearances on loan at Kent Football United, whilst on loan from Barnet. He went on to make 28 appearances in the Football League, scoring once. He's since played on loan for a number of non-league clubs, the latest being his current one at Bognor Regis Town.


I'd known that I'd be doing a groundhop on this Saturday, as Wycombe were playing up at Chesterfield and I had been there last season. It was one of the awaydays that I enjoyed, but any chance of a late reconsideration to go was put to bed by a terrible home performance and a 4-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley on the previous Saturday. There was a football shirt exhibition in London that I wanted to go to and also I like to visit Borough Market whenever I'm there, so it was going to be a trip on the train. In the end, there was only one new ground out of the 50 plus fixtures in London on that Saturday and it was a fairly basic one. But after doing my research, I started to look forward to the game and with it being based in Dartford, I'd also be able to tick a new Wetherspoons for lunch before walking to the ground. I was originally going to go to a game in the Wessex League the night before but I knocked it on the head. It turned out to be a wise decision. I grabbed a much-needed nap in the afternoon and as it turned out, a lot of the games were called off due to rain anyway. The evening was spent updating my Dunstable Town blog which took a lot longer than usual due to the club's interesting history. I was happy to hear the return of the Two Mikes on the radio from 10 pm and I finalised my plans for my latest groundhop whilst I listened to this.

I had a reasonable nights sleep, waking up at 8. After having breakfast and getting ready, I left at 9.20, the plan to get the 9.47 train out. However, a slow driver holding everyone up for a long part of my journey meant that after parking up and walking to the station, I arrived just in time to see the train pulling away. I had to wait over 20 minutes for the next one, but thankfully I was soon on my way. It was a well-rehearsed journey for me and so after a couple of changes, I arrived at Borough Market at 11.20. Of course, the New Forest cider stall was my first port of call and I sampled a couple of new ones. Both Little Pomona Old Man & The Bee and Telegraph Hill were nice and went down very nicely. I needed some food to soak it all up and always like to have something fancy when here. An Argentinian food stall called Portena fitted the bill perfectly, here I had 3 delicious Empanadas for £6.50, the best of which was the chicken. From there I made my way to the station, catching the 12.18 service to Gillingham and getting off at Dartford. I got there around 1, my first stop being the  Flying Boat Wetherspoons. It turned out to be rubbish, the worst in the chain out of my 163 visited. No real cider and no spare tables for food, so I walked out. Instead, I went to The Royal Victoria & Bull Hotel. A little more expensive than Wetherspoons, but still reasonable at £9.39 for a pint of Old Rosie and a Sweet Chilli hot dog. The food was nothing special, but at least it filled me up ready for my walk to the ground. I got there at 2.15, paying £5 for entry which was fairly reasonable. The ground was very basic, only one side open and a stand which was under construction. It had fairly pleasant surroundings though and so I had a chance to catch up on things before kick off.

The game kicked off fairly late, not starting until 3.08. Chances were sparse early on but it was Forest Hill Park that were edging it. It was the hosts that took the lead on 21 minutes, Josh Williams dribbling into the area and drilling a low diagonal shot into the bottom right-hand corner. It was all square less than a minute later, poor marking allowed Damilola Olukan free reign inside the area and he finished well. On 26 minutes Forest Hill Park took the lead, this time more ropey defending allowed Josh Read to score after he was left free in the area and slotted past the keeper from a few yards out. It stayed this way until halftime, the second half kicking off at 4.13. Kent Football United came out fighting and they equalised on 64 minutes through Tunde Aderonmu when he converted a low cross. On 67 minutes they were ahead, this time it was Marcus Cassius who completed a good run into with a drive into the bottom left-hand corner for what was probably the best goal of the day.  The hosts completed their purple patch on 75 minutes when Aderonmu grabbed his second via a penalty awarded for a trip just inside the area. The scoring was completed on 88 minutes, the goal had a lovely build up but it was slack marking that allowed Aderonmu to complete his hat-trick. The best team won, but the scoreline was a tad harsh on Forest Hill Park who played some good stuff and sported a very smart white kit with pinstripes.

A post shared by Russell Cox (@russ_wwfc) on

Batteries on all my electrical devices were pretty much dead by now, but to be fair it was my own fault for taking a partly charged power bank with me. I went to a couple of shops to see if I could get a suitable replacement, but there was nothing available. Instead, I just got some snacks from Aldi and decided to knock the visit to the football shirt exhibition on the head. I was nonetheless in a good mood, Wycombe had been promoted at Chesterfield to return to League 1 for the first time in 6 years. I'd have loved to have gone for a few drinks, but I had driving responsibilities and an early start for work in the morning. I didn't leave Dartford until 5.50, having to wait 15 minutes for a train. After changing at London Bridge I got to Finchley Road around 7.10. I thought I was home and dry, only having to wait for a few minutes for a train to Amersham but after getting on, the train suddenly changed it's destination to Uxbridge mid-journey. Everyone had to get off and despite the driver saying that the Amersham train was a couple of minutes behind, I had to wait 15 minutes for the next one to Amersham. Annoyingly, there were no USB charging facilities for the entire journey and I was glad to get back to Amersham at 8.10. I got home 20 minutes later and put everything on charge. I toasted Wycombe's promotion with a few cans whilst I typed my blog, watching Match Of The Day after and going to bed just before midnight, despite a 4 am start the next day.


Glentworth Sports Ground is a very basic venue. Only one side is open to the public and this only has part hard standing and no cover, though a stand is under construction. The ground is at least in pleasant surroundings with a large car park and a location near to Dartford town centre. I didn’t check out the adjacent bar or tea bar and there was no programme available on my visit.


Thursday 26 April 2018

Leicester & Rutland FA - Holmes Park

Leicestershire & Rutland FA
Holmes Park
24 Franklin Way

Ground Number: 769
Tuesday 24th April 2018
Coalville Town 2-2 Loughborough Dynamo (7-6 pens)
Leicestershire & Rutland Challenge Cup Final


This competition was first played in 1887/88 with the first final won by Shepshed as they defeated Mill Hill House 8-0 in a replay. Leicester City (or to be more accurate their reserve side) hold the record for the most wins with 25 although they have not played in the competition for many years and last won it in 1950. More recent times have seen the trophy won by a large variety of clubs with one of tonight's finalists being one of only two teams to win it more than once since the turn of the millennium (incidentally their only appearances in the final). They last won it in 2004, beating Downes Sports in the final, having also won it the previous year, beating Barrow Town. They got to the final by beating Ashby Ivanhoe 3-2, Aylestone Park 1-0 and Shepshed Dynamo 4-1.

Coalville Town would be appearing in their tenth final, although they have only won two of those clashes - beating Holwell Sports in 2000 and Leicester Fosse Reserves in 1907. They got to the final by beating Leicester Nirvana 6-1, Leicester Road 4-1 and Barwell 3-2. All teams in this seasons competition came from steps 4-6 of the non-league and features teams exclusively from Leicestershire. For whatever reason, Rutland's sole representative at this level, Oakham United, did not enter, despite being last season's losing finalists. For the last 5 years, the final has been played at Holmes Park, the home of the Leicestershire FA and this season, it also hosted the two semi-finals.


This game was decided whilst myself and Anwar were at Totternhoe last week. The fact that it was one of the closest to home appealed, as did the fact that it was originally a 7pm kickoff. The kickoff was put back half an hour which meant that we wouldn’t get home as early as I’d hoped. It was still a cup final though and a decent looking game, so we stuck with it. I did my research into the history of the cup, as well as looking at options for dinner. There was a takeaway near the ground, but it was quite expensive at £6 for a basic burger meal, so I planned in a visit to Morrisons in Lutterworth where we could get a sit-down meal. It was my usual Tuesday off on the day of the game and I was glad to get a good night’s sleep for once, waking at 8.45. After a quick breakfast, I got dressed and went down town, getting my hair cut and getting some shopping before meeting my Dad. The afternoon was spent at home, looking online and catching up on some TV. I left at 4, meeting Anwar In Aylesbury at 4.30 and soon enough we were on our way. There was around 15 minutes delay getting through Milton Keynes as if going through there wasn’t unpleasant enough as it was. For once, though, there were no delays on the M1 and we got to Morrisons in Lutterworth at 6.05. I was eyeing up a toastie and chips for £4, but were told that they had closed at 6. Presumably, they don’t eat evening meals in Lutterworth as every other Morrisons cafe closes at 7 or 8. We had to make do with stuff from the shop and I got some chicken for £2.50 and some drinks. After eating our dinner in the car park, we headed for the ground, getting there at 6.50.

There has been a number of games called off nearby, but fortunately, ours had survived the rain. Entry was a reasonable £7 including programme and after paying to get in we went and sheltered in the bar. I was still fairly peckish, so I got myself some chips for £2. Though the portion was decent enough, they weren’t very nice, having been stored in the hot cabinet for too long. I caught up online as we had more time than expected, due to another delay to the kickoff, due to traffic, the match now kicking off at 7.45. We went outside and got photos and then yet another delay was announced, the match now kicking off at 8. I’d seen that there had been warnings about roadworks due to works on gas mains and as with anything in this country, it takes ten times longer than it should as there are no penalties for delays.

The match eventually started and Coalville were making the early running. However, it was Loughborough who opened the scoring, a ball was put across, cut back and Karl Demidh was there to fire home from around 8 yards out. This led to a spell of pressure for Loughborough and they had a chance to make it two which was not taken. Coalville got the equaliser on 15 minutes, a penalty was awarded for a trip in the area and Nat Watson fired low to the keepers left to make it all square. The Ravens then had a speculative shot from Dan Creaney go just wide as they sought to establish an advantage. The game flowed from end to end and there were a good number of chances for both sides. The goal that re-established Loughborough’s lead on 38 minutes was debatable, Coalville looked to have cleared but the linesman adjudged that Ash Hodgkinson’s shot had crossed the line. Again, Loughborough nearly scored twice in the matter of a minute but a great last-ditch tackle from Steve Towers kept Coalville in it. This proved imperative, as on 42 minutes, it was all square, the Dynamo keeper was only able to get a hand to a shot and Creaney had his second. The scores were level at halftime and the second half, although keenly fought, saw far fewer chances than the first period. With the scores still level at full time, the game went to a penalty shoot-out, thankfully avoiding extra time on what was becoming a much later night than planned. Coalville blasted their first penalty over but recovered to win 7-6 on penalties. I got most of it on video and it had been a dramatic end to a good game that had been excellent in the first half but faded in the second.

It was 10:05 by the time that we finished and I wanted to get home as soon as possible. I've had problems with wildlife damaging my car by running out in front of me and giving me no chance to stop and after months of not encountering any, they were back with a vengeance tonight. First, on the road back to Lutterworth, a fox ran out but gave me plenty of time to avoid it thankfully. Then, back in Bucks, there was another fox successfully avoided before a few hundred yards down the road, a deer just laying down in the road. Again, it was avoided with ease, which meant a clean bill of health for my car. I listened to various things on the radio on the way back notable football results including Liverpool's 5-2 win over Roma in the Champions League, though they had been 5-0 up at one point. Lincoln also won 4-2 at Coventry in League 2 to keep in touch with Wycombe at the top, while Dunstable won 2-0 at Biggleswade to give them a big boost of survival ahead of my revisit there on Thursday. I dropped Anwar off at 11.25, getting home 25 minutes later and going to bed as quickly as I could with work at 4 am in the morning.


Homes Park is a smart and well-kept venue, though it is a bit isolated. There's only a Co-Op supermarket nearby that I saw and parking was pretty limited. At the ground, facilities are OK and reasonably priced, if not exceptional. The ground itself looks fairly decent, though the standard metal stands take away from it. At least there is plenty of cover, even though too much of it is seating and not standing.


1: Ground facilities & condition (for the level)
Smart and well kept, if a little bland. (6)

2: Area around the ground (parking, food/drink, public transport)
A bit isolated, not much parking (4)

3: Welcome / Club Friendliness
A nice welcome at the gate (7)

4: Value for money
£7 with a programme was reasonable (7)

5: Social Media & Website

Kept us up to date with things (7)

6: Programme
Thin and little to read, but was free (5)

7: Game entertainment
Excellent first half and dramatic ending, the second half wasn't as good (7)

8: Tea Bar
Reasonable range and prices, chips not great (5)

9: Bar / Clubhouse
Nothing special (5)

10: Club Shop
None (-)



Wednesday 25 April 2018

Staines Lammas - The Lucan Pavillion Ground

Staines Lammas FC
The Lucan Pavilion Recreation Ground
The Broadway
TW18 1RZ

Official Website

Ground Number: 770
Wednesday 25th April 2018
Staines Lammas 6-1 Kensington Borough
Combined Counties D1


The club was formed in 1926 and has spent the vast majority of its history playing amateur football. They played in various leagues such as the Hounslow & District, South West Middlesex, Woking League and Surrey County Intermediate League. In 2003/04 they made the step up to semi-professional football, joining the Combined Counties Football League. They started out in Division 1 and have finished on the top half in all but two seasons. The most successful seasons came in 2008 and 2009 when they were champions. However, their basic ground was deemed not good enough for the Premier Division, so they were unable to take promotion, the main sticking point being the lack of floodlights. From 2009 until 2015 a ground share was agreed with local side Ashford Town. However, they were unable to replicate their form with the best finish being 4th in 2010. Currently, the team are having their best season in a while, sitting 6th and with a good chance of finishing higher. However, they could be demoted to step 7 at the end of the season as the FA are clamping down on any grounds without floodlights during their mass reorganisation of the non-league pyramid.

The aforementioned groundshare allowed Staines Lammas to participate in the FA Cup. Their debut season of 2011/12 was the most successful with Clanfield and Harefield United beaten before a narrow 3-2 defeat at Southern Premier side Chesham United. The FA Vase has seen a little less success, the only time they progressed past the first hurdle was in 2013/14 when New College Swindon were beaten before a 4-0 home defeat to South Park. Local cup wins include the Combined Counties Division 1 Cup in 2009 and a cup double in 2013 when they lifted both Middlesex & Surrey Senior Cups. They were also joint holders of the Southern Combination Cup in 2007 along with Merstham after a date for the final could not be agreed.


I wasn't initially going to a game on this night, but then my fellow groundhopping pal Ryan spotted that Staines Lammas were at home. It was only a very basic ground, but it was one that I needed to do.  It would potentially be one of Staines Lammas last ever games in the Combined Counties League - thanks to the FA. If they have their way, all grounds without floodlights will be banished from step 6, though there is the chance for recourse via an appeal. Hopefully, I'd bring them better luck than I previously had - I'd seen them twice before - once for an 8-1 FA Cup defeat in a game played at Ashford Town and then again for a 2-2 FA Vase draw at Irchester. Though the draw had been an improvement on the previous outing, they were thrown out of the Vase despite a 3-1 win in the replay, for playing an ineligible player. I was still yet to see the visitors Kensington Borough, who were enjoying a steady season in mid-table.

The day of the day came and I woke for work at 4.15 am after around 4 hours sleep thanks to the ecer-delayed kick off at my game last night. I felt OK though and got the days work out of the way, finishing at 12. I went straight home and grabbed a nap, though the 4 hours was a little longer than intended. I woke at 4.45 and had a bath before trying to catch up on my blogs. I'd given myself a bit of a busy schedule with games four days in a row and was going to knock Dunstable Town v Gosport Borough on the head tomorrow until someone who read my blog offered me free entry to the game. With it only being 23 miles from home and a decent game on a rubbish night of TV, I decided to accept the kind offer. Due to a miscommunication with my parents, I didn't leave home until just after 6, twenty minutes later than planned. Thankfully it was a good journey over with only minor delays on the M25 and the baffling 'Crooked Billet' roundabout. I got there just on kick off and it was good to meet up with mates and fellow groundhoppers Ryan and his Dad as well as Jason, who goes under the name 'Undercover Hop' on Twitter. I was glad the kick-off was slightly delayed until 6.50 as it meant that I didn't miss any of the game. Timing was tight, which meant I didn't keep up online, but that actually made a pleasant change. The crowd of 25 which included several hoppers would see a game that started in bright sunshine but ended in chilly, dull conditions.

Staines Lammas were the home team and quite a lot higher in the table. They took the lead after a couple of minutes when a good ball found Ross Nunn who rounded the keeper and slotted into the net through a hole in the net saw it come straight back out again. Seven minutes in, the lead was doubled when Tom Hayden's corner was deflected into the net by a Kensington Borough defender. The hosts added a third on 23 minutes, this time the ball was cut back across the six-yard box and Michael Capon put the ball home at the back post. Staines Lammas were running riot and they made it 4-0 on 28 minutes with a goal from Josh Moody who dribbled into the area and finishes past the keeper from around 10 yards. There was a controversial incident five minutes before half-time when Staines Lammas keeper Dawid Gorski was sent off for a 50/50 challenge with a Kensington striker. With the hosts down to ten men, midfielder James Wilson was forced to go in goal and although he guessed correctly the penalty was converted. The visitors failed to take advantage of the extra man and a short back pass on 58 minutes was intercepted by Ross Nunn for the midfielder to get his second of the game to make it 5-1. The hosts completed the scoring on 70 minutes when Mark Goff headed home from a corner. There was still time for chances for both sides, the closest coming when the hosts' stand-in keeper James Wilson made a great save to deny Kensington Borough a consolation goal. I said goodbye to my fellow hoppers, leaving at 8.40 and getting home half an hour later.

You can read fellow groundhopper Ryan's take on the game on his blog, which is available HERE


The Lucan Recreation Ground is situated in the village of Laleham, not too far from Staines Town FC. There's a pub opposite and also a smart but compact clubhouse at the ground which also does food. There's just about enough parking. The ground itself is rather basic, railed on three sides and with a small area of hard standing. There's no cover, but it's a nice place to watch football and a friendly club.


1: Ground facilities & condition (for the level)
Very basic, but adequate for the crowds they get and well-kept (3)

2: Area around the ground (parking, food/drink, public transport)
A nearby pub, but a bit isolated otherwise. Parking OK (6)

3: Welcome / Club Friendliness
Was made to feel welcome (8)

4: Value for money
Wasn't charged, maybe because I arrived bang on kick-off (10) 

5: Social Media & Website
Excellent Twitter, website OK (8)

6: Programme
Didn't get one (-)

7: Game entertainment
Decent, if a little one-sided (7)

8: Tea Bar
Didn't appear to be open on my visit (-)

9: Bar / Clubhouse
Small but smart, had sports TV and a dartboard (6)

10: Club Shop
None (-)