Sunday, 7 July 2019

Badshot Lea - Westfield Lane

Badshot Lea FC
Westfield Lane
GU10 4PF

Ground Number: 863
Saturday 6th July 2019
Badshot Lea 0-3 Aldershot Town


The club was established in 1904 and spent three years playing friendly games until affiliating with the Surrey FA in 1907. For the vast majority of their history, they have participated in local football, such as the Surrey Intermediate and Surrey Premier In 2003, they made the step up to the Hellenic D1 East, continuing to play at their basic home in the village of Badshot Lea. Promotion to the Hellenic Premier in 2007 meant that the club would lead a nomadic existence, sharing at Godalming, Ash & Camberley. In their only season as a Hellenic Premier club, Badshot Lea finished 11th before a sideways move to the Combined Counties Premier. A 6th place finish in 2011 was their best ever but a second-bottom finish in 2016 saw them relegated to Division 1. The bounce back was immediate, with a 3rd place finish sealing promotion back to the Premier. A 9th place finish was a credible finish and was a good way to return 'home' - albeit in Wrecclesham, a village four miles from their original home.

The FA Cup was first entered in 2009 and their debut season represented good progress. Routine 2-0 and 3-1 victories over Worthing United and Holmesdale respectively sealed a place in the 1st Qualifying Round. An exciting 4-4 draw at Lingfield produced a home replay where Badshot Lea triumphed 2-1. They received a rude awakening in their 2nd Qualifying Round tie at Ashford Town, falling to a 10-0 defeat. This was bettered in the 2012/13 season with the club reaching the 3rd Qualifying Round before a 3-1 defeat at Chippenham Town. 2019/10 saw the best ever FA Vase run as Rye United, Three Bridges, Ash United & Faversham Town were beaten prior to a 3-1 defeat to Stotfold in the 3rd Round. Local cup wins include the Hellenic Supplementary Cup in 2006, the Surrey Junior Cup in 1938, the Kenny Warner Memorial Shield in 2004 and 2005, the Runwick Charity Cup in 1938, 1987 and 1989, the Surrey Intermediate League Challenge Cup in 1988 and 2001 and the Surrey Invitation Cup in 1990.


At first, I'd been hoping to do a game with Anwar, but with him deciding to spend a day in London, I was on my own. There were a couple of choices - a Corinthian / K Sports double appealing, but in the end, I selected Badshot Lea v Aldershot Town as my game. This was after my original intention of Sarratt v Amersham Town was called off, disappointing as I was trying to keep costs down in pre-season. I did my research and found little of interest near the ground, so tried to plan in somewhere en route. There were two places - Taco Bell in Woking for lunch and a micropub for takeaway cans that was located in Guildford. In the end, I decided to do both. After having some breakfast and getting ready, I left at 10:50. I had to take the dreaded M25 and true to form, it added 35 extra minutes to my journey. I got to Woking at 12:20 and headed straight to Taco Bell. Happily, parking was free, due to a music festival taking place in the town. My Taco Bell was also excellent as usual and a lot better than you got at the likes of McDonald's. I then headed to Guildford, paying £1.30 for 20 minutes parking. To add insult to injury, the MIcropub had a very limited range of cider (due to lack of demand to be fair), so I'd wasted time and money. I parked up near the ground around 2.30, stopping at an off licence for a can of Scrumpy Jack which cost me £1.50. The entrance cost was £8, a bit too much for step 5 in my opinion, but acceptable for the opening game. I also bought a programme and was pleased to meet fellow hoppers Dan & Richard in the stand.

Like the previous Saturday, the weather was sweltering and so the game got off to a very slow start. It was pretty much their first team, with several new signings making their debuts. One of these, Dean Rance, recently signed from Ebbsfleet opened the scoring on 41 minutes when he headed in a right-wing cross from around six yards out. The second half featured a number of trialists including former Wycombe player Chris Zebroski. The said player has had a murky past and hit minor internet fame during the summer when his partner caught him sleeping around when she checked his phone. With full access to his phone, she spent an afternoon posting the evidence and various disparaging comments on Twitter. Back to the game, it was another trialist who scored a lovely goal with a dipping shot from 20 yards out. Zebroski got on the scoresheet himself later on, heading home from a few yards out after a corner was nodded on. Zebroski could have had a second in the dying embers of the game, but his header hit the post. It had been a  disappointing game, with the hosts offering little in the way of a goal threat. It had been a good payday for Badshot Lea though, with 680 fans in attendance. I made my way home in good spirits, despite the day costing me more than I wanted it to. All was going well until I got to around Farnborough when I heard a faint scraping noise. I pulled over to investigate and found that my bumper had split. I made a temporary repair with masking tape (all I could get) which got me home, albeit with a stop on the hard shoulder of the M25 to re-tape it. A neater fix was made when I got home with cable ties, but have been looking for a new car for some time, this increased the urgency a hundredfold. I made plans to go and view a car the following day and so with all the planning and stuff, I didn't get the chance to do my blog. It was nice to see my parents after a few days away and happily, they bought me some cider back from their trip to Hereford. The 'Badgers Bottom Medium' was delicious and helped alleviate the stress of the day. I went to bed around 10:30, not looking forward to Sunday at work, my least favourite day of the week.


WESTFIELD LANE is the former home of Farnham Rugby Club and makes for a pretty standard ground at this level. Happily, the stand, capacity around 100 is not a standard metal flat pack one, but it does have pillars and not the greatest views. There's a further area of cover behind the goal, although as it's set around 20 yards from the edge of the pitch, it's usefulness is limited. There are the standard bar and catering facilities and although  I didn't sample anything, comments I heard were generally positive. If not, there are plenty of pubs, takeaways and shops to buy stuff at. The ground is situated around 4 miles from Badshot Lea, in the village of Wrecclesham.

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