Wednesday 27 October 2021

Hythe & Dibden - Clayfields

Hythe & Dibden FC
Claypits Lane
SO45 5TN

Ground Number: 1016
Tuesday 26th October 2021
Hythe & Dibden 2-6 Blackfield & Langley
Wessex Premier


The club was established in 1902 as Hythe & Power United. In 1947, they had their first spell in the Hampshire League but were generally unsuccessful and would drop down to the Southampton League in 1962. They won Division 2 in 1971 and were runners-up in Division 1 the following season to reach the Premier Division. However, by 1975, they were back in Division 2 and would yo-yo between Division 1 & Division 2 for several years. They'd return to the Premier Division in 1986 and stay there until 1994 when they rejoined the Hampshire League. They were runners-up in Division 3 in their first season, winning promotion to Division 2 in the process. Four mid-table seasons followed before league reorganisation saw the club placed in the Premier Division in 1999. Despite some fairly unremarkable seasons, Hythe & Dibden would join the second tier of the Wessex League in 2004 as founder members. Their best finish of 3rd came in 2019 as they finished 3rd. However, they did enough over the last two abandoned seasons to win promotion to the Wessex Premier for this season.

In the FA Cup. Hythe & Dibden's best run came in 2019. They managed a 2-2 draw at AFC Portchester before triumphing in the replay. They then beat Horndean 2-1 before a 4-2 defeat to Kidlington in the 1st Qualifying Round. This remains their only success in four seasons of participation. The record of success in the FA Vase is even rarer, with eleven seasons played and only getting past the first hurdle twice. Their best run came in 2013 as they beat Oldland Abbotonians and Totton & Eling by 3-2 scorelines before a 4-1 defeat at Alresford Town. Up until 2014, the club played at the Ewart Recreation Ground, sharing with the cricket. From then on, they moved around the corner to the Clayfields Sports Centre. 

Hythe is a small town near Southampton, with the name of the place meaning 'haven'. It is located by the shore of Southampton Water and has a ferry service connecting it to Southampton. Hythe has a small shopping area, a pier, and a marina for yachts. Hythe was a village up to the 1950s, but the expansion of Fawley Refinery led to a demand for more houses for workers, and Hythe and Dibden Purlieu were allowed to expand into a small town. In 1983, following the growth of Hythe, the parish of Dibden was renamed to Hythe and Dibden, to reflect the importance of Hythe as a new focal point of the Parish. Today, it has a population of around 20,500.


I'd almost certainly be on my own this day. Both my regular Tuesday hoppers were busy with Anwar off to his beloved Arsenal and Colin off to his new love, Berkhamsted. With that in mind, I would be heading south and also keeping the miles down. I'd also be avoiding ones with decent pubs and ones that were easily doable on public transport. With that in mind, games at Bearsted and Worthing were held back and I also discounted AFC Stoneham, as it had a 3G pitch and could be saved for a rainy day. It boiled down to a few choices, AFC Portchester, Hythe & Dibden and Chipping Sodbury. In the end, I went for the middle-distance option of Hythe & Dibden with me making the final decision on Monday night. It had been a tough and busy couple of days at work, a complete contrast to the joy of Saturday. Once again, Wycombe had grabbed a last-minute winner, this time to beat Crewe Alexandra 2-1. The win was great, but the mad celebrations at the end, with people that I care about and have known for years, put the icing on the cake.
The day of the game came and I was on my usual day off work. I had a good lie-in and didn't get up until after 9. After having breakfast, a shower and getting dressed, I went out for a walk, getting back around 1. A couple of Chilli Cheeseburger pies were had for lunch which more than helped undo the calories burned on my walk. After an afternoon at home, I left at 4.50. It was a good journey down and I was in Hythe at the Golden Stir Fry Chinese Takeaway by 6.40. I ordered my usual salt and pepper chips which were £3.30. They were decent, but not the biggest portion for the money. I eat my dinner before making my way to the ground, arriving around 7.10. Entry was a well priced £6, with a programme a further £1. Hythe & Dibden were in wretched form, having lost all sixteen of their games so far. Conceding 73 goals in the process, their worst defeat of the season came on 4th September as they were thumped 8-0 by Fareham Town. On Saturday, they had one of their better days, losing 4-2 at Christchurch but in their last game, they lost 6-0 to Moneyfields. I'd seen the visiting team, Blackfield & Langley, earlier this season in the FA Cup. They were sitting in mid-table and had been in mixed form recently. They'd defeated Wokingham & Emmbrook in the FA Vase on Saturday and had also won 5-1 at Christchurch & beaten Fareham Town 2-1 in recent times. On the flip side, they had lost 4-1 to Brockenhurst and 3-1 to Shaftesbury.

The hosts started brightly, though not creating much. Blackfield & Langley soon took control and they hit the post when clean through after 8 minutes. They took the lead on 13 minutes, Rafa Ramos getting away from the defence before sidestepping the keeper and putting the ball in the net. It was 2-0 on 36 minutes, a well-worked move ended with Sami Makhloufi netting in off the right-hand post. A minute later, the lead was halved, Hythe & Dibden pulling a goal back on the break. The visitors had been the more skilful side and deserved their lead but the hosts had worked hard. Hythe & Dibden started the second period well, but Blackfield & Langley hit the post on the break. On 58 minutes, the visitors made it 3-1, a corner from the left had headed in from around six yards out. On 68 minutes, it was 4-1, an error by the home keeper Jack Hunt.  He came to the edge of the area and realised he could only palm the ball into the path of Rafa Ramos who claimed his second goal of the game. On 75 minutes, it was 5-1, Owen Fee being put down the centre and finishing past the keeper. Blackfield & Langley made it 6-1 on 90 minutes, thanks to a penalty. The attacker appeared to handle the ball in the build-up and a home player was sin-binned for his protests. There was still time for a Blackfield & Langley man to be sin-binned and for Hythe & Dibden to grab a late consolation to make it 6-2. There had been a good crowd of 187 for this local derby and I left at 9.45. It was my usual listen to Andy Crane on Greatest Hits Radio on the way home and as usual, guessed the year correctly of 1994. I was back in at 11.15 and went to bed pretty quickly. I couldn't get to sleep for ages so I was pretty tired the next morning. 

One result I'd wanted to keep an eye out for was Yate Town v Dover Athletic. I was rooting for the home underdogs as this game should have been played last Tuesday. There had been problems with the floodlights and the referee set an 8.30 deadline for them to be fixed. The home club got in help and they were fixed by 8.34. The hosts and the referee were all ready to play but Dover refused and so the game was called off. No doubt they had bought some fans with them and they and the players had made a 380 mile and eight-hour round trip. It baffled me that they would go home and do it all again for the sake of four minutes. It showed complete and utter contempt for the public that paid their wages, not to mention the environmental impact. I also wondered where the money for two coach trips was coming from when Dover had financial issues last season, so much so that they had refused to play. I agreed with them on that occasion, as they had been forced to play with no fans, and it was ludicrous to expect them just to take a loan and get on with it. In the end, the season was abandoned anyway, but the league saw fit to still dock them 12 points and fine them £40.000. But in the blink of a floodlight, they had gone from victim to pariah. As it happened, Yate Town won 1-0 and will go on to play Yeovil Town in what will be the first time two 'Y' teams have faced each other in the competition.


CLAYFIELDS or the HYTHE GARAGES STADIUM as it is known for sponsorship purposes is a decent venue for the level. There are two main covered areas. On the far side, there's a seated stand - half benches and half seats, holding around 200. On the near side is some covered standing, holding another 200. The rest of the ground is open and is well-kept. There is a bar and a tea hut but I didn't try either. The ground is around 20 minutes from Hythe centre which is served by buses. There's a car park at the ground which might get full for bigger matches, otherwise, there is street parking nearby.

1 comment:

  1. Wahay! Playing legend Wayne Oakley bashing out the burgers! Good lad!