Saturday 26 February 2022

Lydd Town - The Lindsey Field

Lydd Town FC
The Lindsey Field
Dengemarsh Rd
TN29 9JH

01797 321904

Ground Number 1041
Saturday 26th February 2022
Lydd Town 0-4 Tooting Bec


The club was established in 1885 and for the first part of their history played in the  South Eastern (Ashford) League. They were champions in 1959, moving up to the Kent County League. They finished as Division 1 runners-up in 1965, earning promotion to the Premier Division in the process. They coped well with the step up and won the league title in 1970 and 1971. A couple of runners-up spots followed but in 1984, a new Senior Division was created and made the top tier but despite a 4th place finish, Lydd Town were not invited. They weren't left out for long and the next season, they won the title again and earned promotion to the Senior Division without losing a game. Again the club were a great success, finishing as runners-up twice before winning the title three times in succession at the start of the 90s. Another restructuring followed in 1992, and again, Lydd Town were dealt a harsh blow, as despite being reigning champions, they were placed in Division 1 East, again winning it at the first attempt. However, they were denied promotion due to ground grading issues but won the league again in 1994, this time being able to go up after remaining unbeaten all season. They were runners-up again in 1996 but results went awry in the mid-2000s and they were relegated to Division 1 East in 2006. Results did not improve and they were relegated to Division 2 East in 2009. In 2011, they finished as runners-up to Saga Sport & Social. They were elected to the newly established Kent Invicta League at step 6, which effectively gave them a three-division promotion. They finished as runners-up to Hollands & Blair in 2014 and a couple of seasons later, the league was integrated into the SCEFL D1 where the club remains to this day.

Lydd Town have an unremarkable record in the FA Vase and have only progressed to the 2nd Qualifying Round twice. Ironically, one of their defeats was to Tooting Bec in 2020 with them going out after a penalty shoot-out. The club has never played in the FA Cup, but they have won a number of local competitions. These include the Les Leckie Cup on seven occasions, the Eastern Floodlit Cup on three occasions and the Rye Charity Cup in 1910. The small town of Lydd has a population of around 6,500. Not a lot has happened there to be honest, but there was a notable incident around 75 years ago. In September 1940, one of four young Dutchmen who had landed on the coast between Hythe and Dungeness in a rowing boat was arrested for spying shortly after drinking at the Rising Sun pub. Three of the four were hanged at Pentonville Prison.


As usual, I'd be primarily using public transport on a Saturday. I'd narrowed it down to a number of options, namely Cambridge University Press, Bournemouth, Hailsham Town and Lydd Town. The latter completed the SCEFL D1 and was the favourite, although some of the connections were a bit tight and I'd be relying on a half-hour bus journey for the last leg of my journey. They were facing Tooting Bec, a far easier place to get to and when I enquired about whether they were running a team coach, they confirmed that they were. Seats were available at a reasonable cost of £15 and so I booked on, thinking that it would save a bit of hassle. The only downer was that I'd be missing out in some decent pubs in Rye, but that could wait for another day. The only downer was that there was barely anything of note in Lydd, but I would also be saving a bit of cash. There was a small doubt about the game going ahead, as they had issues with the electricity at the ground which led to the cancellation of the game on Tuesday. I sent a message to them, but they failed to respond, at least when I started typing my blog four days later on Saturday morning. Their Twitter account was not the most prolific and I do wonder why some clubs don't embrace social media more in this day and age. I had conformed with Tooting Bec on Friday night and I'd have an additional person with me as Colin had decided to come along too.

For that reason, I decided to go from Amersham and that would also give me a bit more time in bed. Not that I got much sleep, after a restless night, I woke around 7 when my alarm went off. I dawdled a bit and as a consequence, was later than I'd have liked leaving. I had to defrost the car too but I still met Colin as arranged at 7.45 outside the station. We got our train at 7.50 as arranged and were on our way. We were at Tooting Broadway by 9.20 and went in the JJ Moons Wetherspoons for a drink. I had a couple of pints of Black Dragon and that helped the day go smoothly. We then got the train to Morden, stopped at Lidl before the 118 bus. Colin had only hopped the ground a few weeks ago, so for once, I wasn't doing all the research. We were there 20 minutes in advance and so I got the £15 fare from Colin and transferred the £30 to Tooting Bec FC. I was pleased to be helping out a club and we had a brilliant chat with the coach driver who was an AFC Wimbledon fan. We also shook hands with the Tooting Bec gaffer and I was really willing them to win. The coach was a small one and was pretty full, although at least it made economic sense for the club. We left about 11.10, picking up a couple of players along the way whilst I cracked on with my blog. We had a stop a Lenham for the toilet which was most welcome, though I was annoyed that my power brick had stopped working. Luckily, the coach had ports to top me up. A quiz was played on the coach and it was a nice atmosphere. We were at the ground at 1.30. My research had turned up nothing special, so I went straight in and got a half-pound burger and chips for £6.50. This was nice and filling, not especially gourmet but typical football ground food that would soak up a few pints. I had one of the cans I'd got earlier before kick-off but the place was very quiet and not many turned up in the end.

Lydd Town were in terrible form and their last win came on January 15th as they won 4-2 at Westside.Since then, they'd drawn 2-2 at Faversham Strike Force and at home to Greenways. They'd also lost 4-0 at home to Sutton Athletic, 1-0 at Lewisham Borough and 2-1 to both Croydon and Sporting Club Thamesmead. They were 15th, whilst Tooting Bed were a lofty 3rd. They were unbeaten for a fair while, with their last loss a 3-1 defeat at home to Stansfeld on January 8th. They'd beaten both Staplehurst Monarchs United and Larkfield and New Hythe 3-1 at home.They'd also beaten Bridon Ropes 3-2. They'd drawn 2-2 at Lewisham Borough and 1-1 against Kent Football United, Lewisham Borough and Bridon Ropes. Tooting Bec started brightly and a free kick from the right smashed against the bar after two minutes. They took the lead after 9 minutes, a low ball from the right was put home at the back post by Eddie Mbango.Tooting continued to dominate but Lydd had a goal disallowed for offside following a rare break on 28 minutes. The visitors finally extended their lead on 62 minutes, a lovely strike from Alex Keating found the top corner from the edge of the area.  It was another brilliant strike on 73 minutes, this time from Nick Thompson which I was lucky enough to get on camera. Four minutes later, the rout was complete when a shot was cleared off the line and Conor Turner tapped home from close range.
It has been a decent game and a deserved win for Tooting Bec. We stood behind the away dugout in the second half and had a good chat with the management team. It was also a good day and so after the game, we headed back to the coach. We had an hour and twenty minutes wait after the game , one of the drawbacks of coming by team coach but overall I thought it was a good decision. Sadly, the news coming from our own team was not so good as Wycombe had led twice only to lose 3-2 up at Accrington Stanley. There was of course the foreboding Sunday, but there was an evening to relax before that. Maybe it would not be so bad anyway, with a lot of the toxic crowd in during the week, what with it being half term. I estimated that if I was lucky, I might even make it home in time for Match Of The Day. As an afternote on the following Monday, I missed MOTD and Sunday was as evil as ever. But it was a brilliant day with a great team and there was much joy and merriment on the coach home.



THE LINDSEY FIELD is a well-kept venue, around ten minutes from Lydd town centre. There's plenty of parking at the ground and reasonable food and drink facilities. The ground itself is smart but basic with concrete paths around three sides and two arena stands providing some cover. There's some nice scenery around too and overall, it's a good place to visit.

Friday 25 February 2022

Otford United - Bowring Group Sports Centre

Otford United FC
Bowring Group Sports Centre
Otford Recreation Ground
High Street
TN14 5PG

07850 676595

Ground Number: 1040
Friday 25th February 2022
Otford United 0-0 Ten Em Bee
Kent County League Premier


Very little is known about the history of the club, as is often the case with teams this low down the football pyramid. The club badge denotes a 1900 formation date and they have played strictly local football for all that time. Presumably, they played in competitions such as the Sevenoaks and District League until 2002, later joining the higher level Kent County League. Being fairly central, they spent their first couple of seasons in Division 2 West, before transferring to the Division 2 East. They gradually improved season upon season and by 2008, a runners-up spot behind a reformed Canterbury City was good enough for promotion to Division 1 East. Again, they switched between the regional leagues but generally finished towards the top half of the table. In 2017, they missed out on the Division 1 West title only on goal difference to Lewisham Athletic. However, they still earned a promotion to the Premier Division where they remain to this day. Their record finish of 6th came in 2019. The village of Otford is located near Sevenoaks in Kent. The population is around 3,500 and it is located on the River Derwent. A notable landmark is the duck pond on a roundabout, unique to the village.


As regular readers know, I love a bit of Friday night football as a way to unwind after a week at work. I've been quite blessed this season, being able to find a game more often than not, although they had dried up recently, what with the poor weather. I had a few choices on this night with Hereford Pegasus, Thornbury Town, Otford United and a few in Wales as viable options. My initial thoughts were a trip to Thornbury, although as Anwar was unavailable, I decided to save it. The nearest to home was Otford United, although it was a very basic ground, with not even a rail around the pitch. At least it had a bit of personalisation though, rather than being a bland council-owned pitch. I decided that seeing as they had made the effort to schedule a game for Friday night, I was going to make the effort to go. Fellow hopper Dan had managed to wangle his usual lift from Braintree, so at least I'd have someone I knew there. Colin took a bit more convincing, keen to add a ground to his list, but not liking the basic nature of the venue. I was like that at the start of my hopping career. Initially, I concentrated on the Football League, quickly deciding to go down to step 4. Then pretty soon after, I decided to complete down to step 6. It was then the ground must have a stand and be enclosed before these started to dry up. Now I am happy as long as they have a rail around the pitch or a structure. This just about qualified with its clubhouse but to be honest, I am happy to make a trip to anywhere in the right circumstances.

I'd been to Carterton on Wednesday and spent Thursday completing this blog. I also had to research future blogs and had settled on tonight's the previous day. My plans for Saturday were less concrete, I was planning on Lydd Town, but they had been having problems with the electricity at the ground. I decided to hold off researching them, I'd have plenty of time on the lengthy journey down in any case. Back to tonight's game, the visitors had an unusual name, but they played at a leisure centre of the same name in Bromley. Ten-Em-Bee Sports Development Centre was founded in 1975 by employees of Metal Box Company and The Beehive Cricket Club (from which the name Ten-Em-Bee is derived) to provide sporting opportunities for communities within the London Borough of Lewisham and beyond. It looked like a reasonable venue to visit under the right situation. The day of the game came and I woke to the news of idiots panic-buying petrol again. These lobotomized amoebas were reacting to the news of the conflict in Ukraine, taking leave of their senses and making life difficult for everyone else. I had enough to get to Otford and back but was a tiny bit concerned about having to do a lot of driving for the North West Counties Hop next weekend. It was a tough old day at work, very busy and I was glad it was the last day of half term, with the place packed. I was home just before 3.30 and had just over an hour to put my feet up before leaving. I was glad to see confirmation of the game going ahead and left at 4.45. I'd managed to persuade Colin to come along and picked him up at 5. It was the standard Friday night on the M25 and we made very slow progress. We were in Sevenoaks by 7 and near a selection of takeaways. I went for the Lantern Chinese and had a special chow mein for £5.50. It was OK, but nothing special and the portions were small. We then made our way to the ground, arriving at 7.30 and meeting up with Dan.

Otford United were in 11th place and were in disappointing form. Their only win in seven games had come as they'd beaten Ide Hill 1-0 on 15th January. That was their first game of 2022 and they went on to earn a respectable draw at Stansfeld. Since then, they had lost 5-0 to Red Velvet and 3-0 at both Bromleians and New Romney. Ten-Em-Bee were in 5th place and were in far better form, unbeaten in nine games. This year, they had beaten Kings Hill 2-0 in their latest game and also defeated Tudor Sports and K Sports reserves for the same scoreline. They'd also scraped a 3-2 win at basement side Crockenhill. They had also had a couple of goalless games at Kings Hill and at home to Hawkinge Town. The omens didn't exactly look good for a goal-fest, but I went in with an open mind. But the stats don't lie and it was a dreadful game in baltic conditions. Ending goalless, it was a real war of attrition and although it was an end to end game, there was very little quality in the final third. My toes especially were frozen and I was glad when we got in the car at 9.40. It was only an hour and ten minutes back to Colin's, which shows how much we were delayed on the way there. I'd seen a few places had ramped up their petrol prices to take advantage of the panic buyers. I suffered no such skullduggery at my local station, putting in £50 worth at the same price I had paid last week. I was back home at 11.05 and stayed up typing my blog and watching TV for an hour and a half.


OTFORD RECREATION GROUND is a very basic venue, but it's still worth a visit. There's grass banking on a couple of sides and a nice club building which also provides some cover. Car parking is plentiful and there's an Indian restaurant nearby too. For public transport, there's a train station. It might be worth stopping en route as there's not a lot nearby and the club only offers snacks. They do however sell hats and scarves, a real rarity at this level.