Thursday 24 February 2022

Carterton - Kilkenny Lane

Carterton FC
UKBP Stadium
Kilkenny Lane
OX18 1DY

07919 207877

Ground Number: 1039
Wednesday 23rd February 2022
Carterton 3-2 Letcombe
Hellenic D2 South


The club was established in 1918 and for a long time, were members of the Witney & District League. They were Division 1 champions in 1977 and 1985 and Premier Division champions in 1961 and 1966. In 1982, they merged with Carterton Boys club and changed their name to Carterton Town, a monicker that lasted up until 2005. In 1986, the club joined the Hellenic League and after three seasons in mid-table, they were champions in 1990. Aside from 1993/94 when they were Division 1 champions again after a relegation, Carterton would stay in the Premier Division until 2011. Their best finish came in 1999 when they were runners-up to Burnham in what was at the time, a step 4 league. Following relegation, Carterton would spend five seasons in Division 1 West, before they won the league in 2016. However, the resignation of manager  Ben Sadler and the departure of several players left them unable to field a side, despite the best efforts of the new management team. They resigned from the league and would return in the Hellenic Division 2 West for the 2017/18 season. 4th place was good enough for promotion back to Division 1 West but they only managed three games before resigning from the league again. The following season, 2019/20 saw them join the step 9 Witney & District Premier Division with Carterton sitting top of the league when proceedings were called to a halt at the start of March. They were top once more when the season was again cancelled last year, having won all eight games. This season they joined the Hellenic D2 South where they find themselves in lower mid-table.

In the FA Cup, Carterton's best run is to the 2nd Qualifying Round, achieved in 2000 and 2002 with defeats to Havant & Waterlooville and Arlesey Town respectively. In the FA Vase they reached the 3rd Round in 2000/01 as they defeated Hailsham Town, Hungerford Town, Cirencester Academy and St Blazey prior to a 3-0 defeat at Falmouth Town in the 3rd Round. Local cup wins include the Witney & District George Dingle Memorial Cup (five times), the Oxfordshire Junior Shield (1986), the Hellenic Supplementary Cup (2000) and the Hellenic Challenge Cup (2001). The record attendance for the club is 650 for a July 2001 friendly against Swindon Town. Famous players to play for the club include Micahel Duff, a defender, Cheltenham Town and Burnley but also a must-buy on the Championship Manager computer game. The town of Carterton is the second largest in West Oxfordshire (after Witney) and has a population of just under 16,000. Windell 'Joe' Walcott - the grandfather of footballer Theo Walcott was mayor of the town from 2001 until 2004.


I wasn't entirely sure when my next groundhop was going to be at the time of starting this blog, due to the weather, lack of choice and commitments to watching Wycombe Wanderers. Had I not won tickets to Long Crendon v Wycombe Wanderers, then I'd probably have gone elsewhere. Especially seeing as I gave lifts to mates to make sure the tickets got used, which more than doubled my mileage. But I was glad I did, in a nice atmosphere, Long Crendon had one of the greatest nights in their history. Though Wycombe cantered to a win, 4-0 after Long Crendon started brightly, they did well financially out of it. A huge crowd of 1,904 - the biggest that has seen a Wycombe Wanderers game in the Berks & Bucks Cup for over 50 years would have been great news for Long Crendon anyway, but with Wycombe donating their share of gate receipts to their step 6 opponents, it was even better for them. They no doubt did well on merchandise, raffle tickets and programmes too, as did hosts Thame United on the bar and food takings. The weather had been rancid all day and I'd got absolutely soaked walking to town and back. For that reason, fellow hopper Anwar turned down a trip to FC Stratford and I can't say I blamed him as the forecast wasn't the greatest. In the end, the game went ahead, with FC Stratford beating Hereford Pegasus 4-1.

I looked ahead to Friday and it wasn't just the rain and cold to contend with, as strong winds and storms were battering the UK. I decided against Market Drayton and Welshpool in the north as it was far colder up there. There was Norwich United in the East or Goytre or Abergavenny in Wales, with it looking slightly less windy out West, at least come the evening. I decided to see how many games survived on Wednesday and make a decision on Thursday. In the end, it was made for me. A rare 'Red Alert' was issued for the west of England and South Wales, so I'd avoid there despite it likely being over by the time I got there. In the end, I decided to go to a game I'd initially dismissed - Kings Sports (Herts) v Soul Survivor (Watford). This was due to Jarman Park in Hemel hardly being the most inspiring venue and the lack of a Twitter presence for either of the teams. I'd only learned of the game thanks to legendary groundhopper Brian Buck's excellent email but other information was thin on the ground. I found out league and result details on FA Full Time but couldn't even find out what colours the teams played in, so scant was the information. In the end, it was yet more wasted time, as that bit the dust on Friday morning, presumably owing to the storm. It was a couple of visits to Adams Park in the interim, firstly on Saturday, I saw a crazy 5-5 draw with Cheltenham Town which as epic as it was, had to be considered two points dropped. My 900th visit to Adams Park was on Tuesday and it ended in disappointment as we surrendered a goal lead in the 70th minute to lose 3-1.


It was a huge disappointment as it meant six games without a win. It had also been the usual unhealthy day that a Wycombe game entails with me having an extra drink to down my sorrows when I got home. As such, I got far more enjoyment out of working on Wednesday than I did from my day off which was most unusual. I was expecting a night in with TV until Anwar messaged me to tell me that Carterton had a game, After double-checking on FA Full Time, I saw what other fixtures there were. I might have preferred an early night had it been somewhere else but Carterton had proved especially elusive when trying to tick it. I was going to visit in the summer of 2020, but it was in those strange times when Covid seemed to exclusively target football fans and as such, no spectators were allowed. The journey home from work took longer than usual, thanks to roadworks but I was back home by 3.40. I had a bath and got changed before watching TV and carrying on with this blog. Luckily, I'd already researched the club for my intended original visit, so that only needed an update. I had Chilli Con Carne for dinner before quickly noting down both teams' form. I left at 5.40 and was in Aylesbury by 6.05, ten minutes before I was due to meet Anwar. After waiting around ten minutes, he came along with his son Hicham and we were on our way. It was generally a decent journey, save for a few dawdlers on the single carriageways. We arrived five minutes before kickoff and paid £3 to get in. We all also got some chips for £2 which were very well-cooked, even if the portion was not the biggest.

Carterton were in disappointing form and sat 10th in the table. They'd drawn their last two games - 2-2 away to Shrivenham and 1-1 away to Fairford Town. They'd lost 2-1 to Wantage Town and 4-1 at Letcombe in the reverse of this game. Their last win had come on 15th January as they beat Cricklade Town 2-1. Letcombe were a place above, in 9th. As well as the win against today's opponents, they'd also beaten Marlborough Town 6-2 and Clanfield 85 3-1. They'd drawn 3-3 away to M<Marlborough Town, their only defeat in the last five coming as they were beaten 5-0 at Kennington Athletic in the BBFA Charles Twelftree Trophy. The home side started brightly and they were ahead after a couple of minutes, a square ball was hit home from close range by Joe Langdon. On 18 minutes, Letcombe found an equaliser in similar circumstances by Jake Moss. They went ahead on 34 minutes, an attack down the left before Josh Fowler cut in and put away a decent shot on the angle from around 15 yards. The game quietened down after that, but Carterton had some chances and were unlucky not to score before they did. On 85 minutes, they were given the chance to equalise through a disputed penalty, with the Letcombe players thinking it was a dive. Dylan Butler stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way. This saw the game explode into life as Carterton staged a late rally. Right on time, Langdon headed home a cross for his second and the hosts' third. Letcombe then had substitute Ben Marshall sent off for something he said to the referee, though he claimed that he only said 'You've had a stinker ref'. The hosts tried to do the old trick of keeping the ball in the corner, though this was not to the liking of a Letcombe man who slid in with a hefty two-footed slide tackle. This sparked a fracas and with the players in a melee, the referee blew the full-time whistle. With that, it slowly broke up and the players got on with the customary post-match handshakes.


KILKENNY LANE is an excellent venue for the level, having seen service several levels higher. The daytime pictures are from 15th March 2008, when I visited whilst on the way through to Hereford United v Wycombe Wanderers. There was one main stand, proper bricks and mortar as well as a couple of smaller areas of cover. Upon my visit nearly 14 years later, the standard metal 'Arena' stand had been added to bolster the seating capacity by around 100. The team's colours had also changed to black and white. There was a cosy bar with sports TV and a selection of bottles and cans and they also did nice food. The round was at the back of a substantial housing estate and plenty of parking was available.


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