Saturday, 30 April 2022

Seaford Town - The Crouch

Seaford Town FC
The Crouch
Bramber Lane
East Sussex
BN25 1AE

01323 890211

Ground Number: 1072
Saturday 30th April 2022
Seaford Town 0-2 Shoreham
Southern Combination D1 Playoff Semi-Final


The club was established in 1888 and was initially known as Seaford FC. They initially played in the Lewes League, winning it in 1908 until the First World War interrupted things. During the conflict, their pitch was dug up and used to grow food with supplies being short. Later on, they played in the Mid Sussex League. In 1952, they joined the Sussex County League as founder members of its newly established Division 2. In 1964, they finished as runners-up to Selsey and enjoyed a very credible start in Division 1, finishing 4th, the best finish in their history. Fortunes soon declined though and in 1971 they finished bottom and were relegated back to Division 2. Despite an initial recovery, finishes got worse and in 1978, they left the Sussex League. Returning five years later, they started out as founder members of Division 3. They won the league in 1986 and then Division 2 in 1989 but would only stay in Division 1 for a couple of seasons. Another relegation followed in 1993 to find them back where they started. In 1996 they finished bottom of Division 3 and spent a couple of seasons in the East Sussex League. They won the Premier Division in 1999 and returned to the Sussex League, again in Division 3. A runners-up spot to Rye United in 2001 was good enough for promotion to Division 2 and that is where they remain to this day. The league was renamed the Southern Combination Division 1 in 2015 and Seaford Town has had its bad times including finishing bottom in 2015. However, their first top-half spot in ten years has seen them enter the newly established playoffs following a 4th place finish.
Remarkably, for a club with such a long history, they have yet to play in the FA Cup. Their best run in the FA Vase came in 2019 when they beat Eastbourne United, FC Deportivo Galacia and Horley Town before losing at Southall in the 2nd Round. Local cup wins include the Sussex County Football League Division Two Cup in 2013, the Sussex County Football League Division Three Cupin 1986, the Sussex Junior Cup in 2010 and the Mid Sussex League Montgomery Cup in 1936 and 1939. Their record attendance of 205 came for the local derby against Newhaven this season.


Seaford is a town in East Sussex, England, east of Newhaven and west of Eastbourne. It has a population of just under 23,500. Rugby, cricket, golf and tennis are also played in the town. Its most famous former resident is Tony Caunter who played Roy Evans in the TV soap Eastenders. Seaford has featured in various media outlets, most famously for me, on BBC's 999 in the mid-90s. Edith Gladwin, a pensioner, crashed her new Nissan car into an indoor swimming pool at Seaford, East Sussex in August 1994, after accidentally hitting the accelerator instead of the brake, driving through a fence, across a garden and through a patio door. Ms Gladwin and her passenger were treated for shock.


I was really struggling to find a game on this day, which seems ludicrous when so many were on offer. But nothing took my fancy, mainly as I wanted to do one on public transport. There was one I was willing to do by car - a revisit to Weymouth as it was a pain on the train. However, Anwar had elected to go to Burton Albion v Wycombe Wanderers and it wasn't really worth it with only one passenger. The trip to Burton was one that I'd considered, however, I was unable to find a second game to make the trip really worthwhile. I'd have accepted a basic pitch but anything near enough kicked off at 14:00, leaving the 12:30 kick-off at the Wycombe game incompatible. It was a real shame as it was a crunch game for Wycombe with us having a chance of getting in the playoffs. Burton was also a good town for pubs, but by the time I considered it as a solo game, it had sold out.

I eventually found a decent alternative in Seaford Town v Shoreham. Like so many, it came from the Futbology app whilst skiving on the toilet at work. It was one that was doable on the train, at a reasonable price, £31 as opposed to around £40 in car costs. This was only available as I had a railcard though, which was a whole world of discrimination. I get the need for a disabled one and it's only right that those people get one for three years at a cheap rate. The group ones and 'young' person ones I understand less though. The ageism stinks for 31-59-year-olds, nothing available for us aside from in the South East, or unless we are part of a group. I thought a great objective would be to get single-occupant cars off the roads to help the environment but that obviously hasn't occurred to the powers that be. So for the whole of this year, I've been sticking to train trips in a small corner of the country and will try getting advance tickets next season when my railcard expires.
I had a relaxing Friday night at home watching TV. I also had a couple of drinks, trying an excellent one from my favourite maker Ross Cider. The Harry Masters Oak Cask SVC 2019 was a potent one at 8.2% but was full of taste. I spent the evening sorting out arrangements so I could watch the Burton Albion v Wycombe Wanderers match on the train, time would tell if that was successful. I awoke early on the day of the game so didn't have to rush. I left at 8 and was at the station 20 minutes before my 09:33 train. In fact, I caught an earlier unofficial one at 09.26. This had come from Birmingham and was for 'set down passengers only, do not get on the train'. Stuff it, I thought, I've paid my fare. It turned out it was going straight to Marylebone and I got there 20 minutes ahead of schedule. The place was packed and it was nearly ten minutes until the first train came and we were packed in like sardines on the train and platform. It was only one stop to Baker Street and it would have been quicker to walk. It was then the Jubilee to London Bridge which was not quite as busy.
 I was at London Bridge by 10.20, then it was ten minutes to the Cider House stall on Borough Market. A lovely secluded place amongst all the madness and although there was nothing I fancied on the seven on tap, I bought three bottles. The large one I settled down and had. As ever from Ross, the Hagloe Crab - Bulmers Norman was excellent and 'only' 6%. It was nice to sit down at last and have a rest with plenty of time to spare. It was a nice walk to London Bridge Station and I was at my platform with 20 minutes to spare. It gave me time to crack open a Wasted Knight cider and setup for the first leg of the journey to Lewes. I got the match OK, albeit with a few dead spots which interrupted the commentary. The first leg to Lewes was great, I got to charge my phone, a double seat to myself and informative announcements to make an extremely tight connection. The second leg was a bit more bare-bones, with no toilet and no charging points but it did do the job. I was at Seaford at 1.20, popping into the Steamworks for a pint of Silly Moo. With Plymouth getting humped 5-0 at Milton Keynes, Wycombe looked a good bet for the playoffs and I was overjoyed. In the end, we did it and will face Milton Keynes next Thursday night. I stopped at Substation for a Jurassic Pork roll and fries for £9. It was OK but nothing special. I got to the ground at about 2.20. The queue for the bar was huge, so I had my third cider, a Hancocks Dabinett from the ones I'd bought with me.
Seaford Town had finished 4th whilst visitors Shoreham had finished 5th. With Dorking Wanderers Reserves intelligible for promotion, the other semi-final sees Midhurst & Easebourne play Epsom & Ewell. The two sides had met in January at Seaford, with the hosts winning 2-1. They'd also thumped Shoreham 5-0 in August so would be favourites for this game. The hosts were unbeaten in eight games since they had lost 4-0 to Midhurst & Easebourne on 5th February. This included some impressive victories on the road, 4-0 at Arundel and 7-1 at Forest Row. They'd drawn their latest game 2-2 at Godalming Town. Shoreham were guarding an even longer run, unbeaten in 13 ever since they'd lost to today's opponents. They'd drawn 1-1 against champions Roffey in their latest game and had recorded 4-3 wins at Hailsham and against Forest Row. A fairly even opening ensued but the Shoreham #9 by his own admission got a free-kick that he shouldn't really have had. From there, the ball was put in and a shot from ten yards by Dan Momah made it 1-0 to the visitors. I waited in line for an eternity just to get some chips at halftime. Only for some clown to accuse me of pushing in when I'd waited patiently. It put me in a negative mood for the public that I'll serve tomorrow. Seaford had the ball in the net from Callum Connor but it was ruled out for offside. From there, Shoreham doubled their lead quickly through Harry Heath and the game was as good as over. Seaford had another goal ruled out in injury time and one of their players was given a second booking for his protests.
In the end, Shoreham deserved the win and progressed to play Midhurst & Easebourne in the final. It was less than ten minutes to the station and via Tesco, I was there 15 minutes before departure. The train was good and on time, though it was the same rattler version as before. And the 17:57 back to London was cancelled, so I went into Lewes. An unscheduled stop, but a lovely place. I had a pint of Biddenden in the Brewers Arms whilst ordering my playoff semi-final ticket and then a look around Lewes FC which required scaling a wall. Once I'd got my updated pictures though, a ladder was an easy way out and I made my train with time to spare. It had been a mixed day for me and I was in no rush to get home. I stopped at the Miller near Guys Hospital after getting back to London Bridge at 8.15. I only had the one pint but took my time. I wasn't back at Marylebone until 9.44 and back in High Wycombe around 40 minutes later. I called in at the Chinese takeaway and for once my eyes were bigger than my belly. I ordered salt and pepper chips and Singapore noodles. After eating the chips, I was full and so saved the noodles for my lunch the next day. I got in around midnight and stayed up for half an hour before going to sleep. It had been a typically unhealthy and boozy Saturday and I had a poor night's sleep, getting up and doing this blog at 4 am after being unable to get back to sleep after waking up.

THE CROUCH is very much a public park and that is highlighted as it is very easy to get in without even trying. There are two stands, a seated area on halfway and a terrace behind the goal, these should suffice for most games. There is plenty of open space too. There's a bar and food and under normal circumstances, this should suffice. If not, the town is very close and offers some decent places to eat and drink. I am not sure about parking but the public transport links are good. 

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