Tuesday 15 November 2022

Frenford - Jack Carter Centre

Frenford FC
The Jack Carter Centre
The Drive

Ground Number: 1133
Tuesday 15th November 2022
Frenford 3-5 Basildon Town
Eastern Counties League Cup


The football club was established during World War II by the Frenford Sports and Social Club under the name Frenford Senior. They later joined the Ilford and District Football League and were Premier Division champions in 1976. In 1995 the club joined Division Two of the Essex Intermediate League, going on to win the division at the first attempt and earning promotion to Division One. In 1998 they finished as runners-up to Danbury Trafford, then again to White Ensign in 2005. The league changed its name to the Essex Olympian League the following year and the club were runners-up for the third time in 2006, this time to Harold Wood Athletic. 2009 saw them finish second best to the same team again. They were finally champions, two years in a row in 2013 & 2014. The club changed its name to Frenford in 2017 and in the first season under their new identity, they were runners-up for the fifth time to Catholic United. This was good enough for them to make the step up and in their two completed seasons in the Eastern Counties Division 1 South, they finished 9th.

Frenford have yet to play in the FA Cup but they have played in the FA Vase. Their best run came in 2019, their debut season. They won 6-0 at Potton United before a 3-2 win over Hashtag United. Another 3-2 win followed, this time at Huntingdon Town was followed up with a 3-1defeat at home to Lancing in the 2nd Round. Local honours include three Essex Olympian Senior Cups, four Essex Olympian Challenge Cups, three Essex Premier Cups and the Capital Counties Feeder League Trophy twice. The club is based in Ilford which has a population of just over 168.000. The nearest tube station is Redbridge. Local rivals include Ilford FC, Redbridge FC and Newbury Forest.


I'd spotted this potential double upon looking in the Football Traveller last Wednesday. Normally on a Tuesday, I will drive somewhere, taking one or more hoppers with me. However, on this occasion, all of my options for new grounds would involve a pretty long drive. Frenford was the only ground in the only ground I needed to do in London and I'd originally intended to do it on Saturday and have a day out in London. However, with me still needing to go to the Market Road pitches where the London Underground League is played, I decided to get it done this Tuesday.
It would be a good chance to make up for what was a disappointing day on Saturday which was rather long-winded owing to transport issues. I chose the National Express due to the trains being so expensive, with me saving £20 even on the best split ticket price. Maybe I'll use the train in future as I only checked that price on Sunday evening after going and expected it to be a lot more as the standard fare is £78 plus the extra for the bus. Had I foreseen the traffic issues, I'd have had myself a nice treble in and around London with Stonewall at the London Stadium Athletics Track at 12 and St Panteleimon (at Hertford Town) at 7. The latter game ended in a 3-3 draw before being decided on penalties so I was gutted to miss out. The early game had only come to light a few hours after I'd booked my coach ticket and I was disappointed to miss out. It would have helped me reach my target of 100 games by the end of November and possibly 200 for the season. Hopefully a double today and on Saturday will help me reach that although the World Cup might hinder me.
From my game at Market Road Pitches, it was back to Caledonian Road. It was then a quick train to Holborn before the vagaries of the Central Line and its random offshoots. Luckily, I only had to wait a couple of minutes for a suitable service to Hainault. However, as with everything in life, I'd have preferred a bit more time. I also suffered the only real negative of the London Underground, the complete lack of phone signal. I had some stuff stored locally on my phone and so I was at least entertained. I'd already planned my route and knew that I had to head towards Wanstead for food at Wetherspoons. I got to The George at 6.40, grabbed a table and put my order in for Katsu Curry. It was a reasonable Spoons, no real cider available on the app but good service, and my drink arrived in a couple of minutes. Food was a little longer though with just under a 20-minute wait. Whilst not as good as my earlier Beef Rendang, the Katsu Curry was great, especially for the money. It was a quick dash back to the station for my train to Redbridge, just one stop. From there it was a 20-minute walk, with entry a well priced £5. I bumped into various hoppers including Ryan who had come over from Sutton and another from Norwich.

 Frenford were sitting pretty at the top of the Eastern Counties Division 1 South. They had got this far in the cup with 3-2 wins over May & Baker and Tower Hamlets. Basildon Town meanwhile had recently come up from step 7 and were doing respectably well in 11th. They'd beaten Hackney Wick 3-1 and Benfleet 3-2 so far in the competition. Frenford took the lead after around five minutes, a finish from just inside the area by Sam Munton. The hosts had the better of the game but Basildon Town equalised on 30 minutes, Harry Brown heading home a right-wing cross. Basildon grew into the game and made it 2-1 on 39 minutes, with a wonderful 25-yard strike that flew in the top corner, again Brown the scorer. The visitors came close to extending their lead only for a great save from the keeper to deny them. From the resulting corner, the ball was headed home to see them lead 3-1, Brown completing his hat trick. The second half was not as lively but Frenford reduced the arrears on 63 minutes, Simon Peddie with a bullet header from a left-side corner. Basildon Town made it 4-2 on the break, with an attack down the left and a finish from a tight angle on 74 minutes by sub Albert Perry. Frenford wouldn't lie down though and an attack down the left and a finish from six yards by Raheem Gray made it 4-3. Frenford threw everything forward, coming close on a number of occasions, including a free kick. They were unfortunate when Basildon Town went up the other end and made it 5-3, a goal from a low shot on the break by another sub, Marcus Bowers.
 The game finished pretty late and it was 9.46 by the time the referee blew for full-time. It had been a great contest, though it was a shame that it didn't culminate in a penalty shootout. I made my way back to the station and got a train within a couple of minutes. The quickest route was to go to Oxford Circus, get on the Bakerloo to Marylebone and then the Chiltern back to Amersham. I met Colin at Harrow on the Hill although he was only going as far as Chalfont as he'd left his bike there. It was a short drive home from Amersham and I was in well before midnight. It had been a good day and I had completed a league, the Eastern Counties Division 1 South. Next up for me is a visit to my local side Holmer Green for their youth team game on Thursday.



THE JACK CARTER CENTRE is typical of a modern 3G pitch. The footprint is quite tight and you can only access three sides of the ground with the forth being the edge of the cage. There are two seated stands, metal ones with a total capacity of 100. The rest of the ground is uncovered. Food and drink facilities are basic with only drinks and snacks offered. There is also a small range of merchandise. There was no bar that I could see. It appeared to be more of a leisure centre in the building. Parking is plentiful and there are good public transport links. I didn't see any pubs or takeaways, just a couple of convenience stores near the station which is a 20-minute walk away.

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