Tuesday 8 November 2022

Stanway Pegasus - The Stanway School

Stanway Pegasus FC
The Stanway School
Winstree Road

Ground Number 1129
Tuesday 8th November 2022
Stanway Pegasus 3-0 Benfleet
Eastern Counties D1 South


Formed in 2018, Stanway Pegasus traces its roots back to the 1970s from Colchester-based Sunday league side AFC Pegasus. They won an incredible 64 honours over a period of 30 years with Paul and Heather Booth at the helm for every one of them. They started out in the Essex & Suffolk Border League Division 2 and won 25 out of 26 games to romp home as champions. They were promoted two divisions to the Premier Division and were leading the table by ten points when the pandemic bought things to a premature end. The 2020/21 season was also abandoned with Stanway Pegasus sitting 3rd. It was third time lucky for them last season as they romped to the title, winning the title, remaining unbeaten and winning 32 out of 34 games.

Stanway is a village and civil parish in Essex, England near Colchester and within Colchester Borough. 'Stanway' is an Anglo-Saxon name for the 'stone way' of the Roman road, now the A12. The population is around 8,500. Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn, founder members of Blur, met at the Stanway School, ironically where Pegasus play their home games. Paralympic swimmer Natalie Jones, singer Sade and footballer Adam Miller also attended the school. The more established local club, Stanway Rovers play nearby at The Hawthorns in the Essex Senior League.


Originally on this day, I was hoping to do a game with both Anwar & Colin. I presented a list with four possibilities - Lutterworth Athletic - playing at North Kilworth, Wisbech St Mary, Uttoxeter Town and Foley Meir. Anwar was only interested in the game at North Kilworth due to finances but that didn't appeal to me. I'd rather save it for a North Kilworth game rather than a 'bracketed tick'. Going with just Colin opened up some different opportunities. The nearest and most convenient was Stanway Pegasus v Benfleet so we opted for that, with me going right past Colin's door anyway. Fellow hopper Dan had caused some upset when he had criticized Benfleet's ground on Twitter in pre-season and he wasn't impressed with Stanway's ground either. It was true, it wasn't the greatest ground and I had originally planned to make a day of it on the train along with a few pubs in Colchester. It would have also been better saved for wetter weather with it being 3G but logistically, it was the best choice for this night.

Sunday and Monday had been my long days at work, but not too unpleasant. This game had only been decided upon as I was leaving work at 5 PM, so I was looking forward to my day off. I arrived home to a storm on Twitter as Wycombe had opted to give half of a home stand to Ipswich fans, forcing many season ticket holders to move. I can see the argument of both sides - the owners need to make as much money as possible to keep up and Wycombe as a town has always been poor about supporting the team until a big game comes along. That said, if you visited the town, you'd never know we had a football team as there is nothing to indicate that we have one. The product on the pitch has also been lacklustre of late. It does feel as if season ticket holders are taken for granted as we get absolutely no perks or benefits for our loyalty. I already know that I am missing one game in a few weeks due to Sky moving our fixture to when I'm working. With the potential of working Boxing Day and me likely missing a game in March due to the Scottish Hop, the savings are minimal. I say I doubt I'll get one every season before giving in and committing, but maybe next summer will be the one where I finally opt out and buy on a game-to-game basis.

The day of the game came and I managed to time my walk down town between the bouts of heavy rain. It was a nice bit of exercise and useful to pick a few things up. I came home and spent the afternoon doing some research for my next two blogs and watching TV. There was no concern with the pitch, what with it being 3G and a number of games had bitten the dust. However, the Just Stop Oil protestors were up to their old tricks again and with the police in no hurry to move them on, it could ruin the journey. I left just before 5 and as expected there were delays galore. I was with Colin by 5.20 and after half hour's delay, we were near the ground by 7.20. I parked in a side road and we made the short walk to the ground. Entry was a well-priced £5 and there were plenty of hoppers in attendance.
Stanway Pegasus were sitting in 5th place in the table and were in mixed form. They had beaten Park View 3-1 in their latest game and also defeated Burnham Ramblers in the League Cup. However, they'd lost 4-1 at Sporting Bengal United and 3-0 to May & Baker. They'd also lost to Romford on penalties in the Essex Senior Cup and drawn 2-2 with NW London. Visitors Benfleet were in 2nd place but were yet to win a home game. They'd been amongst the goals recently winning 4-3 at Park View and 5-3 at Enfield Borough but had lost on penalties to Baldock Town following a 2-2 draw. Disappointment had come in a 1-1 draw at home against Wormley Rovers where they'd lost 2-0 against Barkingside. They'd also lost 2-0 at May & Baker. Stanway Pegasus started on top and they took the lead on 10 minutes with a shot in the top corner by Tariq Issa, a great goal. They continued to dominate but annoyingly all the action was up the other end to where we were standing. Benfleet dominated the second period and so typically, all of the action was again up the other end. It was more of a social thing though, with us standing with some Colchester fans. It was getting nippy so I had a tomato soup for £1. Benfleet never really tested the keeper though and on 78 minutes the hosts appeared to have sealed the game. A good through ball found Josh Rutter who placed a low composed finish past the keeper. The Stanway #9 came close to getting his team's third, a curling shot hitting the post. Issa sealed the game with his second, the last kick, chasing down a hashed goalkeeper clearance to make it 3-0. Overall, the hosts were deserved winners, despite Benfleet having a fair amount of possession.

WESTSIDE PARK is a basic venue, but it's quite impressive what they've done in a tight footprint. The ground has only two sides and the only covered accommodation is a small metal seated stand which is at least in club colours. There's a small car park although there is plenty of street parking too. There are basic food and drink facilities but I didn't see a bar. Overall, it's worth a visit to this friendly club, perhaps taking advantage of the 3G pitch in the wet and cold.

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