Wednesday 22 March 2023

FC Petrocub SG London - Noak Hill Sports Complex

FC Petrocub SG London
Noak Hill Sports Complex
Noak Hill Road 

Ground Number: 1160
Wednesday 22nd March 2022
FC Petrocub 2-0 Chadwell Heath Spartans
Essex Alliance Senior Division


FC PETROCUB SG LONDON was established in 2018 and is a team representing the Moldovan community in London. It takes its name from a club who have enjoyed modest success in Moldovan Football, winning the second tier twice and the Moldovan Cup in 2019. The SG part of the name represents Sarata-Galbena, the area of Moldova where there the other Petrocub is based. They joined the Essex Alliance League in 2019, starting in the top-tier (step 7) Senior Division. Their 3rd place finish in their debut season was their best showing yet. The club is based at the Noak Hill Sports Centre in Romford, which was built in 2017 and plays host to several clubs in the Essex Alliance League and other competitions.


This day was another opportunity to visit somewhere on my day off, although I'd be on my own for this one. Originally, I'd planned to spend a couple of days in the North East and spend a couple of days away using public transport, tonight would have been Guisborough Town. However, with me up at 3 am on Friday, I wanted to get a good night's sleep on Wednesday. That wouldn't have been possible on my usual overnight coach. I originally thought that I'd secured fellow hopper Chris for a trip up to Barnton but he pulled out a couple of days before. Another hopping pal, Colin was off to Highworth Town, so I didn't want to travel a huge distance. The day before, I settled upon Fleetlands with a backup of FC Petrocub v Chadwell Heath Spartans at Noak Hill. Hardly the most exciting venue, but it would be a nice day out on the train.

From my last blog on Sunday, we travelled home from an excellent Scottish groundhop. The journey home went surprisingly quickly thanks to Colin and another hopper, Peter, to chat to, that is, if I could get a word in edgeways, I felt like the filling in a very talkative sandwich but they were great company. After getting back at 11 PM, I stayed awake until 3 and so got up fairly late on Monday. Monday evening saw me make a revisit to Tring Athletic for the Marsworth Cup Final between Aylesbury Vale Dynamos Sports and Great Misenden. An incredible game ended 5-5 before Great Missenden triumphed 4-3 on penalties. Despite the basic nature of the victors' home venue, it's one I'd really like to see a game at - mainly because the town looks nice. It's only around 5 miles from me, so it would be an easy one to do.  Tuesday should have been Sikh Hunters, but it was called off when we were halfway there. Credit to Lye Town for getting their game on, a revisit but a cracking venue as the hosts beat Lichfield City 3-1.

The day of the game came and saw me get up fairly late at 9 am. Within an hour I was off and out on my walk downtown. I discovered that my first choice of game - Fleetlands v Newport IOW was subject to a 2 PM pitch inspection. I wasn't that confident after seeing the outcome of other games and my fears were proved to be well founded. I was back at 2 and had lunch, awaiting any news. Around 2.45, it came through that the game was off. Madness for getting on for late March but at least I had a backup plan on the train. I left for Amersham station at 3.20 PM, so that I could get the off-peak fare into London. At £10.60 return, it was decent value for money, although pretty basic trains with no table or USB charging points. I was parked up in Amersham at 3.45 and got the 3.52 Metropolitan Line to Liverpool Street. It was then a change to the Elizabeth Line to Gidea Park.

The first part of the journey saw us out in the open and so I was able to access the Internet to do my blog. I was impressed by Chadwell Heath Spartans' Twitter presence which would put some professional clubs to shame. The Essex Alliance site was also well presented, although I lost access as we went underground into the busier parts of the network. I was at Gidea Park just after 5.30 and then it was a 10-minute walk to the Gidea Park Micropub. It was a brilliant place and I ticked two great new ciders in Ashover Derbyshire Vintage and Ty Gwyn Kingston Black. From there it was to a Chinese for a chilli chow mein and chips. Wing Yip I think the place was called and like a few miles down the road near the Hop Inn in Hornchurch, it was nothing to write home about. The walk to the ground was billed as 40 minutes but took longer. From there, it was to the Noak Hill Sports Complex, a confusing mix of various teams warming up. The venue certainly made the most of the pitch but a Chadwell Heath Spartans official assured me that the game was going ahead. There was a strong wind circulating around the complex but the various small goals were gradually cleared away, the 8pm kick-off starting nearer 8:15 after a patient wait by the officials.
 FC Petrocub were 6th in the league whilst Chadwell Heath Spartans were in 9th. The hosts had thrashed Blue Marlin 9-1 on Saturday and had also drawn 3-3 against Sporting Hackney this month. In between, the two sides had met in the reverse fixture at the Lakeside Sports Ground in West Thurrock, around 13 miles away with the result being a 2-2 draw. The visitors had also recorded a thumping 7-0 win at Rapid Chingford but had lost 2-1 at Crookz FC at the start of the month. It wasn't the greatest of games. Petrocub were a slick and decent side, they took the lead on 22 minutes, heading in a cross from the left. They added to their lead a couple of minutes into the second half, when an attack from the right was swept home from close range. There were chances for both sides, mainly wayward, but the keepers did make some good saves. The Moldovans deserved their win and looked like they could have had more.
I'd spoken to people from both sides and they seemed very decent. But it was an utterly miserable place to watch football, an isolated windswept carbuncle in the middle of nowhere. Due to my power bank or cable packing up, my phone charge was rapidly diminishing. I  didn't know where to head, but I had enough juice for Google Maps to put me in the right direction. I got the bus to Romford station and knew my way from there. Unlike a lot of public transport, London has a complete lack of USB charging points although at least the Elizabeth Line had free WiFi on its trains which proved very useful. I got the 22:20 back to Paddington, the plan was to change at Liverpool Street to get back to Amersham. In the end, I had to make a change at Uxbridge and wait 20 minutes at Harrow on the Hill. According to the conversation I heard between a well-to-do couple, the previous three trains had been cancelled, so it could have been worse. I read a book on my tablet on the way back, needing to save my battery to check out of the station. That I did, but it was miserable when I got back to Amersham as the weather continued to rain down its contempt. I was back home at 12.50, not wanting to stay up for long. A single can of cider was enjoyed as I put the finishing touches to this blog, but the vast majority of it had been done.


NOAK HILL SPORTS COMPLEX is a leisure centre that has a 3G pitch. Though primarily for players rather than spectators, it does at least have a viewing area for people to watch from. Aside from that, not many creature comforts at all. There's a reasonable amount of parking. The nearest train stations are a couple of miles away, your best bet is to turn right out of the ground and head for the bus stop on the imaginatively titled Straight Road. 

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