Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Bedfont and Feltham F.C. - The Orchard

Bedfont and Feltham F.C.

Bedfont and Feltham F.C.
The Orchard Stadium
Hatton Road
Bedfont
London
TW14 9QT


Ground Number: 45
Date: Saturday 13th May 2017
Score: Redhill FC 2-3 AC London F.C.
Competition: RPM Records Division One Challenge Cup Final
Attendance: 375

It is the time of season when all of the leagues have finished and there are no more league games and the only games that are taking place are cup games such as local cup finals and the play-offs and this is a good time for groundhopping because your team has finished their season and it means you have the time to go and watch cup finals and play offs in other leagues and counties and this means you have the chance to visit grounds that you don't have time to visit when the league season is taking place.
During the week, I was looking on some non league forums and the FA website to see what play-off games and cup games were taking place this weekend and there were a few local games taking place this Saturday but the game that most stood out was Redhill FC vs AC London in the RPM Records Division One Challenge Cup Final which was being held at The Orchard which is the home of Bedfont and Feltham and I have wanted to go to The Orchard for the last two years but I have never found the time to go there but this weekend, me and my dad had nothing planned so we decided that we would go to this game.
The days before the game really dragged as I was at college and I was still doing coursework but there was one good thing about this and that is I wasn't stuck at home bored all day. The last few days of the college week went by and by the time Friday had arrived, I was exhausted because I had worked really hard all week doing coursework so that I wont have to worry about doing coursework this weekend. I got home on Friday evening feeling so exhausted that I nearly fell straight asleep but I had a nice hot chocolate to keep me awake. I then spent the rest of the evening researching into the history of both the teams as I don't know a lot about Redhill FC and so my knowledge of AC London can be strengthened.
Redhill FC were founded in 1894 and they play their home games at Kiln Brow which has a capacity of 2,000 and there are 100 seats. The clubs nickname is 'The Lobsters' and they play in the colours of red and white. Redhill have spent most of their time in the lower leagues of non league in the county leagues and was in the Athenian League. This season (2016/17), Redhill finished 2nd in the Combined Counties Division One and they will be playing in the Combined Counties Premier Division for the 2017/18 season.
AC London F.C. were founded in July 2012 by a 16 year old called Prince Choudary. The clubs full name is Academic Club London FC. The club was originally founded as an amateur youth team but after its first season, the club established a men's first team and a reserve squad and academy for the 2013/14 season.  By June 2015, the FA committee allocated the club to the Kent Invicta League for the 2015/16 season and the club has become the first club to ever become a semi-professional side after three years of being founded. The club were moved to the Combined Counties Division One for the 2016/17 season and they recently started groundsharing the Merland Rise stadium which Banstead Athletic who are the main club who runs and owns the stadium.
The day of the game finally arrived and I woke up at 8am feeling very tired as I didn't sleep very well so instead of going back to bed for an hour, I had a nice warm shower and that worked the trick as I felt much more awake. After having a nice and refreshing shower, I got dressed and then I had breakfast which was a few warm muffins. Today I was going for a casual look which was my Adidas jumper, jeans and my Adidas Gazelles as I like to wear casual clothing when I go groundhopping. By 11:15am, we was ready to leave and we made the hour long journey to Heathrow and we arrived in the Bedfont area at 12:20pm.
After parking the car in a housing estate opposite the stadium, we went and did some plane spotting on Mrytle Avenue as you get some good views of the planes coming into land when they are landing on runway 27L and for me, visiting stadiums near airports is a treat for me as I have two passions which is football and aviation and when I go to grounds near airports, I get to watch planes and watch football. After plane spotting for around an hour, I had gotten some great pictures to add to my collection. We then walked up to Hatton Cross and got the bus up to McDonalds as we was feeling peckish.
Normally when I go to McDonalds, I will get a quarter pounder meal but as they were doing the American burgers, I decided to have the New York Stack and it tasted really nice. I also noticed that my phone was on 20% battery and luckily enough we was sitting by some plugs, and luckily I had my charger on me so I plugged my phone in to get some extra battery. I managed to get my phone up to 45% which wasn't too bad but it would be enough for me to last the rest of the day.
We then got the bus back to Hatton Cross and then we walked to the ground from there and the ground is roughly a 10 minute walk away from Hatton Cross Tube Station. We got to the ground at 2pm and there were already quite a few people there. I took some pictures of the exterior of the ground and then we paid to get in and we also got a programme. We then walked around the ground to take some pictures.
The Orchard is a fairly open stadium and it is mostly standing. The ground has a capacity of 1,200 and there are around 100 seats. On one side of the ground is a small seated stand located on the halfway lane which has around 60 seats and the seats are in white, yellow and blue to represent the colours that Bedfont and Feltham play in. Then opposite this side of the ground is another small seated stand that is a bit smaller than the other seated stand and it holds around 40 seats. Then on the far end of the ground behind the goal are two small but tall covered terraces that look weird but add a unique feeling to the ground and then behind the other goal is a uncovered terrace and a small covered terrace, clubhouse and tea hut. The stadium is also located right next to Bedfont Sports, the grounds are a 1 minute walk away from each other.
As we were walking around the ground, I started to really like the ground and even though it is one of the smallest grounds that I have ever been to, I really like it because it has a unique feeling to it and you get really good views of the planes coming into land and I even managed to get some pictures of the A380 coming into land. After taking some pictures, we saw the same Sutton fan that was at the AC London game and we had a talk about how our season was and the thoughts on our new summer signings so far. We then went to the tea hut and we got a cheeseburger and a hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was really nice and so was the burger. We then headed to the seated stand to eat our burgers and drink our hot chocolates.
By this time, the game had started and both teams had a few chances to score but both teams didn't take their chances. We then went and stood behind the goal and for today, we were supporting Redhill because I know a couple of their fans. The majority of the first half saw some good football from both sides but it was AC London who took the lead in the 42nd minutes as they slotted the ball past the Redhill keeper to go 1-0 up and the remained 1-0 up at half time. During half time, we went and got another drink and I decided to have a diet coke as it had started to get quite warm.
We then went and stood behind the other goal and the second half started and AC London started the 2nd half very well as they scored again in the 48th minute and this seemed to spark some energy into Redhill as they seemed to start responding to AC London and Redhill were starting to look like they could get back into the game. AC London then scored again but the goal was not given as there was an incident with one of the officials during the build up to the goal. Redhill then took the opportunity to let AC London that they were still in the game and Redhill had another great chance but failed to score.
Redhill did finally get a goal back in the 70th minute via a header and I went wild even though I don't support Redhill but I was supporting them for the game and this was a good enough excuse for me to celebrate them scoring. Then out of the blue, Redhill equalised 2 minutes later via another header and me and my dad went wild because within the space of 2 minutes, Redhill were back on level terms with AC London. Both teams had chances to take the lead for during the last 18 minutes of the game but at full time the game remained 2-2 and the game went into extra time. We then went round to the other goal and AC London scored after 8 minutes of extra time and they went wild. After 15 minutes, the scored remained 3-2 AC London but Redhill were not finished with as they continued to fight for the last 15 minutes but the game finished 3-2 AC London and they had won the RPM Records Division One Challenge Cup.
We headed out of the ground with mixed emotions, we were happy that we had seen a great game of football and that we had been to a ground we have wanted to go to for 2 years but we was unhappy that Redhill didn't win but we had really enjoyed our afternoon at The Orchard. We walked back to the car and then we drove back home to South West London. I got home at 6:30pm feeling quite happy because I had finally visited The Orchard and I had enjoyed my time there and it meant that after 2 years of wanting to go there, I had finally been there and I would definitely recommend going to Bedfont and Feltham as the staff are really friendly and the ground is quite small but unique.
Rating:
Stadium: 6/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 9/10
Atmosphere: 6/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Value For Money: 10/10
Experience As A Groundhopper: 9/10
Average Rating: 8/10


Friday, 21 July 2017

AC London FC - Merland Rise

AC London F.C.
AC London F.C.
Merland Rise Stadium
Merland Rise
Tadworth
Surrey
KT20 5JG


Ground Number: 44
Date: Tuesday 2nd May 2017
Score: AC London FC 1-2 Worcester Park
Competition: Combined Counties Division One
Attendance: approx. 30

So Sutton's season had finished and this meant that most of the other leagues had also finished and May is really hard for football because most of the leagues have finished and the only games that are taking place are games that have been re-arranged and I was eager to try and get another new ground in before the season fully ended and to my luck, AC London were playing at home on Tuesday night and they play at Banstead Athletic's ground (Merland Rise) which is a ground that I have never been to so I decided that I may as well go to this game as I have never been to Merland Rise before.
Merland Rise is a stadium that I have been trying to visit this season but I haven't had the chance as every time Banstead or AC London were home, Sutton were also playing at home or we were going to watch Sutton away and I had other grounds higher on my list that I wanted to visit and this meant that I hadn't found the time to visit Merland Rise this season but now as the season is nearly over, I did have time to visit Merland Rise and to my luck, the one Tuesday night I wasn't doing anything was the Tuesday night that AC London were playing at home. I would have preferred to visit the ground when Banstead were playing at home but as long as I visit the ground to watch a game, I am happy.
After deciding to go to AC London on Tuesday night, I went to sleep tomorrow as it was Monday tomorrow and I had college which meant I would have to be up early. Monday went quite quickly as I had a lot of coursework to do at college and this meant I spent all day at college doing work and I wasn't distracted. Tuesday eventually arrived and I didn't feel very excited for tonight's game because I still had coursework that I needed to do and my coursework was my main priority of today. I spent the morning doing coursework at college and I finished college at 12:30pm as I finish college early on a Tuesday. I got the bus home and I got home at 1:30pm and by the time I got home, I started to get a little bit excited for the game because I was now all up to date with my coursework and this meant I could now enjoy my visit Merland Rise tonight. 
After getting home, I had a quick wash as I felt tired and I wanted to wake myself up. I also changed clothes as I wanted to wear a fresh pair of clothes for tonight and I decided to wear my Adidas jumper and a pair of jeans and my Adidas shoes as I like to go for a casual look when I go groundhopping. After getting changed, I had a bit of time to look into the history of AC London F.C.
AC London F.C. were founded in July 2012 by a 16 year old called Prince Choudary. The clubs full name is Academic Club London FC. The club was originally founded as an amateur youth team but after its first season, the club established a men's first team and a reserve squad and academy for the 2013/14 season.  By June 2015, the FA committee allocated the club to the Kent Invicta League for the 2015/16 season and the club has become the first club to ever become a semi-professional side after three years of being founded. The club were moved to the Combined Counties Division One for the 2016/17 season and they recently started groundsharing the Merland Rise stadium which Banstead Athletic who are the main club who runs and owns the stadium.
My dad picked me up from my house at 5:30pm and we drove to Tadworth and we eventually arrived at Merland Rise at 5:50pm which was quite early so we decided to stay in the car for 10 minutes as we were very early. At 6pm, we went to the stadium and as the gate to the entrance of the ground wasn't open yet, we decided to go in the clubhouse until the gate was open.  The clubhouse is not the biggest but for the Combined Counties, it is a decent bar. The staff are very friendly and the bar is very warm. I decided to get a pint of diet coke and my dad got a lemonade. At 7pm, we went back outside to see if the gates were open and they were so we went outside and it only cost us a £1 each to get in which is very cheap and they were giving away free programmes which were just a leaflet but it is better than nothing. 
Once we were inside the ground, we walked around the whole ground to take some pictures and I have to say, Merland Rise is one of the most traditional non league grounds that I have ever visited because it is very simple and there are no modern features to the ground and it is everything I look for in a traditional county level stadium. It seemed like the more I walked around the ground, the more I seemed to like it.
Merland Rise is a traditional and very smart stadium. The ground has a capacity of 1,500 and there are around 100 seats. The main stand is very traditional and is very small and probably dates back to the 1950's and there are only around 100 seats in the stand. The stand has supporting pillars and there is a sign on the stand which says 'Banstead Athletic FC'. Opposite the main stand is a fairly open walkway but to the right hand side is a tall covered terrace that can hold around 150/200 people and you feel tiny when standing inside. Behind one of the goals is another covered terrace that is right behind the goal and can also hold around 150 and the terrace is not very high. Then behind the other goal is narrow open terrace that can hold around 400 people.
After taking some pictures of this traditional non league ground, we went and stood in the covered terrace behind the goals and the teams soon came out after that. There wasn't many people in the ground, probably 30 at most but there was no official attendance but it did feel quite sad to see this traditional non league ground very empty. We did see one of the Sutton fans at the ground and we recognised each other and we said 'hello to each other'. For the game, we were neutral but I decided that I wanted to support Worcester Park as I have a good relationship with the club and because I know a few of the people who run the club. 
We decided to sit in the main stand for the first 25 minutes but I decided to go and stand on the open terrace behind the goal that Worcester Park were kicking towards. About 20 minutes in and the Worcester Park keeper had fouled one of the AC London players and he was sent off and this meant Worcester Park were down to 10 men and had to put a outfield player in goal. AC London soon scored after the Worcester Park goalkeeper was sent off. AC London then had a good few chances to score again but the Worcester Park outfield player in goal was there to stop AC London. 40 minutes into the game and it was still 1-0 but out of nowhere, Worcester Park got a goal back and I cheered. This seemed to dampen the confidence of AC London as only minutes later, Worcester Park scored again and from being 1-0 down with 5 minutes of the first half to go, Worcester Park found themselves 2-1 up at half time.
During half time, we decided to go back to the clubhouse as it was starting to get cold and once inside the clubhouse, I got a sausage roll as it was the only hot food that was available. The sausage roll tasted quite nice as it was nice and warm and it was also quite soft. I then got myself a bottle of diet coke to take outside with me into the ground to drink during the second half. By the time we headed back out into the ground, the second half had already started and we went and stood on the covered terrace behind the goal as Worcester Park were kicking this way. AC London had the odd chance to score and equalise but Worcester Park had the majority of chances in the second half and must have had around 5 chances to score but the AC London goalkeeper was on hand to keep his team still in the game. The game eventually finished 2-1 to Worcester Park and that was the season finished for the two teams and Worcester Park had finished in 4th and AC London had finished in 7th, a good season for both teams. 
We headed out of the ground feeling quite cold but I felt quite happy because I had visited another ground and that is another ground under my belt and another ground that I have visited that is inside of the M25. I got home at 9:50pm feeling exhausted but very happy. I would definitely recommend going to Merland Rise because everyone is friendly and the stadium is a typical small non league ground and it really needs to see an increase in the amount of people going there.
Rating:
Stadium: 7/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 8/10
Atmosphere: 4/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Value For Money: 10/10
Experience As A Groundhopper: 9/10
Average Rating: 7.7/10