Sunday, 12 November 2017

Leatherhead F.C. - Fetcham Grove

Leatherhead F.C.
Leatherhead F.C.
Fetcham Grove Stadium
Guildford Road
Leatherhead
Surrey
KT22 9AS

Official Website:


Ground Number: 61
Date: Wednesday 8th November 2017
Score: Leatherhead F.C.1-2 Folkestone Invicta F.C
Competition: Bostik League Premier Division
Attendance: 294

The best thing about mid-week fixtures is you can go to grounds that you wouldn't get the chance to go to because you generally focus on going to the games of your own teams and for me, a Wednesday night is a great opportunity to groundhop because there is always a few local teams to me that play at home on a Wednesday night and one of the teams that was home tonight was Leatherhead FC as they were home to Folkestone Invicta.
This game seemed really appealing for me to visit because I last visited Fetcham Gove two years ago and back then I wasn't writing this blog and this meant when I started writing this blog, I had to go back to Fetcham Grove and ever since starting this blog over a year ago, I have been trying to re-visit Leatherhead but haven't found the chance to and seeing as I didn't have any plans on Wednesday night, I decided I would go here.
I told my dad on Monday morning that I wanted to go to Leatherhead on Wednesday and he had the evening and Thursday morning off so he said " why not, it has been two years since we have been there". I then asked Tony if he wanted to come with us seeing as he likes to groundhop with us, so I texted him and he also said that he would like to come with us and that was us sorted for Wednesday night!
Tuesday morning was spent mainly doing coursework seeing as we had quite a few pieces of coursework due next week and why not use my time wisely and get another assignment out of the way. I then went to college at 12pm and when I finished college at 4:45pm, I was very tempted to go to Corinthian-Casuals vs Molesey as it is only a few miles from my college but I didn't have a lot of money on me so I decided not to go. I then spent the evening at home looking at some highlights of some previous Leatherhead FC games and also looked into the history of Leatherhead F.C.
Leatherhead F.C. were founded in 1907 as Leatherhead Rise and they are based in the town of Leatherhead in Surrey. The club currently play their home games at Fetcham Grove which has a capacity of 3,400 and there are 125 seats. The club currently play in the Bostik League Premier (7th Tier of English Football) but when the club was founded, they started out playing friendlies but joined the Dorking and District League in 1909. In 1946, the clubs of Leatherhead Rise and Leatherhead United merged together to form Leatherhead FC. The newly formed Leatherhead FC started out in the Surrey Senior League for the 1946/47 season. The club then joined the Metropolitan and District League for the 1950/51 season and they soon joined the Delphian League and the Corinthian League.
At the end of the 1962/63 season, they were the last ever champions of the Corinthian League. They then joined the Athenian League and in 1969, the club reached the FA Amateur Cup semi-final but lost to Skelmersdale United and again in 1971 but lost to Ilford. The club then joined the Isthmian League for the 1972/73 season. In the 1974/75 season, they made it to the FA Cup 4th Round but ended up losing at the hands of Leicester City. In 1978, they reached the FA Trophy Final but lost against Altrincham. The 1990's saw the club face some promotions and relegation's within the Isthmian League. In 2011, the club beat Dulwich Hamlet to gain promoted to the Isthmian Premier (Now Bostik Premier) and this is where the club still remain.
The history of Leatherhead FC looked quite promising because they have had quite a few cup semi-final and finals in their day and have had some big days and even made it to the 4th Round of the FA Cup and this made me excited to be re-visiting Fetcham Grove. I went to bed on Tuesday evening at 10:30pm as I had to be at college for 9am tomorrow morning. I woke up at 6:30am on Wednesday morning feeling quite tired because I hadn't had the best nights sleep. I left for college at 7am and was at college for 8:20am and it was again another really chilled day. I left college at 3pm and then got the bus back home and then got my things ready as I would be sleeping round my dad's tonight. My dad arrived at 4pm and we went back to his and at 5:20pm, we left to pick up Tony and then made the short drive to Leatherhead.
The drive to Leatherhead itself was not really eventful apart from some traffic at North Cheam but that was about it, we just put a CD on and listened to some music and me being a typical 18 year old football fan, I had to have something alcoholic to drink so I had a bottle of Kopperburg and that pretty much lasted the whole journey to Leatherhead. We then followed the signs for Leatherhead FC and the ground is really well sign posted for a club in the 7th Tier. We then parked the car in a small car park next to the ground and then walked up to the ground and we had arrived at 6:30pm. Tonight cost £10 for admission for my dad and £2 for a programme. Tonight would have cost me £7 to get in but the club kindly gave me free entry for tonight as I am writing this blog and I would personally like to thank the club for giving me free entry.
After my dad and Tony finished paying to get in, we walked to the bar as it was really cold outside and then my dad and Tony got a can of Diet Coke and I didn't really fancy anything to drink but that's probably because I had just had a Kopparburg in the car. The bar isn't really big but is warm inside and everyone is really friendly and is a typical non-league bar. We sat in the bar reading the programme and we looked to see if there was any ex-Sutton players in both teams but there wasn't but there was a player I highly recognised which is ex-Eastleigh striker Jack Midson and I know him a lot from the old days of Football Manager 2015. We then went outside and took some pictures of the ground.
Fetcham Grove has a capacity of 3,400 and there are 125 seats. The ground is very traditional and has a really friendly feeling. On one side of the ground is the main area and it holds the bar and changing rooms as well as a small seated stand which has covered terracing either side. Opposite this side of the ground is an uncovered walkway and a gantry and this is where they film the game from. Behind one of the goals is a large covered terrace with no supporting pillars and can hold around 250 people and behind the other goal is another covered terrace but has supporting pillars and can hold around 200 people.
I really like Fetcham Grove because it is a typical non-league stadium and the ground has lots of character and there isn't any large modern stands or terraces that ruin the look of the ground. I also really like how there is a mixture of both seats and terracing alongside the main area of the ground and I like both of the covered terraces behind the goals because they provide a good view of the game.
After walking round the ground to take some pictures, we went to the tea bar to get something to eat and the queue was quite long and we had to wait around 10 minutes but I had heard some good reviews on the food here, so I was more than willing to wait in the queue to try some of the food and it also meant that I wouldn't have to worry about queueing up for food at half time. I decided to get a cheeseburger and chips, my dad had a plain burger and Tony had sausage and chips, mine tasted really nice and my dad and Tony said theirs was nice as well, so top marks on the food at Leatherhead.
After having something to eat, we went and stood in the covered terrace behind the goal and when the teams were coming out, there wasn't much of a roar from either sets of fans but that is probably because there is only around 300 people inside the ground. Last time I came to Fetcham Grove, there wasn't much of an atmosphere so I was hoping for some chanting and some better atmosphere from both sets of fans tonight. To our luck, Leatherhead were kicking towards the goal we was already standing behind and this meant we didn't have to walk round to the other goal.
The game started and Leatherhead started the game strongly as they were creating a lot of chances and they were not letting Folkestone into the game and they had a quite a few chances within the first few 10 minutes. In this 11th minute, one of the Leatherhead players was tripped in the box and Leatherhead were awarded a penalty. Liam Nash stepped up to take the penalty and I was expecting the shot to go top corner but it was the complete opposite and the Folkestone keeper dived too early and Liam Nash chipped the ball down the middle and after only 12 minutes, it was 1-0 to Leatherhead!
Leatherhead continued to dominate after going 1-0 up and they looked like scoring again but the Folkestone defence was on hand to keep Leatherhead at bay and to keep the score at 1-0. Folkestone started to get back into the game after the 30th minute and this started to cause concerns for Leatherhead and they were punished right before half time as Folkestone equalised in the 45th minute and after dominating the majority of the first half, Folkestone had managed to get themselves back on level terms.
Half time and Folkestone had managed to get themselves back on level terms and realistically even with letting Folkestone back in the game, it should be at least 2-1 to Leatherhead but then again that's football, you can dominate a lot of the game and still not be winning at half time. After clapping the teams off, we went back to the tea bar to get something hot to drink and I went for a hot chocolate, my dad went for a tea and Tony went for a bovril and I have to say that my hot chocolate tasted really nice and my dad said his tea was nice and Tony also said his bovril tasted nice as well, so top marks for the hot drinks at Leatherhead!
Whilst having our drinks, we decided to sit in the stand for the second half because it had gotten really cold and it was quite cold in the terraces. We found some empty seats and even though we had some supporting pillars in the way of our view, we still had a good view of the pitch. The teams came back out and there was a few encouraging shouts from both sets of fans and I was hoping that both sets of fans could start some singing because they had been very quiet so far!
The second half started and I was hoping that Leatherhead could perform like they did for the first 30 minutes of the first half because if they did, they would easily win the game but like I said before, its not as easy as that. Folkestone seemed to have fed off Leatherhead's confidence from the first half and Folkestone seemed to have picked up a bit and were playing some fluid football and were making some good passes and were creating some chances and were unlucky not to take the lead within the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Leatherhead were creating some chances but those chances were not very dangerous and their crossing seemed to have dropped because they were struggling to get the ball into the box and whenever they managed to get the ball into the box, it was either too powerful or not powerful enough. Folkestone took advantage of this and they took the lead in the 60th minute and the travelling 30 or so fans went wild and finally, there was some singing but unfortunately, it wasn't from the Leatherhead fans.
After going 2-1 up, Folkestone scored again but luckily enough, it was offside and this kept Leatherhead in the game. As the game went on, Leatherhead slowly improved and they were creating more dangerous chances and were unlucky not to find the equaliser but then again, that's football. Folkestone were also unlucky to not score after their third goal was given as offside but after pushing for an equaliser, Leatherhead had the chance to score but failed and soon after, it finished Leatherhead 1-2 Folkestone Invicta.
We headed out of the ground feeling happy that we had finally re-visited Fetcham Grove but unhappy that Leatherhead didn't get anything from the game. We got back in the car, put the heater on because it was freezing outside and then drove back to South West London. We dropped Tony off home and then drove back to my dads and we was back at my dads at 10:15pm. I would recommend going to Leatherhead F.C. as they ground is very traditional, has a lot of character, very friendly and the food and drink in the ground is really good.
Rating:
Stadium: 7/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 8/10
Atmosphere: 5/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Experience As An Away Fan: 7/10
Overall Rating: 7.3/10

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Cambridge United F.C. - Abbey Stadium

Cambridge United F.C.
Cambridge United F.C
Abbey Stadium
Newmarket Road
Cambridge
Cambridgeshire
CB5 8LN



Ground Number: 60
Date: Sunday 5th November 2017
Score: Cambridge United F.C. 1-0 Sutton United F.C.
Competition: FA Cup 1st Round
Attendance: 3,070

After beating Paulton Rovers in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round, Sutton were in the draw for the FA Cup 1st Round Draw and we had been drawn away to Sky Bet League Two side Cambridge United. When the draw was made, I was quite excited that we had been drawn to Cambridge because it was one of the teams in 'The 92' that I wanted to visit and now I would be visiting it to watch Sutton which will make the trip there more special.
Since beating Paulton, Sutton had picked up 3 points in the league from 3 games which doesn't sound very good but we got a draw away at Hartlepool which was a very good result and a point away at Aldershot which was also a very good result and we got a 0-0 draw at home to Ebbsfleet which isn't too bad, so we are in good form going into the Cambridge game and we were all looking forward to the game because we were all excited about the FA Cup as we are every year around Sutton had sold around 500 tickets which for a club of our size is amazing.
After drawing 0-0 with Ebbsfleet on Saturday, out attention was focused back on the FA Cup and I myself was very excited for the game because like I said, Cambridge is one of 'The 92' that I wanted to visit and as a supporter of a non-league team, there is every reason to be excited for the FA Cup. The week of the game was actually really chilled because I was back on college on Tuesday and visited Hayes and Yeading and you can read my blog on my trip there here and the rest of the week at college was also really chilled and on Saturday (my 18th birthday), I spent the day at Millwall F.C and you can find my blog on my trip there here.
After getting back from Millwall on Saturday evening, I was really tired after going to a new ground and going to three pubs but I was able to stay up until around 11pm watching MOTD and I actually found it really easy to get to sleep which isn't like me because I generally find it hard to go to sleep to night before going to a new ground but going to new grounds and groundhopping can be tiring at times and today was a perfect example of a tiring day of groundhopping.
I woke up on Sunday morning at 7:20am feeling very refreshed because I had a really good nights sleep. My dad didn't end up waking up until 7:40pm and when he woke up, he made breakfast which for us this morning was just some toast as we didn't have time for a big breakfast as we were going to be leaving soon. After getting dressed and having breakfast, I made sure that my flag bag had everything we needed and I made sure I had my powerbank because I knew that I would end up needing it at some point in the day. I then quickly looked into the history of Cambridge United FC.
Cambridge United FC were founded in 1912 as Abbey United and are based in the city of Cambridge in Cambridgeshire. The club's nickname are 'The U's' and they currently play their home games at the Abbey Stadium in Cambridge and the ground has a capacity of 8,127 and there are 4,376 seats. The club currently playing in League Two (England's Fourth Tier). The club started out in the East Counties League before they wee promoted to the Southern League in the 1957/58 season. Three seasons later, the club reached the Southern Premier.
In 1970, the club was elected to join the Football League and after three seasons in the Football League, they were relegated. In 1980, Cambridge peaked to 8th in the Second Division but the club faced two successive relegations and were back in the Fourth Division. Cambridge did return to Division Two but were relegated in 2002. In 2005, they were relegated down to the Conference Premier after being in the Football League for 35 years and they were faced with financial problems in 2005. The club remained in the Conference Premier until 2014 when they won promotion at the end of the 2013/14 season and they still remain there today. The club also won the FA Trophy in 2014.
We left my dads house at 8:30am and we drove to my nans house and then met my uncle Ben, uncle Kevin and Mikey there as we decided to meet there. We left my nans house at 9am and she was coming with us because we were dropping her off at her brother Brian's (my great great uncle) house near Stanstead as it is on the way to Cambridge. After being on the road for only 30 minutes, we was already on the M25 and I decided to crack open a bottle of Kopparburg as I was insisting on having a few drinks today and what better way to start off the journey that sitting in the car with some cider.
We then got to my favourite part of the journey which is the Dartford Tunnel and I just like the Dartford Tunnel and Crossing because I have been over it quite a few times, especially when I was younger and to this day I still like the experience of going through the tunnel or bridge. We were following Ben the whole journey like we normally do when we drive to away games because he has the SatNav and my dad couldn't ever seem to find his so we just followed Ben. We arrived at Uncle Brian's at 11am and he gave us some burgers, hot cross buns and sausage rolls for a bigger breakfast and they tasted amazing and we left nan at Brian's as she was going to be spending the day with him.
We left Uncle Brian's at 11:50am and then headed back on the M11 for the final 30 minute stretch to Cambridge and we had experienced no traffic so far and we wasn't really expecting any but when we arrived in Cambridge at 12:35pm, we hit quite a large traffic jam but it soon cleared. We then parked 10 minutes from the ground and then walked up to the Abbey Stadium to find that there was a few Sutton fans already waiting at the away fans turnstile. They opened the turnstiles at 1:50pm and I had my pre-paid ticket which cost £10 which is very reasonable and I then went and put my flags up and then took some pictures of the ground.
The Abbey Stadium has a capacity of  8,127 and there are 4,376 seats. The Main Stand on one side is a covered two-tiered all seated stand, part of which is used as a Family enclosure. This stand has a number of supporting pillars. Opposite is the Habbin Stand, which is for home supporters and is mostly covered. Again there are a number of supporting pillars. At one end of the ground is the Marstons Smooth South Stand, which was opened in 2002. This good sized covered single tiered, all seated stand, replaced a former open terrace. The seating area is raised in this stand, meaning that supporters enter the stand via a small flight of stairs. The North Terrace at the other end of the ground is covered. However, it only runs for about half the width of the pitch, with one side ending in line with the eighteen yard box. Thus there is a large open area at one corner of the ground, that is unused for spectators but houses the supporters club. (Description of The Abbey Stadium is sourced from Football Ground Guide). 
I really like the Abbey Stadium, it has a lot of traditional terracing and a old main stand which I really like and I also like how the modern away stand behind the goal fits in with the ground and normally, a new and large modern seated stand will ruin the look of the stadium but in this scenario, I personally think it has improved the ground and its overall appearance. I like how it has a mixture of terracing and seating and definitely fits in League Two.
Whilst putting my flags up, a lady gave me a Hartlepool pin badge that she purchased online as she read that I couldn't get one and she said she got it for me because she enjoys reading my blogs and this made me feel very happy and proud. I then went and sat with Ben, Kevin and Mikey and read the programme that my dad purchased when he went inside the ground and it cost £3 which is quite reasonable. I then went to the tea bar and got a Kopperburg with my Uncle Kevin and that took around 10 minutes to drink and by the time we had finished, there was a lot more Sutton fans in the stand and people like Theo, Ryan and Johnnie were arriving.
I helped put up their flags and then Darryl and Theo both gave me £5 each for a birthday present and I was very grateful. The teams came out and there was a loud roar from the 468 travelling Sutton fans. The game started and Sutton were kicking towards the Cambridge fans and this didn't bother us too much because if we was going to get a goal in the second half, we would be able to see it clearly. Sutton started the game very strongly and to start off with, we were looking like the team in the league above but obviously we are not. One of the first chances was a Louis John header but was headed straight at goalkeeper David Forde. Tommy Wright then had a good shot on goal but was straight at David Forde.
Louis John was the tackled by Maris and he Maris was shown a yellow card. Dundas had a chance to put Sutton 1-0 up but again goalkeeper David Forde was on hand to keep the score 0-0. Maris then simulated a dive and was shown another yellow card and was sent off and Cambridge were down to 10 men and all of the Sutton fans cheered because we now knew that we had a greater chance of scoring as Cambridge now had a disadvantage. My nan and granddad then arrived because they had gone up to Leicester before the game but they arrived with around 10 minutes of the first half remaining. Cambridge then broke through and there was a clear handball call on Jevani Brown who quickly hit the crossbar and then Ibehre scored from the aftermath and straight after conceding Dundas had a golden opportunity to score from another header but the ball went just over and at half time, it was 1-0 to Cambridge.
Half time and Sutton had found themselves dominate the first half by creating at least 80% of the chances and were having some good patches of possession but we had conceded from the aftermath of Cambridge hitting the crossbar and Cambridge undeservedly were 1-0 up. Me and my dad went to the burger van to see what they had, I got a cheeseburger and my dad just got a coffee. The cheeseburger tasted good but it wasn't tasty and I wouldn't have it again if I had the opportunity. I then checked to see how my bets were going on and they were going well for most of them which kept me in a good mood.
The teams came back out and there was a loud round of applause from the Sutton fans because we knew that we had been the better team so far and we was still in this game. So far there had been literally no singing from the Cambridge fans and not a lot of atmosphere from their fans and even as an away fan, this did disappoint me because I do like to have some atmosphere from both sets of fans but today, it seemed like it was Sutton who were the better side and the louder side.
Sutton again got off to a really good start and within the first few minutes of the second half, winger Kieron Cadogan had a shot on goal from a tight angle but once again, David Forde was on hand to keep Cambridge's lead intact. Cadogan then had a marvellous opportunity to score and his shot rattled the top of the post and would have been an amazing goal to put Sutton back on level terms. Cambridge then had the chance to make it 2-0 but the shot nearly wen across the line but goalkeeper Jamie Butler was on hand to keep the score 1-0. The Cambridge fans seemed to have woken up but were singing the same song for like 2 minutes and it seems like they aren't the best for creating an atmosphere and based on today's atmosphere, a few non-league sides would create better atmosphere than they did!
Ross Lafaytte then had a chance to equalise but the ball deflected off his leg into the hands of David Forde. Adam Coombes then had the chance to put Sutton back on level terms with a few minutes to go but once again David Forde was there to keep the shot away from goal! Sutton had one more chance to score but they didn't and it finished Cambridge United 1-0 Sutton United and we were out of the FA Cup.
We then clapped the players off for their great efforts again a League Two side and we were definitely the better side and had the better fans this afternoon but then again, I wasn't very disappointed that we were out of the FA Cup because we have had a great start to the league so far and I think it would do us good to keep our focus on the league and we also have the FA Trophy and like every year, it would be a great chance to try and get to Wembley.
We walked back to the car and there was a lot of traffic and we were pleased that we had parked 10 minutes away from the ground as it would mean that we would miss out on some of the traffic. It took around 15 minutes to get out of Cambridge and soon after, we was back on the M11 and we was soon back at Stansted, picked up my nan and then drove home. Whilst on the way home, my Uncle Kevin said he was going to the firework display at Morden Park tonight so we said we would come.
Once we were back in our local area, we got something to eat, met up with Kevin, his girlfriend Leighann and Mikey and my little cousin Ronnie and then watched the fireworks, went on a few rides in the little fairground in the park and then I went home and I got back home at 10:45pm. I would recommend going to Cambridge United because it is a good traditional ground, very friendly but if you're looking for a good atmosphere, I would probably say go with the away fans as they are more likely to create a better atmosphere!
Rating:
Stadium: 8/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 6/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Experience As An Away Fan: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7.6/10