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 170 people and behind the other goal is another covered terrace but has supporting pillars and can hold around 120 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: 6/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7.5/10

2 comments:

  1. Good write up ,well done ,very informative .

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! I like to write my blogs in an informative way.

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