Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Spelthorne Sports F.C. - Spelthorne Sports Club

Spelthorne Sports F.C.
Spelthorne Sports F.C.
Spelthorne Sports Club
Staines Road West
TW15 1RY

Ground Number: 72
Date: Tuesday 20th February 2018
Score: Spelthorne Sports F.C. 2-0 Knaphill F.C.
Competition: Combined Counties Premier Division
Attendance: 43

So far, February has been a great month with me already visiting 3 new grounds and I came back from my trip to New York on Friday morning which I really enjoyed but the only bad thing was I don't have any new grounds planned to visit until the 3rd March when I would visiting `The Shay` for FC Halifax Town vs Sutton United and this made me want to try and get another new ground in before the end of February. After landing back at Heathrow at 8am on Friday, I got home and then unpacked and then slept due to not sleeping on the flight.
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Saturday was spent at Gander Green Lane to watch Sutton play out a 1-1 draw with Wrexham. Whilst at this game, we caught up with Jason and Dave (who joined me at Croydon FC) and whilst speaking to them, Jason said that he was going to Spelthorne Sports vs Knaphill on Tuesday and this seemed very appealing for me because the Spelthorne Sports Club (where Spelthorne play) is one of the grounds that I wanted to tick off and is one I need to visit as it is within the M25.
My dad said he would think about it as it is still quite cold on Tuesday evenings but he decided that we will go to the game and messaged me on Sunday evening. I woke up on Monday morning at 8am and then managed to go back to sleep until 9am and then once fully woken up, I had some breakfast, did some housework for my mum, paid a check in at the bank and then relaxed for the rest of the day and then went out for my evening run as I've recently taken up running again and then had dinner and then looked into the history of  Spelthorne Sports FC before going to bed at 11pm.
Spelthorne Sports were founded in 1922 and currently play their home game at the Spelthorne Sports Club which has a capacity of around 1,000 and there are only 100 seats. The clubs nickname is 'The Spelly' and they also currently play in the Combined Counties Premier Division (England's 9th Tier). The club played in local leagues mainly up until 2009 when they joined the Surrey Elite League and in 2011, the club were Surrey Elite League champions and were promoted to the Combined Counties Division One and only spent three years in the league as they were CCD1 Champions in 2014 and they were promoted to the Combined Counties Premier Division which is where they still remain.
I woke up this morning at 9am and then did some exercises and then had a small breakfast and then went round the shop to get some bits and bobs and then did a few more exercises and then chilled out before having a small lunch at 11:20am and then left for college at 11:50am. College was very easy today as we were just doing some more merit work for one of our assignments and that pretty took me until the end of the day. My dad came and picked me up from college just before 5pm and we then headed onto the A3 towards Spelthorne. We did hit a bit of traffic on the way but seeing as it was only 6pm, we stopped in the Tesco in Sunbury and my dad got a coffee and we got something for dinner and I got a fruit pot and a sandwich. We then drove up the road to the ground and found somewhere to park and eat our dinner.
We found somewhere to park and then finished our dinner at 6:45pm and then walked to the bar just outside the ground and had a few goes on the fruit machines. The bar is very large and had a lot of seats and has a pool table and is a decent bar but this is mainly because the bar is a sports bar and is open most of the week. We then walked to the ground and paid to get in and today's admission prices were £7 each for an adult as they didn't have any concessions tonight and to be honest, £7 for a Step 9 game isn't too bad, we also got a match day programme for £1 and my dad got a raffle ticket for £1, so £16 for entry, programme and a raffle ticket which is quite reasonable.
We then walked to the tea bar and got something to eat and drink, I myself got a portion of chips which tasted quite nice and weren't too greasy and my dad got a coffee and I also noticed they sold Spelthorne Sports pin badges for £3 so I obviously got one of those. We got asked if we were groundhoppers and we said yes and they asked who we supported as we said Sutton and we had a chat about our promotion push this season. Jason then arrived and we had a quick chat before walking round the ground to take some pictures.
The Spelthorne Sports Club has a capacity of around 1,000 and there are only around 100 seats. Along one of the sides is a small wooden stand with around 50 seats and next to the stand is a small covered terrace that can hold around 100 people. Opposite this side of the ground is an open uncovered pathway. Behind one of the goals is another uncovered open pathway and behind the other goal is another wooden seated stand identical to the one along the side and the tea bar and turnstiles are also located here.
For a very small ground, I do like it, it does have a true county league feeling to it but it is a little small for the CCL and does need a new stand put in place even if it is a 150 seater stand and some new covered terracing could be put in place behind the goal with no cover. I thought the ground was going to be really bad at first but when we got there, I realized that I actually quite like it, although it isn't my type of county level ground, I prefer grounds like Bedfont Sports and Bedfont and Feltham at county level.
After walking round the ground to take some pictures, we then went and stood in the small covered terrace along the side of the pitch and then got some pictures of the teams coming out. The first half started and there wasn't much action inside the first 10 or so minutes but on 11 minutes. Spelthorne had a free kick but the shot was saved by the Knaphill keeper. Then two minutes later, the Knaphill goalkeeper was sent off, I myself wasn't looking at the time but I believe it was an elbow incident. Knaphill then substituted on their reserve goalkeeper and then on 24 minutes, Spelthorne had a shot at the keeper but he was on hand to keep the score at 0-0 and nothing else happened for 20 odd minutes and at half time it was 0-0.
Half time and it was Spelthorne Sports 0-0 Knaphill, the first half was so uneventful, it felt like it was going to be one of those mid-week games where you travel to see a 0-0 but we was confident that there were a few goals in this game. We walked round to the tea hut and me and my dad got a hot chocolate which tasted really nice and Jason got a coffee. I also decided to get a hot dog which was again very nice and not too greasy. We walked back to the bar to have our food and drink as it was cold outside and then just before the second half started we walked back to the ground and went in the seated stand behind the goal or the 'Flintstones Stand' as we call as it looks like The Flintstones built it.
The second half started and it took a while for it to get properly going but that itself only took 12 minutes as Spelthorne shot on goal from around 20 yards and scored on 57 minutes. Then just 4 minutes later, Knaphill had their first chance of the game as they had a shot but went well over. On 70 minutes, Spelthorne had another shot at goal but nothing came from it. The next 20 minutes were very boring but on 90 minutes, Spelthorne scored again to seal the 3 points and even though it finished 2-0 to Spelthorne, it was one of the most boring games I have ever watched.
We walked out of the ground feeling very happy that we had finally ticked off Spelthorne Sports as it is another ground in the Heathrow area ticked off, another ground nearer to 100 and another ground within the M25 visited. We also saw that Sutton had scored in the last second via a penalty to win 3-2 away at Torquay which made us even more happy. We then said goodbye to Jason and then drove back to South West London. I got dropped off home at 10:20pm, then got ready for bed, did some exercises and then went to bed.
I did enjoy my trip to the Spelthorne Sports Club, it was a decent groundhop and I would recommend going there, the admission is quite reasonable, they were very friendly and welcoming and even though the ground isn't really up to scratch for the CCL, it is a ground I like and would recommend going to.

Stadium: 4/10
Bar: 9/10
Food and Drink: 8/10
Atmosphere: 4/10
Friendliness: 10/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Overall Rating: 6.1/10

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Dover Athletic F.C. - Crabble Athletic Ground

Dover Athletic F.C.
Dover Athletic F.C.
Crabble Athletic Ground
Lewisham Road
CT17 0JB

Ground Number: 71
Date: Saturday 10th February 2018
Score: Dover Athletic F.C. 0-1 Sutton United F.C.
Competition: Vanarama National League
Attendance: 1,027

One of the teams that we have played a lot in the past few years has been Dover Athletic as we have played them 11 times since the start of the 2011/12 season and we have managed to win 3, draw 5 and lose 3 against them which is good in a way but those 5 draws aren't the best and seeing as out of those 11 games, it features a play off semi final loss and a 6-0 loss, it seems like our record since 2011 isn't the best but we would be able to try and make up a bit in a few weeks as we were playing Dover again.
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Personally, Dover is a team I dread to play every season because they have a good team and ever since I have been watching Sutton on a regular basis (early 2013), I have never seen us beat Dover although we have beaten them since 2013, its just I wasn't at the game unfortunately. Weirdly I have always wanted to go to Dover because they have a really good ground for non-league and even though it isn't on my top 20 on my bucket list, it has been a ground I've wanted to visit and after 5 or so years, I am finally visiting the Crabble Athletic Ground.
The week running up to the game was actually a pretty good week overall because college wasn't that stressful and we didn't have that much work to do. Friday was the busiest day as we started a new assignment and it took us most of the day to do it. After finishing college at 4:20pm, I got a lift home from my friend Emma and then I had some dinner before going and getting my hair cut, doing some housework and then packing for my trip to New York on Sunday and I also had time to look into the history of Dover Athletic FC before going to bed at 11:30pm.
Dover Athletic F.C. were founded in 1983 after the dissolution of Dover FC. The club currently play in the Vanarama National League and they currently play their home game at the Crabble Athletic Ground which has a capacity of 5,745 and there are 1,500 seats. The club started out in the Southern League and then in 1993, they joined the Conference and then in 2002, they joined the Southern League again and in 2004, they joined the Isthmian League. In 2009, they were Isthmian League champions and were promoted to the Conference South and at the end of the 2013/14 season, they won promotion to the Conference Premier via the play-offs.

I woke up at 7am and then managed to get back to sleep for another hour or so then I had some breakfast and then checked my social media and then just before 9am, my friend Dean who also supports Sutton asked if we could give him a lift to the ground as he didn't have enough money for the train and we said he could come with us. My dad arrived just after 9am and we then drove to Carshalton to pick up Dean and then got onto the M25 then the M26 and then the M20 and it felt like we was doing Maidstone away again but we were going much further than Maidstone today.
We were quite ahead of schedule so we stopped in Folkestone services to get something to eat and I got a subway and Dean got a KFC and after finishing our early lunch, we got back in the car and drove the rest of the way to Dover and we then found somewhere not too far from the high street to park and then went in the Wetherspoons and Ryan and Johnnie were already there. I decided to get a Strongbow Dark Fruit and my dad got a larger shandy and then it was around 12pm and we decided to get something to eat and I obviously went for a English breakfast and my dad went for a cheese and ham panini. We was then joined by some of the other lads or `youth` as some of our fans like to call us who made the trip by train.
We then left Wetherspoons and then walked back to the car and then drove up the road to the ground and we found somewhere to park and then walked up and there was signs for away supporters but the gate was locked so we walked back and someone who works for the club came on a golf buggy and gave us a lift to the main entrance which was very nice of them and we then paid to get in and seeing as there is no concession rate, todays prices were £17 each which is a bit expensive. We then sat in the bar and watched the Tottenham vs Arsenal game and then was joined by Tony, his girlfriend and my friend Harry and then at about 2:10pm, we walked out and took some pictures of the ground.
The Crabble Athletic Ground has a capacity of 5,745 and there are 1,500 seats. The main stand runs the full length of the pitch on one side is a small covered all seated stand, comprising of five rows of seats. Opposite the Main Stand is the new Family Stand that was built in 2016. Running for half the length of the pitch, towards the Dover End, this new stand is a smart looking one. Having a capacity of 500 seats, this stand is covered. On one side there is an unusual looking security control box, which looks out onto the stadium, whilst below the control box is the player's tunnel.
On the other side of this Family Stand towards the River End, the ground is largely open, with just the clubhouse bar sitting in one corner. Both ends are similar looking covered terraces, that again have a number of supporting pillars. They are slightly unusual in that they are larger on one side than the other, as they have been built on a slope, which is evident from the pitch, which slopes up towards the Main Stand. (Description of Crabble Athletic Ground is sourced from Football Ground Guide).

I really do like this ground and it is quite well built up for a non league ground and is a very good ground for the National League and wouldn't look out of place in the lower tiers of the Football League. I do like the new main stand, it is quite unique looking and kind of looks like a spaceship. I do like the terracing behind both goal but it is a shame that the supporting pillars block your view and I do like the long seated stand and I think it is a decent touch to the ground.
After walking round the ground to take some pictures, we went in the club shop but they didn't have any pin badges so I told my dad that I would try and get one from the Sutton club shop at our next home game. We went and stood behind one of the goals to to watch the Sutton players warm up and then I tied my flag up. With around 20 minutes before kick off, we was joined by Dean, Taylor and Ryan and we had a chat about the coming game and we all agreed that if we could get at least a point today, we would be quite happy. The teams then came out and there was a roar from the 1,000 or so people inside the ground.
The first half kicked off and Dover had a shot at Jamie Butler within the first minute but Butler was on hand to keep it at 0-0. Sutton looked very strong in the first 20 minutes with us creating a lot of chances mainly from Cadogan and Wright and we looked very dangerous and we were awarded in the 26th when Cadogan's shot put Sutton 1-0 up and the travelling 100/150 Sutton fans went wild! Dover didn't really have anything to show for but they did create some chances and were unlucky not to equalise but we had dominated in chances and at half time, it was Dover Athletic 0-1 Sutton United.
Half time and we was winning 1-0 which I partially wasn't expecting and there was a very good vibe around all of the Sutton fans. Whilst walking round to the other terrace behind the goal, we stopped off at the tea bar and got something to eat and I went for a cheeseburger and a hot chocolate and I have to say that the cheeseburger didn't taste that good, the bun was nice but the meat wasn't very tasty and I think I am losing my taste for burgers. The hot chocolate was very tasty on the other hand and did weigh out the taste of the cheeseburger. We then walked round to the other terrace and then stood with the other Sutton fans and then there was another loud roar when both the teams came out.
The second half started and both Dover and Sutton were creating some good chances and we was unlucky not to score again but to be fair to Dover, they were unlucky not to equalise but Jamie Butler was in great form and was keeping us at 1-0 up. With 30 minutes left, my favourite player Harry Beautyman was sent off and we then felt like it was going to be one of them games but we managed to continue to create chances and within the last 15 minutes, Dover were quite dominative and were unlucky to equalise but it finished Dover Athletic 0-1 Sutton United.
We walked out of the ground feeling happy that we had finally visited the Crabble Athletic Ground but more happy that we had won the game. We got quite wet whilst walking back to the car but the journey back to South West London was a quiet one with the weather being terrible and my dad needing to concentrate on the road. We dropped Dean off home and then my dad dropped me off home at 7pm and I then did some more things for my trip to New York tomorrow before going to bed at 9:30pm.
I would highly recommend visiting the Crabble Athletic Ground as it is a really good ground especially for non league and would be a decent League Two ground as well. The fans are very friendly and welcoming but the only bad thing is the food isn't the best and there isn't much of an atmosphere from the Dover fans.
Stadium: 8/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 7/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7.7/10

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Wingate and Finchley F.C. - Maurice Rebak Stadium

Wingate and Finchley F.C.

Wingate and Finchley F.C.
Maurice Rebak Stadium
Summers Lane
N12 0PD

Ground Number: 70
Date: Tuesday 6th February 2018
Score: Wingate and Finchley F.C. 1-1 Tooting and Mitcham United F.C.
Competition: Bostik League Premier Division
Attendance: 111

After going to Brackley Town F.C. on Saturday, it was time go and visit another new ground and I was really keen to visit a new ground in mid-week before our trip to Dover Athletic on Saturday and there was only one local fixture on Tuesday night and that was Wingate and Finchley vs Tooting and Mitcham United and this game seemed very appealing seeing as I have wanted to go to Wingate and Finchley for the past few seasons but the only downside was they were playing against Tooting and Mitcham.
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I don't really have a hatred towards Tooting and Mitcham seeing as they are my most local club but I have recently seen them play when me and my dad visited Dorking Wanderers on Tuesday night just gone. I didn't really fancy watching Tooting and Mitcham again but they did show a good fight to stay in the league, so with them playing Wingate and Finchley who are 6th in the league, it might be a really good game. There are a few opportunities to tick off Wingate and Finchley this season but seeing as this was the only local game, we decided to just tick it off on the coming Tuesday night.
The week before the game was mainly spent at college like usual and I even managed to visit two new grounds as I visited Dorking Wanderers and you can read about that trip here and I also visited Brackley Town on Saturday and you can read about that trip here. Sunday was a more chilled day for me and my dad as we didn't wake up until 9am, watched some of MOTD and then headed to the pub for a drink, darts and a late lunch and that was about all we did on Sunday.
Monday was spent at home mainly chilling out doing some coursework that we started on Friday and I also did some little bits of pieces around the house and I also managed to buy some songs for my iPhone as I wanted some more songs for my trip to New York seeing as I cant use YouTube or any internet connected music apps on the plane. Tuesday morning arrived and I woke up at 7:30am and then had some breakfast and then did a little bit more coursework and then just before I left for college at 12:10pm, I quickly looked into the history of Wingate and Finchley FC.
Wingate and Finchley F.C. were founded in 1991 via the merger of Wingate FC and Finchley FC. The club currently play in the Bostik League Premier Division (England's 7th Tier) and they currently play their home games at the Maurice Rebak Stadium which has a capacity of 1,500 and there are around 400 seats. The club started out in the South Midlands League and in 1995, they joined the Isthmian League Division Three and the club had a couple of promotions and relegations in the 1990's. In 2004, they joined the Southern League East League and in 2006, they re-joined the Isthmian League Division One North and then in 2011, they were promoted to the Isthmian League Premier (now Bostik League Premier).
College was really chilled out today with us only having two lessons and it only consisted of a small bit of learning and the majority was typing up what we had learned. I finished college at 4:20pm and as I was walking out, my dad and Tony were there to meet me and we then drove up to South Wimbledon and then parked the car and walked up to South Wimbledon Station and by now, I had realised it was quite chilly but we were about to spent an hour on the tube so it didn't really matter that much.
We quickly topped up my Oyster Card with £5 and we then got on the tube and luckily enough, the destination of the tube was Finchley Central and that was exactly where we wanted to go so it seemed like TFL had organised this train especially for us but obviously they didn't! The tube was quite empty when we got on and I was quite bored so I read the Evening Standard which is rare because I rarely read and the only time I do read is at college or when I'm looking at a football programme. The tube started to get busy when we hit London Bridge but it is rush hour so we was expecting it and the tube did empty out as we started to reach the suburbs of North London. We arrived into Finchley Central at 6pm which was exactly an hour after we got on at South Wimbledon.
Once in Finchley High Street, we decided to try and find somewhere to eat seeing as we have over 90 minutes until the game, we found a KFC but they didn't have anywhere to sit down so we walked further up and found a burger/kebab type place and got burger and chips and then after finishing our dinner, we made the 20 minute walk to the Maurice Rebak Stadium and by now, it had gotten much colder. We arrived at the Maurice Rebak Stadium at 6:55pm and then paid to get in and today's admission prices were £12 for my dad and £6 for me and £2 for a programme, so £20 overall which for a Step 7 game is reasonable in my opinion. We then walked round the ground and took some pictures.
The Maurice Rebak Stadium has a capacity of 1,500 and there are around 400 seats. The ground is dominated by the unusual looking main stand which looks different to any other stand that I have seen and has a similar design to the stand at Walton Casuals as the stand is split into two as one side is in the football ground and on the other side is a rugby club and the stand has seats on the rugby club side as well. Opposite the main stand is a covered terrace that is located on the halfway line and is very narrow. Behind one of the goal is a small covered terrace that can hold around 100 people and behind the other goal is just flat standing.
I do like this ground, it does feel quite unique mainly down to the main stand and the ground feels historic even though the covered terrace behind the goal was installed fairly recently. I like the covered terrace opposite the main stand I do also like the covered end behind one of the goals but I feel like a covered terrace could be built where there is nothing behind one of the goals and maybe a terrace similar to the one at Imber Court / Metropolitan Police FC would look quite good at this ground.
After taking some pictures of this unique looking ground, we went in the bar as it was 0 degrees outside and I managed to get chatting to an old fella who told us a little about Wingate and Finchley and asked us where we came from and who we support. I also asked whether there was a club shop located on the premises and they said they didn't have any stock which was annoying as I wanted to get a pin badge but I left them my email so they can contact me. With about 10 minutes left before kick off, we headed back outside and then went and sat in the stand to get some pictures of the teams coming out and then the I got some pictures and then me and Tony went behind the goal that Wingate were kicking towards.
The first 15 minutes of the game was fairly even with no teams creating any chances and it felt like it was going to be one of those nights where you travel all that way to watch a 0-0. Things changed on the 16th minute when the ball was crossed into Tooting's box but the Wingate player could only deflect the ball just wide of the goal. Wingate then had a shot at the keeper on 21 mins and then 2 minutes later, Tooting hit the crossbar and then on 35 mins, Wingate shot at goal but went wide. Then just before half time, Wingate were awarded a free kick and they passed it along the ground and the ball got into the box and went in and it was 1-0 to Wingate and Finchley.
Half time and it was Wingate and Finchley 1-0 Tooting and Mitcham, the game so far hadn't really been anything special and just felt like a typical Tuesday night game. We headed back into the bar and my dad was already in there as he found it really cold, I then went and got my normal order of a cheeseburger and hot chocolate and it cost £5 which is quite reasonable and I was quite disappointed with the burger as I couldn't really taste the meat and the hot chocolate was a good cuop, nice and warm and flavour so not too bad. After finishing my hot chocolate, me and Tony went up to the stand and then the second half started.
The second half started quickly lively with Wingate creating a few chances in the first few minutes but Tooting and Mitcham were back in the game on 49 minutes when one of the Wingate players deflected the ball into his own net and it was 1-1 and the travelling 20 or so Tooting fans went wild. on 55 mins, Wingate had a header over the bar and then there wasn't anyother chances until 77 mins was Tooting had a shot on goal which was saved and then on 84 mins, Tooting headed the ball over the bar and on 89 mins, they had a shot over the bar and in the last minute. Wingate had a shot to win the game but the shot went straight at the keeper and it finished Wingate and Finchley 1-1 Tooting and Mitcham.
We walked out of the Maurice Rebak Stadium mainly feeling cold but feeling quite happy because we saw a good game of football and I managed to visit another new ground, its a ground nearer to my 100 target and it is another ground within the M25 visited, so tonight was a success! We walked back into Finchley itself and then got the 13 bus a few stops back to Finchley Central seeing as it was freezing and mainly because it was due in 1 minute. We managed to get straight on a tube heading to Kennington and I listened to some music to past the time and we then changed at Kennington and got the tube to South Wimbledon, walked back to the car, dropped Tony off and then got back to my dad's house at 11:20pm.
I enjoyed my trip to the Maurice Rebak Stadium, it is a decent ground for the 7th Tier, very friendly but the downside is there isn't any atmosphere except for a couple of kids banging a drum annoyingly and singing and the rest of the fans behind the goal don't even join in but the Tooting fans were decent for the number of fans that did travel. The food isn't the best either but the stadium and friendliness does outweigh the atmosphere and food!

Stadium: 8/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 7/10
Atmosphere: 5/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Overall Rating: 7.2/10