Welcome to my blog detailing my groundhopping exploits. My aim is to visit all football grounds in England (Premier league to the 8th tier) Scotland (SPL to 3rd Division) and the Welsh premier league I may also add grounds from other sports or countries. I hope you enjoy reading.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Aveley FC - Mill Field

Match - Aveley 3-3 Cheshunt
Competition - Isthmian League Division 1 North
Admission - £9
Attendance - 74
Scarf - N/A
Food - Cheeseburger 5/10
Ground No. 120
Ground Rating - 7/10

On Saturday I travelled to Aveley FC's Mill Field to tick off another of the remaining Ryman 1 North grounds I had not yet been to and was treated to one of the most enjoyable, action packed football matches I had watched for quite a while. Aveley were hosting Cheshunt in a league match which had 6 goals, 6 bookings and 2 red cards, it was brilliant, shame only 74 people turned up to see it.

 After a pint in the club house me and my dad entered the ground. On the same side of the ground as the turnstiles is the large raised seated main stand that runs along the touchline, this stand consists of a good number of old school wooden flip seats and looks in good nick despite it's obvious age. In front of this stand and to either side there is open terracing. This is one of the better stands I have seen at this level and provided a good view of the match although it does seem to be a fair distance from the pitch itself.

The rest of the ground is made up of shallow terracing with cover at the far end and the opposite touchline to the Main stand.

Cheshunt started the match brightly taking the lead on 5 minutes, but then should have been down to 10 men around the 20 minute mark when there left back committed one of the worst tackles I have seen. A two footed lunge around knee height in the centre of the park leaving the Aveley player limping for the rest of the first half. Luckily for the visitors he only received a yellow card from a referee that was rather poor all afternoon. Not long after Aveley drew level when a cross from the left wasn't dealt with by the keeper who put the ball straight into the path of the Aveley player who couldn't miss.

Just before half time though Aveley were reduced to 10 men when their left winger, who I later found out was on debut was sent off for kicking out at a Cheshunt player who had just wiped him out and was being booked anyway.

The second half started like the first had ended and you could just tell that there would be less than 21 on the pitch by the end, as players dived in to tackles left, right and centre and were pushing and shoving and standing up to each other. You could just see it kicking off.

Nothing really happened though until the last 15 minutes when Cheshunt retook the lead. Aveley, who seemed to be player better with 10 men then went straight up the other end to equalise again. With 5 Min's to go Cheshunt's huge number 9 scored his second to make the score 3-2 to the visitors. 3 more of there players managed to find there names in the referees notebook in this time.

The score stayed like this until the 94th minute where Cheshunt's player-manager made a huge mistake. A long punt up field caused some missed communication between Aveley's goalkeeper and defender 35 yards from their goal. the keeper heading the ball straight to a visiting player who sent a delightful lob over the keeper heading for the open goal to seal a 4-2 victory for Cheshunt, but instead of watching the ball go in Omer Riza, Ex Histon and Trabzonspor headed the ball in from 1 yard out. This meant the assistants flag was raised for offside causing the goal to be disallowed.

The resulting free kick was booted up field landing at the feet of an Aveley player who got to the by-line and cut the ball back to a striker who smashed the ball past the visiting keeper to make the score 3-3 and send his management team nuts in the technical area.

During the goal celebrations a Cheshunt player managed to receive his second yellow card and subsequent red. There was no time for anymore action and the referee brought an amazing game of football to an end.
Due to the exciting nature of the game and the decent standard of ground I had a great day out at Aveley and can't wait for my next groundhop. This is likely to be a trip to VCD Athletic runaway leaders of the Ryman Division 1 North on 21st December but this is yet to be confirmed.

Friday, 25 October 2013

St Ives Town - Westwood Road

Match - St Ives Town FC 2-1 Potters Bar Town
Comp - Southern League Division 1 Central
Admission - £8
Attendance - 241
Scarf - Sold Out
Food - Chicken Slice 6/10
Ground No. 118
Ground Rating - 6/10


On the 12th October I was finally off to my first football match of this 2013/14 season, and the chosen match was the Southern League division 1 game between St Ives Town and Potters Bar. That's St Ives Cambridgeshire not Cornwall.

St Ives Westwood Road ground is a ground that I had been to before quite a few years ago back in my refereeing days but for some reason hadn't noted it down on my grounds visited list. As they were promoted last season into the Southern League this gave me the perfect excuse to go back and being only 9 miles from home made it even easier.

Westwood Road is a small but relatively tidy football ground which is mainly made up of open hard standing, with two small stands on either touchline.

The stand on the nearside touchline consists of a few steps of covered terracing attached to the club house building with a small number of seats in the centre for club officials. This is where the majority of fans congregate probably due to the easy access to the bar. This building also houses the changing rooms to the rear of the building and the refreshment counter.

 The small stand on the opposite side of the pitch is a covered seated stand and is named the Lance Everdell Stand. The stand has 3 rows of mainly flip type seats made out in red and blue (I'm unsure why as St Ives play in Black and White) although a large number of these seats are in a bad state of repair. This stand did come in handy though as it started to rain late in the second half.

Both ends are open hard standing areas.

The game itself started with a bang. A rank 1st minute Potter Bar free kick taken on the half-way line managed to be volleyed in from the edge of the penalty area into the bottom left hand corner of the home sides net. This woke St Ives up who then took control of the game and scored twice in the next 20 minutes to take the lead. During this period they were taking Potter Bar's defence apart, as well as the two goals they had another disallowed for offside and two strikes that crashed off of the woodwork.

With all the play they were unable to add to there goals and slowly started to let the visitors back into the game with the sides ending the first half 2-1.

The second half continued as the final 15 minutes of the first with Potters Bar growing in confidence and were at this point playing by far the better football. Although St Ives looked very dangerous on the counter attack and had another goal disallowed for offside.

In the last 10 minutes Potter Bar should have had the opportunity to draw level, but appeals for a penalty were waved away by the referee. The game finished 2-1 to St Ives and I think Potters Bar would think that they should have got something from the game but is was not to be.

Not one of the best grounds I have been to at this level but not the worst either, but as always I enjoyed my day out and glad I have got my season up and running, with goals and a very good attendance for this level.

Next up Aveley V Cheshunt in the Isthmian league Division 1N on 16th November.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Ageas Bowl - IT20 England Vs Australia

Mens - Australia 248/6 beat England 209/6 by 39 Runs
Women - England 128/5 beat Australia 127/7 by 5 Wickets

On 29th August me and my wife travelled down to Southampton to see England take on Australia in the first IT20 match of the two match series.

The match was a double header with the Womens T20 match also against Australia which formed part of there new look Ashes series where all test, ODI and T20 count towards the overall Ashes success.

The Ageas Bowl home of Hampshire CCC is a ground in transition with a fair bit of building works ongoing and temporary stands used for these international games. But does have three nice looking main stands. The main stand that is home to the changing rooms has a roof that makes it look like a circus tent. This stand is situated behind the bowlers arm at one end of the ground, and is flancked by two matching stands The Shane Warne Stand and the Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie Stand.

The Womens started the days action in the afternoon knowing that a win would secure the Ashes. Bowling first they managed to restrict the Aussies to 127/7 off of there 20 overs and then went about knocking off the runs fairly easily helped by a good innings from Lydia Greenway who scored 80 of 64 balls. This sparked celebrations from the England team.

England Women celebrate regaining the Ashes

We then had a bit of time to wait before the main event started which we used to help ourselves to some rather decent fish and chips and a quick pint.

Before the mens match began the match ball was brought onto the ground by the RAF parachute display team.

The match itself started with a bang, Australia batting first put on a massive 248/6 with opener Aaron Finch doing most of the damage as he hit boundary after boundary off any bowler England used at him. When Finch was finally removed by Jade Dernbach he had managed to score an IT20 world record 156 from only 63 balls which included 14 maximums. It was a pleasure to see such an innings it was just a shame that it had been produced by an Australian against England.

England made a good go of it in reply but unfortunately fell 39 runs short despite a brilliant unbeaten knock of 90 off 49 balls from Joe Root.

The unfinished hotel

Next up I will be back at the football not sure where or when yet but probably sometime early to mid October

until then............