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, 16 November 2012

Chatham Town - Maidstone Road Sport Ground

Match - Chatham Town 2-4 Waltham Forest
Competition - Isthmian League Division 1 North
Admission - £8
Scarf - £7
Attendance - 127
Food - Hot Dog/Chips  7/10
Ground No. 112
Ground Rating - 7/10

On Saturday I went back to the town of my birth and went to see Chatham Town play against Waltham Forest. Both teams were sitting in the lower regions of mid-table and could really do with a win to start pushing themselves up the table.

The journey to Chathams Maidstone Road ground was a simple one and there was plenty of parking in the club car park just outside the turnstiles. The entrance to the ground shown below looks new with the sign above the turnstiles welcoming you to the ground.

The ground itself is like a lot of grounds at this level made up of old and new stands. On entering the ground the stand on your left is the new club house/stand which incorporates everything. At the near end of the stand is the Bar and Snack bar. Further along the stand there are around 5 steps of terracing and at the back of the stand are the Changing rooms, Club Shop and toilets. The players and officials enter the playing surface by walking down steps through a small fenced tunnel.

On the right hand side after entering the ground is an older looking seated stand running down the near touchline consisting of 4/5 rows of wooden bench type seating it looks as though this stand used to contain the players tunnel. The opposite touchline has a small newer seated stand that has 4 rows of red plastic tipping seats with the area in the middle reserved for home and away officials, this stand is someway back from the barriers surrounding the pitch and with the team dugouts this side of the ground the visibility from these seats is quite poor. The far end of the ground just consists of some hard standing with one small step behind the goal.
Stand on far touchline
Me and my Dad arrived at the ground around 2pm and went straight to the snack bar, this was still shut so went for a pint in the nice new club bar, the bar has two TVs which were both showing Sky Sports News, the walls are covered in old photos and memorabilia that has built up over the clubs 130 year history. The club have quite close ties with the Royal Engineers FC, who my brother currently plays for while serving as a bomb disposal expert in the Engineers (Chatham is the RE Headquarters), my dad was also in the Royal Engineers for 24 years but was never able to play football to the level required to make the core squad, and local League side Gillingham (Who are my Club) and this is shown within the memorabilia adorning the walls.

When we left the Bar we headed to the snack bar which had opened and I opted for a hot dog and chips, the hot dog consisted of 2 sausages in french stick (Very Nice) then went to the club shop to get my scarf before the match started.

Before the match started we had a minute silence to remember those who had given their lives in the line of duty defending our freedom, this is quite prominent at the moment in my family as my brother has just returned from a 6 month tour in Afghanistan where his troop sadly lost 3 men. A wreath was laid in the centre circle by the captain of Chatham's under 10 side.

The match started badly for Chatham as during the warm-up there captain and centre back pulled up injured and was unable to play, this got worse as after 30mins they had lost 2 more of there defenders through injury, one with a large cut to his head and another with a dislocated shoulder. This played havoc with an already ragged looking back line. Waltham Forest were playing some nice attacking football and took full advantage going in at half time 3-0 up, this could have been a lot more.

Chatham played a lot better in the 2nd period and started to put some pressure on Waltham Forest and were rewarded half way through the half when the visiting keeper upended a Chatham attacker and a penalty was given. The penalty was saved though but after trying to get to the loose ball the visiting keeper again took out the attacker and Chatham were awarded another penalty which with a different taker was scored to give Chatham hope of a comeback.

Sunset behind new stand during second half
Although Chatham were playing better in the 2nd half Forest still looked dangerous while on the attack, the front 3 were all quick and strong and with a makeshift backline Chatham were still finding them a handful and with 10 Min's to go Forest were awarded a penalty of there own which they duly converted putting the game beyond any doubt. Chatham managed to score a very late consolation goal but Forest more than deserved there 4-2 win which probably flattered Chatham a bit.

I enjoyed my day out at Chatham with a nice ground a good game of football, who could ask for more.

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