Friday, 20 April 2018

2018 Stadium #7 - Treyew Road

Date: 30th March 2018
Stadium: Treyew Road
Location: Truro, Cornwall

My seventh stadium of 2018 was on Friday 30th March at Treyew Road in Truro, Cornwall. The match was Truro City vs. Hemel Hempstead Town in National League South.

Treyew Road is located on the southern outskirts of the city on the edge of the A390. The road runs along the eastern side of the stadium with fields to the western and beyond the car park at the southern end. The northern end has a small section of unused land before a road which splits the site from the Cornwall Council office complex. The venue is half a mile south of Truro railway station.

The entrance to the ground is at the southern end - upon going through the turnstiles there is a media centre and a Cornish pasty outlet to the right and to the left a clubhouse with a patio in front of this where you can watch the game from. The dressing rooms are also located in this building. In front of the patio there is uncovered standing with concrete standing towards the front and grass standing towards the back.

The only permanent stands are on the western side - on this area there are three separate structures which take up most of the length of the field. The stand towards the southern end is a covered flat standing area, the one in the middle is the main all-seater section and there is an extra small all-seater stand beyond this which was added later on. There is a small section of uncovered standing at the northern and southern sections with a food outlet and club shop towards the south-west corner. The club have had a rise up the leagues in recent years and this can be seen on the opposite side of Treyew Road where two temporary stands reside. The stand on the northern side of the half-way line is covered with the roof held up by a large number of supporting beams while the stand on the southern side of the half-way line is uncovered. There is another temporary stand directly behind the northern goal - this one is much smaller and is about the width of the goal. The rest of this end is uncovered standing.

This was an important game with both sides in a very tight race for the National League South play-offs. The visitors had a great start when they netted within a quarter of an hour. A deflected pass ended up at the feet of Karl Oliyde on the left side of the box and his cross looped over Truro keeper Tom McHale allowing David Moyo to bundle the ball in on the line. This lead was short-lived though as the hosts equalised in the 20th minute when a ball into the box from the left was brought down by Cody Cooke for Tom Owen-Evans to direct into the bottom corner from 12 yards. A couple of minutes later Owen-Evans almost grabbed a second as a pass from Niall Thompson found him a couple of yards from goal. Owen-Evans was on the stretch though and his shot didn't have enough power to sneak in as Hemel cleared their lines. The away side retook the lead in the 37th minute when a smartly worked free-kick saw Jordan Parkes lob the ball straight to David Moyo who nodded over McHale from the edge of the six-yard area. It looked like Hemel would take this lead into the break but in the final minute of the first-half Truro made it 2-2 with a lovely goal. Owen-Evans picked up the ball 30 yards from goal, played a nice one-two with Jordan Copp before outpacing a couple of defenders and squaring for Copp to stroke past Laurie Walker in the away goal. Hemel edged ahead for the third time in the 65th minute when a well-timed ball from James Kaloczi put Karl Oliyde in on goal. Though his initial shot was saved by McHale the ball bounced back to him and with the Truro shotstopper on the floor Oliyde bundled in the rebound. After this Hemel sat back meaning it was one-way traffic for the remainder of the match. The visitors had rebuffed all the corners and free-kicks in the second half but in the 94th minute they succumbed to a late, late equaliser. Niall Thompson played a good ball in from the wing and though Walker saved Andrew Neal's close range effort Tyler Harvey reacted quickest to the lose ball and smashed home to grab a point for Truro.

Result: Truro City 3-3 Hemel Hempstead Town
Division: National League South
Attendance: 527

Monday, 16 April 2018

2018 Stadium #6 - The Mill

Date: 30th March 2018
Stadium: The Mill
Location: Torpoint, Cornwall

My sixth stadium of 2018 was on Friday 30th March at The Mill in Torpoint, Cornwall. The match was Torpoint Athletic vs. Saltash United in the South West Peninsula League Premier Division.

The Mill is in the south of Torpoint adjacent to one of the town's marinas. This marina is to the south-east of the complex with the rest of the eastern and northern sides sitting near housing. The remainder of the southern side and the whole of the western end see additional grass areas beyond the football field. The town does not have a railway station with the quickest transport link via the ferry across the River Tamar into Devon with Plymouth being the most convenient station some three miles east of the ground. The venue has been home to the club since 1971 when they left Defiance Field after an eleven year spell.

The southern side of The Mill has the main stand, known as the Les Cardew Stand, by the half-way line. This structure has 74 seats across four rows and the two dugouts are either side of it. Towards the eastern end is the Reg Devonshire Stand which is a covered area consisting of four seats flanked by two wooden benches. The rest of this side is uncovered standing and there is an additional building called the Corner Flag Caterer in the south-east corner.

The eastern end of the ground has the car park, a clubhouse and a demountable which serves as the player and officials dressing rooms. There is then a large grass area leading up a strip of hard standing behind the goal which runs for the whole of this end. The northern end of the venue has the only other pitch side structure - a covered standing area takes up the middle third of this section staddling the half-way line. The rest of this side and the entirety of the western end are uncovered standing.

With the visitors unbeaten since early November they went into the local derby with high hopes against a Torpoint side with just one win in their previous seven league games. The game went to form early on as Saltash grabbed the lead in the 3rd minute. Sam Leary knocked the ball out wide to Paul Heveran in acres of space on the right wing. Heveran had plenty of time to pick out a cross into the six-yard box and Richard Maddison nipped in front of the keeper to poke the ball in. The away side should have scored again in the 17th minute when Sam Hughes' well-time run beat the offside line but with just the goalie to beat he dragged his shot wide. A few minutes later Lee Phillips had a similar chance but his shot was straight at the keeper. The post denied Saltash just before the half-hour mark as Callum O'Brien met a corner with a downward header which came back off the post. The hosts then had a good spell and equalised in the 37th minute when a corner found Darren Hicks at the back post and he headed in from a couple of yards out. Into the second half and Saltash couldn't believe their luck in the 62nd minute when Sam Farrant's free-kick came back off the post, rebounded to Richard Maddison and he managed to hit the other post. The game was a really decent end-to-end encounter now but was getting increasingly tetchy. In the 83rd minute Torpoint's Lance Bailey came in with a late tackle on the half-way line and while everyone was expecting the referee to produce a yellow card, the colour was in fact red. A couple of minutes after this Saltash hit the woodwork for the fourth time on the day as Callum O'Brien's headed hit the crossbar. In the 95th minute the away side were reduced to ten men when a dreadful late challenge by Henry Wilson saw him deservedly get his marching orders. The drama wasn't over just yet though as eight minutes into stoppage time Lewis Edwards' cross from the right found Danny Lewis in the six-yard area and his point blank saved was acrobatically saved by the Torpoint shotstopper to rescue a point for his side in what had been an entertaining match.

Result: Torpoint Athletic 1-1 Saltash United
Division: South West Peninsula League Premier Division
Attendance: 133

Friday, 13 April 2018

2018 Stadium #5 - Recreation Ground (Newton Abbot)

Date: 29th March 2018
Stadium: Newton Abbot Recreation Ground
Location: Newton Abbot, Devon

My fifth stadium of 2018 was on Thursday 29th March at the Recreation Ground in Newton Abbot, Devon. The match was Newton Abbot Spurs vs. Teignmouth in the South West Peninsula League Division One East.

The football arena forms part of a sports complex known as the Recreation Ground which is close to Newton Abbot town centre. The rest of the site includes squash and tennis courts and a cricket field bordering the southern side of the football pitch. The remaining sides see the ground next to flats to the north, a layer of trees and a technical college to the west and the car park and the River Lemon to the east. With its central location the venue is less than half a mile from the town railway station and has been home to the club since 1947.

The eastern end of the ground has the entrance to the facility and there is a clubhouse with a separate bar room in the main building in the south-east corner. Outside of this is a patio area with picnic benches allowing spectators to view the game. Moving to the area behind the football field itself there is a food outlet next to the entrance and the Terry Wilson Stand - an all-seater stand with 71 seats. The rest of the eastern side is uncovered standing though there is a carved out brick section as a memorial to departed individuals important to the club - this area has three park benches as well as five commemorative plaques with the individuals' names on them. Directly behind the goal there is netting to save balls from the car park or the river.

The only other stand is the Willie Boyd Stand at the western end of the Recreation Ground. This is a covered area of hard standing with the rest of this end uncovered and mostly grass underfoot rather than hard standing. The northern and southern side are both uncovered standing for their whole length - with the adjacent cricket field the southern side does have a lot of space for spectators to view from. This side also has the two dugouts.

Newton Abbot knew a win was required to keep up the pressure on league leaders St Martins and took an early lead in the 13th minute when a cross from the right found Ollie Aplin in the box and his close shot was deflected past the keeper. The lead only lasted five minutes though as a Teignmouth corner to the back post was met by a powerful header into the top corner by Sean Ayre. Newton Abbot had the better play in the first half and created more opportunities though the visitors did have a stronger end to the opening 45 minutes. Five minutes after the break the hosts went back ahead when a free-kick from the right found Chris Metters and he headed into the bottom corner from six yards out. Just after the hour mark the home side almost scored again when Ollie Aplin was put in on goal but the visiting keeper was able to put him off just enough for his shot to go the wrong side of the post. Teignmouth then went close to an equaliser in the 76th minute when a spectacular 30-yard shot came back off the crossbar. Things were made harder for the visitors in the 83rd minute when they had a man sent off for picking up a second booking after pulling back a home player on the edge of the box. Despite this Teignmouth did have one last chance in injury time when a scramble in the area saw a shot blocked on the line. As the hosts got the ball clear and went to run down the clock in the corner the frustration of one of the visiting players boiled over as he kicked the Newton Abbot player right in front of the referee. This blatant foul resulted in Teignmouth being reduced to nine men and the final whistle followed shortly after he left the pitch.

Result: Newton Abbot Spurs 2-1 Teignmouth
Division: South West Peninsula League Division One East

Attendance: 318

Friday, 6 April 2018

2018 Stadium #4 - Thames Road

Date: 27th March 2018
Stadium: Thames Road
Location: Canvey Island, Essex

My fourth stadium of 2018 was on Tuesday 27th March at Thames Road in Canvey Island, Essex. The match was Concord Rangers vs. East Thurrock United in National League South.

Thames Road is in the south-west of Canvey Island a few hundred yards north of the Thames Estuary. The club are one of two on the island with Canvey Island FC a couple of miles east along the coastline. The ground is away from residential areas with its neighbours being a gas plant to the west, a sewage treatment centre to the south and the Thorney Bay Village caravan park to the east. The land to the north is unused besides being a makeshift car park for the club. As the island does not have a railway station the nearest to the ground is Benfleet, some three miles north. The venue has been home to the club since 1985.

Spectators enter through the north-west corner of the ground and find the clubhouse in this corner. This building houses the Sixty Seven Lounge for general fans as well as a separate room for officials. In front of this there is an open patio area with picnic benches which faces toward the pitch and there is also a food outlet adjacent to the turnstiles. Working towards the field of play there is an uncovered standing area and to the right of this a terrace which takes up just over half of the northern end. This stand is a mixture of concrete, metal, brick and wood and is split into three sections of three level terracing. It is all covered except for a small section next to the stand which is an uncovered concrete terrace area. Behind this stand there is netting to stop balls heading into the car park.

The club have experienced a fairly rapid rise up the leagues during the last decade and this is in evidence on the western side of the ground. In the middle of this side is the main stand which has 174 seats spread across two sections. In the centre of the stand is a press area with a commentary box at the back. There are then an additional two seating sections with 50 seats each which have been bolted onto either end of the main stand to help meet the seating requirements of this level. In the direction of the southern end there is an uncovered standing area with a decent amount of space which will be useful should the club ever need to expand the stand further this way. There are two more seating areas on the opposite side of the ground with two small stands of 50 seats towards either goal. The one near the northern end of Thames Road is cordoned off thereby reducing the active seats at the venue from 374 to 324. The rest of this side is uncovered standing with a structure of scaffolding in the middle which serves as a TV gantry. The two dugouts are below this and there is netting for the whole length of this side in light of the caravan site behind. Finally the southern end of Thames Road is fairly sparse with a strip of uncovered hard standing all the way along and one covered area of flat concrete set directly behind the goal.

Concord went into the game on a bad run of five defeats from their last six and it started to go wrong for them fairly early on. The visitors took the lead in the 9th minute when a corner found Max Cornhill at the back post and he headed in. Ten minutes later it was almost 2-0 when a scramble from another corner was cleared off the line. Unfortunately for the hosts a corner proved their undoing again in the 24th minute - once more there was a scramble in the box and this time the ball fell to Ryan Scott who lashed a shot into the top corner. Concord struggled throughout the half but had their best opportunity five minutes before the break when Khale da Costa was unleashed down the left, ran into the box and dragged his shot just the wrong side of the post. The home side came out positively for the second half and called East Thurrock goalie Lukas Lidavikicius into making a couple of saves. Any hope evaporated during a three-minute spell when Concord conceded twice. The first came in the 54th minute as a through ball played Sam Higgins in on goal and though his shot was saved by Louis Wells the ball was passed back into the danger zone straight to Lewis Smith who controlled the ball and slid into the bottom corner. Three become four in the 57th minute as Higgins was put clean through and this time made no mistake sending his shot into the roof of the net. With the game in the bag East Thurrock eased off after this allowing Concord to grab a consolation in the 72nd minute. It came from the penalty spot after da Costa was brought down when he looked likely to score. Substitute Femi Akinwande stroked the penalty down the middle to reduce the arrears. Akinwande did come close to getting on the scoresheet for the second time in the 89th minute as his low drive from just inside the area came back off the post. The final section of the game ended up being pretty even though there was too much work to do for the home side to launch a comeback.

Result: Concord Rangers 1-4 East Thurrock United
Division: National League South
Attendance: 295

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

2018 Stadium #3 - Field Mill

Date: 10th March 2018
Stadium: Field Mill
Location: Mansfield, Nottinghamshire

My third stadium of 2018 was on Saturday 10th March at Field Mill in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. The match was Mansfield Town vs. Colchester United in Football League Two.

Field Mill is in the south of Mansfield less than a mile from the town centre. The stadium complex is mostly bordered by a retail park though half of the eastern side has housing running up to it. As part of the site there is an additional full-size pitch and couple of mini pitches adjacent to the west stand. The venue is half a mile south of the town's railway station and though it has been home to the club since they 1920 it is known that football has been played at the ground since at least 1861 making it the oldest in the Football League.

Field Mill was extensively renovated in the late 1990s/early 2000s with three of the four sides up to a modern standard. The stadium is dominated by the West Stand which renamed the Ian Greaves Stand in 2010. This two-tier structure has a capacity of 5,500 and is the most popular amongst home fans. The tiers are similar in nature with the only exceptions being a media section separated off in the top tier and a couple of areas for disabled fans in the lower tier. The club's hospitality boxes are located at the back of the bottom tier while the bottom of the stand also hosts the Sandy Pate Sports Bar as well as a merchandise outlet outside the building leading into the car park.

The other two stands in use are behind the goals and look near-identical. These both have a capacity of just under 2,000 with the northern end given over to away fans. The obvious differences are that the southern end has a police box in the top-west corner and sitting next to the stand is the players tunnel which leads from a changing room building at the back of the stand. The eastern side of the ground is currently unused. The Bishop Street Stand is largely an uncovered concrete terrace with an all-seater stand built atop the terracing in the middle. This stand is boarded up with advertising hoardings and has been closed for a few years due to safety concerns. Its current use is for a TV gantry to sit atop it to film the matches. There is a very large LED screen in the northern corner displaying the score and any relevant information the club wish to broadcast.

The first part of the game saw a couple of wayward efforts from the visitors through Brennan Dickinson and Drey Wright. The hosts then had a good spell in the middle of the half and took the lead in the 22nd minute. It was a route one goal with Conrad Logan's long goal kick bouncing thirty yards from goal and as Colchester keeper Sam Walker and defender Tom Eastman waited for each other to react Kane Hemmings nipped in to lob the ball into the net. This poor goal was the catalyst for a 10 minute spell where Mansfield laid into a rattled Colchester. Danny Rose's volleyed effort went close and the U's displayed some dire passing that really should have been punished by the hosts. The visitors had their best chance on the stroke of half-time as Sammie Szmodics through ball unleashed Kurtis Guthrie and his effort was heading in until covering defender Malvind Benning cleared off the line. The decent end to the half for Colchester continued into the second period and the equaliser came in the 50th minute. Brandon Comley picked up the ball on the right-hand side before heading into the area, fending off a challenge and striking across goal into the bottom corner from 10 yards out. The rest of the second half was an entertaining one with Colchester having the upper hand though either side could've won it. Paul Digby's looping header in the 69th minute came back off the Colchester crossbar while a great double save by Sam Walker just before time denied Malvind Benning first and then Jacob Mellis on the follow-up. Meanwhile at the other end the visitors had a succession of corners and shots on goal that could've seen Colchester pick up all three points on another day.

Result: Mansfield Town 1-1 Colchester United
Division: Football League Two
Attendance: 4,050

Friday, 9 March 2018

2018 Stadium #2 - Goff's Lane

Date: 24th February 2018
Stadium: Goff's Lane
Location: Cheshunt, Hertfordshire

My second stadium of 2018 was on Saturday 24th February at Goff's Lane in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. The match was Broxbourne Borough vs. Broadfields United in Spartan South Midlands League Division One.

Goff's Lane is located in the west of Cheshunt a few miles south of Broxbourne itself. The football ground takes up a small section of a larger parcel of land which breaks up the residential sprawl of the area. The main occupants of the site are a school with the football club bordering its western side. To the south of the arena there are additional pitches with roads to the north and west. The ground is a couple of miles west of Cheshunt railway station and has been home to Broxbourne Borough and its predecessors since 1975.

The northern side of Goff's Lane includes the club buildings outside of the football arena. Adjacent to the care park are the clubhouse, changing rooms and a small committee building. The entrance turnstile is located at the end of the car park and emerges in the middle of a covered wooden stand which takes up most of this end. This stand consists of a total of 131 seats split into three sections - 37 seats on the right-hand side of the entrance, 71 seats on the left-hand side of the entrance and 23 seats in the north-east corner for directors and officials. This stand continues round the corner before finishing around one-third of the way down the eastern side of the ground. This eastern section is a wooden terrace which has 2 levels initially before slimming down to a single level as the neighbouring artificial pitch encroaches upon the football arena.

The rest of this side is uncovered standing with the only other thing of note being the two dugouts. This uncovered standing continues at the southern end of the ground where space is at premium due to more neighbouring pitches. The western side has the only other stand in the venue - this large all-seater structure sits by the half-way line. It has 214 seats across 5 rows but has a very high roof requiring 5 supporting beams to hold it up. Apart from this stand the western side is a bit messy and overgrown with a few cordoned off areas. Upon my visit there was a food outlet vehicle near the stand but this was not open during the game. Aside from the stand it is uncovered standing with plenty of space either side of it. This uncovered standing continues round to the area behind the goal at the northern end until it meets the start of the seating area.

There was a clear gulf between the sides in the league table with the visitors twelve spots above the home side at kick-off. Broadfields had the upper hand early on with a succession of corners in the opening minutes though these came to nothing. In an extremely poor half of football there was very little action bar a scramble by the Broxbourne goal just after the half-hour mark. The first meaningful event came in the 41st minute when Broadfields were awarded a penalty after an attacker was struck in the face when a home defender went to head the ball. Harry Henley was the man on duty to take the spot kick and his effort found the goal despite the keeper getting a hand to it on the way in. The away side doubled their lead in the 53rd minute - a forward rode a defender's challenge before his attempt to round the goalie saw the ball palmed away. Fortunately for Broadfields this diversion found its way to a winger who slotted into the empty net as Broxbourne appealed for offside. The home side's best chance came in the 65th minute when a midfielder broke into the area and shot straight at the keeper from close range. Within ten minutes the visitors found themselves 3-0 up as a winger picked up the ball on the edge of the area and managed to get a shot low away as a tackle sent him flying. The shot snuck past the goalkeeper into the bottom corner. Broadfields were cruising by this point and rounded off the scoring in the 82nd minute when Harry Henley grabbed his second. It came about when he gathered the ball on the right, advanced towards the area and shot from 20 yards with the ball bobbling over the diving keeper.

Result: Broxbourne Borough 0-4 Broadfields United
Division: Spartan South Midlands League Division One
Attendance: 10

Friday, 16 February 2018

2018 Stadium #1 - The Homelands

Date: 3rd February 2018
Stadium: The Homelands
Location: Kingsnorth, Kent

My first stadium of 2018 was on Saturday 3rd February at The Homelands in Kingsnorth, Kent. The match was Ashford United vs. Corinthian Casuals in Isthmian League Division One South.

The Homelands is in a rural setting a mile south of the nearest village of Kingsnorth. The football stadium is to the west of Kingsnorth Gold Club and as a result is surrounded by trees except for the southern side where the car park is located. The nearest railway station is Ashford International which is 3 miles north of The Homelands. The venue has been home to the club and its previous incarnations since 1989.

The main stand runs for around half the length of the southern side of the ground and has a capacity of 500. The middle section of the stand is assigned to directors and officials and on the left hand side of the stand there is a food outlet and the players tunnel. The back of the stand is taken up by a spacious bar/clubhouse which looks out over the pitch. There are also six hospitality boxes with three to the east of the bar and three to the west. The rest of this side is uncovered hard standing - the area to the left of the main stand has a wider flat concrete area as well as the entrance turnstiles and a small club shop.

The northern side of the field is rather sparse - the whole side is uncovered with a wide concrete area behind the pitch and more grass behind this. There is an electronic scoreboard around the middle of this side. The two ends are similar in nature - both have a covered 2 level concrete terrace located directly behind the goals with uncovered standing either side of these structures.

There was a fifteen place gulf between the teams in the league table and the game went according to the form book in the first half. Corinthian almost went in front in the 13th minute when a cross from the right saw a goal line scramble before the ball was cleared. A couple of minutes the visitors went close again when later Jordan Clarke squared the ball in the area for Gabriel Odunaike who saw his shot came back off the post. It was not an exciting encounter in the opening period but when the Casuals got their next good chance they took it. The goal came five minutes before the break as the ball was laid off to Max Oldham on the left side of the area and his low shot beat George Kamurasi in the Ashford goal. Into the second half and Corinthian remained on top in the opening quarter-hour and were denied by the post again in the 58th minute. Less than a minute later the hosts had their first meaningful foray into the opposition box when a cross into the area was met with a powerful header from Dean Grant. Away keeper Danny Bracken reacted well to get down and palm the ball away. The hosts made a much better fist of the 2nd half and were a match for their higher place opponents. However a great opportunity to salvage a point was spurned in injury time when Jordan Wright hit the side netting with only Bracken to beat.

Result: Ashford United 0-1 Corinthian Casuals
Division: Isthmian League Division One South
Attendance: 243