Stadium: Stompond Lane
Location: Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
My seventh stadium of 2017 was at Stompond Lane in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. The match was Walton & Hersham vs. Camberley Town in the Combined Counties League Premier Division.
Stompond Lane is the primary part of a sports complex nestled in a residential area with housing bordering the venue on the southern and western side. There is an athletics track encircling the pitch and Walton Tennis Club also shares the venue with a number of courts behind the eastern end of the football pitch. Stompond Lane is half a mile north of Walton-on-Thames railway station.
At the entrance to the ground there is a building with a bar and club shop with a concrete mini-pitch in front of it. There is also a shipping container just beyond this which acts as match programme outlet. The main stand is a brick structure which is raised up above the athletic track below. The interior of this stand houses the dressing rooms. There are 7 rows of wooden benches which have been attached to concrete. Plastic seats have then been added on top of the benches. There would have been 380 seats to start with but a fair few of these are missing. In the middle of the stand there is a section carved out for officials with a media box at the back of this. Either side of the stand there is a small grass bank behind a strip of concrete for fans who want to be closer to the pitch.
The opposite side of the field used to be taken up by a covered concrete terrace which ran the entire length of the field. This stand has fallen into disrepair in recent years and concerns over its structural integrity has resulted in its closure. The old stand is boarded up leaving a very thin walkway which is not really an area for spectators. It does technically provide the only other covered area in the ground with the old stand's roof extending up the athletics track. Due to the track the two ends are a distance from the action - the eastern end retains a curved concrete terrace which is six rows high at its peak. The western end has narrow concrete walkway which curves round and there are houses directly behind this. Some of the fencing around this end the ground has collapsed adding to the need for renovation of the venue.
The first goal didn't take long to arrive as in the 6th minute a Walton ball over the top found a Camberley defender but he slipped trying to clear it. TJ Nkoma reacted quickly to run in on goal and stroke the ball past the keeper to give the hosts the lead. Walton were well on top in the early going and Sivari Norman in the away goal produced two good saves from close range volleys in the opening 12 minutes. After this rocky start Camberley stabilised and restricted Walton up until the 35th minute when a well weighted through ball put Francois Gabbidon in on goal but with only the keeper to beat he shot wide. Just before the break Gabbidon went close again after Malachi Thomas was let loose down the right wing, crossed into the six yard box and Gabbidon just missed getting on the end of it. Early in the second period another long ball caught the visitors out as Jamil Okai picked up the ball but in a one-on-one situation with the keeper he failed to hit the target. Eventually this inability to deal with Walton long balls was punished as in the 63rd minute Howard Newton was left up against Norman but he noted the keeper coming out to meet him and lobbed him from the edge of the box. In the 69th minute the woodwork denied Walton a third goal when Malachi Thomas curled his free-kick onto the top of the crossbar. In the 72nd minute the hosts did get the ball in the net thanks to Matt Rose-Hazel but it was ruled out for offside. Jamil Okai also went close in the final ten minutes with a 30 yard effort which fizzed over the bar but Walton were unable to add to their total against a Camberley side who offered little over the 90 minutes.
Result: Walton & Hersham 2-0 Camberley Town
Division: Combined Counties League Premier Division