Thursday, 19 February 2015

2015 Stadium #2 - Beveree Stadium

Date: 24th January 2015
Stadium: Beveree Stadium
Location: Hampton, London

My second stadium of 2015 was on Saturday 24th January at the Beveree Stadium in Hampton, London. The match was Hampton & Richmond Borough vs. Dulwich Hamlet in the Isthmian League Premier Division.

The Beveree Stadium is located in the suburb of Hampton close to the banks of the River Thames. It is surrounded by a mixture of green space, residential properties and a school. The ground is half a mile east of Hampton railway station and has been home to the club since 1959.

The Beveree Stadium has a real mixture of viewing areas - on the western side of the ground there is a covered concrete terrace which runs from the south-west corner to near the half-way line. Attached to this is a seated structure with room for around 200 fans. The section where the two areas come together also contains a kid's food outlet. An additional semi-permanent all-seater stand was added to this side of the ground in 2008 in order to satisfy ground grading requirements.

The southern side of the venue saw a lot of improvements during the mid-2000s. In 2006 a renovated club house and changing rooms were completed and work was also done on the turnstiles during this period. Directly behind the goal is the Alan Simpson Stand, another all-seater structure able to seat around 100 supporters. The eastern side of the ground mostly consists of uncovered standing though there is one covered section about a quarter of the way along from the southern goal. The dugouts are situated on this side of the venue. The majority of the space behind the goal at the northern end is taken up with a covered standing section though there are uncovered standing sections either side of this.

The two sides came into the game off the back of varying form with Dulwich riding high having won six of their previous seven while Hampton & Richmond Borough had only picked up one win from their previous eight games. The visitors had the best of the early play and almost scored in the 35th minute when Nyren Clunis stuck the post from close range. In the 40th minute the ball found its way to Hampton's Charlie Moone on the edge of the Dulwich box and his smart turn gave him space to knock the ball into the bottom corner to give the hosts the lead at the interval. The muddy pitch deteriorated in the second half slowing the game down and this seemed to particularly Dulwich. They came closest to a goal with 10 minutes to go when there was a scramble in the Hampton penalty area but the ball was eventually scooped away and the home side hung on to win 1-0.

Result: Hampton & Richmond Borough 1-0 Dulwich Hamlet
Division: Isthmian League Premier Division
Attendance: 639

Thursday, 29 January 2015

2015 Stadium #1 - Cardiff City Stadium

Date: 2nd January 2015
Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium
Location: Cardiff, Wales

My first stadium of 2015 was on Friday 2nd January at the Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. The match was Cardiff City vs. Colchester United in the F.A. Cup 3rd Round.

The Cardiff City Stadium sits in the Capital Retail Park not far from the centre of the city. It is less than half a mile from Ninian Park railway station though there are several other stations, including Cardiff Central, within walking distance. The venue was opened in 2009 when the club moved from nearby Ninian Park which had been their home since 1910.

When built the stadium was a single-tier bowl on three sides with only the Grandstand on the south-west side of the venue split into two tiers. The Grandstand's two tiers are separated by a row of executive boxes while there are also additional corporate facilities at the back of the upper tier. The two corners of The Grandstand house the club offices though there is a thin layer of seats in front of this to ensure the seats extend the whole way round the ground.

In summer 2014 the Ninian Stand had an extra two tiers added to it thereby increasing the stadium capacity from around 28,000 to 33,316. The expansion consists of a larger upper tier and a smaller middle tier with some further corporate sections at the back of this. For the time being the stands behind the two goals remain single tier though there are plans in place to expand these as well should Cardiff become established in the top tier.

The match was one between two out-of-form sides and there was little to choose between them in the opening half-hour with both looking poor. In the 34th minute Cardiff grabbed the opener in fortuitous circumstances as Joe Ralls' 25-yard effort deflected off two Colchester defenders and looped over Sam Walker in the away goal. Just before the break Gavin Massey came close to pulling Colchester level but a good close range save from Simon Moore kept him out. The home side established a hold on the game in the opening passage of the second half and went 2-0 up in the 53rd minute. A corner was not well dealt with and while the ball was still up in the air Kadeem Harris reacted quickly and scored into the bottom corner with a bicycle kick. On the hour mark Cardiff went 3-0 with another goal from a corner after the run of Kenwyne Jones was not tracked at all allowing him to nod into the far corner of the net. Just when it looked like Colchester could be on the end of a hammering they got a goal back from Freddie Sears who ran at the Bluebirds defence before performing a 1-2 with Sanchez Watt and smashing the ball past Simon Moore. For the final quarter of an hour the visitors were the better side and almost made it an exciting finish when Dion Sembie-Ferris had an effort cleared off the line. This was the last meaningful action of the game as Cardiff advanced to the next round in front of the smallest ever crowd at the stadium.

Result: Cardiff City 3-1 Colchester United
Competition: F.A. Cup
Attendance: 4,194

Monday, 19 January 2015

2014 End of Year Review

Total stadiums visited: 28
Number of stadiums visited for the first time: 25
Games seen: 35
Number of goals: 117
Goals per game average: 3.34
Highest number of goals in a game: 8 goals (Wisbech Town 4-4 Thurnby Nirvana, Staines Town 3-5 Chelmsford City)
Lowest number of goals in a game: 0 goals (Colchester United 0-0 Rotherham United, Rugby Town 0-0 Chalfont St Peter, Colchester United 0-0 Bradford City)
Largest margin of victory: 5 goals (Bowers & Pitsea 1-6 Maldon & Tiptree, Haverhill Rovers 0-5 Newmarket Town)
Highest attendance: 51,057 (Newcastle United 1-2 Swansea City)
Lowest attendance: 63 (Debenham Leisure Centre 1-3 Fakenham Town)
Team most seen: Colchester United (9)
Stadiums by country: England (27), Germany (1)
Stadiums by county: Essex (4), Suffolk (4), Greater Manchester (2), London (2), Surrey (2), Cambridgeshire (1), County Durham (1), Cumbria (1), Derbyshire (1),  Dorset (1), Hampshire (1), Hertfordshire (1), Lancashire (1), Lincolnshire (1), South Yorkshire (1), Tyne & Wear (1), Warwickshire (1), West Midlands (1)

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

2014 Stadium #25 - Wheatsheaf Park

Date: 28th December 2014
Stadium: Wheatsheaf Park
Location: Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey

My twenty-fifth stadium of 2014 was on Sunday 28th December at Wheatsheaf Park in Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey. The match was Staines Town vs. Chelmsford City in Conference South.

Wheatsheaf Park is located in a built-up residential area in the south of the town just over a mile from Staines railway station. The club bought the venue in 1951 and after a few years away during redevelopment returned in 2003.

The main stand is part of the £6.5m redevelopment to the site which took place during the early 2000s. This conference and leisure facility includes the Thames Club health centre which dominates the exterior of the ground. Facing the pitch there is a 300 seat structure which is raised above the walkway below to give good views of the game. Adjacent to this is a small club shop.

On the opposite side there is a fairly long covered metal terrace which takes up around half of the southern side of the venue. In front of this sits the two dugouts. The rest of Wheatsheaf Park is uncovered standing with fairly narrow sections behind the two goals.

Staines went into the game rooted to the foot of the table but started brightly and in the 21st minute took the lead when Elliot Charles laid the ball off to Ashley Lodge who drove the ball past the Chelmsford keeper. In the 36th minute Charles managed to grab a goal himself when he poked home from close range to make it 2-0 to Staines. Just as the hosts were looking comfortable they let Chelmsford back into the game when Jerel Ifil gave the ball away to Michael Cheek on the edge of the box allowing Cheek to knock the ball into the net to give the visitors hope for the second half. Buoyed by this the visitors tore Staines apart in the second period notching up four goals in a 25 minute spell. The first came in the 53rd minute when Rohdell Gordon crossed for Cheek to volley past the Staines keeper. Jaanai Gordon made it 3-2 in the 66th minute after a strong run through the home defence and in the 71st minute Cheek completed his hattrick from a few yards out after the goalie had parried a Leon Redwood shot. A few minutes later Cheek added his fourth and Chelmsford's fifth when a deflected shot looped into the back of the net. Calum Willock managed to get a goal back in injury time to make the score a little more respectable but it was a disastrous second half for Staines who parted company with manager Marcus Gayle after the match.

Result: Staines Town 3-5 Chelmsford City
Division: Conference South
Attendance: 320

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

2014 Stadium #24 - Moatside

Date: 27th December 2014
Stadium: Moatside
Location: Merstham, Surrey

My twenty-fourth stadium of 2014 was on Saturday 27th December at Moatside in Mertham, Surrey. The match was Merstham vs. Chipstead in Isthmian League Division One South.

Moatside sits within an area of green space in the village of Merstham on the edge of the M25 Motorway. The venue is half a mile south-east of the village railway station and has been home for the club since the early 1920s.

The main stand is sited by the half-way line on the northern side of Moatside - this 174 seat structure has a divide down the middle allowing fans out towards a food outlet at the back of the stand. Adjacent to the stand is the main building known as 'The Venue' which includes the club bar as well as changing rooms and the boardroom.

The Church End is located behind the eastern goal and is a concrete standing section under a metal roof which extends for around half the length of this side of the ground. At the other end of the pitch is the Albury End which has a small covered concrete terrace to the side of the goal. Additional changing rooms are also located in the south-west corner. The rest of Moatside is uncovered standing.

Merstham were the in-form side going into the game as they attempted to keep up their promotion push. It took them just 7 minutes to open the scoring when a ball into the box was met by Tommy Hutchings who poked home. This was almost followed by a second in the 21st minute when an effort was cleared off the line. The respite for Chipstead proved to be temporary though as in the 31st minute Merstham did go 2-0 up. Peter Adeniyi picked up the ball on the half-way line and ran through to round the keeper and tuck the ball into the net. After dominating the opening half-hour Merstham eased off a little and the second 45 minutes was a more even affair. The visitors grabbed a goal back in the 72nd minute as Will Turl headed in a corner. It looked for a while like the home side might be unable to hang on but 10 minutes from the end Dean Gunner powered in a header from a corner to restore the two-goal lead. In the last minute Adeniyi beat several defenders down the wing and then squared for Omar Folkes to make it 4-1.

Result: Merstham 4-1 Chipstead
Division: Isthmian League Division One South
Attendance: 222

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

2014 Stadium #23 - Oakwell

Date: 14th November 2014
Stadium: Oakwell
Location: Barnsley, South Yorkshire

My twenty-third stadium of 2014 was on Friday 14th November at Oakwell in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. The match was Barnsley vs. Colchester United in Football League One.

Oakwell is in the east of the town around half a mile from Barnsley railway station and the town centre itself. The venue was opened in 1887 and the club have played there ever since.

Oakwell was extensively renovated during the 1990s and the West Stand is the only original part of the ground still in use. The West Stand is a two-tier structure which is partially covered and is a throwback to another era when compared to the rest of the stadium. The upper section has a roof with a number of supporting columns so there are restricted views for anyone in this part of the stand. Some of the seats remain from when it was built in the early part of the 20th century. The lower tier of the stand is uncovered and contains modern seating throughout. The capacity of the West Stand is around 4,750.

On the opposite side of the pitch is the East Stand, which, with a capacity of 7,500, is the largest in the ground. There are two tiers of seating with executive boxes splitting the two tiers. In the corner between this and the Pontefract Road End is an additional section for corporate viewing with room for just over 200. The Pontefract Road End itself is a single-tier stand able to house 4,500 fans and also contains the reception, club shop and a gym. The North Stand is a large single tier stand with room for over 6,000 spectators. This is used as the away end though with Barnsley currently in the 3rd tier it is usually mostly empty. Directly behind this stand are several football pitches which form part of the club's academy set-up.

Colchester made a bad start and were 1-0 down after just 3 minutes - the ball broke to Sam Winnell in the corner of the penalty area and he drilled a shot into the bottom corner of the net to give the hosts the lead. The U's were looking shaky and almost conceded a second shortly after. In the 15th minute the equaliser came as Elliot Hewitt's low cross evaded several players before Sanchez Watt poked the ball home. The game ebbed and flowed as both sides had chances with Barnsley having a goal ruled out for offside. Colchester again made a slow start to the second half and in the 55th minute retook the lead. As Devante Cole advanced on goal Sean Clohessy mistimed his tackle resulting in a penalty. Conor Hourihane sent Sam Walker the wrong way from the spot to put Barnsley 2-1. The Reds then extended their lead in the 70th minute when Peter Ramage leapt highest to head in a corner. The visitors did not give up and in the 75th minute brought the game back to 3-2 when Rhys Healey played an excellent ball through for Freddie Sears who smashed past Ross Turnbull in the Barnsley goal. Colchester applied the pressure late on but were unable to make it count as Barnsley won an exciting game of football.

Result: Barnsley 3-2 Colchester United
Division: Football League One
Attendance: 9,191

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

2014 Stadium #22 - The Camrose

Date: 1st November 2014
Stadium: The Camrose
Location: Basingstoke, Hampshire

My twenty-second stadium of 2014 was on Saturday 1st November at The Camrose in Basingstoke, Hampshire. The match was Basingstoke Town vs. Chelmsford City in Conference South.

The Camrose is opposite a retail park in the south-west part of the town around 1.5 miles from the railway station. The ground has been home to the club since 1946 though plans have been published to expand the retail park on the current stadium site and move the club to a new venue just south of the town centre.

There is a 650 seater stand on the south-east part of the ground in line with the half way line. This consists of a lower section containing dressing rooms and dugouts an upper section for the spectator areas. There are a few supporting columns for the roof and one of the floodlights sits between this stand and the pitch. On the rest of this side of the venue is uncovered standing except for a small covered section to the left of the main stand.

There is a large amount of space on the opposite side of the pitch with a covered concrete terrace set quite a way back from the pitch. In front of this is a wide area for uncovered standing. Behind the goal at the north-east end of The Camrose there is another covered concrete terrace while at the other end of the pitch there is more concrete terracing, this time uncovered. Just out from the entrance in the south-east corner of the ground there is a clubhouse located in the car park.

Chelmsford looked dangerous from the outset and went close on 4 minutes when Joe Ward's 25 yard effort fizzed just over the crossbar. In the 15th minute they did get their noses in front when Leon Redwood crossed into the box to an unmarked Jason Williams who headed into the corner of the net. A few minutes later the hosts got back on level terms when a defender failed to cut out a through ball allowing to Lloyd Macklin to muscle his way through and slot the ball into the bottom corner. The visitors started the second half strongly and though they had a goal disallowed were able to regain the lead from the penalty spot in the 53rd minute. Jamie Brown needlessly tripped Michael Cheek as he was heading out of the area and Lee Sawyer who stroked the ball home to put Chelmsford 2-1 up. In the closing stages the visitors had to withstand a spell of pressure but were able to hold on to pick up a deserved three points.

Result: Basingstoke Town 1-2 Chelmsford City
Division: Conference South
Attendance: 683