Groundhopping

Good old Sussex by the sea…. AFC Varndeanians v Worthing United

For those of you that know me, you may be aware that Brighton are one of my favourite teams.

While I would never claim to be a Brighton fan, I have visited the Amex on nine occasions which makes it the ground that I have visited more than any other…

The main reason for this is because it was one of the most local Football League teams to me and tickets were pretty easy to come by. Also the first season we started going, they were fighting for promotion from the Championship so the games were always entertaining.

Anyway, yesterday it was time to delve into the history of Brighton and Hove Albion by visiting their old ground, the Withdean Stadium.

The Withdean is now home to AFC Varndeanians in the Southern Combination League Division One (the 10th tier of English football).

We have been trying to find a time to do this ground all season and after our trip to Portsmouth was cancelled, we seized our opportunity.

The drive down the M25 and then the M23 was actually very pleasant and we made it to the ground in excellent time, leaving about 25 minutes to explore the surroundings before kick off.

The ground is now being used for athletics which makes it fairly hard to imagine that a team in the football league used to play there.

But the setting is actually really nice and it was definitely one of the best grounds at that level.

A game with a view

Once our exploring was done it was time to concentrate on another 90 minutes and we were in for a treat.

The game didn’t actually get started until about 3:07, which may not sound interesting at all but when you go to football every week it’s nice to see a bit of variety….

Varndeanians were the team in much better form going into this game and sat second in the league, but the Worthing players were determined to stop them in their tracks.

The away side played much of the first half with plenty of passion and fight (sometimes literally) and really looked to test the hosts.

However the Brighton based side took the lead in very scrappy fashion after a goal mouth scramble led to a shot that was deemed to have crossed the line.

After Worthing’s protests, my friend proceeded to turn to me and say:

“I don’t know why they’re bothering to protest, I could see from here that it went in.”

Considering we were sat at the top of the stand by the halfway line, I think that might have been a stretch.

The second goal for the hosts came soon after and this was far from scrappy, the big number 9 up top controlled the ball well and slipped past his marker to slot the ball home with a very tidy finish.

My words don’t really do it justice but the Worthing centre back was left sat on the floor as the ball hit the back of the net, it was one of those…

Unfortunately none of the snacks in the clubhouse really took my fancy, so this week’s blog will have to focus solely on the game, but burger review should return next week.

Another nice little snap

Despite Worthing’s fight, they could not match the quality of Varndeanians, and they were powerless to stop the third goal around the hour mark.

It was another tidy finish which to be fair I thought went wide but apparently it went in, so it wasn’t the most memorable goal.

Worthing were down and out but managed to get a consolation goal late on following a corner but overall their efforts were in vain.

The game was thoroughly entertaining as both sides really did give it their all throughout the 90 minutes and that is always good to watch.

Four goals and ample missed opportunities meant we came away from Brighton entertained and pleased with a good day out.

Thanks for reading!

  • GROUND: Withdean Stadium
  • GAME: AFC Varndeanians 3-1 Worthing United
  • COMPETITION: Southern Combination League Division One
  • GROUND NUMBER: 74
  • WOULD I GO BACK: Yep
  • TICKET PRICE: £5

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