It has been 155 days since a proper groundhopping blog found its way onto this site, and it feels like we are living in a completely different world to that which saw Dartford beat Chelmsford 3-0 in March, but some things never change….
I had a week off from Cricket this week, which meant I had only one thing on my agenda, getting back to ticking grounds and watching some class Non-League football!
Fans still aren’t allowed in to games from Steps 1-7 (see Monday’s blog for more on that), but this meant we had to find a game that we would never normally venture to.
Sifting through the plethora of friendlies going on in the South East was a pretty long, drawn out task, but we eventually decided that our best bet was Cranleigh FC of the Surrey Intermediate League.
Their friendly against Keens Park Rangers (based in Woking) is probably not how I would’ve imagined opening my account for the season, but you know us here at A Groundhoppers Guide, we’ll never say no to a game.
Anyway, I picked my friend up from Surbiton station and we headed to Cranleigh (via Guildford for a quick Five Guys). We arrived promptly and found our parking space at Snoxhall Playing Fields.
This game was more or less a game in a field, which made it a little bit awkward at first, but to be fair the crowd started to grow throughout the first half, there must have been around 50 at the end.
Anyway the game started in a fairly lively fashion, with both sides showing decent attacking threat, but it was the home side who took the lead with a well worked goal, reminiscent of PSG’s winner the other night.
Keens Park Rangers responded pretty well actually and got their equaliser before half time after some good work in the box was finished well and the game was back on level terms.
Cranleigh seemed the more dynamic side in the final third, but KPR had much more control of the midfield which meant the Cranleigh strikers were often left frustrated at being isolated up top.
Half Time came and went in a flurry (it only lasted five minutes) but soon we were back for the business end of this game.
Cranleigh made lots of subs at half time, and that gave them the initial advantage after the break, and they took lead with a pretty scrappy finish, but a goal nonetheless…
The game was really even in the second half, but clear cut chances were few and far between, but it was still an enthralling second half.
Slowly Keens Park Rangers began to stamp their authority on the second half as they pressed for an equaliser, which duly came in wonderful fashion.
After a flick on from their number nine, their midfielder (I don’t know his name, or any of the players names, please forgive me), but he rifled the ball into the net from a yard outside the box in what must’ve been the 89th minute. It was a wonderful move and the finish more than matched it.
And so that was that, 2-2 on my first outing of the season, a preseason friendly played with determination and fight, and a draw was probably what both sides deserved.
Overall this was a thoroughly different experience to what I’m used to, but it felt so good to be back at a game, and I can’t wait for another great season!
Good luck to both Cranleigh and KPR, I’m sure you’ll both do well, seen as I’ve come and blessed you with good luck…
Thanks for reading!
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- GROUND: Snoxhall Fields
- GAME: Cranleigh FC 2-2 Keens Park Rangers
- COMPETITION: Friendly
- GROUND NUMBER: 77
- WOULD I GO BACK: I’d recommend a visit!
- TICKET PRICE: £0
- HOPPER: George