Thanks for clicking on another Groundhopping blog from A Groundhoppers Guide to the Pyramid, I hope I’ve got another treat for you today!
If you have been outside anytime since Thursday, then you will be aware that England has been greeted by a ridiculous amount of rain, which is a brutal reminder that winter is well and truly on its way.
As the rain continued into Friday evening, it provided that unique challenge for Groundhoppers, finding a ground with a 3G pitch (so you are at no risk of turning up to a game that has been postponed). While many brits were enjoying their Friday evening (before 10 O’Clock of course) I was frantically trying to find a suitable game for Saturday, and I eventually stumbled across Steyning Town FC, a humble little Sussex Town just down the A24.
Our journey once again started at Surbiton station, but unlike last week we made excellent time on our drive down towards the coast, to be fair I was determined to see kick off this time around as I have missed it in the last two games I’ve been to!
As it turned out I think we were probably one of the first people into the ground today around an hour before kick off, but I was not complaining as it meant we had a free pick of tables in the bar.
I am going to go out on a whim here and say that the Steyning Town clubhouse is the best I have ever been to, and I’ve been to 80 grounds now!
It is almost like it’s own little restaurant, with menus, tables and everything, I was very impressed. We got a lovely welcome as we arrived and very quick and efficient table service once we had sat down.
So Pint in hand, Chip in mouth and Football on TV, I was in my happy place. I did want to try a burger as we heard through the grapevine that Steyning do it in style, but unfortunately I was having steak for dinner so I thought having beef at lunch wasn’t the best choice (mainly for my waistline). My mate did have one however and he was impressed, maybe next time I’ll have to give you all a proper review!
Anyway, it was soon time to head outside and soak up the Southern Combination Premier Division action (if only we could’ve soaked up the rain).
Steyning’s opponents were Langney FC from Eastbourne, these were two sides languishing near the bottom of the table, but looking to push up with three points today.
If I’m honest, the game didn’t get off to the best of starts as neither side really wanted to grab the initiative early on, but that soon changed as the away side grew into the contest.
Langney were completely dominant for the majority of the first half, but somehow never found the back of the net. Whether their shots were blocked, saved or missed it just wasn’t happening for them in the final third.
Their main source of threat came from their two tricky wingers, and they carved out opportunities with ease but just couldn’t quite finish them. It was at this point I turned to my friend and said “this lot have got to win about 5-0 surely?”
However, in possibly the most English way possible, Steyning Town took the lead despite their backs being thoroughly against the wall for the best part of 45 minutes.
Their goalkeeper kicked the ball about 80 yards up the pitch, it then found its way to Steyning’s number nine George Cousins (I think his name was George but I genuinely may have got this completely wrong). The striker then jinked his way into a shooting position and calmly slotted the ball home to give the Barrowmen the lead going into the halftime break.
Langney really were the better side in the first half, but the Steyning players had put their body on the line and made sure they stayed in the game. It felt like they had one opportunity and scored it, but this is why we love the beautiful game!
As the teams came out for the second half it was almost as if they were both two different teams. I must admit that after the first half I thought Langney were head and shoulders above their hosts in terms of ability, but the second half really laid rest to that.
I genuinely don’t remember Langney having a clear cut chance in the second half as Steyning managed to step up almost every area of their game. As the half wore on and Langney started to commit more men forward, spaces opened up for the home side, which they exploited but could not convert.
Although the home side had the best of the play in the second half, the game felt quite stop start as there were plenty of small fouls being given in the middle of the pitch.
Now I am never one for criticising referees, but I must say that the bloke yesterday didn’t have his best of games. By no means did he make any howlers or game changing decisions, but he just never really let the game flow in the second half, which was a shame for a neutral like myself as Langney could never really get in a rhythm to try and get their claws back in the game.
Steyning in the end could’ve had 3 or 4, had it not been for some smart saves or dodgy finishing, but in the end they managed to hold out for a 1-0 victory. Their performance reminded me a lot of the way Atletico Madrid play, if that is any use to you football fans out there!
Overall I would certainly describe it as a game of two halves as both sides looked completely different in the second half, one for better and one for worst!
After the full time whistle blew it was time to get back up the A24 and home, which we didn’t quite do as quickly as going the other way thanks to some London traffic.
I was once again really impressed by Steyning, their hospitality was probably the best at any club I’ve been to post lockdown, and as I said their food facilities really are 10/10, especially for a club at that level!
I also loved the heart and determination of their team, they have by no means had it easy so far this season but they all battled through to earn a hard earned three points yesterday and I secretly wanted them to win at the end!
Fair play to Langney too, their first half performance genuinely surprised me, and if only they finished a couple of chances we could’ve had a completely different game in our hands…
Anyway, that’s all for this week! I hope you have enjoyed another Groundhopping blog.
See you in the week for another!
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- GROUND: The Shooting Field
- GAME: Steyning Town FC 1-0 Langney Wanderers FC
- COMPETITION: Southern Combination Premier Division
- GROUND NUMBER: 80
- WOULD I GO BACK: Yep
- TICKET PRICE: £6
- HOPPER: George