Thanks for clicking on yet another groundhopping blog, I’m really trying to smash it this month and the support on the blog recently has been excellent!
This midweek I was a bit pressed for options in terms of games to visit, as I have ticked most of the ones near me now, but the closest game to Guildford that gave me a new tick was Chertsey Town v Bracknell Town in the Isthmian League South Central Division.
For some reason I have never really thought about ticking Alwyns Lane, for no other reason than that I have hardly ever been to Chertsey despite living fairly close! And to be fair the only thing I associate with Chertsey is St Peters hospital, so before last night it didn’t really have a great rep for me!
But I must say that I was pleasantly surprised upon arrival to Chertsey, well at least from the brief drive through the town so maybe I will be going a little more often.
We arrived at the ground around 15 minutes before kick off, Chertsey Town are one of a number of clubs who allow you to buy tickets in advance, which is something I love as getting cash out is just pointless these days, so big thumbs up straight away.
Once we made it in, I was pretty surprised to see that the ground was actually really busy and there was actually some semblance of atmosphere, something I haven’t really seen post lockdown as I’ve only really seen teams at the ninth tier and below. It was so refreshing to see!
The attendance was announced at 399, with a decent amount coming from Bracknell and they made themselves heard which was again very good to see…
I must stress that everyone seemed well socially distanced, especially in the stand where there must have been about six seats in between each party. There was also a queuing system for the clubhouse bar and constant reminders to remember to keep two meters apart!
But I must admit that I pretty much forgot Covid was a thing for those 90 minutes because it seemed as if we were just back to normal, and what a blissful hour and a half it was..
Kick off was at the earlier than usual 7:30, not sure why, but soon after the first whistle the away side were ahead. I’m not sure whether the goal can be counted as a mistake by the goalkeeper or just very good play by the Bracknell forward.
The ball was played back towards the goalkeeper, and he was staying in his box waiting to pick it up instead of rushing out to clear it ahead of the Bracknell attacker who was running to try and get there first. Just as the ball was about to get to the Chertsey number one, Seb Bowerman put the ball through his legs and slotted the ball into an empty net.
The goal was scored in just the second minute, so there was a long 88 minutes ahead for Chertsey if they didn’t respond!
Bracknell did look the stronger of the two sides after their opener, but it didn’t take Chertsey too long to wipe off the deficit. Their goal came in the 22nd minute, and it was an excellent goal from a corner.
The ball was swung in towards the near post and Maclaren got there first to volley the ball home. It was an excellently worked corner and it put the game back in the balance.
The two sides looked very evenly matched after the goal, as Chertsey clearly took confidence from their leveler. The rest of the first half played out with a couple of half chances for either side, including Chertsey striking the woodwork from a wonderful 30 yard effort, but they went into the break at 1-1 and with it all to play for in the second half.
The game notably became a lot more stretched in the second half, which actually made for very entertaining viewing. Bracknell still looked more threatening on the counter attack but both sides had a chance with the end to end nature of the game.
I must say that I was actually really impressed with the pace of the game in the second half, and it was evident that both sides were going for the win.
As we got closer to the conclusion, it was Bracknell who came closest. First they struck the crossbar and then they had a goal ruled out for offside, they must’ve been beginning to think that it just wasn’t there night. Until they won a freekick just outside of the box….
The ball was whipped in with pace and glanced into the net by Dan Bayliss, sparking wild celebrations among the players and fans of the Robins as it seemed like they had got their deserved winner in the 88th minute.
Chertsey then launched the ball forward in search of another equaliser, and they came close but couldn’t quite carve out an opportunity good enough to finish, and the referee called time on a thrilling encounter.
Bracknell were deserved winners in the end, but Chertsey certainly had their chances to win the game themselves and they can be happy with the way they played. I was very impressed with the game as there were some very good players on show on both teams.
The game wasn’t exactly incident filled, but it had a really good pattern and was allowed to flow by the referee, who I thought had a good game. The Chertsey players looked gutted at full time, which was testament to the amount of effort they put into trying to get something from the game, I love how passionate non-league players are.
I would also thoroughly recommend a trip to Alwyns Lane, the pitch is lovely, there is a really nice atmosphere and their stand is what groundhoppers dream of!
We made our way back to Guildford after an excellent night of Isthmian league action, it feels good to be well and truly back at football with fans.
That’s all for today, thanks for reading!
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- GROUND: Alwyns Lane Football Ground
- GAME: Chertsey Town FC 1-2 Bracknell Town
- COMPETITION: Isthmian League South Central Division
- GROUND NUMBER: 81
- WOULD I GO BACK: Yes!
- TICKET PRICE: £9
- HOPPER: George