Groundhopping

Who needs the Champions League on a Tuesday?…. Abbey Rangers v CB Hounslow United

Hello!

Thanks for clicking on another blog from A Groundhoppers Guide to the Pyramid! After a few weeks of hardly seeing a goal, I can finally bring you a report from a good old goal-fest!

In my ongoing quest to complete the Combined Counties Premier Division ( I am on 8/21 of the grounds), I decided that this weeks Tuesday tick had to be Addlestone’s own Abbey Rangers who play at Addlestone Moor.

This was to be my third Combined Counties Premier Division game in as many weeks as the Rangers faced CB Hounslow, and the home side were looking to continue their solid start to the season. The visitors have had a bit of a mixed bag so far, but came into the game unbeaten in three games so it was set up to be a good game!

So once we had wolfed down a delicious Nando’s in Walton, it was time to make our way across to Addlestone Moor to see what action was waiting for us on our third consecutive Tuesday night tick.

We arrived and parked up just down the road, grabbed a pint and headed to the nearest stand which would act as our cover from the increasingly heavy downpour of rain.

My first impression of Addlestone Moor was good, the clubhouse was really nice and my pint was class (I had a Moretti for those wondering). The pitch also looked really impressive, and in pristine condition despite the sketchy weather over the last few days.

Soon after the game started however we realised that the seats we had chosen wouldn’t really suffice as we had a bit of an obstructed view due to the floodlight in front of us. However the rain pretty much stopped as the game kicked off so we decided to move and stand round the other side of the pitch, which gave us a perfect angle on the game.

The pitch in lovely condition

As we were making our way around the pitch the first goal of the evening was scored by the home side. It came from a well worked move forward that resulted in a very tidy finish from Ben Kersley, to be fair I was walking at the time so couldn’t concentrate fully on the goal, but saw more of it than I did on the weekend! (I completely missed the first and only goal of the game I went to on Saturday)

After a quick start to the game, the pattern of play didn’t quite live up to the early pace as neither side really got to grips with the wet outfield, and it seemed like the only way a second goal was going to be scored was through a mistake or slip rather than a bit of quality from either side.

So the game sort of meandered for much of the first half, but luckily we managed to keep ourselves entertained when it wasn’t so gripping…

But the same cannot be said about a truly bonkers second half, so much happened that I could probably only just cover all the events in a thesis! But it’s just the quick blog today so I’ll do my best to summarise…

Soon after the sides came out for the second 45, Abbey Rangers scored a goal that was a thing of absolute beauty. They neatly worked the ball forward towards Josh Gallagher, who then ghosted past a defender in the box and squared the ball perfectly to Cooper-Smith who slotted the ball into an empty net. Gallagher’s feint past the defender in the box and lay off reminded me of something Zidane would do, so there you have it, Josh Gallagher, Addlestone’s answer to Zinedine Zidane.

Soon after, it was CB Hounslow’s turn to get in on the act. Their first goal was by no means spectacular, but they’ll take anything they get at 2-0 down!

The ball came in from the left, and Williams (their number 11 I think..) made minimal contact on his volley, but the ball skidded off the surface and found the bottom corner. Grotty details aside, the game was back in the balance and both sides had their tails up.

Genuinely two minutes later, another goal went in, and it was the hosts restoring their two goal lead. Another excellent bit of build up play led to Abbey’s number 16 reaching the byline, and from there he cut the ball back to find a teammate free to knock the ball home.

The home side celebrating what they thought was their clincher

For these crazy ten minutes in the second half, I don’t think any Combined Counties team has ever resembled a Pep Guardiola side more than Abbey Rangers. They were playing some scintillating attacking football, using the wingers in pretty much the same way the likes of Sterling, Mahrez and Silva operate, but also being dodgy at the back, it was a great watch!

I’m sure you are all reading this wondering how I’ve managed to shoehorn Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola into a match report on the ninth tier of English football, but anything is possible at A Groundhoppers Guide…

The flurry of scoring was not over yet, and it was another one pulled back by Hounslow. Now if Williams’ effort was deliberate then this goal has a shout for goal of the night, but I wasn’t sure on my first and only viewing as the ball seemed to loop as if it was deflected.

There’s only one person who knows what was attempted, let’s hope he doesn’t swear on his daughters life like a certain England striker once did.

The away side then had arguably their best spell of the night, with their main threat coming from the right hand side, where Williams now looked a completely different player and he was bossing the game.

Both sides were giving it their absolute all, Abbey Rangers were doing everything to hold on, whilst Hounslow were attacking as if they were Covid 19 in Liverpool…

Challenges were now flying in as the playing surface resembled an Ice Rink rather than a football pitch, and one challenge in particular gave me my first ‘Gary Neville moment’ of the evening. If you’ve watched a game that the former Manchester United Right Back has commentated on recently, you’ll be aware of that little “oooo” he comes out with when something controversial happens.

Anyway, that was me after Abbey’s captain flew into a tackle that left his man in what looked like a lot of pain, he received a yellow, but he was lucky to stay on from what I saw.

During added time at the end of the game the home side were keeping the ball in the corner trying to run down the clock, and I thought that this incident filled second half was finally over. But Hounslow still had time to raise the heart rate once again as they won a free-kick that was so nearly converted, but the resulting header was put just over the bar.

The final throws…

And so the absolute rollercoaster of a second half was over, and Abbey Rangers continued their ascent up the Combined Counties Premier Division.

At half time I was dreading another drab affair, but I was genuinely out of breath trying to keep up with the second half, and I was just watching!

We had a thoroughly good night, at a very nice venue to watch football. I’ve now seen Abbey Rangers play twice (once home, once away) and they have won both games! So maybe they’ll want me back…

Anyway, credit to both sides to the most entertaining half of football I’ve seen this season!

That’s all for this blog! Sorry it was such a long one but I didn’t want to miss anything out, what a game!

See you Sunday 👋

  • GROUND: Addlestone Moor
  • GAME: Abbey Rangers 3-2 CB Hounslow United
  • COMPETITION: Combined Counties Premier Division
  • GROUND NUMBER: 83
  • WOULD I GO BACK: Yep!
  • TICKET PRICE: £7
  • HOPPER: George
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