Welcome back to another Groundhopping blog, and this week we are back down south again after last week’s shenanigans in Liverpool.
It was also going to be a return to groundhopping in the Essex Senior League, about a year after my last tick in this league (blame lockdowns!).
Anyway, we decided this week that it was about time we ticked FC Clacton’s Austin Arena, which we have been meaning to do for a while but have never got around to it, until yesterday.
So I left home at 10am, and after making a stop for a couple of hours in Chelmsford to pick up my mate, have a Burger King and to watch the first half of the Arsenal game, we made the hour long journey up to Clacton-on-Sea.
We arrived at the ground about ten minutes before kick off, and had a little walk around the pitch before choosing our viewing position for the game, which ended up being behind the goal on the far side.
The game got off to a pretty lively start, however most of the action was in the middle of the park so clear cut chances weren’t exactly at a premium.
But after just 17 minutes, the game burst into life. FC Clacton fashioned out a chance from point blank range, which was saved brilliantly by the Woodford keeper who made himself very big when rushing out. The visitors then went up to the other end and scored a wonderful breakaway goal, which was finished well by Peter Angalov after a wonderful pass by Billy Swaine.
This set the trend for the day to be honest, as both keepers made some outstanding saves throughout the afternoons play.
The main event for the rest of the first 45 was a 20 man brawl that ensued following an alleged stamp on a Woodford player, we were quite far away from the incident so didn’t get a great view of what went on, but having looked through social media last night it appears that is what happened, but I am not the one to make a comment on it!
Woodford no doubt deserved their half time lead, and Clacton clearly recognised this as they came out looking to put a lot more pressure on their visitors, who still looked good themselves.
It was Woodford who scored the next goal in the came, and it really was a crucial goal. Chaynie Burgin was the quickest to react following a corner, which came about after another worldie of a save, but the big number nine buried the chance and ran over to the bench to celebrate in style.
They then all but wrapped the game up just under 20 minutes later with another breakaway goal, which was this time finished by Jayden Silcott, there was no worldie save waiting this time!
The visitors knew the three points were in their back pocket now, and they showed their gamesmanship to make it through the final third of the game unscathed (almost).
The home side did get themselves a controversial consolation goal in the 88th minute, after a free kick from Clacton was parried straight back into the six yard box for an easy tap in. There was an argument that a Clacton player was blocking the view of the keeper while in an offside position, having watched through the highlights he may have moved out of the way as the set piece was taken, but it was definitely a dubious one.
This would have done little to dampen Woodford’s spirits though as they were soon leaving Austin Arena with all three points.
The game was a really lively one, and actually a very good watch as both teams really gave their all for the points. I didn’t envy the officials though as it seemed quite a tough game to manage, considering the tempo and passion it was played with.
To be honest I was disappointed to see the reaction to the referee’s performance on Woodford’s Twitter page. Sure, the officiating team didn’t have their best game, but I thought it was unfair to post a video of a poor throw in decision made in the first half.
I have seen and heard a lot of people discussing the lack of people wanting to get into refereeing, which is of course having a detrimental effect on the game in this country. I don’t think anyone is going to want to get into it if they feel like their decisions and performances may be scrutinised so publicly like this.
Anyway, enough of my moaning! We had our customary post match Nandos back in Chelmsford, so all in all it was a pretty good day of groundhopping again…
That’s all for this week.
Catch you next week for more groundhopping action!
- GROUND: Austin Arena
- GAME: FC Clacton 1-3 Woodford Town
- COMPETITION: Essex Senior League
- GROUND NUMBER: 94
- WOULD I GO BACK: Yes
- TICKET PRICE: £7
- DAYS SINCE LAST 0-0: 984