Saturday, 10 November 2018

09/11/18 Review: Bedfont & Feltham vs Kensington Borough

Bedfont & Feltham 4-0 Kensington Borough (Combined Counties Football League Division One)
The Orchard

Another two month break from Blog action finally came to an end last night as I dusted off my Groundhopping boots ready to travel down from Stafford for a full weekend of football, which started off at The Orchard- home to Combined Counties First Division side Bedfont & Feltham. Yes, this weekend is certain to be one full of travelling about, with FA Cup ties at Maidstone and Barnet just around the corner, but before I could possibly become excited by those ties I would have to get myself deep into the heart of the South-East's non-league scene and visit two teams that sound like the sort of made up team names you'd go for if you were writing an American sitcom mocking our beloved sport. "Did you see that awesome soccer game last night? Bedfont & Feltham really did give Kensington Borough a good whipping!"

Proper clubhouse!

Joking aside, the Combined Counties League is one of the very few footballing areas of the country that I am yet to visit and this was in fact my first CCL ground visit. Astonishing. In all honesty The Orchard was not my first choice for this evening and had it not been for Holland FC's rearranged fixture being swapped to today, I would have been on the seaside freezing my bollocks off instead of outside Heathrow Airport. Not that I was bothered, the main thing for me was that I was getting myself out to a new ground and after a three hour crawl through the Friday night rush hour down the M6, M40 and M25, I made it into Bedfont. The blue and yellow crested high-flyers started the night in 2nd place, but with two games in hand on league leaders Sheerwater you had to fancy them to climb to the top if they could overcome lowly Kensington Borough, who have a slim chance of ending the weekend in the dropzone if Bagshot, Fleet Spurs and Deportivo Galicia all claim victory. So far the only side to topple the Yellows in the league were Tooting Bec and with that being their latest game, I was predicting them to bounce back on this rainy Friday night encounter- 4-1 was my guess. Not too far off!

Love me a night under the floodlights

As I was a good 40 minutes early, I made my way into The Orchard Bar and got lost in conversation with an old cockney bloke who follows Hendon and Edgeware Town, both whom reside at Silver Jubilee Park. The newly retired former London Underground workman now spends 99% of his time groundhopping and claimed to already be on 80+ matches for the season- compared to my meagre 19th outing on this occasion, he's not doing badly for a chap who can't drive. We spent the pre-match propping up the bar and talking about Sporting Khalsa, London's non-league scene and his ventures in the 80's and 90's following Man United in Europe. Amongst all of the excitement, 8pm had crept up on us and we supped up and headed out into the windy and wet conditions alongside the other 80 or so in attendance. After a quick mooch around, I housed myself in the main stand with a good majority of the crowd, ready for some CCL action!

Blending in with the locals, apart from my notable Sporting Khalsa scarf
The hosts started the match well and seemed likely to grab a comprehensive win from the off. With a good balance to the squad, Ross Nunn set the tone by coming deep regularly to set some early attacks off, whilst Fahad Mahboudi and Michael Capon looked eager in the attacking third, and it wasn't to be too long before their 20th minute opener. Mahoubi gathered the ball on the left, passed his man with ease and then whipped home from just outside the box to cap off a great bit of play. B&F 1-0 Kensington. It was clear that Borough had set up to try and grab a goal on the counter, and although Ashley Fianore looked lively in places, the hit and hope attacking from the visitors made it all too easy for the Yellows to regain possession and look to grab a second. That goal wouldn't come before the break though and we would head back into the bar with the score at just 1-0. I spent the majority of half-time thinking about how the side I volunteer for, Stone Dominoes, would do against both of these sides. We play in the North West Counties Division One South, which is also in the tenth tier of English football, but despite sitting 19th of 20 teams in the league, I'd still fancy us to give these sides a good game. I've often wondered if there is a higher quality of football in specific parts of the country and who indeed would come out on top if there was a tournament of the champions from different tenth tier divisions. Instead of faffing about with this proposed European Super League, I'd much rather see the expenses paid for Dunkirk FC to face Plymouth Parkway- but then again that's probably just me!
Surely you'd rather come here for a big game than the San Siro...
Back outside I'd missed an early second goal for Bedfont & Feltham, with Capon apparently taking an early chance in a one-on-one situation. B&F 2-0 Kensington. The old bloke who described the goal to me was stood in the sodden area behind the goal, pictured above, and as the rain continued to edge him closer to pneumonia he eventually turned to me, said "fuck this" and headed back in to the clubhouse. The home goalie looked over at this point and I couldn't help but wonder if he felt the same- with a 2-0 lead and the ball largely being played 80 yards away from him, it couldn't have been easy to stay warm. Now stood alone, in the wet, I decided to make my way over to the other goal in order to see the remaining half an hour.

That's more like it
The last fifteen minutes would provide two more goals and unlike the last one I actually had a cracking view of both from my new post. As well as being able to see the 64 flight takeoffs soaring over the ground and deafening me every other minute, I would also witness Capon tap home his second after a ball in from the right. Apparently he's on 28 goals already this season, according to the home side's website! B&F 3-0 Kensington. Five minutes later and Ross Nunn would complete a fine performance by floating in a corner to unmarked substitute forward Reece Gairy and he took great delight in adding the final goal of the day with seven minutes still to spare. Thankfully for the visitors, the pain would end here. B&F 4-0 Kensington. After winning 11-0 in the first game of the season, you could see why the hosts would end the night at the top of the table, for the next few hours at least! I departed fairly promptly and didn't see my new mate to say goodbye, but he did mention that he may well be at Barnet on Sunday for the Bristol Rovers game- so maybe our paths will cross again! Until then, cheers to Bedfont & Feltham for putting on a Friday night game, it was a pleasure!