Sunday, 22 April 2012

Chipstead 2 v 3 Hildenborough Athletic

Tuesday 17th April 2012
Kent County League Division One
Chipstead Recreation Ground, Chipstead
Admission: None
Programme: None
Attendance: 18 (h-c)
Match Rating: 3

For today’s early evening kick off, I headed to the outskirts of Sevenoaks for what was an intriguing looking encounter, a local derby between two of the top four teams in the Kent County League Division One.

The Chipstead Recreation Ground is located about a half hour walk from Sevenoaks rail station, a very pleasant walk indeed for the most part, particularly the small, peaceful and historic village of Chipstead itself. The ground is unsurprisingly very basic, with no spectator facilities, apart from a modern brick building behind one of the goals, which houses the changing rooms and a tea bar. The setting is a very neat and pleasant one with a typical rural village feel and is very well maintained. What lets the setting down considerably is its location right next to the busy A21 dual carriageway very close to where it meets the M25 and M26 motorways, producing constant loud traffic noise. No programmes or the like were issued.

Having ran away with the Division Two West Championship last season, Hildenborough Athletic look very well placed to achieve back to back promotions this season, as they lay in second position, seven points clear of the third placed team with five games left to play, although there appears little prospect of them catching unbeaten leaders Metrogas, who they trailed by seven points. Addressing a backlog of fixtures has not yet impacted on results recently, as they have won their last four games in the space of eight days. Chipstead are also having a very reasonable season, in fourth place but nine points behind Hildenborough, having played two games more. Their recent form has been reasonable, winning four and losing two of their last six games. When the two teams met earlier in the season, Hildenborough won 3-2.

On a strange evening weatherwise, when it rained hard during my walk to the ground, blue skies and bright sunshine accompanied the start of the game, but with a hailstorm during the middle of the first half and occasional showers throughout, the first half was an even affair, which Chipstead probably shaded and looked the more likely to score. Which they did eventually on 42 minutes, when a clever dink over the onrushing keeper hit the corner of the frame of the goal, and the rebound was hit home from about 12 yards out.

On 62 minutes, Hildenborough were back on level terms when a shot was turned home after the initial shot was saved, although parity only lasted for two minutes, when Chipstead went back into the lead with a delighful curling shot over the keeper from just outside the box. However, the game was turned on its head when Hildenborough scored twice in the next ten minutes, the second goal when the ball was passed into the corner of the net through a crowd of players after an initial shot was blocked. In the end, Hildenborough saw the game out fairly comfortably, although the result was harsh on Chipstead, who looked slightly the better side throughout

No comments: