Wested Meadow, Crockenhill
Match Rating: 3
Fancying another midweek game this evening, I decided to return to a ground that was of the most memorable I had visited in my travels for being so quirky and full of character.
This game was switched from Seven Acre and Sidcup's usual ground at Oxford Road in Sidcup to Wested Meadow, home of fellow Kent Invicta League outfit Crockenhill. Situated on the edge of London barely a mile south of Swanley and with the M25 close enough to be audible from the ground, it is a surprise when one has to drive down a very tight country lane to get there. Once inside, the ground is a marvellous throwback to how grassroots football grounds used to be up until the late nineties. It is looking very scruffy these days though, with random items and equipment scattered around much of the pitch. As one enters the ground, there is a unique old fashioned stand offering bench seating with a very intimate feel. To one side is a covered standing area and to the other a slightly elevated uncovered standing area behind railing. This is the only part of the ground that spectators seem to be intended to watch the game from these days. Behind one goal is a small wooden stand, an addition since my last visit, but with debris inside and the area behind the goal is overgrown with gaping holes. Along the other length is even more overgrown and difficult to access, whilst corrugated iron sheets surrounding the other goal means the area is inaccessible. Arguably the best feature of Wested Meadow is the clubhouse, a Nissen hut that has its interior walls and ceiling covered in scarfs and other memorabilia, a colourful and very welcoming place to have a drink in. Apparently programmes were intended to be printed this evening, but it didn't work out.
This evening's game would be between a Kent Invicta League outfit at home to a club from the league above, the Southern Counties East league (formerly the Kent League). Seven Acre and Sidcup had a good season in 2012/13, finishing in fifth. Canterbury finished in ninth.
On an evening noticeably cooler than of late, alternating between bright sunshine and overcast conditions, this was an entertaining game, perhaps unsurprisingly littered with poor touches and passes going astray with players not on the same wavelength. It was Sidcup who took the lead on sixteen minutes when a ball forward found two players bearing down on the keeper, one of whom, Jamie Williams, knocked the ball to one side before tapping into an empty net. On 32 minutes Sidcup doubled their lead with a very good goal, the ball was taken down the wing and crossed high and at pace, falling to the feet of Anthony Fenech to tap the ball home.
The second half was increasingly but friendly, with some very robust challenges particularly by Canterbury players, one of whom was asked to leave the pitch after two bad fouls in quick succession. Indeed, the game threatened to get out of control, as the Sidcup bench had a heated exchange with the referee. Six minutes into the second half and Canterbury pulled a goal back, a fairly scrappy goal that was eventually knocked in at the far post. There were few clear cut chances for the rest of the match though, and Seven Acre and Sidcup held on fairly comfortably for a deserved win.