Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Crowborough Athletic 1 v 2 Chessington and Hook United

(after extra time)
Tuesday 18th August 2015
Alderbrook, Crowborough
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay
Admission: £8.00
Programme: £1.00
Attendance: 100 (estimate)
Match Rating: 3

This evening I decided to head for a ground I visited regularly before moving away from the area 18 months ago, to watch my second FA Cup match in three days, this time a replay.

The Alderbrook has not seen any alterations since my last visit last December, but remains a very smart and comfortable place to watch. What has changed is the admission price though, up from £6 including a programme last season, to £8 plus £1 for the programme this season, a 50% increase this season. Apparently such admission fees are fairly standard in the Southern Counties East League, which will mean this evening will probably be the first and last time I watch a game here or elsewhere in the league this season.

When the two teams met at Chalky Lane on Saturday, the game finished 1-1, although apparently Crowborough really should have sealed their progress at the first time of asking. In their only league game of the season so far, Crowborough drew 1-1 at home to local rivals Tunbridge Wells, and last season, finished in tenth place in the Southern Counties East League. Chessington and Hook have picked up one point in their opening two Combined Counties League Premier Division, into which they were promoted for this season following a third place in Division One last season.

On a cool, overcast evening, the game had an explosive start when Jimmy Hearn gave the visitors the lead when he fired a free kick into the top left corner. The game settled down after that to become an entertaining half with both teams creating some chances, but with Crowborough coming closest to scoring, once on 37 minutes when a goal bound shot skimmed off the head of a Chessington defender and the ball went narrowly over the bar, and on 42 minutes, Callum Ridley saw his shot from edge of the box hit the inside of the post before rolling along the line without going in.

The second half continued in a similar vein, but the hosts levelled the scores on 65 minutes when Scott Treleaven volleyed the ball in on the turn from outside of the area – a really good goal technically. In added on time, both sides could have avoided the need for injury time, first Chessington, when a couple of their players couldn’t tap home a whipped in low cross six yards out, and then a vicious shot on goal by Crowborough drew a fantastic flying save from the keeper.

So, extra time was required, but as half chances came and went and as penalties were looking more and more likely, Chessington went back into the lead. The ball was lumped deep into the box from a free kick, and eventually the ball squirmed over the line from a header. Crowborough threw everything at the Chessington goal in the closing minutes and will wonder how they couldn’t quite force a penalty shoot out, most noticeably when the ball delivered from a corner was headed onto the bar and none of their players could quite get a decisive touch from the rebound. But it was Chessington and Hook United who progressed to the next round, when they will visit Isthmian League Division One South side Hythe Town.

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