Sunday, 5 March 2017

Chalfont St Peter 0 v 0 Egham Town

Saturday 4th March 2017
Southern Football League Division One Central
Mill Meadow, Chalfont St Peter
Admission including Programme: £9.00
Attendance: 70
Match Rating: 2

Nothing much really appealed to me today, and with a lot of wet weather originally forecast for last night and this morning, I feared that I would have to play a plastic pitch joker card today at Slough Town. Happily the rain did not materialise and I decided to head to Buckinghamshire, an area I haven’t watched much football in over the years.

Mill Meadow is about a half hour walk northwards from Gerrards Cross train station and is located close to the village centre, beyond a set of allotments and amongst various community facilities. Spectators enter via a turnstile block in one corner of the ground. Next to the entrance is a long, fairly low brick building with the clubhouse amongst the facilities inside, which doubles up as a children’s nursery during the week, making for a unusual surrounding whilst supping one’s pint. Along the front of the clubhouse there is wooden overhang providing covered standing, again decorated with children’s props. Beyond the clubhouse and straddling the half way like is a stand containing old fashioned wooden seating but has not been in use for many years. Behind the goal closest to the entrance is a smart modern all-seater stand, raise up a little from the pitch, and with a separate small covered area for disabled fans. Behind the other goal is much more rudimentary cover for two rows of seating, although the narrow cover above does not offer great cover from the elements. Along the remaining length there is just hard standing. The ground has a pleasant enough setting, with a rural, tranquil feel to it. A programme was provided with admission and although, with just 20 pages, is quite thin, it is perfectly adequate, covering the essentials very well and just two pages contained advertising and no “filler” material.

There is little left for Chalfont St Peter to play for this season, coming into this game in 16th place in the 22 team division, 17 points clear of the relegation zone but 15 points adrift of the play-offs, having won 12 and drawn four of their 33 league games. Egham Town still have hopes of making the play-offs, seven points adrift but with two games in hand on the fifth placed team. When the two teams met in October, Egham won 2-0.

On an afternoon when the ground was bathed in sunshine during the first half, giving way to gusty drizzle in the second half, this was quite a dull match, in particular during the first half which was even and with barely any sights of goal being created.

The second half was certainly an improvement, which is not saying much. Indeed, Egham saw a shot and rebound both blocked within a minute of the restart. On 53 minutes, Egham's Brendan Matthew met a corner with a header which was unorthodoxly blocked by the keeper, before Chalfont had a decent spell, doing some decent attacking without ever really convincing that they would score. Egham had a couple of great chances to win the game in the closing minutes, On 83 minutes, a low cross whipped inside the six yard box just eluded a tap in, and two minutes from time, a long punt forward by the keeper sent two forwards through on goal, but although the ball bounded favourably to his team mate in a good central position towards the edge of the area, the shot was slice high and wide of goal. But the game finished goalless, which was a fair reflection of a game that was low on quality and urgency.

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