Ground Hopping: AFC Hornchurch FC v Bath City FC Saturday 9th March 2013

Competition: Blue Square Bet Conference South

Date: 9th March 2013

Venue: Hornchurch Stadium, Hornchurch

Attendance: 340

 

Another new ground today. I had been hoping to head over to Ascot to see Ascot United FC v Shildon AFC in the FA Vase 6th round replay, but time was not on my side. After attending at Lea Valley Youth Cycling Club’s Saturday morning club session in my role at Child Welfare Officer, I would not have had sufficient time to drive across or round London from Essex to Berkshire so it was time to find another game to attend. Using the comprehensive fixture guide in the Non League Paper, I saw that AFC Hornchurch were playing at home to Bath City. This was very local to me and seemed a good opportunity, especially since my friend and long suffering Leyton Orient fan Greg lived in Hornchurch & we had previously talked about going to see them play.

Greg despite being busy for work decided to accompany me to the game. So we headed off to Hornchurch Stadium, me for my first visit, but Greg had been there before to watch his son play in a schoolboy cup final. First impressions of the area round the ground were that it was smarter than the area surrounding most football grounds.

The ground itself has numerous turnstiles, but only one of them was open and for some reason some were labelled A to F, but others were not labelled at all.

Turnstile(s) at AFC Hornchurch DSCF0009

Rather like Chelmsford City & Enfield Town, AFC Hornchurch play in an athletics Stadium, but unlike the above two clubs, the ground does not have temporary stands erected behind the goals to enable spectators to watch from there.

The first impression of the ground is a little misleading. It looks at first glance to be a little ramshackle with at least 2 different stands down each side of the ground. On the far side there are two small simple seated stands with a small amount of uncovered terracing at either end of the stands

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I think however, that first glance is a little unfair as the ground served it purpose. On the side nearest the turnstiles, there are a number of sections all covered, some temporary seating, a directors box and a covered terrace which was home to the Urchin’s vocal support. For a group that were small in numbers, they certainly made plenty of noise with almost 90 minutes of singing and drumming. A mixture of songs, supporting the Urchins (Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” was a favourite) and songs taunting local rivals including Grays and Chelmsford City amongst others.

To be fair, there was a decent contingent up from Bath as well and they also made their presence known. It was great to see two sets of supporters getting behind their teams and inter reacting with each other without a police officer or heavy handed steward in sight.

The game itself was a fascinating affair. It was hard to believe Hornchurch were in the bottom three of the division. They created lots of chances, but seemed to have trouble finishing them. The Hornchurch number 9 made lots of good runs and got himself in excellent positions, but only scored once. The player that impressed most was the Hornchurch defender Alex Bentley. He was by far the best player on the pitch and could easily play at a much higher level. He was playing on the left side of a back three. Ironically Orient are desperately in need of a good left sided defender. Russell Slade could do worse than to take a look at him.

One thing I have not mentioned so far is the running track surrounding the pitch. As you know I do not like watching football from behind a running track, but the atmosphere created by both sets of fans, especially the Urchins small but vocal fans and the ability to stand on the terraces made it less unpleasant than normal.

Overall, it was a good day out, with a good standard of football and a loyal and vocal home crowd.If they play like they did today, it is hard to see that Hornchurch will not stay up. For £11 admission, it is good value for money and far more enjoyable than paying £40+ to watch Premiership football in a sterile atmosphere. At Hornchurch you can bring your pint with you on the terraces!

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The TV Gantry – Not as many cameras as Sky use

 

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The Sky Box in the BSB Conference South is less Glamorous than at Old Trafford

 

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Brings A New Meaning For “In the Net”

 

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Part of the Bath Travelling Support

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Watching Football From The Bar

 

 

Admission Price £11 (seating / standing all at same price)

Programme: £2.50

Tea £1.00

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About spen666

I'm a 40 something football fan and cyclist. I've been a football fanatic most of my life and have completed the 92 football league & premier league grounds Added to this numerous non league grounds, a number abroad and you start to get the picture. I took up cycling in around 2000. Although my father was a former World Vets Champion, I got into cycling accompanying my son to ride in London. This was followed by my commuting to work each day into Central London. Then doing some Sunday rides, then some audax events (www.audax.uk.net) and then a week's cycling holiday in France with a friend. From there, I got more and more into cycling and in 2009 completed LEJoG and in 2010 rode in the USA with the Police Unity Tour. I completed blogs for those events at www.aminearlythere.blogspot.com and www.bothesidesofthepond.blogspot.com Feel free to read them and learn more about me. I live alone which suits me as it gives me time at weekends to pursue my interests of cycling and football. (Well what did you expect me to say? That I'm sad at being single?) I'm currently looking for my next challenge. Any suggestions gratefully received.
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One Response to Ground Hopping: AFC Hornchurch FC v Bath City FC Saturday 9th March 2013

  1. Robert burgess says:

    With regards to the turnstiles,there are 3 on each side,A B & C on the side that was open and D E F on the other side.
    It looks like each side has 6 but that’s not the case,I can see how you made that assumption though as the lettering looks like they are on top of an individual turnstile

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