Ground #: 130
Ground: Krooner Park
Competition: FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round
Kick Off: 3pm
Camberley Town 1
Girling 88’, Cannon m/pen 51’, Webb s/off 54’
Colliers Wood United 4
Gregson 17’, 81’, Turner 33’, 65’, Embalo s/off 54’
The FA Vase trail was back in town and after seeing Colliers Wood manage to keep their cool in the last round, they were rewarded with an away tie to fellow Combined Counties League side, Camberley Town. This was the better of the possible outcomes when I planned my early Road to Wembley run as I could have been looking at going to a shared ground if Epsom Athletic had managed to knock out the Cams.
Camberley is a town in Surrey, situated 31 miles southwest of central London, between the M3 and M4. The town lies close to the borders of both Hampshire and Berkshire; the boundaries intersect on the western edge of the town where all three counties converge. Before the 19th century, the area now occupied by Camberley was referred to as Bagshot Heath, which was known as a haunt of Highwaymen such as William Davies and Claude Duval. The land remained largely undeveloped due to a sandy topsoil making it unsuitable for farming. In A tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain, written around 1724, Daniel Defoe described the area as barren and sterile; "a mark of the just resentment shew’d by Heaven upon the Englishmen’s pride... horrid and frightful to look on, not only good for little, but good for nothing". The town as it now stands has its roots in the building of The Royal Military College, which later became the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in 1812. A settlement known as "New Town" grew in the area around the college which in 1831 was renamed Yorktown, after Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. Later, the Staff College was established to the east of the Academy, and a property speculator built the nearby Cambridge Hotel. The surrounding area became known as Cambridge Town, but was renamed "Camberley" in January 1877. Camberley grew in the 19th Century with the arrival of the railway station in 1878 and is still a reasonable sized town today with the excellent railway routes still in place.
Despite the small geographical size of Camberley, the town’s football team is a good mile away from the train station but its a pleasant enough walk down to Krooner Park on the Southern edge of town. Despite being on an industrial estate, Krooner Park is a reasonable enough ground, dominated on one side by a medium sized stand and the clubhouse while behind one goal is a shallow covered standing area. The rest of the ground is uncovered hard standing which can give the impression on the far side of being miles away from anything but I would still come back here to watch football again. The club were founded in in 1895 as St. Michael's, Camberley F.C before in 1900 St Michaels looked set to fold and Camberley & Yorktown was formed by members of the St Michaels committee to maintain a footballing presence in the town. Camberley & Yorktown initially competed in the East & West Surrey League and then the Ascot & District League which they won four times in 6 seasons. They moved on in 1922 to become founder members of the Surrey Senior League and moved into their Krooner Park ground at this time too. After the success of the 1930s where they won the league three times in a row, they struggled after this and by 1967, Camberley FC (having dropped the Yorktown suffix) and Camberley Wanderers merged to become Camberley Town FC. Success returned and they joined the Isthmian League in 1977 before returning back in 1985 (after they were relegated from it in 1982). They stayed there until 2006 when the 2nd Division was disbanded where they joined the Combined Counties League. A league they continue to play in today.
Coming into this game, there were a few signs showing that Camberley may be struggling slightly on the field as well as off it. Going into this game, they had struggled past Combined Counties 1st Division side Epsom Athletic in the previous round of the Vase, winning 4-3 with a last minute goal. They were also down in 14th place with only two wins before this game, although they were against promotion favourites Guernsey and Colliers Wood. CW had played two games since their Vase win I saw against Badshot Lea, with a 0-3 defeat to Horley Town before being hammered 5-1 at Croydon FC. Fantastic form. Made this one a tight one to call and I really had no idea which way it would go when it kicked off.
Colliers Wood were easily the sharper side out of the blocks and were beginning to put the Camberley defence under pressure from an early stage. After creating a couple of half chances, Colliers Wood took a deserved lead on 17 minutes when a cross from the right hand side went all the way to the far post where Chris Gregson waited. He controlled the ball brilliantly and showed all the calm in the world to take it past the defender before lashing the ball in the top corner, giving Liam Stone no chance. Camberley did push forward a little bit but never caused Dan Burnett any trouble in the away goal and then found themselves 0-2 down after 33 minutes. Camberley’s defence went anonymous from a free kick and Nathan Turner easily slotted home. It’s not often that I see a game over by half-time but after only 45 minutes, Camberley had no threat going forward and looked ropey at the back. Colliers Wood looked home and hosed already.
To their credit though, Camberley came out for the 2nd half and began a lot better, actually creating a little more than half chances. They were given a chance to get back into the game on 51 minutes when they won a needless penalty after a late time challenge. Up stepped Ricardo Cannon but his penalty was dreadful and Gregson made an easy save. The follow up was wildly off target and Camberley looked a beaten team then. It managed to get worse just a couple of minutes later when yet again I saw a match get nasty. An off the ball clash saw a pile of players launch into each other and the aftermath saw both Camberley’s Dale Webb and CWU’s Mario Embalo both sent off. CWU managed to react to 10 men better as Turner added a brilliant 3rd on 65 minutes. A low pass was given to him on the edge of the area and his touch took the ball away from the defender and put him through on goal where he easily dispatched it past Stone. A class goal. CW now wanted more and Gregson added a 4th late on when Camberley’s defence didn’t react to a cross and he lobbed the keeper to put them through to the next round. Camberley did add a consolation late on when Gregson ballsed up a clearance to give Martin Girling an open goal. A disappointing end to the game for CWU, but they were easily the winners here.
Colliers Wood now meet Sussex County League side, Lingfield in the 1st Round, a game I’ll be at. Even though it looks like it really is in the middle of nowhere. Camberley since this game have had a management change as Ronnie Wilson stepped down after a 5-3 home defeat to Cobham. Dan Turkington is now in charge and needs to stop the rot as the Cambs try to avoid a relegation battle and the “right” to play such footballing powerhouses as Mole Valley SCR and South Kilburn. Colliers Wood have also gone off the boil since this game, but as they appear to be a cup side this season, I reckon they have every chance to dispatch of Lingfield. Camberley are a nice club and I had an excellent time in the sun, hopefully they can recover from this poor start to kick on for the rest of 2012/13.
- Match: 7/10 (reasonable stuff)
- Value for money: 6/10 (appears to be the norm for this area)
- Ground: 6/10 (not inspiring, but good enough)
- Atmosphere: 3/10 (not much)
- Food: 7/10 (ultimate burger (can’t remember full name) served by some totty)
- Programme: 6.5/10 (ok read)
- Referee: Mervyn Fernandez – 7/10 (can’t remember him much, must have been fine)
ROAD TO WEMBLEY 2012/2013:
2ND QUALIFYING ROUND: Camberley Town 1-4 Colliers Wood United (Krooner Park, Att: 36)