Combined Counties League Division One
The Orchard, Bedfont
Match Rating: 3
The Orchard is less than a ten minute walk from Hatton Cross underground station and is located next door to Bedfont Sports. I last visited that ground almost six years ago, and I had a quick look around there first to see a ground that has improved considerably since then, now fully enclosed, a stand behind one goal and another along the length opposite the clubhouse. It’s a very neat and tidy venue these days. I then continued into The Orchard, and after passing some attractive signage roadside and then after a little confusion trying to find the way in through an obscure and unsignposted alleyway, I found myself at the turnstiles. Once inside, I found a ground that was quite pleasant, if a little frayed around the edges. Spectators enter through turnstiles in one corner, with a tea bar immediately inside. Behind the goal at this end is a small area of covered standing area, although one half of the area has no roof to the structure. Behind the other goal there are two stand covering flat standing areas, while fairly small all-seater stands straddle the half way line on either side. An otherwise neat and tidy ground is slightly let down by much of boards around the pitch is looking very tired, whilst quite a few wooden panels have been blown down around the perimeter. Situated virtually adjacent to Heathrow Airport, planes can be watch pass by low and very close overhead as they come into land. A nice surprise was that, not only was admission free today, so was the programme. And a decent programme it was too, 36 pages with an attractive cover, professionally produced inside with plenty of interesting and relevant reading material.
Bedfont and Feltham can finish no lower than the third place they currently occupy, and would be favourites to finish second with a game in hand on second placed Abbey Rangers, who they trail by just a point with two games to play, and in fact winning the title isn’t out of the question, trailing leaders CB Hounslow by three points having played the same number of games. They have won 22 and drawn two of their 30 League games, and have won their last six league gamed. Sandhurst came into this game in twelfth place, having won eight and drawn eight of their 30 League games. When the two teams met in early March, Bedfont and Feltham won 0-3.
On a mainly sunny afternoon, with a couple of heavy showers, Bedfont had a goal disallowed on 3 minutes for offside, but although they showed more of the attacking intent, Sandhurst held their own early on, and occasionally threatened on the break. But Bedfont did take the lead on 23 minutes. After an initial effort on goal was missed, the ball was eventually driven low through a crowd of players and into the back of the net. They doubled their lead on 38 minutes thanks to a howler by the keeper. He fumbled a very tame, gentle shot, allowing the ball to spill away and Luke Craig tapped home from a couple of yards. Sandhurst forced a close range reflex save shortly before half time, but it was Bedfont who held a fairly comfortable half time lead.
Bedfont simply blew Sandhurst away during a devastating spell in the first twenty minutes of the second half, as the visitors were unable to copy against a rampant attack. Bedfont scored their third on when Hicham Abdellah raced towards goal before striking the ball low past the keeper, and on 50 minutes, a suicidal ball from the left wing from a Sandhurst defender to his team mate in the middle was intercepted by Abdellah, who slotted the ball into the net. On 56 minutes, the home side made it five when a cross by Joe Moriarty took a deflection off the head of a defender and the ball floated into the net. Sandhurst should have pulled a goal back on 60 minutes when a defensive error saw the ball land at the feet of their forward in the area, but he eventually placed his shot just wide. But within a minute, Bedfont scored their sixth. The ball was dribbled across the area and although the player was fouled, the referee played advantage and the ball fell to Abdellah, who threaded the ball into the net to seal his hat-trick. They scored their seventh on 70 minutes, when the ball was threaded low through the middle and Rashid Obbadi fired towards goal and although the keeper got a touch, the ball found its way inside the post. Although double figures certainly looked on the cards, the game somewhat petered out as the game became very sloppy, by the hosts as much as by the beleaguered visitors, and although both sides had a couple of chances to score, there were no further goals.
So job done for Bedfont & Feltham, and a point from their final away game at Eversley & California will guarantee them second place. Credit to Sandhurst today for not letting their heads drop, still managing to look a threat on the break even by the time they were on the receiving end of a hiding. All in all, this was an enjoyable afternoon, watching a good game in a pleasant and friendly environment.