Crystal Palace, Erith Town, Holmesdale, Holmesdale Baptists, Holmesdale Road, Kent League, Oakley Road, Scaffolding stand, Southern Counties East, Southern Counties East League Cup, Surrey South-Eastern Combination
Tuesday 27th January 2015 ko 19.45
Southern Counties East League Cup First Road
HOLMESDALE 1 (Coleman 23) Prescott sent off (violent conduct) 84
ERITH TOWN 3 (Weston 3 Cassius 63 70) Craddock sent off (violent conduct) 84
If you’re thinking,
“Holmesdale- isn’t that the name of the stand with the curved roof at Crystal Palace?”
you’d be thinking along the right lines. The club was formed on Holmesdale Road, South Norwood as Holmesdale Baptists in the 1920’s, before Crystal Palace moved to Selhurst Park in 1924. They moved to Oakley Road, Bromley Green in 2000 in order to progress out of the Surrey South-Eastern Combination. The result is the reason the vast majority of groundhoppers visit.
If you’ve clocked up a few grounds you soon learn what is likely to be worth a visit, and something that’s only been home for around 15 years isn’t likely to be top of your list. You can imagine the committee with their copy of the ground grading rules can’t you? Out comes the Abacus catalogue for the floodlights, and the Arena one for the modular stand. It does the job, and god knows I’ve seen so many grounds that have gone down that route, and yes, I’m as bored as anyone else with the results.
Except Holmesdale decided to ignore the blueprint, and the result… is glorious, straight out of the Heath Robinson school of architecture. There’s the scaffolding cover behind one goal, the armchair behind the other (for the armchair fans?) , but the main stand is something that I’ve not seen anything like.
It’s a mixture of scaffolding, boarding and ingenuity, and yes, you do have to be careful when you walk across someone already on the top row of seats! But odd though it is, the sightlines are excellent and it does keep the rain off, and let’s face it there are plenty “Official” stands out there that do neither!
Where the club do seem to struggling is in terms of bodies helping out. Everyone seemed to be doing two jobs and they seemed relieved they’d got the floodlights working, having had to postpone a game apparently recently when they refused to light.
No such problems tonight, although they must have been disappointed at the low turnout, surely Chelsea in the League Cup on TV isn’t that irresistible? What those who stayed at home missed was a ding-dong battle between two well-matched sides.
Yes it was niggly, the challenges flew, a punch-up saw two deservedly get their marching orders, and the pitch was not conducive to slick passing. In fact the best save of the night came from Holmesdale’s Jack Rankin who acrobatically changed direction to make a save as an Erith Town shot hit a divot, and spun wildly!
Erith won the game by virtue of better finishing, Marcus Cassius’ two goals were especially well taken, and it all helped to get over the loss of defender Jamie Mascall to a dislocated shoulder. It’s never good to see a player having to be helped gingerly into a car, still in his kit ready for the trip to the local infirmary. I’m told the dislocation was dealt with easily, and there’s no long-term damage.
To finish, a tip for the photographers out there. Unless your camera can cope with low light well photographing Oakley Road is better done on when there’s natural light, this wholly floodlit game tested my camera to the limit!