Tuesday 8th March 2022 ko 19.45
Isthmian League Premier Division
LEWES 1 (Taylor 52p)
Programme £2 (re-issue from postponed game with insert)
It is of course a fact of life that groundhopping adds up to visiting a lot of grounds once, and in my case there are plenty of grounds that when I leave, there is a twinge of regret that odds are I’ll never return. But Robyn arrived in my life six years ago, so the “Robyn Revisit” is a wonderful reason to revisit some classic grounds. And let’s face it if you haven’t been to Fetcham Grove, then I’d suggest it ought to go straight on to your bucket list!
I’ll always associate here with the late Mishi Morath, although the Dulwich Hamlet superfan and I were never here at the same time. It all boils down to me remembering his gruff South London accent deriding the club as “Levver’ead Scum” after a 2013 incident when a wall collapsed at Fetcham Grove when Hamlet were 2- 0 up. The game was abandoned, and Levver’ead, sorry Leatherhead won the replayed fixture, I will say that in time Mishi’s description did become tongue-in-cheek!
For me Fetcham Grove is all about the atmosphere, you find the place through the trees, and the floodlights do seem to beckon you in. Once in, the near side is a cornucopia of nooks, crannies, and cleverly thought out places to buy a tea. Elsewhere the cover behind each goal is a place to people watch, and if such a description is appropriate, to people listen.
In fact the only fly in the ointment was the season Leatherhead are having. They’re rock bottom of the table, and had used a quite horrifying 68 players so far this season. A new striker had been signed, but as always seems to happen when nothing is going right for you, he promptly contracted Covid.
The game was a fair reflection of their season too. Former Cheltenham and Gillingham forward Jermaine McGlashan started for Leatherhead, but was injured within 20 minutes, and without him the hosts looked toothless up front. One poorly timed challenge and an easily dispatched penalty saw Leatherhead slip to another defeat.
It would be simple enough to see this game as part of an inevitable march to demotion, but I did get a sense that neither club, nor fans see it this way. Certainly 4 wins in 5 matches has given them hope, but will that be enough?