Colden Common 3
(Ryan Lambert, Scott Challis, Will Gange)
Hedge End Rangers 2
(Luke Faithfull x2)
Attendance: 22 and one dog approx. headcount
Boyes Lane (Colden Common Park)
2017 is upon us, Happy New Year everyone and I wish you all the very best in your ground hopping adventures this year. For me, I decided against attending a game on New Years Day with my eyes firmly placed on a double header today, my only issue was that there was way too much choice for a game.
In the end I tried to stay fairly close to home, driving really bores the hell out of me so avoiding a long journey was key. I eventually decided on Colden Common versus Hedge End Rangers before heading further east (and up a couple of divisions) to Petersfield Town against Fleet Town.
This was my third game watching Common this season (and fourth in total), losing to 3-0 to Bush Hill in August and winning 3-1 against basement club Stockbridge in December.
As for Hedge End Rangers, I saw them twice last season (6-1 away defeat to Bush Hill, March 2016 and a 2-1 home loss to Infinity in April 2016). This season, I witnessed them lose 6-3 away at Locks Heath under the lights in October last year.
Regular readers must be thinking that it was a bizarre decision to head back to Colden Common when there were so many choices for a new ground, but there is a twist.
When I watched the Commoners beat Stockbridge last month they weren’t at their usual home pitch, but in fact their old home, Main Road. For whatever reason, Boyes Lane (Colden Common Park) wasn’t available and the league allowed them to use their previous ground.
Fast forward into 2017 and I was back watching the red & whites at their usual home ground, so another tick on the list!
In comparison, I think Main Road just shades Boyes Lane. Parking was certainly easier today than it was three weeks ago but the pitch wasn’t flat which adds an extra dimension to the game.
Apart from the slope, the ground covers all the basics for the Hampshire League, dressing rooms and a pitch, what more do you need really?
Colden Common climbed to ninth in the league with a 3-2 victory over ten man Hedge End Rangers.
Rangers goalkeeper Jarid Hixon was sent off in the first half for punching Common defender Matthew Wardlaw during an altercation following a corner.
Hedge End led the game twice thanks to a Luke Faithfull brace but Common fought back and managed to nick the three points at the end when Will Gange headed in the winner five minutes from time.
The visitors took the lead inside five minutes when Faithfull got onto the end of Aaron Cousens’ free kick on the half way line, shrugged off Wardlaw and smashed the ball into the back of the net.
Harrison Moore had a good chance to pull the scores level but his volley went wide of the mark from Ryan Lambert’s knock down.
Lambert then could have done better when he hit a low shot straight into the hands of Hixon.
The home side should have put the ball into the back of the net when they hit Rangers on the break after expertly defending a corner. They shifted the ball up field at pace and Lambert played the ball into the box to Ben Mackay who dummied for Dave Warnes, only for the winger to curl a weak effort straight at Hixon.
Dave Egerton clipped the crossbar for the hosts from a 25-yard free kick as Hedge End protected their slender lead.
James Scott had a good shot saved well by Ben Goble in a rare chance for Rangers in attack.
Referee Adrian Cook then gave Common a lifeline when he awarded a penalty after Cousens tangled with Lambert inside the area. Former Whitchurch United striker Lambert stepped up and fired the ball straight down the middle to make it 1-1.
Common continued to cause problems in attack and Warnes played a good ball into Lambert but Hixon came off his line, made himself big and managed to block the shot.
As half time loomed, Wardlaw volleyed at goal from a corner but Hixon did well to push the ball into the air before collecting at the second attempt. As the ‘keeper went to play the ball out, their was an altercation with Wardlaw and with claims of a punch, referee Cook had no choice but to send the Rangers number one off. Another penalty should have proceeded, however for reasons unknown, a free kick on the edge of the box was given. Defender James Roden went in goal for the remainder of the half as the scores stayed level.
As the teams come out for the second half, midfielder Dan Turner had decided to go in goal for Rangers and Common made one change with Egerton being replaced by Omar Al-Haziazi.
Hedge End started the half brightly as Craig Freeman sent a header wide of the mark. The visitors were holding a high line to protect their outfield team mate in goal.
The visitors were then awarded a soft penalty and a great chance to take the lead whilst playing with ten men. James Scott had done well on the left side to shrug off a challenge from Henry Bragginton before Dan Burns went shoulder to shoulder with the forward in the box, allowing Scott to hit the deck. Burns injured himself in the process and headed straight up to hospital to be replaced by Scott Challis.
Faithfull stepped up and slotted the ball into the corner to put his side ahead for a second time.
The lead didn’t last long and despite Turner doing well to punch away Lambert’s free kick, it fell perfectly to Challis on the edge of the box to volley side foot into the top corner in the goal of the day.
It was a matter of when over if Common were going to find the winner with Hedge End having to defend for their lives to hold on. Solent student Al-Haziazi was causing problems on the wing and he did well to get into the box before firing well high over the bar.
Turner was in inspired form between the sticks as he tipped Lambert’s free kick over the bar before diving low into the corner to deny Al-Haziazi shortly after.
The goal did come with minutes left on the clock when Jack Costa fouled Al-Haziazi wide left. Lambert swung in a free kick and Gange connected well with a diving header to secure all three points for the home side to start 2017 in style.
2016/17 Games: 73
2016/17 Grounds: 53
Total Grounds Visited: 146 (38)