Dorchester Town 0
Slough Town 4
(Manny Williams, James Dobson x2, Ramone Rose)
The Avenue Stadium
As I have been actively ground hopping for just over 12 months now, it has slowly dawned on me that I will have to travel a bit to visit somewhere new.
I haven’t done a new ground since the end of January when I was away in Fuerteventura having spent most of February watching Team Solent, with revisits to Exeter City, Bognor Regis Town and Millwall thrown in.
Although I do class myself as a ground hopper, I haven’t been to all that many different places in recent weeks, but like I said, I have already managed to do most of the grounds local to my Hampshire home.
So for somewhere new I either have to continue in the Hampshire league and below, or like today, drive out a bit further to Dorchester (about 50 miles) in search of a new stadium.
I hate driving, I end up in the car a lot for football but in truth I don’t enjoy driving at all so it can be a struggle to get the motivation to drive for an hour to watch a game.
But today was different, Weymouth Reserves kicking off at 5:30pm gave me extra reason to get in my car, the fact that I could get two games in one day and two new grounds was too good to miss.
So the order of the day was as follows-:
3pm- Southern League Premier- Dorchester Town versus Slough Town- The Avenue Ground.
5:30pm- Wessex Division One- Weymouth Reserves versus Folland Sports- The Bob Lucas Stadium.
As I pulled up to the roundabout and saw the ground on my right, I could have forgiven my sat-nav for pulling me into Tesco, until I realised that the ground was at the end of the car park and the club had their own bit of parking.
I was reluctant to part with £2 to park up but these clubs have got to make money somehow, especially as there was nowhere to buy a pin badge from.
So I parked up and I knew I wanted to grab a picture of outside of the main stand so walked around the outside before reaching the main entrance.
I purchased my ticket from the lady at the small ticket window and grabbed a programme outside the ground too, lucky for me as there weren’t selling them inside and they wouldn’t let Andrew (http://hoppingaroundhampshire.blogspot.co.uk/) leave the ground and come back in again.
Unbeknown to myself, Andrew had the same plan as me today when I bumped into him whilst walking around the ground before the game.
I like the ground, built in the 1990, it has hosted Football League fixtures when AFC Bournemouth used the ground at the start of the 2001/02 season, that alone shows you how good it is, albeit AFCB weren’t flying high in the Premier League back then.
Holding just over 5,000, The Avenue Stadium has one seated stand of 710 seats with covered terraces opposite and behind one goal. Behind the other goal is uncovered and either side of the main stand there are small uncovered standing areas. Very much like Salisbury whom I visited on Thursday.
Apart from not being able to get a pin badge (but being lucky enough to obtain a programme) the ground was lovely and totally suitable to be used if Dorchester were to ever rocket through the leagues.
I chose to stay dry for this game and Andrew and I sat up in the main stand, giving us an excellent view of the pitch, even if I had to wriggle a bit to see either corner flag on the near side.
If anyone is in the area and has the chance to go to the game, I fully recommend a trip to the ground; just see if you could park at Tesco!
Slough Town moved up to fourth in the league with a convincing 4-0 victory over lowly Dorchester.
The Magpies, who are lurking just above the drop zone, couldn’t build on the 2-0 victory over Dunstable Town a week previous.
James Dobson hit a brace either side of half time to add to Manny Williams’ opener before substitute Ramone Rose completed the scoring with a debut goal in injury time.
It was all Slough in the first half as Dorchester were well off the pace and should have been a goal down when Shane Murphy was at full stretch to keep out Chris Flood’s header.
It was a header that created the first goal of the game when Manny Williams netted with just six minutes on the clock. Dobson put in a diagonal floating ball into the box and Williams just glanced a backwards header beyond Murphy and over the line.
Lee Togwell then went close for the Rebels when his half volley was easily held by Murphy.
Williams went close to adding his second of the afternoon when he danced around the Dorch’ defence before curling his shot just wide of the mark.
The home side did manage to get into the Slough box and nearly pulled the scores level with Franklyn Clarke and Ollie Bassett both seeing shots blocked with Togwell clearing Bassett’s shot off the line.
On 37 minutes, Slough did double the lead when Dobson got the better of Matt Oldring on the touchline before slotting the ball into the back of the net from an impossible angle.
Slough took a commanding lead into the break and Dorchester didn’t look like they would ever mount a challenge on the game.
As the second half started, Dobson was close for the visitors when his 30-yard free kick hit the outside of the post.
Dorchester boss Craig Laird then made a change, bringing on Ollie Davis for Clarke, who was clearly aggrieved to be taken off, ripping off his shirt and storming into the dressing room.
Visiting ‘keeper Mark Scott was having a fairly quiet afternoon but he was alert to stop Tom Blair from scoring before Jon Vance’s rebound was deflected out for a corner.
With 15 minutes left, Dobson managed to make it three when he picked up the ball on the halfway line, exchanged passes with Nathan Smart who laid the ball back to the number seven to fire low into the corner across the ‘keeper.
Dobson went looking for the hat trick and nearly got it when he accelerated through the Dorchester defence before lobbing Murphy, however the shot didn’t have the legs to cross the line and was cleared away.
Substitute Rose then went close to scoring as the game came to an end with his original shot being blocked by Murphy before heading the rebound off the crossbar.
Rose did manage to grab a goal in stoppage time when Dorchester had committed men forward and lost the ball. Slough went from defence to attack at speed and Flood rolled the ball across to Rose to knock past Murphy to end the score 4-0.
2016/17 Games: 97
2016/17 Grounds: 55 (9)
Total Grounds Visited: 151 (40)