Corinthian Casuals FC
King Georges Field
Queen Mary Close
Hook Rise South
020 8397 3368
Ground Number: 289
Tuesday 20th August 2013
Corinthian Casuals 1-2 Guernsey
Isthmian League D1 South
After last nights goal fest and dramatic game in the FA Cup last night I was looking forward to getting back into football ASAP. Luckily I had one planned tonight, and it was the nearest one of my targets to visit, though sadly I would have to contend with the charmless M25 to get there,
I hadn't been feeling like that after the previous 3 games. Two 1-0 defeats for Wycombe Wanderers had spoilt a good start to the season. The latest one especially was hard to take, a 1-0 defeat at home to Mansfield. Gareth Ainsworth's team selection was baffling for this one, dropping 5 players that really should have been in the team and replacing them with unfit or unworthy players. It was almost as if he had smoked or drank something before picking the team, and I knew the moment that I saw the teamsheet that we had lost the game. It was easily the daftest starting XI I have seen in 22 years of watching Wycombe Wanderers.
However I still retain 100% support for Ainsworth - a great man who cares a lot about the club and shares the passion of the fans. And prior to this, his decision making had been pretty much spot on. Together with the supporters trust's excellent work, the club had been reunited and reinvigorated from the utter shambles that it had been under the previous ownership and management. I and every other fan were grateful for this and owe a massive debt of gratitude to the supporters trust members and volunteers who have worked so hard to turn the club around. We are still only part way there, with a long way to go, but the club is back in the hands of the fans and that is where all clubs should be in my opinion.
The last game of that terrible treble was the boring 0-0 draw between Enfield and London Tigers, which like last nights game is covered elsewhere on this site. As well as the game, the traffic was annoying and I was hoping for better tonight. I already had one good thing too look forward to - Alex, a fellow groundhopper was going to the game, and so at least I'd have someone to chat to if we managed to recognise each other.
Both clubs were pretty unique in their own ways. Guernsey, the first club from the island to have a club in the English Pyramid. They were founded as recently as 2011, winning the Combined Counties Division 1 at the first attempt. They repeated the trick, promotion wise anyway, for the Premier Division last season and now found themselves in the Ryman D1 South, purely as their base is considered as Gatwick Airport. They have all kinds of conditions attached to them including in this league - in the main paying for teams to visit them as it would break a lot of clubs at this level having to pay for all the air fares etc. They had similar conditions imposed for competing in the FA Cup and seemed to have a lot of money behind them, though a lot of that is financed through the excellent support. They have a number of notable players including former Oxford United keeper Chris Tardiff and Ryan Zico-Black who is a big name in non league football
Corinthian Casuals meanwhile are the only club at this level to remain completely amateur and not play their players a penny. People who pull on the famous pink and brown shirt do it for the love of the game, not that many footballers at this level earn much from the game, They have reached the first round of the FA Cup on a couple of occasions and have also had a number of ex pros including Orient man Peter Kitchen play for them.
I left at 6 and despite 25 minutes delay on the M25 around Heathrow I still arrived in good time around 7.15. I paid to get in and bought a programme for £2. It was a very well produced effort, in full colour throughout and good quality paper. I read that and checked Facebook and Twitter on my mobile while waiting for kick off. As arranged I met Guernsey fan Alex and stood with their support all night. They had a decent following considering the expense of flights, around 30 on a Tuesday night. Even Alex had come from Birmingham and had to leave at 2 in the afternoon, and wouldn't get home till 12 hours later.
Astonishingly for a non league team, Guernsey stream all their matches live on TV in Guernsey as well as online across the world, including mobile devices. This and highlights are available for just £2.99 a month and the camera crew and commentary team were out in full force for tonight. A number of pubs also stream their games in public, so it looks like the whole island is getting behind the team.
It was a youthful team for Guernsey, with many of their big players rested. The home side probably had slightly the better of the first half with chances falling for both sides But it was Guernsey that took the lead just before the break. Corinthian Casuals keeper Danny Bracken could only parry the initial shot and 'Knock Off' Nigel Hutton was there to give the visitors the lead.
The lead was doubled 7 minutes after the restart. Marc McGrath's curling shot looped into the top corner to send the visiting fans into dreamland. The lead was reduced 7 minutes later when Jamie Byatt reduced the arrears. Looking at all the tweets that were coming in on the home team's newsfeed, they have fans all over the world, especially in Brazil where one of their most famous teams is called Corinthians. They continued to search for an equaliser, even hitting the bar as Guernsey held gamely onto their lead. The visitors could have made it safe in the last few minutes but the striker couldn't get the ball out from under his feet. But it didn't matter in the end, as the Guernsey fans faced a long but happy trip home.
I myself had a hassle free trip home and was back by 10.30. I had enjoyed another nights football and although it wasn't as good as the previous nights epic game at Binfield, it was still a decent game. Guernsey is another ground I want to visit now, probably as part of a holiday. They get over 1000 fans for every game, and there always seems to be a good atmosphere.
KING GEORGE'S FIELD is a fairly basic but tidy ground, and pretty much the norm for this level. There is a main stand holding around 150, though the seating is pretty low down, the view is still OK
There is covered terracing behind both goals - around 500 at one end and 250 at the other. The rest of it is open hard standing, with room for around another thousand fans. There is a clubhouse with plenty of trophies and other club stuff in, as well as a bar. There is also a tea bar, but I didn't try either of these, so can't vouch for them.
The town of Tolworth is nearby, with a train station and various pubs and food places, but again I have not been to any of them.