Eventually, however, I decided to go for the Badshot Lea v Cove game. The Baggies are currently playing home games at Camberley Town's Krooner Park, a ground that has been near the top of my 'to do' list for a while. So, it was an opportunity to tick another one off. Actually, this was going to be my 150th ground since I started the blog. A little bit of a shame that I was visiting a ground for the first time but not seeing the landlords play, but I'll be back to watch Camberley at some point, no doubt.
The ground is accessed through an industrial estate, which eventually brings you to a set of iron gates (open, thankfully) with CTFC emblazoned on them. There is a reasonable amount of parking, which runs behind on end of the ground. Entrance is through a single turnstile, just at the end of the car park, which takes you into the stadium in one of the corners. To your right is a covered terrace that runs the width of the car park end. On the far side of the ground are the dugouts but no covered spectator area. To your left is the club house and a covered seating stand which spans the halfway line.
There is a good snack bar, The Flippin' Burger, right next to the entrance to the club. The club itself is a typical non-league club bar. It has that rather comforting feeling that you get from places that have been around for a while. The ambience of the place transported me back to the 70s. I don't mean that in a bad way either. It wasn't the decor, or the furniture. It was just the general feel. When I walked into the toilets my first thought was Sunshine Desserts, the fictional company that Reggie Perrin worked for. I've no idea why this came into my head, but I guess I just thought that must be what the toilets at Sunshine Desserts were like. Did they ever show the toilets in the series? I doubt it, to be honest.
How the hell did a football blog get onto 70s sitcoms? I haven't even had a drop of wine yet. On with the game.
It had been raining all the way from Slough to Camberley and it didn't look as if it was planning to stop any time soon. The pitch didn't look too bad, but it was sure to cut up and there were some very boggy looking patches in the goal area. However, when I got there, there referee was checking the pitch and was satisfied that it was playable.
Coming into the game, Cove were sitting bottom of the league after just 3 wins this season. Badshot Lea, by comparison, were in fourth spot but a win would, take them into second and continue their push for an immediate return to the Premier League.
The home side got a shock early on though. Just two minutes on the clock when Cove won a free-kick some thirty yards out. the ball was floated towards the back post where a Cove striker and the Badshot keeper jumped for the ball. Neither managed to make full contact and the ball dropped invitingly for Cove captain Kai Francis to lash home and give his side an early lead. 0-1.
Badshot Lea initially seemed to be finding it difficult to going a goal down and the Cove front two, Paras Gil and foal-scorer Francis, were causing some issues for the home defence. The conditions were helping neither team though. It was already not an evening for the feint of heart. Tackles were flying in on the slick surface and not always being timed too well.
The, after 16 minutes, Badshot Lea got themselves back in the game. Not to be outdone by his namesake, Josh Francis was the man on the spot to collect a deep cross, cut inside and fire home to equalise. 1-1.
The equaliser was the turning point of the game. Maybe it knocked the belief out of some of the Cove players, maybe it just galvanised the home side? Whatever the case, five minutes after drawing level, the Baggies went in front when Brad Smith was on hand to make it 2-1.
A further five minutes passed before Smith brought a ray of sunshine to the wet evening by crashing in a shot from outside the box to make it 3-1.
HT Badshot Lea 3 Cove 1. A really good response from the home side after the shock of going a goal down so early on.
As in the first half, it was Cove who drew first blood. It too them a little longer in the second period, thirteen minutes to be exact, but they did find themselves back in the game when substitute Taylor Watts was on hand to score after another cross was not cleared. 2-3.
Badhsot Lea's response to this goal was much quicker than in the first half. Within four minutes they had quashed any thoughts of a comeback. A cross from the left evaded everyone but Nick Thumwood, lurking at the far post. He controlled the ball and smashed it past Nemeth to make it 4-2.
Cove certainly didn't give the game up at this point but it was clear to any neutrals that they weren't going to get back into the game again. It took another ten minutes for the final nail to be hammered into the coffin but, after 71 minutes, Badhsot Lea made it five. Thumwood collected the ball in the area with his back to goal. A sharp turn and and angled shot later saw the ball nestle in the far corner. 5-2
Five minutes after getting his second, Thumwood was presented an opportunity to get a hat-trick when Brad Smith provided a delightful lobbed through ball to put him clear. Thumwood duly obliged and slotted the ball home to make it 6-2.
At this point, with the rain still coming down, I think both sides (and many of the supporters) were just counting down to the full-time whistle.
FT Badshot Lea 6 Cove 2. The Baggies go second and will now be looking forward to their forthcoming clash with the league leaders Worcester Park. For Cove, it's looking like they won't pull themselves clear of the bottom of the table but, if they don't make it, it won't be for the lack of effort.
One last comment. I may have mentioned this when I saw Badshot Lea a season or so back but, as a former West Brom season ticket holder, I still find it hard to see a team nicknamed The Baggies playing in claret and blue.
Badshot Lea: Nyamunga, Blackie, Francis, Hutchins, Nimmo (c), Neville, Blake, Cann, Turner, Thumwood, Smith. Subs: Thripp, Brainch, Osler, Lacey, Thomas
Cove: Nemeth, Hedley, O'Connell, Flounders, Brown, Sinclair, Andrady, Brooks, Gil, Alliston, Francis (c). Subs: Koroma, Watts, Attafuah, Cooper
Ground Number: 150