The Boar's home ground is situated on the outskirts of Eversley village and is part of the large Eversley Sports Association complex which also boasts a 3G Hockey pitch, a cricket ground and an indoor hall (being used for cricket practice on this evening). There is a large car park adjacent to the main club house which also houses the amenities including the snack/tea bar. The ground itself is situauted on the far side of the indoor arena which means a short walk down the side of the arena, over what is probably the outfield of the cricket pitch in summer. Note for hoppers: Get your tea and visit the toilet before going to the ground. It will save you a lengthy round trip.
Eversley & California post their matchday programme online, as is the trend with a lot of non-league teams these days. This makes much more financial sense to clubs at this level where they will most likely only sell a handful of programmes per game. Far fewer than a standard print run requires. I had already printed my own copy before I arrived but had not had time to read through it. So, when asked what I thought of it by the friendly chap on the gate, I couldn't really give a good answer. However, should he (or anyone else at the club) happen to read this, I have now had time to look at the programme and it is very good. Nicely put together, plenty of facts and figures and a professional looking template.
Another plus point for the club was the availability of the team listings, in this case posted on a whiteboard at the entrance to the ground. This is something that I would love to see at all grounds, especially at this level. As someone who visits lots of new grounds, and watches plenty of teams that I haven't seen before, it's always a chore to have to track down the team sheets.
On little quirk about the ground is the placement of one of the floodlight pylons. We have all heard of some of the ways that teams gain an advantage to playing at home. Cold water only in the showers. Smaller, more uncomfortable changing rooms painted in colours that will make the players feel more placid. Well, at Eversley, they have managed to place the floodlight pylon right in front of the opposition dugout. I'm not saying this is deliberate. It may well not be, but I am sure the likes of Wimbledon would have been proud of that one if they had thought of it.
One of the reasons that I chose this game was the significance at the bottom of the Combined Counties Division One table. At the start of play Fleet were sitting bottom of the league with 16 points from their 26 games. Eversley & California were two places and one pint better off. Combine that with the fact that second-bottom Kensington Borough were in action against Godalming Town and fourth-bottom Cove were at home to Farnham Town and it could be a very important game day, especially considering that a single point separated the bottom four teams.
Neither The Boars or Spurs could boast much in the way of current form, although the away side had fared slightly better over the past 10 games, winning two and drawing one, as opposed to just a single win and single draw for Eversley. When the sides met back in November, Everlsey & California had come out on top by the odd goal in nine. Combine that with The Boars last home game, a 5-6 defeat to Deportivo Galicia, and the there was a real promise of plenty of goals this evening.
Both sides opened the game reasonably brightly and there was not a great deal to choose between the for the first 15 minutes or so, although once or twice the home side almost got in down their left-flank where the combination of Knight and Goater was causing a lot of problems for Spurs' captain Barnes.
Just before the 20 minute mark, the home side produced the first real classy passing movement of the evening and it led to the opening goal. Harrison Shade played a delightful pass inside Barnes for Knight to run onto, the Boars left-back then played in a superb cross for Denis Nortey to get on the end of inside the six-yard box, where he managed to poke it home at the second attempt. A lovely move move worth of a goal. 1-0.
The goal seemed to shake Fleet and, to the same extent, galvanise the home side who began to take control of the game. Just past the half hour point Nortey received the ball some 35 yards out, wriggled past two markers but was them brought down by White. Luckily for the Spurs defender, there was another defender close by and the incident was probably just far enough away from goal to warrant only a yellow card rather than a red.
Another free-kick conceded, this time way out on the right-flank, led to an opportunity that should have seen the Boars going 2-0 up. However the ball was headed over by Whyte from six yards. In his defence, the ball came through to him unexpectedly and at an awkward height. However, he will probably feel that he should have scored. Instead it remained 1-0.
Eversley & California had clearly been working on their defence during training. A very popular shout throughout the half was 'Hold the line' which in my mind, being a lot older than any of the players, should have been followed immediately by a call of 'Love isn't always on time'. Now, for those readers who weren't around in 1978, this is a lyric from US band Toto (hence the blog title).
HT Eversley & California 1 Fleet Spurs 0. A mixed bag at the bottom of the table. Cove trailing 1-0 at Farnham whilst Kensington Borough are a goal up against Godalming
The home defence was clearly not under too much pressure because the 'Hold the line' call was certainly less frequent, although it did pop up once or twice. I somehow managed to avoid shouting the reply on all occasions.
It looked very much as if The Boars were going to be happy to hang on to what they had as we approached the last 10 minutes of the game but after a corner from the right created a bit of a pinball effect in the Spurs box, the ball finally fell to Ross McKernan who stabbed it home to seal the three points. 2-0.
The final icing on the home cake was provided by midfielder Harrison Shade who, on 89 minutes, hammered an unstoppable effort in from 30 yards to make it 3-0.
FT Eversley & California 3 Fleet Spurs 0. A very much needed three points for the home side. With Cove taking a point against Farnham and Kensington hanging on for all three points against Godalming, the result means that Spurs are now slightly adrift at the bottom, three points shy of Cove. However, this dogfight is far from over. Fleet showed enough battle and spirit in the second-half to suggest that they have a result or two in them yet this season. It could go down to the wire especially as Eversley and Kensington Borough have to meet twice yet. Eversley also have to travel to Cove in April. Fleet look to have the most difficult task, with five of the top seven still to play.
Fleet Spurs: Appleby, Barnes(c), Sumbler, White, Mudhoni, Moore, Hayler, Dainton, Dallaway, Middleton, Swain. Subs: Bush, Benton, Nsimdi
Ground Number: 184