This would be the second time that I had seen Frimley Green play this season, having previously witnessed their 1-1 draw at Ash United in August, although it would be my first visit to their home ground. I had not seen Sheerwater play at all before.
Frimley Green play at The Frimley Green Recreation Ground, close to the Lakeside International Hotel famous for hosting World Professional Darts Championships. Aside from the main stadium, there are four other pitches, a kids play area and a couple of tennis courts as well as a decent sized car park adjacent to the football stadium. Access into the ground is through a single gate just off the car park. The ground itself is quite an unusual set-up, probably because of limited space within the perimeter fence. When you enter there is a small sheltered standing area directly in front. Next to this is the main building which houses changing facilities and clubhouse, which also incorporates the snack bar. To get to the other covered standing area you either have to pass along a narrow passage behind the clubhouse or, as most people seemed to do, walk through the bar and club to the far exit, which leads onto the covered terrace. Directly opposite this, on the far side of the ground, is a covered seating stand.
FA Vase and FA Cup to Lymington and Binfield respectively, The Green had not lost at all in the league. So, a head to head between a team unbeaten at home and a team unbeaten away from home. Too good to miss.
Frimley Green were going into the game without top scorer Leo Medrado, who had the more important matter of welcoming his baby daughter into the world to attend to. Congratulations to him and his partner.
The first piece of real action came when Frimley's right-back, Ben Dearlove curled in a delightful cross which narrowly evaded everyone and went out for a goal-kick. It was a fantastic ball into the box which really deserved to have lead to something.
After that the game became a fast-paced, entertaining, end to end battle with chances at a premium. Both sides were fighting hard in midfield but neither could find that final ball to open up the opposing defence, with the consequence that neither keeper was stretched in the opening half hour.
That changed right on 30 minutes when, after being slightly more on the back foot, Sheerwater launched an attack down their left. The fleet footed Timmy Taylor slipped past his man and unleashed an effort which Dan Bone did well to get a fingertip to, pushing the ball against the post and out for a corner. Although nothing came directly from the dead-ball, Frimley failed to clear properly and ended up giving away a free-kick on the edge of the box. George Dore stepped up, trying his luck from 22 yards, but was also denied by the fingertips of Bone.
Two good saves from the home keeper but just before the half-time whistle he was just about outshone by his counterpart in the Sheers goal, Andy Rider. A great cross from the Frimley left was met by Calum Nimmo's firm header only for Rider to throw himself across the goal and push the effort away. A superb save.
HT Frimley Green 0 Sheerwater 0. Despite the lack of goals this was a very lively half of football. The home side just about shaded the first 30 minutes but then Sheerwater had their two good chances and maybe felt that they could have been in front. Having said that, without the excellent stop from Rider, Frimley would have gone in a goal up at the break. So overall, nothing between the sides.
Six minutes into the second half Frimley Green made the breakthrough. Great work from Eddie McKinlay down the left and this time the final ball matched the build up play, a low, driven cross which was met by George Bowerman to make it 1-0. A Deserved goal for the Frimley striker who had worked very hard all game, leading the line really well and generally being a nuisance to the Sheerwater defence.
The pattern of the game then continued. Plenty of endeavour from both sides with Sheerwater now possibly having slightly more possession as they pressed for an equaliser. The tension was rising on both sides and there were a few tackles flying in but, thankfully, it never spilled over into anything more.
As with the last time that I saw Frimley Green, they were hit by a late equaliser. With two minutes of normal time remaining, Sheerwater won the ball back inside the Green half and attacked down the left. The ball was driven across goal with at least three Sheerwater players making strides to get on the end of it. The ball evaded a couple of players but sliding in at the far post was substitute Shane Rideout who got a boot on the ball and diverted it past Bone to level it. 1-1.
Sheerwater pressed for a winner in the last few minutes, earning a corner deep in added time but it came to nothing and the referee drew a very close encounter to a close.
FT Frimley Green 1 Sheerwater 1. I felt that this was a fair result on the balance of play. A really good game to watch as a neutral with both sides wanting to win the game. Frimley Green retain their unbeaten record and move up a place to fifth in the table. Sheerwater stay third. Thanks to both sides for a great game of football and best of luck for the rest of the season. I think this division is going to be quite tight. A number of teams have title winning credentials, but I would put money on both of these sides being in the mix come next April.
Frimley Green: Bone, M. Ward, Horkan, Nimmo, J Ward (c), Hamer, Dearlove, Vasquez-Rosario, Bowerman, Vanterpool, McKinlay. Subs: Jermain, Daltry, Kemp, Primett, Rayhan
Sheerwater: Rider, Cheeseman, Scannella, Dore, Mills, Roisetter, Letch, Hegarty (c), Wilson, Machay, T. Taylor. Subs: Rothwell, L. Taylor, O'Connor, Rideout, Ruggles
Ground Number: 166