Tucked away on a single track road towards the outskirts of Old Amersham, Spratleys Meadow has been the home of Amersham Town for 99 years. There is limited parking at the ground but, as advised by the very helpful attendant, its not advisable to park there if you want to make a reasonably quick getaway. However, there are plenty of on-street parking spots available within a short distance from the ground. A note for evening games in the Winter months, you will have to walk up an unlit single-track road for a 100 yards or so, so you might want a torch.
The ground itself boasts a clubhouse (incorporating the tea/snack bar) and a separate changing block for players and officials. These are all on the car park end of the ground behind the town end goal. On the School Lane side of the pitch there is a covered seating area for 66 people. This side of the ground is raised above pitch level and gives a great view of the action. The dugouts are on the far side of the ground, opposite the main stand. Although there aren't that many features at the ground, it has a certain charm to it. Maybe because it sits on the edge of open countryside? I immediately liked the ground for whatever reason.
Apparently, during the war, the changing rooms were used as an emergency morgue. There can't be many grounds that share this distinction.
This was going to be a big game for both teams but, following a decent run of form from Rangers, the three points on offer would be welcomed even more by Amersham.
The home side were currently sitting 19th in the table with 19 points from 24 games. They were just a point behind third from bottom Codicote with a game in hand, so a win in this game would lift them above their relegation rivals. Only a few games previously Town had suffered a very damaging 4-0 defeat at the hands of Codicote, making this game even more important for them in their bid for survival. In their last six league outings they had, at least, managed two wins but had lost the other four.
Rangers, who a month ago, were also hovering just above the trapdoor, had suddenly picked up and started showing some real form. Three wins and there draws from their last six games, including winning the last three straight, had seen them rise up to the heady heights of 16th with 29 points. Another win this evening could take them to 14th and would go a long way towards their league safety.
Earlier in the season Amersham returned from Princes Risborough with a 3-0 victory in a game that saw Rangers reduced to 10 men. However, Rangers did reap some revenge in a cup match, winning 4-3 on penalties after a 0-0 draw. There were no league games between these sides last season as this is Town's first term back in Division One after gaining promotion last season, despite a 6th place finish.
We had a fairly even opening to the game, in fact it was Amersham who maybe edged the opening encounters. There seemed little sign of a team who had won their last three from Rangers and Amersham did not look like a team lacking in confidence from their recent defeats. The game was held up for a good few minutes quite early on after a badly mis-timed tackle from Squires-Adams left a Risborough player requiring a fair bit of attention before he could continue. Interestingly the referee kept his cards in his pocket, a decision that ultimately saved him from producing a red in the second-half when he booked the same player for a much more benign challenge.
It was the home side who took the lead in the 25th minute when Rhys Murphy drove forward and placed a lovely effort wide of Brooker and into the net for 1-0.
There was no immediate response from Rangers and you could hear the frustration from the coaching staff's shouts from the bench. However, with six minutes remaining, it was as if someone decided to switch on Rangers. They had been gaining some traction down their left flank and when they managed to switch the ball over there again a lovely cross found Ben Cullen lurking at the far post to just about get enough of his head on the ball to deflect it past Turner. 1-1
A few minutes later Cullen, who by now had his tail up, chased a ball down the right-flank, out-muscled his defender, drove to the byline and cut inside, unleashing an effort that beat Turner but crashed back of the near post. Rangers were not finished there though. Into added-time in the first half they produced a lovely flowing move, again spreading the ball wide on the left. This time when the cross came over Cullen managed to beat Turner to the ball an once again head into the Amersham net. 1-2.
HT Amersham Town 1 Risborough Rangers 2. A fairly even opening 40 minutes in which the home side managed to edge in front. The, in the final 5 minutes, Rangers suddenly came alive and grabbed two goals to go into the break ahead.
They were made to pay for the miss after 76 minutes when Cullen completed a hat-trick of headers, once again beating the Amersham keeper to a ball from the left, this time after a short corner routine was not closed down quickly enough by the Town defence. 1-3.
FT Amersham Town 1 Risborough Rangers 3. Rangers should now be safe from any relegation worries after a fourth straight win. Amersham worked hard enough but lacked any real penetration. They were undone by three almost identical goals, all crosses from the left and all headers by, it has to be said, not the tallest striker in the world. A great effort from the Rangers forward man though. He lead the line well for the entire game and deserved his three goals for his work-rate.
Amersham Town: Turner, Howells, Murphy, Aldridge, Peacock, Clifford, Donaldson, J Squires-Adams, Benvenga, Stevens, B Squires-Adams. Subs: Putman, Stonnell, Seaton, Doumbia, Camara
Risborough Rangers: Brooker, Castello, Gordon, Read(c), Urqhart, Lynch, Griggs, Clarke, Cullen, Touceda, Pykett. Subs: Nott-Macaire, Woodfine, Mymer, Tavender
Ground Number: 182