It's only been just over a decade since Carterton were a Step 5 side plying their trade in the Hellenic Premier League and, despite the team dropping down two divisions since those days, they have retained a stadium worthy of a higher level than the one they currently play in. The UKBP Stadium on Kilkenny Lane is situated on the Northern extremities of the town. Be warned, there is a new housing estate around the ground and the signage is very misleading due to some roads now being blocked off. If you go there in the evening, you can see the floodlights but finding the way in is a little tricky.
Once you get through the maze, you are greeted by a reasonably-sized car park situated directly behind the main sports club building. Access into the ground is at the side of the main building through a small gate. This brings you into the ground behind one of the goals and into a patio area that is set a little lower than the playing surface. This area is also partially roofed, although it does not provide a particularly good view of the game. It would, however, be a great place to put a noticeboard showing the team sheets. A metal fence protects this area from stray shots. There are toilets on this level but the main clubhouse is accessed up a small flight of stairs to the upper level at the far end of the club block. The changing areas are situated below the club as is the officials changing area. There are two covered spectator areas, a small stand in the corner of the ground next at the club house end. This is clearly quite an old structure and has just a couple of rows of seats, although the few people in there seemed to be happy to stand. The dugouts are also on this side of the ground. On the opposite side of the pitch is the main stand, a newer structure with seating for over 100 spectators. The pitch appears to slope very slightly back towards the clubhouse.
This would be the second meeting of the teams in three days. Faringdon secured a 2-1 win at Tucker Park last Saturday with goals from Ollie Baker and James Tranter. Kevin Davies got the Carterton goal. That left Town in 12th spot with 14 points from 19 games. Carterton sat two places above Tuesday's visitors with 23 points from their 19 games. Despite being in the lower half of the table both sides have been showing a bit more form recently. Carterton's defeat at Faringdon was their first in the last four games. Faringdon have seen 3 of their total 4 wins this season come in the last 7 games. So, both sides showing that they have some potential.
The last time the two sides were in the same Division, and the season was actually completed, came in the 2017-18 Hellenic Division Two West season when Carterton finished the season in fourth spot and Faringdon in eighth, 19 points worse off. Both games that season went in favour of Carterton who won 3-0 at Faringdon and 4-2 at home.
The choice of match was a little bit last minute and consequently I hadn't done as much research as I would normally put in before a game. Faringdon were first out onto the pitch in their red kit, followed by Carterton in their balck and white stripes. I must admit, the kit caught me by surprise. I have no idea why, but I just assumed that Carterton played in blue.
Despite the fact that Faringdon were out and warming up with a rondo well in advance of Carterton, who pretty much came onto the ptch and kicked off, it was the home side that started the game the brighter. The first real attempt came on 4 minutes when Carterton's nippy left-side player Ethan Barrett wove his way into the box and created a shooting opportunity. The shot went stright at the keeper, but it was a warning for Town and a sign of what Barrett was capable of doing. As it turned out the ongoing battle between Barrett and Faringdon right-back Platt turned out to be one of the highligghts of the evening. Two evenly matched, quick and skillful players who were never too far apart throughout the game.
Faringdon started a little sluggishly but worked their way into the game. On 18 minutes they worked their best chance so far when James Tranter turned sharply on the edge of the box and fired in a stinging drive which, it appeared, was only kept out by a combinatoin of the keeper and the woodwork. A minute later the home keeper was gain called into action, saving well from Mitchell Coombes. Then, as we approached the half-hour caterton gave the ball away inside their own half allowing Tranter to, once gain, get a shot away. Thsi time, however, the striker pulle dhis effort narrowly wide of the keeper's right-hand post.
Then, in an end to end contest, it was Carterton who were next to go close with the lively Butler driving in from the right and firing a rasping drive across the face of Gibson's goal only to see the ball clip the far post before going to safety.
HT Carterton 0 Faringdon Town 0. A very even half with both sides having chances. The only surprise is that it is still goalless with both sides having hit the woodwork.
The goal provoked a response from the visitors and 10 minutes after going behind they came so, so close to equalising. Once again the Carterton keeper was called upon to save his team. Then, from the resulting corner there was an almighty scramble in the six yard box culminating in Faringdon somehow smashing the ball against the bar from very close range. A huge let-off for the hosts but it remained 1-0
The action switched to the other end of the pitch and Carterton had a glorious opportunity to seal the points but their number 11 could only glance his effort wide of the post when he probably should have buried it. Then, with just over 10 left on the clock, Barrett once again went on a jinking run from the left hand side, cutting inside before hitting a dipping drive that beat Gibson but skimmed the top of the bar. Faringdon piled on some late pressure looking for an equaliser and came close again on 84 minutes when a free-kick was rolled sideways to Matt Pill. His well struck effort went narrowly wide of the target.
FT Carterton 1 Faringdon Town 0. A very closely contested game between two evenly matched sides. Both teams had a number of chances. Both goalkeepers made good saves and the woodwork also came to their rescue a couple of times. In the end one clinical finish was the difference.
On Saturday Faringdon travel to Bulpitt Lane to face mid-table Hungerford Town Swifts. Carterton have a weekend off before welcoming the same opponents, Hungerford, to The UKBP Stadium a week on Saturday.
Carterton(squad): Barrett, Butler, Davies, Felstead, Horne, Khazir, Langdon, Roberts, Stephens, Walkington, Williams. Subs: MacDonough, Walton
Faringdon Town: Gibson, Platt, Tomes, Lovell, Davenport(c), Hares, Coombes, Forth, Tranter, Pill, Baker. Subs: Lawrence, Jay, Bradbury
Ground Number: 310