Situated on the Southern edge of Kingsteignton and just North of Newton Abbot Racecourse, Athletic's Broadpark ground sits just off Broadway Road. Access to the ground is through gates that lead into a small car park, there's a small hut to the right of the gates where a member of the club collects entrance fees. When I arrived they had not yet opened the hut up but noticing that they gentleman had arrived I walked back over to pay my entry. Every little counts as the saying goes.
There's not much parking space at the ground but there are a few streets nearby where on-street parking is available. Note that Broadway Road itself is very narrow and has no pavement in places, as I found on my walk up from the racecourse.
The first thing that meets the eye when entering Broadpark is that it has a the look and feel of a ground a couple of steps above the club's current status, effectively Step 8 (level 12). The only thing that gives it away is the lack of hard-standing around the perimeter. This is testament to the hard work and dedication of the club's volunteers, of which there appeared to be quite a few judging by the number of club jackets and polo shirts on show. There was a definite community feel about the club.
This is a delightful and very friendly ground. If you get a chance to visit, you really should.
At the start of play these sides were fifth and fourth respectively. Waldon held sway in the table by a single point, having taken nine from the fifteen available so far. Both had played the same number of games, five.
Kingsteignton came into the game defending an unbeaten home record of played two, won one, drawn one. They are unbeaten in any competition since the opening day when they went down 6-2 at Morley Rangers. Top scorer Alex Harding (3) scored in the last league outing, a 2-1 defeat of Chudleigh Athletic at Broadpark.
Waldon have lost twice in the league this season, 4-0 at Beesands, who they then beat in the cup, and 2-1 at home to Elburton Villa 2nds. Kingsteignton are on the hunt for a third successive league title after winning Division One in 2021-22 and then, last season, taking the Premier League title. Previously they had been founder members of the Devon League, South West Division but, after two Covid-affected and abandoned seasons, they moved back to the South Devon League. Waldon finished in eighth spot last season after also being promoted along with Kingsteignton in 2021-22. This came on the back of them spending a season in the South West Peninsula League and then the Devon League before dropping back into the South Devon setup.
A big thank you to match official Dave Corderoy for sharing the team sheets with me before kick-off.
Kicking down the slope, away from the clubhouse, Waldon in their pale blue shirts and maroon shorts, got off to a much brighter start than their hosts. However, despite that , it was The Rams who managed to get off the first strike in anger when, after seven minutes, Chris Barnett curled an effort just past Joe Whitehead's left-hand upright.
It was also the home side who forced the first corner of the game after 11 minutes, and this proved to be a decisive point. The corner, from the Rams right, was drilled low across the six-yard box where it was met by a diving header from Thomas Reeves. 1-0. Somewhat against the run of play up to that point but, as it turned out, indicative of the way the game was to go.
Barnett, who struck the first shot in anger, was instrumental in the second Rams goal too. Breaking up the left, the number 9 beat his marker and drove towards the byline before putting in a dangerous ball towards the near post where it broke free for Reeves to poke home for his second. 2-0
Halfway through the half and the home side led 2-0 after two strikes on target. Waldon were still having more possession but consistently failed to do any damage once into the final third. Central midfielder Louie Roberts looked to be the visitor's driving force and it was the number 6 who broke down the left flank on 21 minutes before shooting across the face of goal. The shot didn't unduly worry Daniel Tecza in the home goal but it was the closest the visitors had managed so far. The effort seemed to give them a little more impetus however and, four minutes later, Sam Knapman had an on target shot turned away for a corner.
The half continued in the same vein. Waldon moved the ball around well in their own half with Louie looking to get on the ball at every opportunity. However, they remained toothless in the Kingsteignton penalty area. The Rams, for their part, remained comfortable with their two goal lead, despite urging from the bench that it was 'still 0-0'.
HT Kingsteignton Athletic 2 Waldon Athletic 0. A fascinating game from a neutral's perspective. As the home lino had commented to me, it wasn't a 2-0 game. In fact the visitors had managed considerably more possession than their hosts. The big difference came inside the opposition penalty areas. Kingsteignton had been ruthless, Waldon had barely made the home keeper get his knees dirty.
Three goals up the home side could relax a little, which is exactly what they did. Having said that, Waldon were not about to give up the ghost. Roberts was still buzzing arum in midfield and following the introduction of Lewis Eaton at half-time, they also brought on Jacob Brown. The combination of Roberts and Brown, who added some height and trickiness up front, certainly gave Waldon a little more spark. They really needed to turn their possession into something more if they wanted to get back into the game. Roberts flicked a header just wide on 55 minutes, but that was as close as they came. On 71 minutes they almost fell further behind when a long ball caught out the defence allowing Ryan Tovalgliari to get in behind them, only to be thwarted by a good stop from Whitehead.
If Waldon held any feint hopes of getting back into the game they were finally completely quashed on 77 minutes when, once again, they failed to clear their lines and Reeves took full advantage, volleying home the loose ball to grab his hat-trick and make it 4-0.
As often happens, with the game already gone, Waldon had two of their better opportunities late on. There were seven minutes left on the clock when Ashley Grimes (no, not that one), climbed well to get a header on target. Unfortunately for the visitors, it was straight into the midriff of Tecza. Four minutes later the same Waldon striker cut in from the right and drove a low shot that did beat Tecza, but also went wide of the post.
FT Kingsteignton Athletic 4 Waldon Athletic 0. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon in the Devon sunshine. The final result did not reflect the balance of play but it did do justice to the ruthless finishing of the home team. Three of the four goals came as a result of Waldon not clearing their lines and home players jumping on the opportunity to punish them. The result lifts Kingsteignton up to fourth place and drops Waldon down to sixth. Waldon are not in action next Saturday but Kingsteignton have the opportunity to close the gap on the top three as they travel to bottom side Brixham 2nds. Then on November 4th both sides are in County Cup action. Kingsteignton travel to Devon League leaders University of Exeter. Meanwhile Waldon entertain North Devon Premier League outfit Braunton.
Just for the record the other match that I could have gone to sounds like it was also a cracker with Ilsington coming back from 5-2 down at half-time to win 6-5. Maybe next time I am visiting I came take in one of their games?
Kingsteignton Athletic: Tecza, Long, Williams, Tovagliara, Barnett, Weeks, Harding, Leech, Reeves, Jones, Judkins. Subs: Bristow, Grant, Thomas
Waldon Athletic: Whitehead, Rad, Arnold, Moxham(c), Wayne, Summerfield, Robert, Grimes, Head, KNapman, Skinner. Subs: Brown, Eaton
Ground Number: 384