Knaphill have played at Redding Way since the 2004-05 season. Although it is a relatively new ground it has a certain amount of character about it. The club branding is everywhere, which is always good to see and, in my opinion, goes a long way to establishing an identity for the club. There is a thriving junior set-up at the club which is also advertised around the ground. As someone who is involved in youth football, this is heartening to see and bodes well for the future of not just Knaphill FC but football in general.
Entrance to the stadium is via a turnstile in the corner of the ground, easily accessible from the car park. There are two covered seating areas, one behind the car park end goal and another on the far side of the ground from the entrance. Both are well set back from the playing surface. On the Redding Way side of the ground there is also covered standing available alongside the dugouts. The facilities, clubhouse and players/official areas are all on the car park end of the ground. Clearly a great effort has been made to raise sponsorship and support for the club because the advertising hoardings on the pitch perimeter stretch pretty much all around the ground. This not only adds to the character of the ground but also shows plenty of local buy-in to the club which is always good to see. All in all, Redding Way has a good feel to it. It seems like a friendly club and a good place to watch football.
Not knowing a lot about the Combined Counties Premier Challenge Cup I am indebted to Rob Healy (@RobHealy73), Bedfont & Feltham's Media Manager and Programme Editor as well as being honorary member of the SideburnBob Fan Club, for sending me a link to previous competition results.
What I already did know what that Knaphill were the current holders of the trophy, beating Worcester Park 3-2 in last season's Final. They were bidding to become only the fourth team to win the trophy more than once, the others being Merstham (3), Camberley Town (2) and Epsom & Ewell (2).
Their progress so far had seen them beat Eversley & California 5-1 away from home and then Fleet Spurs 3-1 at Redding Way. Bedfont & Feltham had got this far thanks to a 2-0 home defeat of Tooting BEc followed by a 1-0 win at AFC Hayes.
League-wise, Knaphill sit in mid-table (12th) of the Premier League whilst The Yellows are currently top of Division One in their bid to return to the top flight after two season's away.
Their last league meeting was in Bedfont & Feltham's relegation season, 2016-17. The Knappers came out on top of both meetings, 4-0 at home and 3-0 back at The Orchard.
We were only four minutes into the game when the first real action happened. A loose header back towards Knaphill kepper Aaron Holt was intercepted by Michael Capon. The Knappers keeper, already committed to going for the ball, took out the Bedfont top-scorer leaving the referee with no option other than to point to the spot. Up stepped captain Ross Nunn to bury the spot-kick. 0-1
Knaphill tried to re-group after their early setback, playing some nice football in midfield but failing to find the final ball with which to hurt their opponents. They did, however, almost get an equaliser on 20 minutes. Striker Martin Smith expertly taking down a through ball, turning sharply and beating Windmill with a low shot only to see his effort come back off the inside of the post, roll across the line and back into the grateful arms of the Bedfont keeper.
Aside from that effort it was nip and tuck for the remainder of the first half. Knaphill were getting most joy down their left flank but still could not find the killer final pass. When they did manage to get a ball into the Bedfont box there always seemed to be a Yellow shirt meeting the cross or blocking the effort. Despite Knaphill now having more possession Bedfont were still looking dangerous when they had the ball, especially down their left side where their impressive left-back Billy Nutbeam was not shy in bombing forward at any opportunity.
HT Knaphill 0 Bedfont & Feltham 1. After taking an early lead Bedfont & Feltham rode their luck occasionally but, overall, going into the break deserving to be in front. Knaphill showed signs of putting some good football together but could; not find any real consistency.
Just before the hour mark Nutbeam (my man of the match) made another foray forward and was stopped illegally just inside the Knaphill half. The free-kick was lofted high into the home side's penalty area where The Yellow's top scorer Michael Capon managed to out jump the home keeper and glance a header over him into the empty net. 0-2.
Again Knaphill tried to raise their game in an effort to get back into this tie but, in reality, they were a beaten side at this point and, on 82 minutes, this was confirmed with Bedfont & Feltham's third goal. Reece Gairy took the ball down the left, cut back inside to give himself a yard or so and then hammered the ball past the despairing dive of Holt into the far corner. 0-3
FT Knaphill 0 Bedfont & Feltham 3. The holders go out of the competition after being well beaten by an exciting Bedfont & Feltham who, on this sort of form, look nailed on for promotion back to the Premier League.
Knaphill: Holt, Roberts, Leighton, El Armarni, Kellet-Smith (c), Albert, Costello, Nyama, M.Smith, De St Croix, Wilson. Subs: Barry, Cover, Rezagui, McDonald
Bedfont & Feltham: Windmill, Hitchinson, Nutbeam, P.Nunn, Dunckley, Pearce, Gairy, Kibreab, Capon, R.Nunn (c), Mahboudi. Subs: Davis, Hayden, Sarfo
Ground Number: 183