Today’s game was an FA Vase first qualifying round at Lordswood’s Martyn Grove ground, otherwise known as the Bill Bishop Memorial Stadium.
Lordswood, of the Southern Counties East Football League, Premier Division had been drawn at home against Storrington Community who play a step lower than them, in Division 1 of the Southern Combination League.
Storrington are based at the Recreation ground, near Horsham and are currently managed by Bob Paine. Lordswood are managed by Neil Hunter and sit in 17th place in the league, after taking just four points from their opening five league fixtures. Today’s FA Vase fixture gave both sides a chance to dream of Wembley, whilst letting go of the league pressures for a day.
The ground at Lordswood is set in an attractive location, with fields and woodland around it. There is a decent sized seated and covered stand along the side of the pitch and a club house with refreshment and toilet facilities. I got a lovely welcome to the ground from the lady on the turnstile, as I walked in. I paid £8 for entry and £2 for a well-produced match day programme. Then I took a seat and settled in the sun, for what I hoped would be a high scoring contest.
The game started with Lordswood dominating possession. After seven minutes they got their reward for the positive start, when a bad challenge in the Storrington box led to a penalty. Lordswood’s Jake Creed stepped up to open the scoring, with a clinical finish.
The first half continued with Lordswood enjoying extended bouts of possession, but for much of the half they failed to capitalise. Storrington kept initiating counter attacks, with some nice passing play, however they didn’t look to be able to seriously threaten the Lordswood goal.
Lordswood’s number ten, Steven Mills, stepped up his work rate as it approached half time and he won the ball back on a number of occasions in midfield with one leading to a chance from the right hand side of the penalty area, which Kyle Mcdowall put away, to make it 2-0, in the 40th minute.
The second half continued with continued Lordswood pressure. On 57 minutes the ball was neatly moved to Jack Muir on the Lordswood left. He put the ball away confidently to make it 3-0.
After more pressure Lordswood made it 4-0 on 75 minutes, with a fine finish from Kyle Mcdowall for his second of the game.
At the final whistle, Lordswood were good value for their 4-0 victory and progressed into the next round. Storrington left the pitch knowing they hadn’t given up and they had battled hard against a side playing a league above them.