On Sunday, I went and watched my first football match since the 15th March. I have been to some cricket matches on the last few Saturdays but was really looking forward to going to watch football again. I also wanted to try to start my 2020/21 season with a women’s match. Looking through various clubs Twitter accounts, it seemed most matches were behind closed doors but then I found that Beckenham Town Women were playing Bromley Ladies in a pre-season friendly and from the looks of the tweets, this one was allowing supporters to watch. It was also to be Beckenham’s first ever match so I decided to have a trip down to south-east London to watch this.
The match had a 10am kick off time so I had a fairly early start with early morning Sunday train times from my local station being infrequent. It was actually a bit chilly leaving home before 7am on what was at that stage a cloudy morning. I was at Liverpool Street station by 7.30am so this did allow me some time for a walk through the City of London and seeing Tower Bridge raised for the first time in my life. When I got to London Bridge station, it was time to get some breakfast from McDonald’s. Then it was time to get the train to Eden Park which took about 30 minutes.
From Eden Park station, it only took a couple of minutes to walk to Beckenham Town’s ground. The match I was going to was played on a pitch behind the main ground with access through the ground or from a public footpath. Two gazebos had been put up on the side of the pitch by the main ground for the teams. Behind the footpath end were some trees with the railway running along an embankment whilst the other two sides had thick bushes with stinging nettles and such. By 9.30am, the sun had come out and it was a hot morning. There wasn’t much shade around the pitch apart from some trees in one of the corners which is where I went and stood as the teams finished their warm ups.
It was free to watch the match and from my rough head count, there were about 75 people and children watching. Most stood along the side opposite from the gazebos and looked to me to be socially distancing. Personally, I felt safer at this football match and the cricket matches that I have been to compared to walking through Westfield shopping centre in Stratford. Just hope it isn’t that long until those in power decide we are allowed back into football grounds in a safe way! Anyway, back to the football.
There wasn’t a programme or team sheet so I don’t have the names of any of the players. After the warm and dry weather recently, the pitch looked fairly dry and had a yellow colour to it in places. Beckenham started well and had a few corners and an effort go wide. A few footballs got lost in the bushes around the pitch with one trying to be retrieved at the drinks break in the first half using one of the corner flags. Beckenham opened the scoring when their number 17 scored with a nice finish and they extended their lead shortly after when their number 2 lobbed the ball towards goal and even though the Bromley goalkeeper got a hand to it, she was unable to keep it out. Bromley’s best chance of the half was a shot that was saved by the Beckenham goalie.
Bromley had a shot saved before being given a free kick for a back pass which they hit the post from. Bromley got a goal back after the second half drinks break when they were given a penalty after a handball which was scored by their number 2. Bromley equalised with a long range shot and took the lead when their number 10 scored with a low finish. A ball got stuck in a tree as Bromley finished the match strongly in the hot conditions. Bromley scored a fourth when their number 10 ran through and finished and a fifth when their 15 scored with a shot that went in off the crossbar. Bromley were looking like they could score with every attack and added another 2 before the end of the match to finish up winning 7-2.
I enjoyed watching the match and felt a bit for Beckenham at the end as they didn’t deserve to lose by so many and as they said on Twitter, “they just unfortunately run out of steam” in the last 20 minutes. After the match, I stopped off at Sainsbury’s to get some lunch and before getting the train back into London. With such an early kick off, I was thrown for the rest of the day as to what time it was and was a bit unusual getting home from a football match by mid-afternoon!
If you wish to follow either teams on Twitter then they are @TownBeckenham and @BromleyLadiesFC
I am looking out for a women’s match to go this Sunday so if anyone reading this knows of any in the London area that aren’t behind closed doors then can you please let me know.