There are always those grounds that for one reason or another repeatedly elude you and for me Kirkley & Pakefield’s Walmer Road ground was one of them, despite numerous visits to the town, its second senior club had stayed on my do to list.
However, that was finally put right last Tuesday, on a lovely summer evening, as KPFC entertained near neighbours Lowestoft Town in a pre-season friendly, in front of a healthy crowd no doubt swelled by the visiting support.
The ground was very well maintained, a couple of covered areas available, a stand on the far side of the pitch and a pitch that had definitely seen a bit more water than some of the grounds i have recently visited.
Pre-match i had a 3 mile walk to the game from my in-laws place where i was staying and so the well stocked tea-bar was put to good use having worked up an appetite for sausage and chips and a brew.
As for the game, i was really impressed with the home side, who took the game to their high ranked opponents in the first half and caused numerous problems and close calls, without being able to find the finish that would have given them a lead they would have deserved. As so often happens though, Lowestoft then took the lead late in the first half with a fine finish from a break forward.
Numerous substitutions made the second half a tad less engaging but again Kirkley deserved something, drawing two or three fine saves from the visiting goalkeeper in the early stages of the half. Lowestoft again though came into the game more as the half progressed and added a second and final goal in the latter stages of the game, to secure a 2-0 win.
I was surprised to see KPFC lost their opening league game on Saturday but on the value of the game i saw i wouldn’t be surprised to see them in contention in the Eastern Counties League during 2018/19.
All in all, a fine night’s entertainment in a pleasant ground, bathed in hazy sunshine at what looked on first glance a very well run club whose results i will keep an eye out for as the season progresses.