I haven’t attended a Step 7 game for a while now (it tends to be the start and end of the season with those early evening kick off’s) but this morning i noticed Battersea Ironsides were at home, probably actually one of the closest clubs as the crow files to where i now live, so with plans to attend the Hendon v Harrow Borough derby later that afternoon, the 11am kick off at Battersea seemed the perfect excuse for me to finally visit them.
After attending many Step 7 games in the Middlesex County League and the Herts Senior League, this was also the first time i had dipped my toe into the water of the Surrey Elite Intermediate Football League, as Battersea took on local rivals Westside, who i discovered now groundshare at Croydon Athletic , another great little ground i haven’t visited now for far too long. Westside are a Christian based club, out of the West Side Church Wandsworth, South West London (SW18).
The Battersea Ironsides sports and social club ground is in the Earlsfield / Wandsworth Common area of London and there are easy train and bus connections close by for anyone travelling by public transport. The pitch only really has standing for spectators on one side, with the far side reserved for the two benches and club officials and today there were a few crash barriers to lean on down one side of the pitch. The ground is situated next to a whole array of other sporting facilities belonging to several clubs, adjoins Battersea’s own cricket pitch and has a very smart pavilion, unfortunately though there was no tea / coffee etc available today but a very smart bar area with Sky etc.
The early stages of the game, were fairly even with both sides creating a couple of half chances but the very narrow pitch did make finding space difficult at times. Battersea then began to take control and should have found the net on more than a couple of occasions, with one long range drive in particular bringing a fabulous full length save from the visitors goalkeeper. But the home side were made to pay in the last few minutes of the first half, when firstly Amir broke clear in the box to fire the visitors ahead and this was followed soon after by a second goal as Touhami found space in the box to drill his shot into the bottom corner. After having the best of the first half, Battersea’s failure to take their chances cost them dear against the more clinicial finishing of their opponents.
In the second half, both teams had their chances but the home side seemed to miss the hold up play and presence of their centre forward who was taken off at half time. The second half also became less disciplined with the home side becoming increasingly frustrated as they struggled to find the goal that would have brought them back into things.
The visitors then broke away again with the pace of centre forward Webster who had provided a real threat throughout, proving too much for the home defence as he latched onto a through ball and showed composure to steer his shot into the far corner. After that the home side lost their discipline further and the referee sent players from both teams off for a bit of a handbags incident before another Battersea seemed to be ordered off for something he said with moments remaining.
Overall an entertaining game, with the visitors in the end proving worthy winners, Battersea could and probably should have been ahead in the first half, but once the visitors edged in front, they never really looked like letting go of their lead. A decent overall standard of play as well for my first helping of the Surrey Elite Intermediate Football League, which means i will probably dip into this league again at some stage in the season.
Westside take on AC London next week in the FA Vase at Croydon Athletic on Sunday, which should be an interesting fixture!!
Apologies for any mistakes with names etc in this report but there was no teamsheet / programme i could see.