Many Games Have I Seen…: Burnham Ramblers 0 v 1 Aveley

Saturday 1st August 2015
Pre-season Friendly
Leslie Field, Burnham-on-Crouch
Admission and Programme: None
Attendance: 60 (estimate)
Match Rating: 2

With a pleasant summer s afternoon forecast today, I eventually decided to head for the Essex coast today, which would be a much more pleasant proposition than it would be in the dark winter months to come.

Leslie Field is located about a 20 minute walk west of the town’s train station, and things do not bode well as one passes through an industrial estate to get to the ground. It’s actually a nice enough ground inside though, smart and tidy, with a few nice individual touches and none of the scourge of modern football grounds – the identikit metal prefab stands. Straddling the half way line on one side is the standout feature of the ground, a large attractively designed stand with a couple of gables within the roof.

There are only four rows of seating for about 200 people, and upstairs is a cosy and intimate bar, decorated with all sorts of football memorabilia, with a refreshment kiosk in one corner. Around the rest of the ground is mainly just hard standing, with overhang from a maintenance shed providing cover on the opposite length, and there is no cover behind either goal, but with three shallow steps behind one. No programme was produced for this fixture.

The coming season would surely be one of rebuilding for Burnham Ramblers back in the Essex Senior League after a disastrous season in the Isthmian League Division One North, finishing 23 points adrift at the bottom with just 22 points from 46 games.

Aveley finished in ninth in the same division with 70 points.

On a warm summer’s afternoon, and after I was delayed for about an hour approaching the Dartford Tunnel en route, this game certainly fell into the category of the dull, passionless friendly, on and off the pitch. Aveley were by far the better side in the first half, and would be disappointed that they had only one goal to show for their dominance, which came on 10 minutes. A free kick from a central position was driven goalwards, with the ball taking a deflection to fall at the feet of a Aveley player, who took a touch before firing the ball low across the keeper and into the far corner.

Burnham looked a little more likely to score in the second half, probably as the multiple substitutions affected the pattern of the game creating some presentable chances, the best of which came on 70 minutes when a high cross from the right evaded a couple of Burnham foreheads before the man at the far post headed just over the bar.

But Aveley claimed the victory which should have been more convincing, but they will be happy with a comfortable, gentle work out, while Burnham Ramblers could probably feel fairly happy in competing well and looking organised against a team better than most they will face in the Essex Senior League.

So that was probably my last friendly game before the competitive action starts next weekend, and thank goodness for that.

After the game, I headed over to enjoy some drinks and an evening meal on the very pleasant quayside, to make the long trip seem more worthwhile after a rather forgettable football match.

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