While I was UK my former home town team played an FA cup-tie at Ascot United FC. Many of you will know Ascot as the location of one of the UK’s premier horse race courses, Royal Ascot and all that. Well the foootball ground is inside the racecoourse, making it one of the more unlikely places I have ever been to watch a game!
In the background to this photo you can see the seven furlong marker of the New Mile. this is the straight track which HM Queen comes down in procession when she attends the races there. (The goalkeeper is of Ascot United, being sent the wrong way by a Tonbridge penalty.)
There’s a little gate in the fence so they can retrieve footballs. They cannot play when there is a race meeting on. The previous match had to be on a Friday evening, this game was played on a Sunday afternoon after a two day meeting had concluded.
Don’t go to Ascot after a two day meeting. The pubs in the town had been drunk dry by racegoers! Luckily the football club did have some to offer, although not of the preferred real ale variety.
The crowd was 430, comfortably the biggest attendance they’ve had. The result was a 2-2 draw, with the home side almost winning in the dying moments but a penalty was superbly saved by the Tonbridge goalkeeper.
The English FA Cup still has replays. That followed on the Tuesday after, which Tonbridge won comfortably 7-0.
The most recent cup tie was a 3-0 away win at Wingate and Finchley FC and the reward a third qualifying round match at home to Hereford. Hereford FC was formed in 2014 after the demise of the established Hereford United FC and currently plays in the semi-professional Southern League South and West Division.
I am sure a large number of travelling fans will be heading to Tonbridge for a day out on 1st October. Their last home league game was watched by a crowd of 3102! They play in the eighth tier of English Football. They have more fans than several Superliga teams here in Portugal where I live. Only a couple of other teams in that league have crowds of even near 1,000. Most are much less well supported.
A couple of other pictures from Ascot.