Following the trip to Scandinavia, which saw us take in 5 games over a 4 day period, it was good to finally be back in Blighty and heading out for some proper British football. Hamble Club were to play host to my first English game of 2015/16 on a sunny afternoon in July, so without further adieu, welcome to ‘Conquering… Hamble Club’! Oh wait…
Sadly, I wasn’t able to confirm if the game was still to be played in Hamble, and so switched to plan B. A quick chat with Horndean media man Joe, and my destination was decided for the afternoon. Five Heads Park, home of Wessex Premier side Horndean, hence the title I suppose. Later that evening, I did come to learn that Hamble Club had played, and won comprehensively at that, which was helpful for me at 7 ‘o’ clock in the evening. Not.
Having spent the weekend previous effortlessly gliding through Oslo on public transport that never failed me, England lived up to its reputation and my train to Cosham was cancelled. The trains were, as I’ve so often come to learn, being shit. Thankfully I had plenty of time to spare, and found myself in Cosham soon after, before boarding a bus and paying £5.90 for the privilege of going 25 minutes up the road and then back again. “Welcome to Portsmouth, don’t come back” screamed the fare.
The ground is a short five minute walk from the stop at which I jumped off my limo-bus, and I arrived into the ground via a passing Royal Navy bomb disposal unit. A warm welcome to the area if ever there was one.
Five Heads Park is a simple enough ground, with a seated area beyond the dressing rooms to your right as you enter, but don’t ask me where the clubhouse was, I haven’t got a clue. There were about four different portacabins lying about that could quite happily have played host to a bar, but it was roulette choosing one. Instead, I plumped for a bacon cheeseburger midway through the first half from the tea hut behind me. A decent choice I came to discover.
There’s no way to potter behind the near goal as it’s right up against the boundary fence, and so you’re somewhat forced up and beyond the dressing rooms to get anywhere else in the ground. This briefly threw me off, but eventually I managed to find my way to the back of the ground, and spent the second half in the sun behind the far goal. Looking over the landscape just beyond the ground, it was a pleasant place to spend my Saturday afternoon, if nowhere near as picturesque as Norway.
The game itself was nothing short of crap in all fairness. I’m fairly sure it was both side’s opening pre-season game, and it showed on the pitch as the hosts came away with a 4-0 win.
Two penalties and a couple of late goals ultimately hide what was a bitey, scrappy game that never looked like being a classic. I left the ground somewhat disheartened at the football on offer, but that’s my fault for bothering with pre season games!
Sadly, Horndean will go down as one of the grounds that I don’t visit often, simply due to how long it takes me to get there via public transport. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my visit to Five Heads Park, and who’s to know, I may end up back sooner than I thought. The afternoon may have been helped by a few drinks in Cosham that evening however!