After last week’s excellent win over Faversham Town, The Rooks head to Chipstead on Saturday, looking to retain their slim lead at the top of the Bostik League South. Darren Freeman will be able to welcome back Lloyd Cotton and Charlie Coppola from injury although it is likely he will still be without Matthew George for another week as well as Alex Malins.
How has this season been for Chipstead?
Despite their position in 16th place in the Bostik South League, Chipstead have recorded some impressive results this season including a 0-0 draw at Cray Wanderers and a 3-2 win at Carshalton Athletic in early December. However, they have drawn nearly a third of their games with Greenwich Borough and Whytleleafe the only sides in the league with more draws. They are 27 points clear of bottom side Shoreham and can look forward to a more comfortable second half of the season than last year.
Last Saturday The Chips went down 3-1 to a resurgent Ashford United, with Dean Gunner scoring their late consolation goal. They’ve lost former Dulwich Hamlet (and Rooks) striker Charlie Penny back to Merstham but goalscorers Sam Bell and Leon Lalor-Dell are still men to watch.
At High Road they have won four, drawn four and lost five games this season, scoring 25 and conceding 21 in the process. Their last home win came just before Christmas when they beat Herne Bay 3-0. Their last defeat at home was two months ago when Hythe Town won 4-2.
The Rooks have one of the best away records in the league, winning eight on the road this season out of fourteen games, although Darren will be keen to reverse the current trend of three defeats in their last four games away from The Dripping Pan.
How was last season?
Chipstead once again did just enough to avoid being sucked into a
relegation battle although they rarely upset the form books, apart from a 2-1
win away at Greenwich Borough. Top
scorer Raheem Stirling-Parker was a threat although they will have to do
without his services this season as he is now for Carshalton Athletic.
Isthmian League South Division – 20th – P 46 W 11 D 8 L 27 GS 68 GA 99 GD -31 PTS 41
FA Cup – 1st Qualifying Round – lost
away to Slough Town 6-0
FA Trophy –
Preliminary Round – lost away to Kempston Rovers 2-0 in a replay
Surrey Senior Cup – Second Round – Lost away to
Epsom & Ewell 3-0
Isthmian League Cup – First Round – Lost at home
to South Park 2-1
When did we last meet
The Rooks did the double over Chipstead last season, beating them 2-1 on the
opening day of the season thanks to second-half goals from Dan Perry (penalty)
and James Hammond. In the reverse
fixture at The Pan, two goals from Stephen Okoh saw off any threat from
About High Road
Chipstead’s High Road ground is rural. Not just “surrounded by a few trees” rural but
one where you can literally hear cows mooing and sheep baahing. It is a far trek out into the countryside but
that gives it an almost surreal feeling watching a game here. The good news is that it is very picturesque. The bad news is that it can get damn chilly
in the winter!
The ground is basic.
One small four row stand that covers a third of the touchline and then a
small cover over one part of the end behind the goal and that is it with
concrete paths around the rest of the ground.
The club does have a nice clubhouse, accessed through the entrance by
the main turnstiles. Huge Sky Sports
screen and decent beer plus a view of the action from inside. Food wise there is a small hatch behind the
main stand but be warned – Frankfurters are not from Frankfurt. Hamburgers not from Hamburg. Port is not from Port Vale and Chips cannot
be found on the menu Chipstead (well, not on our last visit anyway).
How to get to High Road
By car you probably come via the A23 (either from junction 7
on the M25 heading north on the M23 which soon becomes the A23, or south from
Croydon on the A23). Follow A23 towards
Coulsdon and take the Coulsdon bypass signposted M23 and Gatwick. At the second
set of lights after leaving the by bypass turn right into Star Lane – there is
a BP garage on the corner. Follow Star Lane into Elmore Road, keeping the
church and the green on your left until reaching the crossroads with High Road.
Turn left (signposted Lower Kingswood & Reigate) and parking for away
supporters is 200 yards on your left. To walk to the ground leave via the car
park entrance turn left and the clubhouse and turnstiles are a further 200
yards along the main road. Journey time
for the 42 miles from Lewes on a good day is 45 minutes.
The car is king in getting to Chipstead. There is a station in the village but it is
around 1 1/2 miles away and is a walk uphill all the way along country roads
without pavements. Coulsdon South where
you can get a cab relatively easily and it will cost about £5. Journey time, with a change at East Croydon,
is around 90 minutes at an Off-Peak Day Return is £21.50.
IMPORTANT TRAVEL UPDATE – The M23 is CLOSED this weekend between junctions 10 and 9 meaning a diversion through the lanes around East Grinstead so please allow extra time.
Admission at High
Admission this season is £9 for adults, £6 for concessions (senior
citizens, students and Under18s), and accompanied under 16s are £3.
Fancy a beer?
Chipstead is a village so don’t expect a lot of choice once you arrive,
with the nearest pub to the ground, the Ramblers Rest in Outwood Lane being
around a mile away from the ground.
Close by that one is the Midday Sun.
The only other real option in Chipstead is The White Hart in Hazelwood
Lane. May be one away trip to stick to
the clubhouse at the ground or heading to the bright lights of Croydon on the