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Walton Casuals 4
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1 Kingstonian
Theophanous (15')
Walton Casuals

Grier's Guide to Walton Casuals

When: Tuesday 16 July

The town: Surrey town/London suburbia a little way up the Thames from Kingston. US President Herbert Hoover briefly lived there in 1902.

The ground: Waterside Drive, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, KT12 2JP. The £18m development opened two years ago, replacing both Casuals' Franklin Road ground and also Walton and Hersham's Stompond Lane - the two clubs now share the site. It has a decent-sized main stand, albeit set some distance back from the pitch to allow for emergency access to the adjacent training pitches, but has little on the other three sides of the ground. As with many new grounds, the playing surface is artificial.

Directions: Near as the crow flies but tricky to get to from Kingston, with lengthy walks from either the 411 bus stop or Walton station probably being the best bets.

Our record there: We visited in 2017 for the second game after the ground opened for a Velocity Trophy match, losing 2-1 despite a late consolation goal from Alec Fiddes.

Recent form: Casuals are now at the same level as us, but playing in the Southern League following the big restructure last summer. They survived on the last day of the season thanks to a 2-1 win away to Merthyr Town, with ex-K Tommy Brewer among the scorers. 

Players to watch: Brewer has now left for Tonbridge Angels but veteran defender Jay Gasson and hard-working midfielder Mano Gagonas, who joined from Ks around the same time last season, are still Stags. Ex-Ks are also among their summer signings, with both Callum Webb and Brendan Murphy-McVey formerly having spells in red and white hoops.

Crowd: Better supported now than they were when we first met them in the Ryman 1 South days, although the ground isn't particular conducive to making a good atmosphere.

Drinking: The Weir Hotel is the only pub in the area, round the back of the ground on Waterside Drive. If it's a nice evening then the outside seating by the river will be pleasant.

Food: Again the Weir is the only realistic option in the option but it serves decent pub meals as well as sandwiches if you're not quite as hungry.

Published Monday 8th July 2019