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Merstham 0
1 Kingstonian
Kavanagh (48')

Grier's Guide to Merstham

When: Saturday 31 August, 3.00pm

The town: Village to the north of Redhill and Reigate long-known for its quarries and mines. Mining was first recorded there in the Domesday Book, almost 1000 years ago, and Alfred Nobel gave the first public demonstration of dynamite in Merstham in 1868. 

The ground: Weldon Way, Merstham, Redhill, RH1 3QB. A compact but neat ground with a low-roofed terrace behind one of the goals that's great for making a bit of noise.

Directions: Close as the crow flies but tricky to get to, it's around a ten minute drive from junction 8 of the M25. There's usually plenty of parking on the streets around the ground. Public transport is also awkward with the quickest route being to head up to Clapham Junction and back out again.

Our record there: No Ks fan will ever forget our visit of three seasons ago when Rob Tolfrey made a dramatic late penalty save to ensure we held on for a 1-0 win and staved off the threat of relegation. Last season the Moatsiders eased to a 2-0 win in the penultimate game of a campaign we were desperate to see the back of.

Recent form: The main talking point around the game will of course be how Hayden Bird brought most of his old Merstham side, who came second in the league, to Ks with him over the summer forcing Merstham to sign almost a whole new team. Nonetheless at time of writing (three games in) they've made the slightly better start to the season, sitting a point above Ks thanks to a win over Corinthian-Casuals and a draw with Brightlingsea. (Ed: A win over East Thurrock on Saturday was followed by defeat at Folkestone Invicta on Monday, so the Moatsiders sit in 10th place, four points ahead of the K's.)

Players to watch: Merstham have lost a number of players to Ks but their new boss Frank Wilson, who assisted Kim Harris at Ks in the dying weeks of last season, has also brought three ex-Ks the other way. Hard-working forward Delano Sam-Yorke, tricky midfielder Chace Jacquart and experienced defender James Richmond are all now playing their trade at the Moatside. Wilson's assistant, and an unused sub last weekend, is Barry Hayles - the former Fulham star and full Jamaica international is still playing at 47 years old.

Crowd: Merstham's 188 average crowd was the division's third lowest last year but expect a lot more than that for this game - Merstham will be keen to get one over on us and we usually travel well there.

Drinking: The Feathers Hotel, a short walk from the station, is the obvious place to go for a pre-match pint. It's a large and pleasant enough chain pub with typical pub grub on the menu and an outdoor seating area.

Food: Plenty of choice at this one for something on the go. The shops near Feathers and the station include two cafes, a chippy and the well-rated Pizza Project Cafe. Right by the ground there's a Co-op, a kebab shop, a curry house and another chippy.

Published Tuesday 27th August 2019