Grier on Aveley
When: Saturday 29 August 2020, 3.00pm
The town: Small town just outside of London which was home to John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace.
The ground: Parkside, Park Lane, Aveley, South Ockendon RM15 4PX. A modern new ground to replace Aveley's old Field Mill - it has a good main stand with the bar at the top offering views of the pitch. There's not much on the other three sides and, like most new grounds, it has an artificial playing surface.
Ticket prices: Assuming it's the same as for their midweek friendly with Welling, £5 for adults and £1 for kids (ed: just seen on Twitter that these are indeed the prices.)
Covid security: 200 will be the maximum permitted on a first-come-first-served basis, with no tickets sold in advance. You'll have to give test and trace details on arrival, which can either be done by pen and paper or by scanning a QR code.
Directions: A short way from junction 31 of the M25 just over the Dartford Crossing, with plenty of parking available at the ground. If you're taking public transport the easiest way is probably to get the train from either Fenchurch Street or West Ham to Rainham, from where the 372 bus takes you into the middle of Aveley.
Our record there: We visited for the first time last summer to play Grays, Aveley's tenants, who ran out 5-3 winners in a pre-season friendly. A couple of memorable visits to Aveley's old ground saw Dean Lodge come off the bench to inspire a dramatic comeback in a 4-3 win and Kenny Ojukwa score a screamer to win an FA Trophy replay.
Recent form: Their pre-season so far has seen wins over FC Romania, Waltham Abbey and Welling United but a loss at Needham Market. Last year they were well set for a place in the Division 1 North playoffs before the season was curtailed.
Players to watch: Manny Ogunrinde scored three goals in the first three friendlies, although last season's top scorer Alex Akrofi has left for Tonbridge. Experienced defender Steve Sheehan has joined over the summer - he's previously faced us in the colours of Canvey Island and East Thurrock.
Crowd: Averaged a respectable 251 at home last season, one of the better averages in their league.
Drinking: There are three pubs on Aveley High Street, about a ten minute walk from the ground, all of which have outside seating areas. The Old Ship is a traditional pub with old fireplaces and stained glass windows, listed as a CAMRA heritage pub. The Top House shows live sport on TV and, in happier times, live music. The Crown and Anchor is another traditional pub and has the largest beer garden of the three.
Food: Again the High Street is the best place to head, where the choice includes Essex Chef (fish and chips), Ming Long (Chinese) and the delightfully named Taste of Aveley (curry).