Grier's Guide to Bowers and Pitsea
The game: Bowers and Pitsea v Kingstonian, Isthmian League. Saturday 9 October, 15:00.
The club: Bowers United and Pitsea FC merged in 2004, playing in the Essex Senior League. They won promotion to Isthmian 1 North in 2016, also making the semi-finals of the FA Vase, and then the Premier Division in 2019.
The town: Pitsea, where the ground is, is a small town with a long history, now joined to Basildon after the latter was expanded as a new town in the 1960s. Bowers comes from Bowers Gifford, a village in between Pitsea and Benfleet.
The ground: The Len Salmon Stadium, Crown Avenue, Pitsea, Essex, SS13 2BE. It has a decent-sized main stand, a good covered terrace behind one goal and a smaller one behind the other.
Ticket prices: £12 adults, £6 OAPs/students/12-16 year olds, £3 7-12 year olds, free for under 6s.Tickets can be bought online in advance (https://bowersandpitseafc.ktckts.com/) but can also be bought on the turnstile.
Directions: Pitsea station is half an hour's walk away, although buses 5, 5A and 5B will take you there from either Pitsea or Basildon. Both are on the line from Fenchurch Street and West Ham but on Saturday you can only get the train as far as Laindon, from where you'll need a rail replacement bus to finish the journey. By car it's about an hour and a half from Kingston if traffic is OK - head round the M25 and over the Dartford Crossing (remember to pay for it online) and then take the A13 towards Pitsea. There's a car park at the ground, with more spaces at the nearby Eversley Centre on Crest Avenue if it gets full.
Our record there: This will be our first visit - 2019/20's visit was scheduled for April and didn't get played before lockdown, while last season's game was called off when a Bowers player tested positive for Covid.
Recent form: They're only 17th in the league but have had a good run in the FA Cup - they go to Hornchurch this week for a replay after drawing 2-2 in the third qualifying round.
Players to watch: Striker Lewis Manor has made a fine start to the season, with eight goals already.
Crowd: Their average of 192 is one of the lowest in the division but FA Cup success may encourage a few more along.
Drinking: There are no pubs particularly near the ground so Basildon town centre may be your best bet. There's The Beehive, which has Sky Sports and a good-sized outdoor area, a Wetherspoons and a pool hall/bar a close walk from the station.
Food: A small row of shops on Rectory Road, about a seven minute walk from the ground, includes Martella's, a chippie. If coming from Pitsea station there are fast food options including Subway, KFC and a few pizza places.