Grier's Guide to Carshalton Athletic
The match: Carshalton Athletic v Kingstonian, Isthmian Premier. Monday 26 December, 15:00
The club: Long-standing local rival of Ks, they joined the Isthmian in 1973 and have been there ever since other than a short spell in Conference South. They won the Surrey Senior Cup three times between 1989 and 1992.
The town: Historic village long-since swallowed up by London and now part of the Borough of Sutton. Former Prime Minister John Major was born there.
The ground: War Memorial Sports Ground, Colston Avenue, Sutton, Carshalton SM5 2PW. A fine ground with cover at both ends and a big, old-school terrace on the far side. It has a 3G pitch.
Directions: Trains don’t run on Boxing Day so if relying on public transport you’ll need to get a bus. The X26 runs direct from Kingston to Carshalton High Street via New Malden, taking around 40 minutes. It should take between 30 and 60 minutes to drive via any of Stoneleigh, Worcester Park or Morden, with Boxing Day traffic often heavy. Parking is available in the streets near the ground.
Tickets: £11 adults / £8 seniors / £3 U18s if bought online at https://www.carshaltonathletic.co.uk/tickets. It's a pound more on the gate, with only contactless payments accepted, not cash.
Our record there: We haven’t won there since Carshalton’s return to the Premier Division in 2018, with a penalty helping The Robins to a 1-0 win last season. More happily, Colston Avenue was the venue for our 5-0 win over Faversham Town in 2016's Alan Turvey Trophy final.
Recent form: After a bit of a slow start they’re now just outside the playoffs having only lost once in their last nine league games.
Players to watch: The Carshalton side will have a familiar feel to it – maybe more familiar than our own if you haven’t been to many games this season. They were one of the main beneficiaries of the exodus of last year’s side with Gus Sow, Calvin Ekpiteta, Ollie Cook and Walter Figueira all joining. Top scorer Tom Beere makes it five ex-Ks in the squad and there’s another familiar face in goal – Corinthian-Casuals stalwart Danny Bracken.
Crowd: Well-supported club with whom we can sometimes get into contests of who can sing anti-Sutton songs the loudest.
Drinking: Just round the corner from ground is The Hope, one of the best pubs of the whole Isthmian season. Community-owned, it’s serious about its beer and has won CAMRA's Greater London pub of the year award five times. It will be open as usual from 12:00 on Boxing Day, although they won’t be serving food.
Food: There are no cafes or restaurants in the area so the ground is probably your best bet.