A devastating grass fire, which started in scrubland on Monday, 1st August, threatened the adjacent home grounds of Bedfont Sports FC and Bedfont FC. 15 fire engines and more than100 firefighters tackled the blaze, which covered six hectares. Their superb efforts extinguished the blaze before it reached the main buildings of either club.
Bedfont FC, who have recently changed their name from Bedfont & Feltham FC, play at step 6 in Division One of the Combined Counties League, at the Orchard. Their club house was saved but the fire burnt a lot of their ground, including the pitch, to a crisp. Their adjacent junior pitches, including the goals, were damaged.
Recovery under way at Bedfont
Bedfont Sports FC are a step 4 club, competing in the Isthmian League South Central Division. The fire did not reach their stadium at Bedfont Recreation Ground, which has a 3G pitch but half of the outside grass pitches, used by their junior teams were badly affected.
The local community and fellow clubs were quick to offer assistance and support. For instance, a GoFundMe page has raised more than £3500 for Bedfont FC to date. Clubs have also offered to loan their grounds, while the Orchard is out of commission. Typically, Bedfont Sports, despite their own problems, are going to help out with their neighbour’s league fixtures, when they can.
Bedfont Sports ground share with FC Deportivo Galicia and Bedfont likewise accommodate British Airways. Both of the tenant clubs play in the Combined Counties Division One. Last Saturday they both had home fixtures, Deportivo against Penn & Tylers Green and British Airways against AFC Aldermaston.
Deportivo were able to play at Bedfont Rec, as planned and won 3-0. Bedfont Sports then hosted British Airways’ match, with a 6pm kick off, cancelling a prearranged preseason friendly to do so. Bedfont had an away match with Rising Ballers Kensington, who ground share at North Greenford United FC. Rising Ballers generously donated the profits from this game to Bedfont’s Rebuild Fund.
Middlesex’s roving team of Chris Benn (photographer) and myself decided to start our season with visits to the matches at NGU, in the afternoon and then Bedfont Sports in the evening. We were rewarded with lively and well contested matches at both venues.
RISING BALLERS KENSINGTON 1 BEDFONT 2
The home side made the early running but the better of the few scoring chances went to Bedfont. Josh Hughes was tripped outside the corner of the penalty box and then headed the resulting free kick, taken by Kani McCalmon just past the post. Then Redon Gashi hit the angle of the crossbar and post, with a shot which dipped sharply.
Josh Hughes (19) heads a free kick just wide of RB's upright
Durcial Mampono opened the scoring for Bedfont in the 43rd minute, with a low drive into the corner of the net, just beating the diving Tommaso Kelly.
Durcial Mampano shoots...
...and puts Bedfont ahead
RB were reduced to 10 players, during the added time at the end of first half, when Youssef Bouimane was shown a second yellow card.
Referee Nicholas On shows RB's Youssef Bouimane his second yellow and red cards
Cyril Ocansey doubled Bedfont’s lead, 12 minutes after the interval.
The pace of the game slowed as the half progressed. A series of yellow cards and lectures delivered by the referee contributed to this.
A close range save by the Bedfont keeper
Sam Bersey, in the Bedfont goal, distinguished himself with two good close-range saves. He was finally beaten with the last kick of the match, a low drive from Kevin Gonzalez, which he got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.
Kevin Gonzalez (out of picture) scores for RB Kensington with the last kick of the match
RB Kensington: Tommaso Kelly, Loic Eyango Epossi (Rex Schneideman 65), Ansou Sousso-Diame, Zakari Otoo, Toby Bridges, Youssef Bouimane. Jermaine Heron, Ayoub Amellal (capt), (Jude Lennon 30, Kladji Cani 65), Courtney Austin, Kevin Gonzalez and Jamal Sharpe.
Bedfont: Sam Bersey, Kieran Brown, Ryan Lloyd, Luke Bersey (capt), Ethan Sennett, Durcial Mampono, Kildane Tesfu, Kani McCalmon, Cyril Ocansey, Redon Gashi (Lennox Philipps 74) and Josh Hughes (Kissi Williams Jnr 82).
Referee: Nicholas On Assistant Referees: Nigel Hickes and Paul Savva.
BRITISH AIRWAYS 0 AFC ALDERMASTON 2
The first half hour was evenly contested, with very few chances accruing. BA made some promising moves down the left but the final important pass was never delivered. James Barnett came closest to scoring with a lob over the keeper, which went just wide of the far post.
An early Aldermaston attack is repelled
Aldermaston's Kacper Malinowski about to net from close range...
Just after this, BA keeper, Ben Clargo scrambled across his goal to prevent Kacper Malinowski netting from close in.
...but the British Airways keeper has other ideas
Aldermaston took the lead in the 35th minute through Pritpal Raju, who intercepted a BA pass, before driving home.
...and puts Aldermaston ahead
Just a minute later, Kacper Malinowski made the score 2-0, by finishing a good move from close range.
Kacper Malinowski scores Aldermaston's second goal
Immediately after the interval, Ben Clargo made a good double save from Aldermaston’s Hassan Mahood. He dived to stop Hassan’s shot and then beat him to the resulting loose ball.
Ben Clargo completes a good double save from Hassan Mahood
BA then had a lot of possession but could not break through. Hassan Hussain in the visitor’s goal looked very solid.
Aaron Edwards and substitute Harold Ake went closest for Airways. Aaron guided a free kick by Tyler Hayles narrowly wide of the post. Then after Tyler was fouled in a central position, Harold hit the ensuing free kick against the cross bar. Harold burst through a minute later and fired past the upright.
British Airways: Ben Clargo, Darren Sebana, Brandon Jackson, Peter Parfitt (capt), McCauley Wheatley, Charlie Rose, Charlie Quinnell, Aaron Edwards, Tyler Hayles, Shaun Aram and James Barnett.
AFC Aldermaston: Hassan Hussain, Alcides Madeleno, Ibraham Zaheed, Harprit Purewal, Jovan Bains, Alexander Ryan, Riaz Omar, Pritpal Raju, Maciej Tajs (capt), Hassan Mahood and Kacper Malinowski.
Referee: Joe Alborough Assistant Referees: Daniel Harvey and Nigel Hickes.
We thank our intrepid reporter and photography team who travelled across the county to cover these matches, as ever they have selected their favourite shots from the matches, which can be seen throughout the report, Chris has also kindly collated a full album of imagery from both matches, the links for which can be found below.
Rising Ballers Kensington - Bedfont FC
Chris & Jim's picks
Full album courtesy of Chris Benn
British Airways - AFC Aldermaston
Chris & Jim's Picks
Full Album courtesy of Chris Benn