It's July so of course The Great British Summer Time means going to a pre-season game in the blazing sunshine and catching up with mates you might not of seen since the end of last season. Except today the weather was against us with torrential rain in parts of the South East. I was at a game luckily with some covered terracing and for once it wasn't a non-league fixture as I watched a League Two v League One match as Stevenage FC entertained Charlton Athletic. Borough featured a number of ex non-league players in their squad such as midfielder Harry Beautyman (ex of Sutton United and Welling United), midfielder Tom Pett (Potters Bar Town and Wealdstone), defender Fraser Franks (Welling United), Rowan Liburd (Billericay Town) and winger Blair Turgott who impressed many fans playing for Bromley in the Vanarama National division.
The South London side, now managed by ex MK Don's boss Karl Robinson, looked the better side in the first half an hour with the home side struggling to create anything in the final third. Tarique Fosu, playing just behind the front line, looks an impressive player for The Addicks with some fantastic forward runs into the box which created a few opportunities. He has recently signed from Championship side Reading but spent most of last season on loan at League Two side Colchester United. I think he could do very well for his new club this season.
Stevenage took the lead with a goal from Franks only for Karlan Ahearne-Grant to equalise a short while afterwards. The home side looked a lot more positive with the inclusion of forward Alex Samuel (signed from Swansea City over the summer) in place of Liburd in the second half. It was Charlton who won the game 1-2 with a goal from Jake Forster-Caskey on 56 minutes.
Charlton's left back Jay Da-Silva looks a superb player - he is on loan from Chelsea and has played for the England u19s, u18s, u17s and u16s. He looks composed whenever with the ball at his feet and hopefully has a bright future in he game. His younger brother's Rio and Cole (twins) also play for Chelsea at present.
It's Robinson's first full season in charge of the club having joined last November - He is now assisted by Lee Bowyer and Johnnie Jackson - I expect them to do very well this season and at least get into the play-offs - they are joint fourth in the title race betting at 16/1 with skybet.com who rate Blackburn Rovers at 9/2 as favourites.
Vanarama South side Braintree Town went down 0-3 at home to Colchester United whose scorers were Sammie Szmodics (2) and Louis Dunne. Szmodics spent a short while on loan at The Iron in 2015. Braintree included ex Enfield Town players Nathan McDonald, Jon Muleba, Ricky Gabriel, Scott Shulton, Billy Crook, Dernell Wynter and Harry Ottaway in their stating XI.
Another ex Enfield Town player, Nathan Livings, featured for Evo Stik Southern League Premier Division Bishops Stortford who entertained Bostik Premier League title favourite's Billericay Town. The Essex side ran out 2-6 winners with Joe Ellul, Sam Deering (2), Billy Bricknell and Louis Theophanus scorers for them along with an early own-goal.
Enfield Town took on Bostik South side Whyteleafe at Donkey Lane and won 4-1 with Ralston Gabriel, Ben Hart, Micky Parcell and Ryan Blake were the scorers.
Bostik North side Hertford Town entertianing Evo Stik Southern League Premier Division Kings Langley and played out an entertaining 3-3 draw. Just down the road at Wodson Park Ware won 3-0 at home to St Margaretsbury - Ahmed Mohammed (2) and Yannick Kamanan got the goals.
Finally, it was a day of celebration for Combined Counties Premier Division side CB Hounslow United played their first game at their new Green Lane stadium against Staines Lammas - They host Walton Casuals in their next game on Thursday evening.