The Ladywell Arena, home to both Lewisham Borough (Community) FC and Forest Hill Park is nestled between a train line and streets of terraced houses with Catford to the South and Lewisham to the North. The Town Centre areas are always busy but the ground with Ladywell Fields close by actually feels quiet and peaceful aside from the noise of passing trains puncturing the air every now and again.
The stadium is also used by the Kent and Blackheath Harriers athletics club with a six lane running track which isn't to every football fan's taste but in an inner London area where space is at a premium with most land having 'contemporary furnished, affordable and modern apartments' being built to see a football pitch with a stand and home to two good clubs is a real positive for the local community.
Lewisham Borough (Community) were formed in 2003 when Ten Em Bee, Elms and Moonshot all merged. They at first played in the Kent County League Division One (West) and won the title at the first attempt. They were founder members of the Kent Invicta League (Step Six) in 2011 which merged with the Southern Counties East League to form what is now Division One in 2016.
In recent seasons it's been a struggle for the club as they finished bottom of the Kent Invicta League in 12/13, 14/15 and 15/16 and the SCEFL Division One in 16/17. Shortly before the 18/19 the club resigned from the league and the future of the club was in doubt but thankfully they were reinstated just a day later.
This season has been more positive for the club as going into Monday night's South East London derby they were comfortably in mid-table in 9th position with their visitors struggling in the bottom three with possible relegation to step seven at the end of the season.Meridian Valley Park FC made the short trip from Charlton, SE7 on the back of six league games without a win. Ironically their last victory came at The Ladywell Arena back on Wednesday 2nd February when Douane West scored the only goal of the game in a 0-1 win against Forest Hill Park in front of 29 fans.
The club was founded in 1995 as Meridian Sports & Social playing in the Dartford & District League and the lower divisions of the Kent County League before being founder members of the Kent Invicta League - they were renamed Meridian Valley Park in 2013. Their home ground was established in 1921 by local workers at the Siemens factory in Woolwich. In the 1980s it was home to Thamesmead Town.
This game was a highly entertaining and competitive one played in good spirits between both sides in front of a hardy bunch of fans with shouts of 'C'mon Lewisham' heard throughout the 90 minutes played. It was a rare trip South of the River for me - Perhaps I should venture further more as this was a really decent match.
The home side can count themselves very unlucky not to get anything from the game as they had lots of chances but either wasted them or found Ben Ashton in the Meridian goal in good form.
The visitors took the lead on 35 minutes when Gideon Sonko scored with a delightful lob from the edge of the box which Claudio Boakye in the home goal had so chance of saving. Douane West proved he likes playing the ground following his goal against Forest Hill Park as he doubled their lead from close range on 75 minutes. It was 0-3 only a few minutes later when Greg Williams headed a long ball into the box home to wrap up a very important victory for his team.
The home side pulled a deserved goal back via Raphael President who despite his boot coming off was able to score to make it 1-3.
Lloyd Davis's side get a chance to put thing right as they host FC Elmstead on Wednesday evening followed by two more home games against Sporting Club Thamesmead on Saturday 2nd April and current table topper's Stansfeld on Monday 4th April.
The win moves Meridian VP out of the drop zone which is now occupied by Lydd Town, Forest Hill Park and Chessington & Hook United. The travel to Snodland Town on Saturday before another local derby next Tuesday evening as they host Bridon Ropes who also play at the Meridian Sports & Social Club. They host Lydd Town on Saturday 2nd April.
The seated stand at The Ladywell Arena is named in honour of the late Clinton Rhule who was one of the founding members of the club in 2003.
He sadly passed away in 2009 but I'm sure he would be proud of what a good season the club are having and the improved performances with some very impressive players representing the club on the pitch.
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS - JUST THE GOALS
LONGER MATCH HIGHLIGHTS