We all know where Boro’s 1997-8 FA Cup run would take us; an epic battle with Newcastle United that’ll forever be edged into our club’s folklore. But did you know where that famous cup adventure started that season? After all, everything has its origin story. And this one is an away day at Carshalton Athletic. We won 5-0 in our First Round tie – after a replay, of course. Not that a one-off cup meeting is all there is to be said about us and the Robins.
That cup tie doesn’t take into account our four league encounters and an AC Delco cup tie though. It’s always the most recent you remember better, however. Not least when wins were few and far between in the other games.
Carshalton Athletic: The Facts
War Memorial Sports Ground
Colston Avenue, Carshalton, Surrey, SM5 2PW
It’d seem that we have two separate clubs that contribute to the formation of what we now know as the Robins; formed in 1905 as Mill Lane Mission, but owing some form of debt to Carshalton St Andrews too. It also seems as if Mill Lane Mission were knocking around in 1903 – but only formally registered in 1905 with the local FA. Two years later, the Mission changed name to its current moniker; the club formally absorbing St Andrews too in 1908.
The club moved to their current gaff, the War Memorial Sports Ground, during the 1920-1 season; the name clearly derived from the fact it was built in memorial to those who lost their lives during World War One. In 1922, the Robins were granted senior status; a move that let them enter FA competitions like the FA Cup. But that’s as exciting as it gets during the interwar years; local and county competitions where you’d most likely find them.
After World War Two, the Robins kicked on and joined the Corinthian League; spending 10 seasons in the competition and winning the title twice. The mid-1950s saw them move on again after election to the Athenian League. The move didn’t bring any huge success. Their close shave with second position – losing out on goal average – in 1964 was good as it’d get. In 1966, they were relegated into Athenian League Division One.
Why do we know the Robins?
In summer 1973, the Isthmian League was expanding. And, with it, came a chance for the Robins to move up another step. Ending their stint in the Athenian League, they became a founder member of the new Isthmian League Division Two. It was a rough-and-ready start to life in the competition; twice struggling, before going so close to promotion at the third time of asking. It seemed to spark life into the Robins, as the following season proved.
The 1976-7 campaign saw the club promoted to Isthmian League Division One; renamed as the Premier Division that summer. Life in a higher league again proved a struggle. But the Robins remained on that perch. Don’t get us wrong – there were some close calls. Yet, no season would end in relegation. And their 1987-8 campaign would see them crack the top half for the first time.
The eagle-eyed among you’ll know the 1987-8 season was also one in which our own rise up the ladder took a step back. As the Robins grew more comfortable in their own division, would it be that we’d have to win promotion twice to meet them for the first time? No. We’d break our first bread together while we were still two divisions apart in September 1989. It was an A.C. Delco Cup First Round tie and the odds were firmly stacked against us.
How to get to Carshalton Athletic – Travel Information – Distance: 69 miles
You can take a direct route through London to get to Carshalton, and it may well be the shortest way. For speed, however, we think the M25 could be the best bet – despite the chance of it getting snarled up.
Head round the counter-clockwise M25 to Junction 10; coming off using the two left lanes for the London-bound A3. Once on the A3, it’s just over 11 miles to the junction you want; the A298 taking you towards Wimbledon.
Keep right on the slip road for the A298 and continue on for just under three quarters of a mile. Here, turn right into Grand Drive and go over the first roundabout you come to. At the second by Morden Baptist Church, however, take the second exit for Lower Morden Lane.
When you come to the A24, turn left. It’s only for 0.4 miles, however; taking the right turn for the B278 as soon as you come along side a Travelodge and Harvester. Follow the road around here onto Green Lane. You’ll soon come to a large roundabout.
Here, take the third exit for the B278. You’ll be on this for around 1.5 miles, at which point it swings to the right and becomes West Street. Shortly after, go right at the roundabout onto Colston Avenue. The ground is set back off the road on your right.
There’s a large car park at the ground, which might not fill up completely – but it could do and that’s a chance you take. If this is the case, you might be able to find somewhere on the access road or nearby side streets.
Services to: LONDON VICTORIA
Turn right as you exit the station on the south side of the tracks. Walk up to the end of the road and another right will take you onto the B278 to cross the railway. Next, it’s a left turn at the mini-roundabout that’ll take you into Colston Avenue. Walk along this road until you reach the right turn for the access road.
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