On Saturday we welcome famous visitors to the Spectrum in the form of Walton & Hersham (kick-off 3pm). In the post-war years and through to the 1970’s Walton & Hersham were one of the very best non-league sides in the country. In 1951-52 and 1952-53 they reached the semi-final of the then hugely prestigious FA Amateur Cup. In the latter year they were watched by a 10,000 crowd when they faced Crook Town at their famous former ground Stompond Lane. In the same decade the club reached the First Round of the FA Cup when they played Southampton in front of 6,000 fans.
The Swans real golden period commenced with the appointment of manager Allen Batsford in 1967. Athenian League championships and visits to the FA Cup first round became routine, and in 1972-73 the Swans went one stage further by reaching the FA Cup second round. In the same season they reached Wembley for the first time; winning the FA Amateur Cup by beating Slough Town 1-0. Incredibly they didn’t concede a goal throughout the competition. Walton & Hersham possessed a side of top non-league players with players such as Dave Bassett, Roger Connell and Dave Donaldson as good as any outside of the Football League. This period reached a climax with perhaps the most famous matches of all. In 1973-74 the Swans faced Brian Clough’s Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup Second Round at Stompond Lane. The match finished 0-0 and the sides moved on to the Goldstone Ground for the replay. Famously the Surrey side won 4-0 on the south coast, much to the fury of Brian Clough. Sadly and inevitably the period had to come to an end and in 1974 Batsford and many of his players were attracted to Wimbledon who were about to commence their rise.
Since then success has been sparse and at the end of 2015-16 Walton & Hersham slipped out of the National Game to play in the Combined Counties League. Hopes of an immediate return to the Isthmian League were thwarted principally by the excellence of a Hartley Wintney side who romped the league giving no other club time of day. During the close season the club left their iconic Stompond Lane ground to share the impressive Excel Elmbridge Sports Hub with Walton Casuals. This season with two promotion places up for grabs they are well in the race as the competition starts to hot up. City were honoured to be Walton & Hersham’s first opponents at their new stadium in October; a match memorably in which City put in a superb performance winning 3-0 with goals from Kieran Campbell, Darryl Siaw and Jordan Gallagher.
Kick off at the Spectrum is 3pm on Saturday and a fine match is in store. Can City achieve a league double or can the Swans maintain the promotion push. Admission is £7 adults, £4 concessions and £1 juniors. Students gain admission for £4 on production of their NUS card, and season ticket holders of all other clubs (except those taking part) get 50% off entry at the gate on production of their ticket.