Having failed to score a ticket for the Polis against Crawley and seen Plymouth’s encounter with Dorchester switched to the Sunday, our band of unfortunates headed to Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park on Saturday.
But is it Boreham Wood or Borehamwood all as one word? Many minutes were wasted pondering this grammatical conundrum – the local Silverlink station is Elstree & Borehamwood whilst the football club name is split into two – with the local fans referring to their heroes simply as ‘the Wood’. Perhaps Real FA Cup loyalists can enlighten us?
Having lived in Hendon for 11 years, it was nostalgia inducing to return to the local area – although to be reminded of the sheer facelessness of much of North West London suburbia left me perhaps glad to have to departed for new pastures. In a wide arc from Dollis Hill to Harrow and across to Enfield, the 1920s houses and light industrial units of later days surround a plethora of tatty high roads and this particular district’s main drag, Shenley Road proved to be no exception – any expectation that the presence of the BBC’s Elstree studios might induce an oasis of bohemia were soon crushed.
Ignoring the rather fearsome fortress of The Crown pub opposite the railway, we had planned to drink at the Green Dragon to the north of the town centre, our schedule somewhat squeezed by the 2pm kick off time. After a walk of a mile or so, passing Meadow Park en route, we rolled up at said establishment – and suspicions that the building might once have housed a Chinese restaurant, fuelled by its name, were once again aired. Meanwhile, the isolated nature of the pub was confirmed by fellow blogger Lloyd, running late and, having asked of the doorman at the Crown where the Green Dragon was, being asked ‘how the fuck should I know?’
The blaspheming continued on entering the pub – timed just as RvP was putting Man Yoo ahead against the Ass – the plural of the c word ringing out to greet us although a large canine was more companionable and the pub busy with lunchtime traffic – to our relief, the abuse had been directed toward the red half of Manchester and not ourselves. Mercifully free of the primary colours settees and meal deals of chaindom, pints of the ubiquitous Doom Bar went down well and we were not made to feel unwelcome. Ditto one or two Brentford fans who had clearly joined us in consulting BeerintheEvening.com
The pub had the air of a social club or a non-league club bar which made up for the fact that we did not get to attend the latter. On approaching the stadium, the atmosphere was low key – London non-league clubs often suffer from their seeming invisibility to the local populace while those that represent defined communities with less porous boundaries – Worcester City, Chelmsford City etc. – will always enjoy more pre-match hubbub.
On arrival for the main event, a decent sized Brentford contingent were stationed behind one end and a burger with bacon and cheese proved to be enjoyable even if it would have been possible to sign on for a spell of temp work given the time required to queue for such victuals. Apart from the odd call for Clayton Donaldson’s leg to be broken, the audience was friendly to boot.
Boreham Wood are knocking on the door of the Conference National and big plans are afoot for a club that has enjoyed most of its laurels in recent decades. Currently fourth, a play-off spot looks to be a reasonable ambition even if Salisbury already look to be runaway leaders. The programme revealed plans for a spanking new West Stand and ex-Trabzonspor striker Ömer Riza has been banging the goals in, while a curious youth set up tie in with Reading has also been heavily publicized (youngsters wearing tracksuits displaying both club’s badges were behaving boisterously on our train back into London). The club also host Arsenal Ladies and a placard near the entrance revealed FFC Turbine Potsdam as recent visitors.
The first half was an even affair with the locals showing much fight against a Brentford line up that protects the club’s tradition of being big and physical. Chances came and went and Richard Lee was busy in goal for the visitors. The Bees’ outfield men were lively too though, with Everton youngster Jake Bidwell combining well with his former Toffee team mate Adam Forshaw down the left. Then, the deadlock was broken by the aforementioned ‘Donaldinho’, cutting inside and firing in a low drive while, soon after, Harry Forrester capitalizing on a mistake to put the game beyond doubt. After the break and despite not scoring further, Brentford cruised, wasting a number of chances although Wood keeper James Russell had a terrific match.
Some amusing hi-jinks involving members of the local youth playing a game of footsie with the stewards on the final whistle capped an enjoyable jaunt although we abandoned the spirit of the FAQ Cup to enjoy post match ales at Kentish Town hipster magnet The Lord Southampton afterwards, leaving Clive Tyldesley to file his notes from a curious metal cage. I shall be writing about Brentford for The Two Unfortunates within the next 24 hours.
Words by Rob Langham of The Two Unfortunates.