Monday, 14 July 2014

Rayners Lane - Tithe Farm



Rayners Lane FC
Tithe Farm Sports and Social Club
151 Rayners Lane
Harrow
Middlesex
HA2 0XH


0208 862 8724



Ground Number: 380
Monday 14th July 2014
Rayners Lane 2-0 Wealdstone
Friendly




It was the start of my week off from work, and so I was looking to take advantage of this and go to as many games as possible. I had a long and expensive trip to Harrogate tomorrow, and was hoping for something local. Hellenic D1 East side were playing a Wealdstone XI and it was under an hour away from me by car, so that fixture got the nod.


Rayners Lane FC were founded in 1933. They spent their early years in the Spartan League, but since 1978 have played in the Hellenic League, apart from a spell in the late 1990s when they played in the Middlesex and Chiltonian Leagues. They were as high up as the Hellenic Premier at one point, finishing 6th on 2 occasions in the mid 1980's. This was as high as step 4 of non league at this point, but in 1996 were demoted due to having no floodlights. After that brief spell away from the league, the club has been in the Hellenic Division 1 East ever since, winning the league in 2013, but finishing a disappointing 9th last term. In the FA Cup they got all the way to the 2nd Qualifying Round in 1992-93, but that was the last time they entered the competition. The club have also not competed in the FA Vase since 1996, their best progress was in the early 70's when they got to the 2nd Round. 




Wealdstone have a lot of notable history. The club took part in the first ever televised game when they played Barnet in an Athenian League game in 1946, and a few years later, the first televised FA Cup game, this time against Colchester United. They enjoyed their greatest success in the 1980s. in 1985 they were the first ever club to do the 'non league double' - winning both the Conference and the FA Trophy, a feat matched by my team Wycombe 8 years later. Had it been modern day, they would have been celebrating promotion to the Football League. But with automatic promotion not introduced until 1987, they were a couple of years too early. By that time however, it had all turned sour for the club. Relegated to the Southern League after a massive fall from grace, the then chairman sold the ground to Tesco, with the club getting very little money from it. A period of 15 years without a home followed, with the first 2 years of that being a very expensive groundshare at Watford, the cost of which almost saw the club bite the dust. They shared at Yeading, Edgware and Northwood in the following years, slipping down the leagues due to the lack of funds available due to cost of groundshares. They also took a voluntary demotion when they transferred to the Isthmian League from the Southern League to cut down on travelling expenses. Eventually in 2008, they found a new home at Ruislip Manor's ground, and increasing attendances have seen them climb back up the leagues, last season winning promotion into the Conference South for the coming season. The club have one very famous fan, the Wealdstone Raider, who shot to fame on Youtube, after being filmed asking fans if they 'want some' during a game at Whitehawk.

I had the day off work, but not much to do. I went down town with my Dad, as well as typing this blog. Apart from that it was just a matter of killing time until it was time to leave. I had a very nice dinner of hot and spicy burgers before leaving at 6.10. The first part of the journey was great, but on the A40 a couple of miles from Northolt it all ground to a halt. It had taken me 25 minutes to do the first 20 miles of my journey but then it took me 40 minutes to do the next 4, before luckily the last mile was at normal pace. I'd been hoping to go in the local Wetherpoons for a 'tick' from the cider festival, but there was no time. Perhaps it was for the best after the amount I put away over the weekend while watching the World Cup. In fact this great song from the Lancashire Hotpots sums it up pretty well, even if I am normally more healthy.




I got to the ground at 7.20 and bumped into Leicester hopper Alan. He told me an interesting nugget of news - there was an unofficial programme for sale! When he described the bloke, I knew straight away who it was. I am pretty sure the club gets some money but the guy who makes them gets a free ad for his company, the Soccer Club Swap Shop. I had bought one of his programmes from the Wembley v Bedfont and Feltham match a few seasons ago, and it was nice just to get something rather than nowt. Looking at tonight's issue, it was at a fair price of £1, and although print quality and presentation wasn't amazing, it had a few articles of interest and helped the club convey messages to groundhoppers and fans when them making their own programme would have proved uneconomical.

Also very fair was the £2 entry, and the 80p Bovril, served in a china mug. I only really bought the Bovril to get change for the programme, but it was nice to get a friendly welcome from the club and good value for money. I also chatted to Eastleigh fan Callum who had come up for the game. Alan had got the Wealdstone team written down and I was interested to see that ex Hayes and Eastleigh man Dan Wishart was playing, as well as former Kidderminster striker Freddie Ladapo. The game kicked off bang on time with both teams wearing their away kits, perhaps as Wealdstone needed their home kit for tomorrow's game against Dagenham & Redbridge. Below is a summary of the notes that I made during the game.

15: Ladapo's cross cum shot rolls across the face of goal, but no one connects with it.

23: The Rayners Lane Number 9 forces a good save from the Wealdstone keeper.

38: Number 9 who has looked dangerous for the home side lobs over the keeper but his shot is just wide.

42: Hayes Thomas forces a good save from the Rayners Lane keeper as he tips it round the post for a corner.

44: Another good chance for the home side, but it's fired just over.

HT: Leicester Alan makes the attendance 101 from his head count, which is pretty decent. The floodlights are on and there is a flurry of changes from the visitors. The home side have been the better team in the first half, just, and have had the better chances.


50: A good clearance off the line from the Rayners Lane number 16 keeps it scoreless.

53: Jack Waldron fires just wide for Wealdstone

57: Jack Waldron who has looked very useful since coming on forces a good save and there are a succession of corners.


59: And Rayners Lane take the lead! It's been against the run of play, but it was a good low finish from the number 2 from just inside the area.

70: Another good shot just wide by Wealdstone.

73: A great cross allows Wealdstone's Reece Grant to put the ball in the net, but he was way offside.

74: Good clearance from Rayners Lane number 18 after an initial good save from the keeper.

80: A breakaway attack for the home side results in a penalty claim for Rayners Lane, but it's turned down by the referee who has had a decent game.

82: It's Keystone Cops stuff here with pinball in the area, but the home side emerge unscathed.

83: From a cleared corner, Jack Smith shoots well wide for Wealdstone.

84: Blasted just over by Wealdstone's Jay Brockway.

88: And it's 2-0 to Rayners Lane. It was a rare attack but 17 finished well and celebrates Roger Milla style with a nice little dance.

FT: Rayners Lane 2-0 Wealdstone. Home side were the better team first half, but it was almost complete dominance from Wealdstone in the second period. But through excellent defending and taking their chances well, the home side have gained a notable result, even if it was only a friendly against a second string side

It had been a good game, and a nice short journey for me. It was nice to meet a couple of fellow groundhoppers, in fact I think that a large chunk of those present were groundhoppers. I had a good journey home, getting in just before 10. After typing my blog and watching TV, I got to bed just after midnight, knowing that I had a much longer journey the following day.

TITHE FARM, although fairly basic, is one of the better grounds in the Hellenic 1 East, where little more than a rail round the pitch is required, if my local club Penn & Tylers Green are anything to go by. There is just the one stand, holding about 150 with a combination of seating and standing. The tea bar is excellent in value and quality from what I saw. I only had a quick look in the bar at half time, but it seemed your typical clubhouse with club related stuff on the walls. Everyone I met was really friendly and with lots of pubs and takeaways within walking distance, it's well worth a visit.


No comments:

Post a Comment