Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Boreham Wood - Meadow Park

Boreham Wood FC
Meadow Park
Broughinge Road

020 8953 5097
Official Website

Ground Number: 135
Monday 25th February 2008
Watford Reserves 1-2 Wycombe Wanderers Reserves
Reserves Combination


BOREHAMWOOD FC was founded in 1948. They played in the Spartan & Athenian Leagues up until 1974 when they joined the Isthmian League. Starting in its second tier, they spent 3 seasons there before being promoted to the Premier Division. For a long time, they flitted between the two levels and even spent 2 years in the Southern League D1 East between 2004-06. On the second season, they were champions though and have not looked back since. They gained promotion to the Conference South in 2010 after beating Kingstonian 2-0 in the playoff final after a 4th placed finish, After a series of mid-table finishes they had a cracking season in 2014/15, finishing 2nd and getting to a playoff final against Whitehawk which I was going to. 

In the FA Cup, the club has reached the FA Cup 2nd Round twice, and this occurred in the space of 2 seasons between 1996 and 1998. On both occasions, they had to beat Rushden & Diamonds in a replay. The first time saw a narrow 2-1 defeat to Luton Town, whilst the second saw them take Cheltenham Town to a replay. There have been appearances in the 1st Round since then, with defeats to Torquay, Blackpool & Carlisle. The club also had a great run to the FA Trophy Semi-Final in 2005/06. Starting with a victory against Ilford in the 1st Qualifying Round, they then beat Bromley, Stamford, Leighton Town, Gravesend & Northfleet, Crawley Town & Worksop Town to set up a 2 legged semi-final against Woking. Sadly they missed out on a Wembley appearance by virtue of a 3-0 aggregate defeat. A plethora of local cups have been won, most recently the Herts Senior Cup for the 4th time in 2014 when they beat fellow Conference South side Bishops Stortford 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.


Just 2 days after a great victory against Rochdale, the reserves were playing over at Boreham Wood against WatfordIt was the usual unpleasant rush hour drive to get there but was worth it, result wise at least as Wycombe won 2-1 to set up a rare win for their second string side. 2 goals from Chidi Ogbuagu, either side of a Billy Gibson strike won it for the ChairboysThe game was hardly a classic. Wycombe had most of the possession and the majority of the few chances that were created and deserved their win. And it was the Wanderers who opened the scoring a quarter of an hour in when Botham's cross was bundled in by Chidi Ogbuagu. Wycombe looked good for a half time lead, but in injury time Billy Gibson levelled for Watford to send the teams in all square. Their joy was short lived however, Ogbuagu scored his second, and the eventual decider just a minute into the second half. Man of the match, in my opinion, was right winger Matt Phillips, who got a full 90 minutes and looked good in the absence of Martin Bullock. Indeed young Phillips looks a better bet for the first team at the moment, as ex Macclesfield winger Bullock looks way short of form at the moment


With it coming to the end of the 2014/15 season, I was looking to make the most of it. A game on one of the last Saturday's was a must. My ideal situation would have been going to watch my team Wycombe at Plymouth in the playoff semi final. But with the game moved to 7.45pm for TV coverage and me being up at 4am for work in the morning I'd either be totally knackered, or indeed not even back in time if we got held up in traffic. I'd also spent a shed load lately, and with a possible game at Wembley coming up, funds were getting tight.

So where to go? Ideally it would have been a new ground, and Chorley v Guiseley would be an absolute corker in the Conference North playoff final. But that would cost a hell of a lot to get to, and I would unlikely to be back in time for the Wycombe game on Sky. With a lot of leagues being all packed up for the summer. choice was limited. I'd been enjoying some revisits to old grounds, especially ones where I'd not got a programme. Though I had got a stub from my previous visit, it was only for a Watford reserves game and so I decided to go to Borehamwood v Whitehawk in the Conference South Playoff Final.

I decided to make a day of it and so I left home at 10am. I went to Bovingdon Market for the first time in a year. As always, there were bargains to be had, and I got myself 2 boxes of chocolates for £1, and a 'Gucci' Tracksuit for a tenner. By the time I had finished it was 11.20 and after a half hour drive I was parked up the other side of the park to the ground in Borehamwood. On the way I went past a place amusingly called 'Bell End' and had I had more time, I'd have stopped for a picture. But instead I wanted to get into town. It was around a 20 minute walk into town, with my first port of call being Iceland to pick up a couple of bottles of Irn Bru. After a look round a couple of other shops, I went to the Wetherspoons in town, called the "Hart & Spool' where I had a couple of ciders and a gourmet chicken burger. Suitably fed and watered, I then went back to my car, dropping off some things and picking up other bits before walking across the park to the ground. 

I arrived just after 2, and with it being early, there were not many in. The attendance would eventually rise to over 2200 though which was a huge improvement of the 900 that went to the semi-final. I was glad to see the club shop opening as I had heard it was good from my Dulwich supporting friend and groundhopper in denial Mishi. He said the book selection was excellent. I reckon he must have had all the stock, as there was not much of interest for me, just annuals and some of the more common autobiographies. I did pick up 3 programmes for 60p though including a Grimsby v Spurs one, a random FA Cup match between Hungerford Town & Bridgend Town and a nice thick Hoddesdon Town one. They should provide sufficient reading material or resale value to make the purchase worthwhile.

A match report from the Non-League Paper is further down the page, but overall it was a fantastic day out. First off there was a multitude of ex Wycombe players - namely Junior Morias, Lee Angol and Matty Whichelow for Boreham Wood. Then for Whitehawk, there was Nick Arnold, Tom Cadmore & Sergio Torres. It was a great atmosphere too with flares and some good songs from fans. It had that big game atmosphere that you get towards the end of the season. As much as I love non-league, and love watching Wycombe at home, I don't often get that. The non-leaguers have small crowds and at Wycombe, I am in such familiar surroundings that any chanting goes over my head unless it's beyond the norm as I sit in the family stand. I sat in the brand new stand first half, then the older one in the second and had an excellent view from both. 

After the game, the jubilant Boreham Wood fans invaded the pitch and it took a fair while to clear them off. I then watched the Trophy being presented before walking back across the park to my car. It was 6.10 by the time I left and after stopping at Tesco to do a small job, I was home an hour later. After checking Facebook and uploading my photos, I was watched Wycombe beat Plymouth 3-2 on Sky. We raced into a 3-0 lead and I was in dreamland. 2 late goals took the shine off things a bit, but it was still a great result. I watched the FA Vase Highlights on BT Sport and also Match Of The Day. I was wide awake still. I eventually got to sleep at 1.30, not ideal when I was up at 4am for work.


MEADOW PARK is a fairly modern ground, within a stones throw of the local Elstree Studios, where the likes of Eastenders and Big Brother are filmed. Having seen both of those recently (and in fact given up on Eastenders after watching it for 20 years), I'd imagine it's a pretty safe bet that better entertainment could be found at the local football ground!

The main stand is of a decent size and is similar to the one that is at Kingstonian's ground, and indeed the one at Aylesbury United's old Buckingham Road ground. It holds 500 fans  Opposite was a covered terrace which stretched most of the length of the pitch. The 2 ends are uncovered terracing, but the steps are at least deep enough to offer a decent view for most people, certainly unless it was a big game. As well as playing host to the home side and Watford Reserves, Meadow Park also has Arsenal Ladies team using it as their home ground. 

Since my first visit, a brand new stand has replaced the covered terracing on the far side. It was opened in 2014 by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and pretty much brings the ground up to Football League standard. The bar is smart and modern, being recently refurbished and the tea bar looked decent as well. There is a much wider choice in the town, which is around a 10-minute walk away. Overall relaxed stewarding and friendly club people make it a really good day out. 



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