Friday, 23 July 2021

Northwood - Northwood Park


Northwood FC
Northwood Park
Chestnut Avenue
Northwood
Middlesex
HA6 1HR

01923 827148
Official Website
Twitter







Ground Number: 193
Tuesday 13th March 2012
Northwood 1-0 Harefield United
Help For Heroes Middlesex Charity Cup - Quarter Final







NORTHWOOD FC - A BRIEF HISTORY

The club was established in 1926 although other clubs existed in the area as far back as 1899. They played in local leagues at first, such as the Harrow, Wembley and District League which they won seven times. They joined the Middlesex County League in 1969 and in 1978 were crowned champions, moving up to the Hellenic League. They won Division 1 at the first attempt in 1979 and had a credible 7th place finish in their debut season. In 1984, Northwood joined the Spartan League and after finishing runners-up in 1990, won the league in 1992. They joined the Isthmian League following the win, starting in Division 3. In 1997, a third place finish behind Wealdstone & Braintree Town was good enough for promotion to Division 2. At the turn of the millennium, it was another promotion party as Northwood finished second behind Hemel Hempstead Town to go up to Division 1.  They were champions in 2003 and the following season, just about survived relegation. The 2003/04 finish of 21st was the best in the club's history as at the time, it was a step 2 league. However, they didn't make the cut for the newly established Conference South and continued to struggle. They were moved to the Southern Premier in 2005 and a couple of years later, suffered relation for the first time as a semi-pro club. They've been in Isthmian & Southern step 4 leagues ever since, their best finish of 6th coming in 2009.

In the FA Cup, Northwood's best-ever run came in 2000. That season, they beat Rothwell Town, East Thurrock United, Hemel Hempstead Town and Uxbridge before losing to Grays Athletic in a 4th Qualifying Round Replay. They made their FA Trophy debut during the same season and enjoyed their best ever run there too. After beating Dartford & Purfleet, they went out in the 3rd Round to Canvey Island. The 1996/97 saw the club reach the FA Vase Quarter Final. They beat Wooton Blue Cross, Chalfont St Peter, Harlow Town, Histon & Durham City before losing to Banstead Athletic. Local cup wins include eight league cups during their time as members of the Harrow, Wembley & District League and also three as members of the Middlesex League. In more modern times, they've won the Hellenic League Cup (1979), the London Spartan League Cup (1992) and three league cups in the Isthmian League. In terms of County FA Cups, the Middlesex Intermediate Cup was won in 1979m whilst they've twice won the Senior Cup and have lifted the Charity Cup on four occasions.

The club's record attendance of 1,642 came for a friendly against Chelsea in 1997. The club's top scorer is Marin Ellis who found the net 156 times between 1976 and 1985. However, Lawrence Yaku, who went on to play for Maidenhead United grabbed 54 goals during the 1999/00. Club legend Chris Gell is record appearance holder with 489 appearances over two spells. Northwood is an area of North West London in the borough of Hillingdon. It has a population of just over 22,000. It is served by two underground stations on the Metropolitan Line - Northwood and Northwood Hills. Famous people from Northwood include radio presenter Fearne Cotton and  Big Brother's Nikki Grahame, Back in the 40s, the area witnessed an air disaster. On 4 July 1948 a Scandinavian Airlines Douglas DC-6 on a flight from Amsterdam to RAF Northolt collided with an RAF Avro York coming from Malta over Northwood. Both aircraft crashed, killing all 39 people on both aircraft.


MY FIRST VISIT

I had been meaning to visit Northwood for some time to see a game. It was one of the grounds that I had yet to see a game at and also it was in a league I was looking to complete - the Southern League Division 1 Central, having already seen games at half the grounds in that league. I had actually attempted to go to this fixture twice previously, but owing to the bad weather in February it kept getting postponed. Finally, it was rescheduled for mid-March and luckily I didn't have a game already planned that day. On the day, I left home just after 6.30, listening to the non-league podcast on the way. About 4 miles into the journey I realised I'd left my cake and drink at home, but couldn't be bothered to go back. I got to the ground at about 7.20 and despite there being hardly anyone in the ground, the car park was almost full, presumably from the players of both teams. I paid £5 on the gate which included a free programme - not bad value. I walked around the ground getting various pictures and had a look at Facebook on my mobile before the game started.



The game itself was not too bad, though there was only one goal. It was settled by a great strike from Jack Hutchinson who blasted a shot into the top corner from about 25 yards out. There were quite a few more chances for Northwood but they failed to capitalise on their dominance. Harefield were struggling in the league below - the Spartan South Midlands division. The gulf in class showed, although to give credit to Harefield, they soaked up the pressure well but rarely threatened themselves. Had they got the equaliser and it had stayed that way for 90 minutes, it would have gone straight into a penalty shoot-out with no extra time. But it wasn't to be, and now Northwood faces Bedfont or Uxbridge in the semi-final of the competition.


MY SECOND VISIT

During the pre-season, I was taking the opportunity to revisit grounds that I'd not been to for a while and Northwood was one of these. During the early days of my blog, I'd not bothered researching the club history, so I did that on the afternoon of the game. It had been a hard old day at work in a packed shop and I was looking forward to a bit of Friday night football to help me relax. I'd have the pleasure or hindrance (depending on what way you look at it) of fellow hopper Colin for the game for the second night in a row. After having dinner, I left at 6.30, meeting my fellow hopper in Amersham ten minutes later. It was a good journey over with Colin paying my £5 entry in lieu of petrol money. I appreciated the ground more on my second visit, it had really been smartened up and if I wasn't mistaken, a new stand had been added. There were around 100 in attendance including Chesham fan Giles. I got a few raffle tickets during the game but didn't win. Even so, I was glad to help out the club.


The game kicked off at 7.35 and saw Chesham wear a really smart yellow kit. The visitors were ahead within a couple of minutes. A cross from the left was put in and Ronny Mfindwa nipped in to glance a header past Northwood's trialist keeper from close range. There was a good attempt for an equaliser on 8 minutes, a shot from outside the area that Chesham keeper Sam Beasant did well to tip around the post. Chesham thought that they had a second on 11 minutes, the ball hit the right-hand post and the rebound was bundled in. However, the effort was ruled out for a foul. Northwood came close on 37 minutes, shooting wide of the top right-hand corner. However, there weren't a lot of chances. The hosts made lots of changes at halftime and emerged in blue, rather than red shirts. Chesham sealed the win four minutes from time, James Richardson rounding the keeper and slotting into an empty net. We left around 9.20, having had a good evening. I dropped Colin off at 9.50, getting home myself ten minutes later. I had a couple of ciders while watching TV and typing this blog. I was glad I'd made the revisit, it was a ground well worth revisiting.



THE GROUND

NORTHWOOD PARK is a typical ground for this level, similar in size to another local team, AFC Hayes. It is a bit run down in places with graffiti and broken seats, but overall it is more than good enough for this level, and probably the next one up too. 3 and a half sides are terracing, about half of which is open. The remaining part had about 100 seats, and despite a couple being broken, they have good legroom and a fairly decent view. There is also a bar at the ground, with Sky TV for showing televised football, but no club shop to my knowledge.



2021 PICTURES


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