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
Official Website
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Ground Number: 380
Monday 14th July 2014
Rayners Lane 2-0 Wealdstone
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RAYNERS LANE FC - A BRIEF HISTORY

Rayners Lane FC was 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-1980s. 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 has also not competed in the FA Vase since 1996, their best progress was in the early '70s when they got to the 2nd Round.


MY VISIT

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.

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 a normal pace. I'd been hoping to go in the local Wetherspoons 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. 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. The 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.


MY SECOND VISIT

A brief update to this blog as the ground has changed a bit since my last visit. The FA Sunday Cup is a competition that has interested me for a while, but I'd yet to see a game in it. As soon as I knew the fixtures for the 1st Round this season, I resolved to see a game. There were around seven options in all, and my first choice was at Harefield United for the game between NLO and FC Bentons. With neither club having a reliable Twitter, I had a backup in mind at Rayners Lane. I've made it well known on Twitter that I despise Sundays and this one was no exception, going to work in torrential rain after a poor nights sleep. Work was a slog, but I was finished by 12 and home by 12.30. I had a small amount of time to play with, grabbing some lunch and getting changed before leaving at 1.10. Getting out of Wycombe and into Harefield involved a fair amount of delay, though the M40 was fine in between. I was at the ground at 1.50, just as the heavens started to open. I grabbed some pictures of the ground, but there were no signs of the teams with kick off a few minutes away. So I put into place my backup plan. There were further delays, but I was at Rayners Lane around 2.30.



There was no programme and no entry fee. I initially thought that I'd missed the game as two teams were playing the last few minutes of their game. But a quick check of Twitter allayed my fears. I popped into the bar for a pint of Strongbow, rather pricey at £4 and caught up online. It was nice to meet Rob who I knew from Twitter. The game kicked off, as advertised at 3.15. Highgate Albion line up in yellow and blue shirts whilst Blacksmiths were in green. The home side was completely dominant and had it not been for a number of brilliant saves from the Blacksmiths keeper, they have taken the lead a lot earlier. The opening goal came around half an hour in, a corner was put in, a solid header saved but the follow up was put in. Five minutes later it was 2-0, another corner headed home and it looked to be a question of how many more with Blacksmiths restricted to chances on the break. The second half saw the visitors come into it more and they reduced the arrears after around an hour, a close-range scramble. But the home side was well on top and missed a number of chances. They looked to have been made to pay for it a few minutes from time, the goal of the game a lovely dink over the keeper from 10 yards. I had mixed feelings about extra time, fancying a penalty shoot out, but needing to be home for dinner. It turned out to be academic as Highgate grabbed a late winner, Blacksmiths failing to cut out a square ball and an unmarked player finishing from around 5 yards out. It was an easy drive home and I was back home by 5.45, having dinner and spending the evening relaxing. It had been a great game and a good introduction into the FA Sunday Cup and I can see me doing more games in the competition.





THE GROUND

TITHE FARM, although fairly basic, is one of the better grounds in the Hellenic 1 East, where little more than a rail around 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.




2018 PICTURES

The revamp in between my two visits had been paid for by selling some land to a housing company. In return, they'd laid down a 3G pitch, built a new bar and refreshed the ground. It's an improvement and a bit of colour has been added to the venue.

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