Hoddesdon Town FC
Lowfield Sports Ground
Ground Number: 419
Tuesday 7th October 2014
Hoddesdon Town 1-1 Stotfold
Spartan South Midlands Premier
HODDESDON TOWN FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
Hoddesdon FC was founded in 1879 and as a consequence is the 3rd oldest club in Hertfordshire. Various mergers took place during their early years and they were founder members of the East Hertfordshire League in 1896. They joined the Herts Senior County League in 1908, their first success coming when they were Eastern Division champions in 1914. A break for the war followed, after which Hoddesdon Town adopted their current name. Hoddesdon joined Division Two B of the Spartan League in 1925. They won the division in 1929, but league reorganisation meant no promotion and the club was placed in Division Two East the following season. They were Division Two East runners-up in 1932, earning promotion to Division One which they won in 1936, resulting in promotion to the Premier Division. Over the next few decades, they became something of a yoyo club between the top two tiers of the Spartan League. The early 70's was a successful time for the club, they won the top tier in 1971 and were runners-up in the next three seasons. From 1977 until 1984, Hoddesdon Town had several mediocre seasons in the Athenian League before joining the South Midlands League. Their best finish during this period was 3rd in 1987. A merger saw the league become the Spartan South Midlands League in 1997 with Hoddesdon Town remaining in the Premier Division until 2005. Following a bottom-place finish they were relegated to Division 1, winning promotion back in 2013 following a third-place finish behind London Lions and Cockfosters. A 3rd place finish in the Premier Division in 2016 was their best finish in recent times. In 2018 they were moved to the Essex League for four seasons before returning to the SSML Premier for last season. It was not a happy comeback with them finishing bottom and suffering relegation to the Eastern Counties Division 1 South.
Hoddesdon Town were the first-ever winners of the FA Vase when in 1975 they beat Epsom & Ewell in the final at Wembley Stadium. They have reached the 5th Round since - 1993 when they lost to Bilston Town, but apart from that have never come close to repeating their feat. In the FA Cup, the club has twice reached the 3rd Qualifying Round. Their most recent run was in 2015 when they beat Sawbridgeworth Town, Romford, Ashford Town and Sittingbourne prior to losing to Brentwood Town in a replay. League cup wins include the Spartan South Midlands League Cup in 2017, the Essex Senior League Len Cordell Memorial Plate in 2021, the Spartan League Cup in 2021, three South Midlands League Challenge Trophies and two South Midlands Challenge Cups. Locally they have won the Herts Senior Cup three times, the Herts Charity Shield five times and the Herts Senior Centenary Trophy three times. The record attendance of 3,500 came for a friendly match in March 1973 against West Ham United. Famous former players include the Chelsea centre-back Micky Droy who played for the club as a youngster. The town of Hoddesdon is in Hertfordshire and has a population of just over 42,000. Located near the border with Essex, famous residents include Gino D'Acampo and in the past Erik Thorstvedt.
After all the recent long trips, I was looking to stay a bit more local. It was also good to welcome fellow hopper Anwar back to do a game, as it would give me company and also help out with fuel costs. As I was only 3 grounds away from completing the Spartan South Midlands Premier, I decided to try and find something there. The only one of the 3 I required at home was Hoddesdon Town who were playing Stotfold in a league game. Initially, I was going to Hoddesdon Town v Arsenal Veterans the previous Sunday, but a combination of things changed that and I ended up heading north to 1874 Northwich v Wigan Robin Park in the FA Vase. It was my usual Tuesday off on the day of the game and for once I declined to go to Wycombe with my Dad. Normally I would get some diet Irn Bru which doesn't normally help me sleep and the chocolate bars that I usually have are not exactly healthy. Besides that, I had Sunday's blog to catch up on, plus I wanted to start tonight's one too. It's surprising how long one takes, especially with all the distractions you get looking at club histories and other stuff. I spent the rest of the day on Facebook and planning some future games and had dinner of Roast Pork Shanks in Pepper Sauce before leaving at around 5.15. While I was looking at my records I noticed that the last time I had seen a game on this day, it had been Wycombe's 7-0 defeat to Shrewsbury Town in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. Oh dear. I left just after 5.20 in the end. Traffic was quite busy and I got to Anwar's just after 5.50. We were soon on our way and got to the ground at 7.10 after a couple of small delays. There was no parking at the ground so we parked in a nearby side street, before making our way to the ground.
It was £6 for entry and £2 for a monster of a programme which will have huge amounts to read. Before the game, I checked Facebook and typed my blog before going around and taking pictures of the ground. They had a good selection of 80s music on the Tannoy pre-match. During the game, we chatted to a groundhopper who had done over 4200 grounds, which makes my count, a tenth of that, seem rather feeble. It wasn't up to the usual Spartan South Midlands League standard sadly. I have been used to some end-to-end encounters with entertainment galore in every game I have seen. This one was a bit limited in goalmouth action. Hoddesdon took the lead with a penalty in the first half but it was Stotfold who edged it. The visitors got their equaliser 5 minutes from time with a diving header and in the end, a draw was a fair result. After the game, it was an easy drive home and we were back in Aylesbury by 10.30. I was back home myself by 10.55. On the way home I was most delighted to hear that AFC Wimbledon had won 3-2 at Milton Keynes. I checked Facebook, typed my blog and watched some YouTube videos before going to bed at around half past midnight. I had to be up at 4am but this was more sleep than I usually get on a Tuesday night.
MY SECOND VISIT
2-2 v May & Baker, ECL D1, 17/11/23
I always like a bit of Friday night football, but with an early start at work, the new options were a long way away. I didn't fancy a late-night drive afterwards but then I spotted that Hoddesdon Town were at home. It was a ground that I'd not visited in over nine years and I fancied giving my blog an update. I'd not written much last time but I remember that they had a superb programme which took me days to read. I was unsure what would be on offer this time but the pre-match preview on the website was useful. It gave details of parking but I was planning on going into town to tick the local Wetherspoons. It would be just the one with me driving but I fancied trying the Christmas menu. It would also give me time with the Friday night traffic being what it was. I was slightly surprised that they were going up against the England v Malta game, but glad as games like this are always a hard watch.
It was another early start for work and made worse by having to defrost the car. As usual, Friday was a bit of a slog. It eased off towards the end thankfully. As it was Black Friday and a double discount day, I treated myself to a new office chair. However, upon getting it home, the wheels didn't stay in when trying to build it, so I contacted the manufacturer. I was glad that I had football as a distraction and left around 4.45. It was a pretty horrid journey via Colin through Amersham and out of the other side. The M25 was also variable. We were still there early enough to park near the ground and walk to the Star Wetherspoons. We were there about 6.25 and it was a ten-minute walk to the pub. It was packed, but a nice couple were leaving and gifted us their table. I ordered Brie and Cranberry Panini, chips and a pint of Black Dragon for £8.62. The drink came quickly but Colin ordered after me and got his food before. It turned out they'd run out of cranberry sauce. At least it was hot and tasty though. We still made it to the ground with half an hour until kickoff. It was the standard £8 entry and after getting some pictures of the ground, we sat in the stand. John the Tannoy man was good fun pre-match chatting to the crowd and playing some good old music. I was trying to type my blog but the mobile Internet was painfully slow.
Both teams had started the seasons poorly with Hoddesdon Town in 17th and May & Baker in 20th. After a terrible October. Hoddesdon where unbeaten in three games. They'd triumphed on penalties at Hertford Heath in their last game following a 2-2 draw in the Herts Senior Trophy. They'd won 4-1 at Enfield Town the Saturday before and also drawn 2-2 against Cannons Wood in their last home game. As for May & Baker, they had not won for a while, their last victory coming when they won 3-0 at Burnham Ramblers. Since then, they'd drawn 2-2 against Brimsdown, lost 3-1 to White Ensign and 3-2 against Ilford. These two sides last clashed back on the 25th of August, with May & Baker running out 3-1 winners at Aveley FC's Parkside Stadium. In that game, Hoddesdon led most of the game courtesy of a Narcis Filip strike, but all the good work was undone with goals conceded in the 69th, 71st and 95th minute. Back to tonight, the hosts opened the scoring on 4 minutes, a good through ball found Harrison Cage whose precise shot found the bottom left corner. May and Baker gradually got back into it and equalised on 32 minutes, sloppy defending by the hosts and Garbriel Odin using pace to his advantage. May and Baker had the better of the second half and they took the lead on 55 minutes. It was a good run down the left and a shot into the top right-hand corner from just outside the area, Odin with his second. After a lively start, the quality of the play deteriorated in the second half. Ten minutes from time, Hoddesdon were awarded a free kick. It was well-taken by Narcis Filip for the equaliser at 2-2 and livened the game up. Hoddesdon came closest in the game's final stages, substitute Callum Robinson shooting narrowly wide of the left-hand post. The hosts were especially decent on the break but couldn't find a winner.
LOWFIELDS is a smart and tidy setup. Pride of place goes to a neat stand that holds around 150 fans. Opposite is another area of cover, this time standing, holding around the same number. The rest of the ground is open and space is very tight at each end. It is all very well kept though, unlike a lot of grounds at this level. The tea bar looked above average for this level, though I didn't try anything. The town is close by anyway, should you fancy a wider choice. Pride of place goes to the programme which is huge, more like a book and easily the biggest I have seen, with plenty to read in it.