Saturday 11 September 2021

Buckhurst Hill - Roding Lane

Buckhurst Hill FC
Roding Lane
Buckhurst Hill

020 8504 1189

Ground Number: 994
Saturday 11th September 2021
Buckhurst Hill 3-0 Enfield
FA Vase 1st Qualifying Round


The club is a fairly new one having been established in 1985. Originally established to play football for local youths. They eventually made the step up to senior football in 2005, joining the Herts Senior League D1 in 2004 and staying for four seasons. Following two 7th place finishes, they transferred to the Essex Olympian D1. After finishing as runners-up to May & Baker in 2010, they were promoted to the Premier Division. Fortunes varied here but after leading the league for four seasons in a row (by PPG during the abandoned 2019/20 season), they finally had the facilities in place to make the step up to step 6. They have adapted to the step-up well and are amongst the leading lights in the Eastern Counties D1 South.

The town of Buckhurst Hill is in the Epping Forest district of Essex and is also part of Greater London. It has a population of 11,380. Loughton Rugby club and Buckhurst Hill Cricket club also hail from the area. Famous people from the area include politician Jack Straw and actor Daniel Mays who played Jim Keats in Ashes To Ashes, as well as Chief Inspector Peter Jay in Des - a documentary about the serial killer Dennis Nilsen.


With Wycombe away at Oxford United, a ground I have been to many times, I was always going to be groundhopping on this day. It was always going to be a FA Vase game too, as it is one of my favourite competitions to watch a game in. Even better this season was the fact that games would be decided on the day. I considered a number of options, the frontrunners being Bearsted v Fisher and FA Vase debutants Staplehurst Monarchs United v Sporting Bengal United. However, it was another FA Cup debutant in Buckhurst Hill that I plumped for, they had a game against Enfield. It would mean a day out in London on the train. I could go from Amersham for cheaper than Wycombe, and eventually, that's the option I plumped for, deciding about half an hour before leaving.  I was in a bit of a lazy mood too and also was pushed for time, so a walk to Wycombe wasn't what I wanted. I woke at around 7.30 after about six hours of sleep. After lazing around and having breakfast for a couple of hours, I left at 9.30. In those two hours, I'd done some more planning for future games. Next Friday is looking like a revisit to Redbridge, as all my hoppers are unavailable - at least for a 300-400 mile round trip to Wales. In either case, ground 1000 is looking like being a week on Thursday - either Newcastle University or Esh Winning.

I got to the station at 9.55 and had around 15 minutes to wait for my train. It duly came and I made my journey to my pre-match hostelry of choosing - The Hawkes Cider Tap in Bermondsey. It was a well-trodden path for me - Chiltern to Harrow On The Hill, Metropolitan to Finchley Road and Jubilee to Bermondsey. Or that's what I thought. After getting off at Harrow on the Hill I was told that all trains were cancelled due to engineering works. I had to find a replacement bus service, which wasn't signposted, but thankfully the staff were helpful. It was then a short journey to Kenton where I had to wait for 10 minutes for a train to Baker Street. I wish I'd known as I could have stayed on my Chiltern Train and got there far quicker. Especially annoying as I checked the route on the TFL Website last night and no mention was made of replacement bus services. It's not the first time it has let me down in the past couple of months, in general, an usually excellent service has been dire. I got to Bermondsey at 12, then it was ten minutes walk to Hawkes. London prices of course, £6 for a pint of Ross Three Apple Twist, but it was very nice. Then it was a £15 bottle of Ross Spanish Apples, a big one though and an excellent Diavolo Pizza for £10. This was all going on my non-football costs but I tried not to think how many hours I'd worked to fund this self-indulgence. As keen as I was to sit there all day getting pissed on pricey cider, I had a game to go to and so left at 1.25. After a walk to Bermondsey train station, a couple of trains and another walk to Buckhurst Hill FC, I was at the ground by 2.40. £6 entry included a decent programme. I'd seen nothing on the way to the ground, so joined the long queue at the tea bar for a portion of chips and a drink. Another Rio was consumed at halftime, partly due to them not doing cider and partly due to me being sensible.

Buckhurst Hill sat 4th in the Eastern Counties D1 South with a number of games in hand. In their last few games, they had lost 1-0 to Hackney Wick, won 3-0 at Burnham Ramblers as well as an emphatic 8-0 win at whipping boys Park View. Enfield were a league above in the Essex Senior League where they sat 9th. Their last few results had seen them lose 3-2 at home to Hadley in an FA Cup replay having originally drawn 1-1. In the league, they had won 3 in a row - beating Stanway Rovers 2-0, Ilford 4-2 as well as a 4-1 win at Takeley. It was an even game at first, Buckhurst Hill edging it. The hosts took the lead on 28 minutes, a tidy finish into the bottom corner by Nathan Sollosi. Enfield offered little, the closest they came was on the hour mark when they smashed the bar from 30 yards. Two rebounds came in, but the home keeper saved both efforts. Despite Enfield having a bit of possession in the Buckhurst Hill half, it was 2-0 on 77 minutes. This time Tyler Dolan took the ball down in the area before finishing well. Right on time, Buckhurst Hill made it 3-0, a shot from outside the area by Joshua Banfield giving the match a score that reflected the balance of the game. An attendance figure was unavailable at the time of writing, but I'd estimate well over 300.

The game finished around 4.50 and then it was a ten-minute walk back to the station. I stopped at the shop for a couple of soft drinks on the way. Once more, there were issues with the train due to staff shortages. Whether this was due to the government making them ill by not enforcing mask-wearing or the job not being attractive enough due to lack of employment laws, I don't know. I got off around 5.25 but it was a bit part service with me changing at Leytonstone. Another ten-minute wait was endured there. Thankfully, it was all good from then on, slow but steady progress across the capital was made. I had to get my skates on to get my connection at Marylebone but I got the 6.27 to Amersham. With the service every half an hour, this was as good as I could have hoped for. The train was packed with people due to the engineering works but things eased up at Harrow on the Hill. I was back at Amersham by 7 and in 20 minutes later. It was the standard Saturday night of a few drinks, the online pub quiz and maybe Match Of The Day before the dreaded Sunday at work. It had been a good day of football. An upwardly mobile club in Buckhurst Hill had enjoyed a great day and surely have a bright future ahead of them. As for Enfield, they are a famous old club that has been in the doldrums for far too long. With a large proportion of the supporters having decamped and formed Enfield Town due to the poor ownership of the now reformed club, they are in a difficult situation. It would be great to see them repair the rift but I can't see it happen. There's a third club in Enfield, Enfield Borough and these are my favourite of the three. They play at Wingate and Finchley, a ground I'd like to revisit on a Friday night but the leagues always arrange things so that fixtures don't clash.


Roding Lane is a smart but basic venue, typical of a newly promoted side. There's just one stand, a seated metal arena unit holding around 50. From the club point of view, it's an easy way to comply with ground regulations. From the salesperson's point of view, that's another unit sold and from the FA's point of view, it's another strike on their mission to sanitise and take the personality out of football. The rest of the ground is well kept and smart. There's a decent tea bar and a basic bar with no cider. There is plenty of parking at the ground and it is about 15 minutes walk from Buckhurst Hill tube station

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