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Friday, April 01, 2005

FA Vase diary

Enfield Town 2 London Colney 0

Enfield Town ground share at Brimsdown. I was given a lift which never enables you to gain a proper feel for the surrounding area, but multi-map suggests that this ground is easily enough reached by public transport. We had non-stop 24 hour rain 2 days before this game, on top of snow and frost. I had my doubts as to whether the game would be on, but to be fair it wasn’t an issue and the pitch was in excellent nick.
I arrived at the ground about 13:30. Normally at this sort of time there’s a couple of people milling around at best. But on arrival, I discovered a packed clubhouse. My initial thought was that we’d arrived early enough to see the tail end of a previous function. But no, Enfield Town’s fans clearly turn up early and were enjoying the premier plus game on 2 giant screens. The bar served AK bitter, hot food was served inside and outside the ground and there was ample space for the pool table.
Now I’m honest enough to admit that I’m not a great one for buying raffle tickets, particularly at grounds that I’m visiting. But the young lady drifted up to our table in the clubhouse and asked in such a way and with such a smile, that I was rendered totally helpless and had bought 2 strips before I knew what had hit me. The guy selling programmes also came round to your table, they certainly believe in the personal touch.
I was also covering this game for the radio and was therefore invited into the boardroom. It is quite simply the biggest boardroom I have ever seen. On walking to the bar, I had to stop halfway for a rest! This boardroom was bigger than some clubs bars! Has its benefits, but it does mean that you’re not able to socialise with everyone in the room.
On leaving the clubhouse, you walk past the largest collection of porta-cabins that I’ve ever seen at a football ground. Not sure why they’re all there; Most of them didn’t seem to be in use.
The ground staff at Enfield Town offered me a very warm welcome and have certainly seemed to make the most of their temporary home. There’s a small stand, which is fine, although you’re only able to hear the tannoy if you’re next to the entrance gate. I only found out about the bread pudding and gingerbread sold in the tea hut after I’d left, but was informed that it is legendary.
The ground itself has a large grey fence surrounding it, along with strong chicken wire. This is actually quite a nice ground and the playing surface appeared to be excellent. One small down point is the floodlights situated only in the corners. This means that there’s a dim patch in the middle of the pitch when daylight has disappeared.
There was an excellent crowd at this game who were in good voice.
One question I do hav,e is that having seen Enfield Town and Enfield this season, I recognised several faces who were at both games, supporting Enfield both times. This totally confused me as to why Enfield Town were set up, if the fans were going to end up following both teams. I’m sure this didn’t happen at Wimbledon even before their move to Milton Keynes.
The game itself was a one-sided affair. Enfield Town were on top from the first whistle and could easily have won by 5 or 6, They scored in the 8th minute when Riley hit a speculative 25 yard effort which completely fooled the keeper as it flew under his body. Negus hit the inside of the post before in the 54th minute, Ndombe scored the second after good work by Campbell. The linesman then awarded about 10 offside decisions in a row to frustrate Enfield Town and keep the score at a respectable level for London Colney.
An interesting ground to visit and nice to see such a good sized crowd at this early stage of the Vase.

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