No.14 - Wed. 3rd October 2007; South Midlands League Challenge Trophy 7.45pm at the Barnet Copthall Stadium, Greenland Lane, Hendon (Att:43; Admn and Prog: £3)
Kentish Town (0) 1 Langford (0) 3 AET
Langford progress as Town lower 'guard'
Although I had been to the Barnet Copthall Stadium in Hendon on several occasions previously (with West Suffolk Athletics Club), this was in fact my first visit to watch a football match there. For a change I wasn't actively involved on the infield measuring long throws but relegated instead to the confines of the large seater stand positioned well behind the perimeter of the all weather track. To be honest I don't mind (like some travellers) watching football from such a distant vantage point even though I do accept that there is often a distinct lack of atmosphere at these 'stadia'. Today I was just happy to get in a 'proper' tick for a game that had been rescheduled from a few weeks earlier.
Kentish Town Football Club have been using the facilities at BCS from the start of this season. This comes as a relief following a recent nomadic existence which has forced the club to play at other venues in the immediate area. The site in Greenlands Lane is better known as the home of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers Athletics Club made famous in the 1970's by the front-running long distance runner David Bedford. His exploits need no introduction and his legend lives on in those tongue in cheek '118 118' adverts. Was it the handlebar moustache or the long gray socks?! The stadium itself provides plenty of cover with a large main stand running the full length of the home straight. There are elevated views from all sides. For more details about the club and the running track click on to the useful links below (taken from the 'GB Athletics' website).
After taking an early lead Kentish Town looked to be heading for a place into the next round of this South Midlands League Challenge Trophy. With time running out opponents Langford made one final surge and grabbed a late goal late on. Much to the annoyance of home players, fans and a 'gaggle' (if that's the right word?) of travellers in attendance, the visitors had snatched an equaliser some seven minutes into stoppage time! Needless to say the boys from Bedfordshire were heatenened by this and soon took the initiative scoring twice more in close succession during the first period of extra time. Don't you just love it when that happens!
Sadly the evening was marred by something far more serious which occured almost causing the game to be abandoned. As the players came off the pitch at half-time there appeared to be some sort of an altercation from within the home dressing rooms. Several of the lads returned to find that their posssessions had been removed from their kit bags at some stage during the first forty-five minutes. Accusations of theft were rife and naturally some players didn't want to continue with the game until the matter had been sorted out. A decision was made by the home secretary Kevin Young to contact somebody on the South Midlands League committee and ask for guidance. Many neutrals feared the worst believing that the match was going to be called off and rightly so (in my humble opinion) under such worrying circumstances. So it was quite surprising when the players returned (after re-locating their clothes and bags) to the field of play to restart the match almost thirty minutes later than planned. Needless to say it was a long evening with the game eventually finishing at 10:34pm! Phew!!
The match was attended by about forty spectators (almost half of these were travellers with the usual local 'suspects' in attendance). Most chose to watch the game from the paddock in front of the main stand. Any fans encroaching onto the track were soon whisked away by the eagle-eyed stewards. A 24-page programme with glossy colour cover was issued for the game and this was included with the £3 admission charge. Refreshments were available from a small kitchen area track side. The menu provided hot food and drinks with tasty bacon rolls being a popular choice. A word of warning though - the service is fairly slow so order early to aviod a tense wait as kick-off approahes!
To reach the BCS follow directions from the A1 towards Hendon and Mill Hill (the stadium is signposted). A long driveway with severe speed ramps leads to very big car park with further space close to the track if you arrive early enough.
FGIF Rating: 3*
Map l Kentish Town FC l SB Harriers AC l Barnet Copthall Stadium
edited on 28/09/07