Boreham Wood 1 Reading XI 2 (24th July 2012)
The weren’t many Reading fans making their way to Boreham Wood on a Tuesday night for a youth team friendly, particularly after their last outing had seem them look painfully inept in a 0-5 defeat at Basingstoke.
Boreham Wood doesn’t offer too many attractions of its own. It is perhaps known for being the real home Eastenders, with the Albert Square set being just a few hundred yards southwest of Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park in Elstree Studios. Hopes of seeing a few stars taking in the game, perhaps rehearsing saying “you’re doing me ‘ead in!” or “You’re nuffink but a slaaaag, aintcha!” at the game, sadly didn’t come to fruition. Martin Keown, at the match to watch his son play, would have to suffice as the celebrity for the evening.
As home to both Arsenal Ladies and Watford Reserves, as well as the home club, the place certainly gets a lot of use. The club bar, decorated in a style far in excess of the usual non-league social club, certainly hints at them doing all they can to make money through other sources. Home crowds aren’t great though, and they certainly weren’t on this night, with maybe 200 dotted about the stands.
Half of these were in the main stand, the only seated part of the ground. Unusually located on the East of the ground, all spectators had an evening trying to avoid retina-burn, staring into the sun for 90 minutes. The upturned roof on this smart but functional stand for 500 guaranteed no relief until the sun dipped below the stand opposite.
This took a while, as this stand is pretty low, with a cover looking more at home as a shelter at an urban train station. A closed-off tea bar in one corner, coupled with unnecessary segregation gates, shows they do at least plan for higher crowds now and then.
Both ends have decently raised terraces offering about a good a view as you are likely to get in a ground of this size. Both are uncovered though, although that was hardly a problem on this cheerfully sunny evening.
The top of northern end was a fine vantage point to see Readings’ 90th minute winner, having just moved there moments earlier. Not too much else in the game lingers in the memory. Reading took an early lead, with the home side replying about 10 minutes later from close range. They possibly had the better chances in the first half, before the 2nd half came and pretty much went without incident, before the late strike. The game was filmed by Reading, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to buy the DVD just yet.