Wingate and Finchley 2 VCD 0 (16/4/2016)
It was up at the crack of dawn for me on this trip and as looked out the window I could not believe it was snowing at this time of year. I was still going to chance the game being on in London and a journey on the train, even if wasted, was preferable to ASDA with the wife.
I had to buy a return ticket to York (£37.50) and a 1-6 travel card for the London tube (£12). Not cheap although I was meeting my friend Nick at York who works on the railways and he had a free pass for me for the rest of the Journey to the Capital. As we settled down into the comfort of first class he hits me with the bombshell that he is going to retire from work next year. Of course this is the death knell of free passes so I nagged him to reconsider such drastic action in his life. By Peterborough he was re thinking things over. By Hitchin I had managed to persuade him to consider part time at least which would enable him to still have some passes for others to travel with him. Whether he meant this or just said it to shut me up was unclear. Retirement? Never heard anything so ridiculous in all my life. He was clearly just thinking of self, self, self!.
After the mainline to London it was a short journey on the Northern line to Finchley central and a 20 minute walk to the ground.
Wingate and Finchley play in the Ryman league Premier division at the Harry Abrahams Stadium, named after a dedicated Wingate supporter. The club came about only as recent as 1991 when Finchley merged with Wingate. Wingate were actually part of another club themselves (Leyton-Wingate) although they parted to form with Finchley. The merger had the new club playing at Finchley’s ground as I believe Wingate’s old ground was swallowed up by the M1 developments.
You enter the ground as the main stand is straight ahead although it is unique in its structure. It is in fact two stands back to back as the other one faces the rugby ground on the other side. The main stand also has an additional added yawning on the front. This main stand is set back about 20 yards (18meters) from the pitch. It is also in a bit of a dip as you take a few steps up to pitch side. There is a little bit of terracing which slopes down into another dip then back up again to pitch side. This set back bit of terracing seemed a waste as no one used it all. Behind one goal is a small covered terrace area. On the far side of the pitch is a very narrow bit of cover covering two steps of terracing. It was probably one of the narrowest covers I have seen at a ground. Along this side either side of the cover were 5 a side pitches and another one behind half of the other goal area
Also behind the other goal was another very narrow gap where two people could not walk along side each other. A tidy little ground but might struggle to reach Conference South grading if they were promoted.
Today’s visitors were already relegated VCD Athletic. How do you cheer them on at a match? Give us a V, give us a C, give us a D. What have you got? VCD. The name VCD sounds like some sort of television entertainment system we had before DVD,s or some form of transmittable disease you might have treated at the local Genito-urinary medicine clinic. After asking a couple of their fans what VCD stands for I was informed Vickers, Crayford and Dartford. The club were started by the workers from the Vickers armaments plant during the first world war (1916). Very few clubs were formed during this time. Unfortunately for the workers, like our very own Vickers in Scotswood, Newcastle, both have now closed down.
The game kicked off with nothing now really to play for either team as Wingate and Finchley were finishing mid table and the visitors were down. The home side looked the better team but VCD were not giving up. VCD had two chances in 30 seconds with excellent saves by the Finchley goalkeeper to deny them taking the lead. Late in the first half the visitors were having a decent spell when the home side took the lead on 41 minutes. VCD continued to press but we finding little up front and created no real chances as they had done in the first half. To seal the win the home side scored again on 81 minutes.
It was a pleasant journey back on the train and I gave Nick a little bit of a reminder to reconsider his retirement plans.
Wingate and Finchley- blue strips
VCD- Green and white strips