Monday, 6 August 2012

Hanwell Town - Reynolds Field

Hanwell Town FC
Reynolds Field

Ground Number: 211
Monday 6th August 2011
Hanwell Town 0-2 Wycombe Wanderers XI
Pre-Season Friendly


Hanwell Town were formed in 1920 by a group of exiled Newcastle United fans, who adopted the black and white stripes of their heroes as the club's strip. After playing in various leagues such as the London League and Middlesex County League, they joined the Spartan League in 1983. This merged to become the Spartan South Midlands League in 1997. This would be Hanwell Town's home for much of the next 16 seasons, though they did see a brief promotion to the Southern League Division 1 South & West for the 2006/07 season. However, it ended in immediate relegation with only Beaconsfield SYCOB keeping them off the foot of the table. They'd win the league for the second time in 2013/14 with the team losing just once all season. Their best ever finish in the current pyramid followed, when they finished 7th in their first season, following their second promotion to the Southern League Division 1 Central. Since then they've fallen into a more mid-table placing, though a 20th placed finish last season was a fairly disappointing one.

In the FA Cup the club reached the 3rd Qualifying Round during the 2015/16 season. After beating Bedfont Sports, Saffron Walden Town and Mildenhall Town they lost out 2-1 to Grays Athletic. The FA Trophy 2nd Round has been reached on a couple of occasions, whilst their last season in the FA Vase proved the most successful. The 2013/14 season saw them reach the 5th Round, before they lost out to Bedfordshire side Ampthill Town. Local cup honours include the London Senior Cup (twice) and the Middlesex County League Cup. Famous former players include former Wycombe man Mo Harkin, and Labour politician Steven Pound who supports Fulham.


SOUTHALL are a club with a rich and varied history, having been established in 1871. They played in various local leagues prior to joining the Southern League in 1896. They joined the Athenian League in 1919, winning it in 1927. They stayed here until 1973, when they joined the Isthmian League. Starting in Division 2, they won promotion to the top tier in 1975, changing their name to Southall and Ealing Borough. The late 70's were a turbulent time, with their record finish of 14th in the Isthmian League's top tier coming in 1977, though this was followed by 2 relegations in a row. They reverted back to their current name in 1980, but would continue to struggle in the Isthmian League, never getting out of its bottom 2 divisions. The early 90's proved to be an especially miserable time, with Southall losing their Western Road home in 1992. Since then they have led a nomadic existence, ground sharing with various teams. They joined the Combined Counties League in 2000, finishing as high as 4th in 2004. A couple of seasons later saw disaster, as financial irregularities saw them thrown out of the league, and forced to move a couple of leagues lower to the Middlesex County League. The 2012/13 season saw promotion to the Spartan South Midlands League Division 1, where they remain to this day. Mid-table finishes have been the order of the day so far, though this season has seen a big improvement, with them sitting in 6th at the time of my latest visit.

The FA Cup 3rd Round was reached in 1936 with a 4-1 defeat to Watford, although they did beat Football League side Swindon Town 3-1 along the way. The FA Amateur Cup final was reached in 1925, although they lost out to Clapton. It's replacement, the FA Vase also saw a final appearance in 1986. Despite beating current football league side Stevenage Borough along the way, more heartbreak followed in the final as Halesowen Town triumphed 3-0. Locally, the Middlesex Senior Cup has been won on 12 occasions, the Middlesex Charity Cup on 9 occasions and the West Middlesex Charity Cup once. A huge number of famous names have played for Southall including Jay De Merit, Les Ferdinand, Justin Fashanu, Alan Devonshire and Eric Young. In the dugout have been current Wealdstone manager Gordon Bartlett and former AFC Wimbledon manager Dave Anderson.  


Whilst I was at the Wingate and Finchley v Wycombe XI game last week, another friendly was announced, this time against Hanwell Town, of the Spartan South Midlands League. I had also discovered a week earlier that this was the nearest ground to the hospital that I had been born in 33 years ago, so I wanted to go there for a game sometime and was pleased when I found that a Wycombe team would be sent there, even if it was a youth side. The hospital had been knocked down in 1986 actually, so perhaps someone was trying to tell me something!

It was a 7 PM kickoff, so on the day I had dinner early and set off at 6 PM. Yet again it was torrential rain on the day of the game, so I made sure I had an umbrella handy too. After another easy journey (I am getting lucky at the moment!) I arrived at 6.40PM and went in the ground, entry was a very reasonable £3 which probably went towards paying the floodlighting and refereeing costs which is fair enough. I took some pictures of the ground and then took as seat in the stand to watch the game.

Sadly there was no teamsheets of announcements, so I didn't have much of a clue who was playing. Whoever did though, Wycombe played well. Here is what I posted on the Wycombe message board after the game.

A Wycombe development squad won 2-0 at Hanwell tonight. Didn't recognise many of the players but I know that Ollie Taylor, Matt Ingram and Gareth Ainsworth played a part.

First goal was a free kick on the left, crossed in and headed in by the number 5. Could well have been the lad Butcher that we had on trial for the Wingate and Finchley game.

Second goal was on 51 minutes, a high ball was controlled well and brought down by Junior Morais and slotted past the keeper.

Ainsworth came on after 60 minutes, playing first at right back, then in central defence after he and number 5 switched positions.

Overall decent performance, we had by far the better of the game as you would hope against a step 5 (Spartan South Midlands League) side. Hanwell did come back into it later on with a few chances.

Ainsworth looked a wise head to help out the youngsters, but they were coping well and he would have been more helpful in last weeks game at Wingate where they struggled at times.


I was enjoying a rare Sunday off work and wanted to go to a game. I'd been hoping for a decent game in the FA Cup, but with most of the games selected for TV coverage as dull as ditchwater or recently visited, I looked elsewhere. Cray Wanderers and Hayes and Yeading were dismissed for the same reason. One game stood out for me though. It would be a revisit to Hanwell Town, but it was an intriguing FA Vase clash between Southall and Exmouth Town. I'm a big fan of the FA Vase, but games had generally eluded me this season, thanks to them clashing with Wycombe home games. There was also very few games on Friday or Sunday, or indeed replays. Or at least that's what it felt like, though upon checking it was to be my 4th FA Vase game of the season.

On the day of the game, I woke at 8am after a decent night's sleep. I updated my blog for yesterdays game at Spurs, before going down the shops to get a paper. I was in a bit of a lazy mood, but decided to leave around 1 so I could call into a nice looking takeaway called Punjabi Juntion that I'd spotted online.  I got to the takeaway at 1.45 and it turned out to be a decent place. I had a decent sized portion of chicken strips and chips for £2, plus a meat samosa for 65p. Both were excellent, and due to bad traffic getting away from the area, I eat them in my car while I was sat in a jam. It took 15 minutes to do the 2 miles to the ground, with me getting there around 2.10. I paid £6 to get in, plus £1 for what was an excellent programme, with plenty to read in it. I'd spotted that the merchandise prices were decent, so I also picked up a keyring for £1. The food on offer looked very good too, though I didn't indulge as I was already full, I did have a pint of Carling Cider though, at a pretty pricey £4 a pint. In the bar I met fellow groundhopper and Wycombe fan Dave Finch who enjoyed yesterday's trip to Spurs as much as I did. The game had attracted a lot of hoppers in fact, and I also got chatting to an ExeterCity  fan who looked like Stephen Fry about our upcoming game on Tuesday. There was also another groundhopper there who supported both Spurs and Wycombe and so had a good day yesterday.

Around 15 minutes before kick off, I went outside and got some pictures of the ground. There was light drizzle at first, but I chose to stand out in the open. Exmouth Town included the wonderfully named Ace High in their lineup, and I was hoping that there would be a good game on the cards. Souuthall had former Wycombe youth player Kieron Gradwell in their side. It did take a while to get going though, and it was scoreless at the break, without either side coming really close. Exmouth perhaps shaded proceedings, cheered on by their excellent travelling support, but it was Southall that took the lead on 51 minutes. Visiting keeper Jason Matthews made a great save, but could only parry the ball to Wayne Harvey to follow up. This turned the tie in favour of the hosts, who started to dominate proceedings. Liam Hind doubled the lead six minutes later with a fantastic dipping shot from 35 yards. On the hour mark Exmouth pulled a goal back from a hotly disputed penalty, following a push in the box. Nathan Cooper stepped up and did the honours to reduce the arrears. The game looked to be over a few minutes later, as Southall extended the lead to 3-1. A low shot was drilled into the bottom right-hand corner, looking like it took a deflection on the way in. Still the visitors wouldn't lay down and they found a route back into the game with a couple of minutes to go, again from the penalty spot. They threw everything forward in attempt to equalise, but they ended up being caught out on the break. Wayne Harvey grabbed his second, this time it was a close range finish from the right-hand side of the goal.

Though it had started slowly, it had turned into an enthralling contest for the 400 or so fans that had turned up. I was delighted to see that Sutton United had defeated Leeds United 1-0 in the FA Cup, and this weekend has reminded me that there is plenty of magic left in the FA Cup and the FA Vase. The rain was really starting to come down now, and so I was glad to return to the shelter of my car. It was a decent journey home, with me getting in at 5.40. I caught the end of BBC's dire choice of FA Cup game. In what was the least attractive tie of the round, Manchester United romped to a 4-0 victory over Wigan Athletic. I enjoyed a nice roast dinner, plus a couple of ciders in the evening. With not a lot on the TV I watched the African Cup of Nations game between Egypt and Morocco on Eurosport while typing up my blog. Work beckoned in the morning, next up for me was likely to be another revisit, with Ware v Kings Langley in the Hertfordshire Senior Cup on Tuesday being my next game.


REYNOLDS FIELD is a pretty smart ground for this level and probably would suffice if Hanwell Town made the step up to the Southern League Premier. There is a main stand, holding around 150-200 people. It's one of those metal arena type ones. And to the left, practically the whole of behind one goal has cover, with a couple of steps of terracing. The rest of the ground is open hard standing, bar a small cover for wheelchairs on the far side. On my second visit, a smart video scoreboard had been added, a rarity at this level.

The bar at the ground offers nothing special for cider drinkers, with Carling Cider at £4 a pint. Real Ales are on offer and there is a very good selection of food on offer, at least for Southall games, with samosas, and bhaji's for sale, along with more traditional football fare. Both clubs do some reasonably priced merchandise too. I can't remember if there was anything else around the ground in terms of pubs or food. 

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