Happy in Haringey on Non-League Day
There were lots of options for my first Non-League day. The spotted dog derby between Hackney Wick and Clapton was one that stuck out having featured on the Totally Football podcast and the BBC sport website. I decided, however, to make a short trip to White Hart Lane (the road rather than the ground).
I was very impressed by Haringey Borough on my visit Barking on Tuesday, and I’d heard good things about their Coles Park ground. Borough were playing an FA Trophy preliminary round against Whyteleafe who are at the same level and currently performing well in their league.
I must confess to not knowing the difference between the FA Trophy and the FA Vase prior to kick-off. For the benefit of anyone in the same boat, the FA Trophy is contested by clubs in steps 1-4, and the Vase is for teams below step 4.
Competition: FA Trophy
Refreshments: Chips, tea and diet coke (£3.30)
Star player: David Olufemi
A brief history of Haringey Borough FC
Haringey Borough can trace their roots back to 1907 and Tufnell Park FC. Tufnell Park became Edmonton later in the century and eventually merged with Wood Green Town, who had changed their name to Haringey Borough.
They temporarily experimented with the name Edmonton & Haringey as well as briefly returning to the Tufnell Park moniker. Haringey Borough was adopted again in 1996 and has remained since. The club is currently playing in the Isthmian North. Their most notable successes came as Tufnell Park, winning the London Senior Cup in 1913 and 1924.
The club’s nickname is The Borough and ‘c’mon Boro’ is the accepted method of showing your support. It should be hollered with gusto from the back of the main stand to fit in with the Coles Park regulars.
Parking: Plenty of parking at the ground
By public transport: Wood Green tube and W3 bus
Coles Park is a great blend of traditional and modern. The first thing I noticed was the large yellow main stand. It sits on top of the changing rooms and provides good views of the pitch and around 280 seats. The rest of the new 3G pitch is surrounded by modern fencing and plenty of room to stand, albeit uncovered.
Once I entered through the turnstile that looks a little like a garden shed I was faced by the snack bar and entrance to the main club bar. The snack bar was well stocked, although hot food was cooked on request, which meant there was a little bit of a wait.
I started the game in the main stand and there was a friendly atmosphere. It was clear on the day that there was a mix of regulars and newcomers enjoying non-league day. Towards the back of the stand there is an announcer who relays the line-ups, goal scorers and substitutions over the tannoy. If you sit close enough he may ask you to confirm if his view of who scored is correct – remember to research the player’s names.
Haringey have a fresh new website that provides useful information on the club and the players. The programme is also very good for the level, with relevant content about the club and the opposition. A team sheet for the game can be found by the entrance to the bar, and the teams are also read out by the announcer.
The game pitted together two, step 4, sides that were doing well in their respective Isthmian divisions. Haringey were in fourth place having won seven and drawn one of their eight games. Whyteleafe were also in fourth with a record of played eleven, won six, drawn four and lost one.
Recent form, however, gave a better indication of the potential result. The visitors had only won one of their last seven games, whereas Haringey were on a run of six successive wins over 90 minutes.
Both sides wore their regular colours. Yellow shirts with blue shorts for Haringey, and white shirts with green shorts for Whyteleafe.
Haringey once again looked solid from the outset and showed how well drilled they are. They were the strongest side throughout the first half. Whyteleafe struggled to create many clear chances, but their best attacks came down the right-hand side.
The Whyteleafe keeper pulled off a couple of good saves to keep the scores level. His best may have been tipping MacDonald’s free-kick onto the crossbar. Unfortunately, the referee failed to give him the credit he deserved and awarded a goal kick.
Just before half time the keeper made another good save and this time a corner was awarded. He was then caught out at the set piece and Kay hooked the ball home for a well-deserved lead. The 3G pitch suits the home side’s passing style and they were well worth the lead.
Borough doubled their lead shortly after the break, after some good work down the left flank. The cross found its way to right wing-back Luke who finished with style. After the second goal Haringey made a couple of substitutions and the visitors began to get more of a foothold in the game.
Whyteleafe finally imposed themselves on the game and pinned Haringey in their own half. It’s the hope that kills you though and two Haringey subs combined to finish the game off. Joseph Benjamin picked up the ball out wide and placed a perfect pass into the path of Chris Benjamin who finished well.
Whyteleafe looked like a decent side but Haringey deserved the victory with an impressive performance. They now have seven successive wins going into the final round of the FA Cup preliminary section next week. They’ll be confident of their first ever first round appearance.
Coles Park is well worth a visit especially with the home side in such good form and potentially pushing for promotion this season. There are plenty of seats in the main stand but you may want to bring protection from the elements if you want to stand next to the pitch.