By John Mead
Hendon under the guidance of the much respected Gary McCann provide the opposition in Wood’s next warm up fixture. The rivalry between the two sides is certainly of a friendly bias with a mutual respect between the two Clubs an outstanding positive in the many local derbies that have taken place in recent years.
Last Season really was a case of two halves for both sides. Hendon found themselves in the top half of the Ryman Football League Premier Division before Christmas prior to the giant freeze, whilst Wood were firmly rooted to the foot of the Blue Square Bet South table.
Then came the joint embarrassment of the New Year’s Day massacre. Whilst we were being savaged at home to fellow relegation strugglers St. Albans City, losing three nil, our visitors suffered the same derby day embarrassment at the hands of Harrow Borough by a similar score.
There were better things to come for both sides, although in League terms we were
more in the lift to safety whilst The Greens were slowly making their way to the lower floors via the emergency stairs! Thankfully both sides survived, with our final fourteenth position just one better than our visitors.
Two standout performances were to come from The Greens. Beating Champions Sutton United 1 – 0 at home prompted Gary McCann to name it “The best Hendon performance I have seen during my six year association with the Club”. A statement that leaves us here at Meadow Park also resonating with pride as that night our Bradley Fraser on Loan at the time, prompted McCann to add, “If I had to single out anybody it would be Daniel Sintim and Bradley Fraser the two centre halves. They only met at 6.30pm in the dressing room and built up an immense understanding.”
Towards the end of last Season Greens fans will surely remember the 3 – 2 victory after extra time against AFC Wimbledon in the Semi Final of the London Senior Cup as their highlight. Unfortunately Wingate & Finchley took the silverware in the Final, winning 3 – 1.
The Hendon Squad are missing two key players from last Season, with Belal
Aite-Ouakrim making the step up to Blue Square Bet South with Staines Town,
after netting 46 times in 124 appearances. Also missing will be a Wood favourite James Reading who so competently kept goal for us last Season whilst on emergency Loan. Those present will remember the fabulous 0 – 1 win at Farnborough which was his debut. He went on to feature in the goal less draw with Dorchester Town and finally a 3 – 1 defeat at Chelmsford City, which featured a dodgy penalty and in truth I still do not know to this day how we lost! James has moved to Northwood, with his replacement Sean Thomas arriving from Wealdstone.
We have always enjoyed close encounters with our local rivals, having won three,
drawn one and lost one of our last five encounters. None of these games were decided by more than a single goal, so we should not expect this friendly to be any different!
Saturday 16 July, home to Hendon kick off 3.00pm.