Tonight, Nicktor, Bill and I travelled across to watch Aldershot play Barnet at their new ground, The Hive. We set off early in order to avoid the traffic. There was a bit of a disagreement between Bill and the satnav, but we made very good time and arrived at about 5:30.
Someone Nicktor knows had recommended the Regency Club so we headed straight for it. There was a slight issue with actually getting inside, what is essentially a pub with security doors but we soon made ourselves comfortable (not in a booth because Nicktor gets all claustrophobic in them) with pints of IPA smooth, waiting for dinner to start.
While this post is essentially about the football, it would be seriously remiss of me not to mention that the Regency Club in Queensbury, makes the best lamb biryani I have ever had. And the staff are very welcoming, just like they claim on their website. Highly recommended for food, service and atmosphere.
Eventually, well stuffed and happy, we set off up the hill to the Hive, pausing at the top to admire the view of Wembley in the not to distant…distance.
From the outside, the ground looks a bit soulless with a lot of space devoted to the parking of cars but, once inside, this all vanishes. The pitch is small but delightful, the floodlights excellent. The only real criticism would have to be the short fence around the pitch. Twice, Aldershot players were bundled off the pitch by Barnet players only to go flying over it and onto the concrete beneath the stands. We were really surprised they didn’t seriously hurt themselves.
The atmosphere, however, was a bit dull. If the ground was full and the fans singing and cheering, the atmosphere would be perfect. Sadly, it wasn’t full tonight and the Barnet fans were not exactly vocal. Unlike the travelling Shots fans who, basically, sang enough for both teams.
Singing was one thing but the massive cheer that went up when we scored was deafening. From where we were standing at the other end of the pitch, it looked like a misdirected pass had looped in, under the crossbar but, apparently, it was a header and fully intentional. Whatever it was, it was 1-0 and we were feeling buoyant after only three minutes.
The game continued on through the first half, both sides threatening but nothing really happening. In fact, at our end, the biggest event was the ball boy actually stood up and collected a ball that strayed within his reach. While not remarkable per se, it was one of only two times he did anything. Mind you, he was the only ball boy, the players doing most of their own retrieving.
And then, on 45 minutes, they scored. Right in front of us. It was awful. Well, not for the Barnet fans, who momentarily woke up to politely clap and doff a few caps while saying “Top shot!” and “Tally ho!“. The half time whistle followed shortly after.
The second half started and things were still being played at a cracking pace. Then, right in front of us, we scored again. A brilliant bit of footwork and Bubb slammed our second in. The goalie had no idea what had happened. Mind you, he wasn’t the best goalie in the world, still…great goal Bubb, Bubb, Bubb…
It was on 55 minutes that we finished them off with a third splendid goal. 3-1 to the Shots! Fantastic. Barnet had a few close shots late on, but our goalie was acrobatically brilliant, fending them off in all directions.
The game was played at a cracking pace. Lots of end to end play, using every inch of the pitch. The general consensus in our car was that it was a very entertaining match.
Now that’s what going to an away match is all about!