A truly historic night with football returning to the area for the first time in 28 years.
I went to see a match at the original Woodford Town ground in Snakes Lane when I was a teenager and I recall that it was a well-appointed venue with two seated stands. However, Woodford lost use of their spiritual home in 1993.
They carried on for another 10 years groundsharing at various local clubs before deciding to call it a day. But now there is a team playing under the Woodford Town name once again having been reformed in 2017.
After four more years of groundsharing, they were finally able to move into a ground of their own this season following Redbridge Council’s £1.6 million investment at Ashton Playing Fields in Woodford. It saw the existing athletics stadium upgraded to reach the facility requirements for Step 5 football.
Where was it played?
Ashton’s Stadium has been fully enclosed with impressive signage outside to give a sense of identity for Woodford Town. There is a 300-seater grandstand down one side of the pitch and a brand new clubhouse with two bars. The club have plans to add more spectator facilities as and when necessary in the future. The much-improved set-up brings a further benefit as it means that Woodford Green Athletic Club with Essex Ladies can now host National Athletics League meetings.
What’s in the programme?
A glossy production that sold at £3 and consisted of 12 pages. I liked the column by Woodford chairman Anthony Scott putting this momentous occasion in context. He wrote: “I would like to say that it has been one of the honours of my life to be the chairman who brought Woodford Town home. Projects of this nature never happen overnight and having been the chairman of this club for six years, it is wonderful to see the ground that started off as a dream turn into a reality…Many said it could not be done. Woodford Town is a club with a proud history but I also want to be a club with a proud future ahead.”
And the match itself?
Woodford attracted a bumper Essex Senior League crowd of 822. Indeed, the atmosphere was enhanced by a group of noisy ultras who didn’t stop singing all night in the main stand as they demonstrated their undying support for the home side. However, Stansted were the ultimate party poopers with a 2-1 victory thanks to goals by Nicholas Reynolds (52 minutes) and Connor Hammond (70 minutes). The biggest cheer of the night came when Ramiah Mills scored with a penalty for Woodford in the 56th minute.
Facts and figures
Score: Woodford Town 1 Stansted 2
Where: Ashton’s Stadium, 598 Chigwell Road, Woodford Green, Essex IG8 8AA
Competition: Essex Senior League Premier Division
You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo