It would be fair to say that games on this day haven’t been the most successful for us as a club, with only three competitive wins to show for our efforts.
Our earliest recorded game on this day was in 1969, when we travelled to Edgware Town in the Athenian League Division Two. It our first game in Division Two after relegation the previous season, but it couldn’t have started any worse, with a 4-1 defeat to the north London side. That was followed by another 4-1 defeat in north London a week later; Edgware this time the winners. However, those two defeats kick-started a four game winning run, helping us finish a credible ninth that season.
Things fared a little better in 1975 with a 1-1 draw at home to Hounslow, and in 1980, with a 2-2 draw away to Hoddesdon Town – at that point playing in the sole division of the Athenian League.
The first competitive win came in 1986, away to Southwick. It was a good start to the season that would end in promotion to the Premier Division of the Isthmian League. It was the highest in the pyramid that Sussex-based Southwick would ever get. After initial success in the Isthmian League, they tumbled as low as the third division of the Sussex League in 2015. They lost their ground in 2020 due to “significant mismanagement issues and safety concerns” and folded with almost £500,000 of debt.
It’s been 19 years since we’ve won a game on this day – that came in 2003 when we beat Barking & East Ham United 3-1 at Wadham Lodge. That was the second in a three game winning run to start to the season, which saw Hakan Hayrettin’s side lead the pack going into the first FA Cup game at the end of August.
Billy Read – returning to the club after almost five years away – rolled back the years to put us 1-0 up, and Warren Ryan continued his good form to make it two. It would be Read’s last goal for the club, to secure his place as top scorer since the merger with Walthamstow Pennant in 1995. Ryan followed his goal with two in the next match and was one of the stand-out players that season, despite his disciplinary problems.
Our most recent game on this day was in 2014, when we were defeated 2-1 by Hoddesdon Town in the FA Cup.
The game started brightly, and we were good value for a 1-0 league courtesy of a fine finish from Alan Gallagher. But Hoddesdon equalised after the break, and when Tyrique Solomon missed a hatful of chances, everyone could see what was going to happen… the visitors nicked the win with a last-minute free header, with Will Hunt in the Forest goal claiming he’d been impeded from coming to claim the ball.
Pictured: the Isthmian League game with Northwood in 2008.