Ground: The Hive
Date: 28th March 2016
Match: Barnet - Luton 2-1 (League 2)
Attendance: 4 008
On Easter Sunday I moved on and headed towards London. From Sunday to Tuesday I was staying close to Paddington station. After checking in at my hotel I rested before meeting up with my friends Stefan and Jocke. The three of us were going to the same games on Monday and Tuesday and since we hadn´t seen each other since Easter last year we had plenty of catching up to do. Our plan was to do a treble on Easter Monday AFC Wimbledon v Portsmouth (12.45), Sutton vs Whitehawk (15.00) and Millwall vs Burton (19.45). Knowing a storm (Katie) would arrive around midnight we knew there was a risk of postponements. As I woke up on Monday morning I checked the AFC Wimbledon Twitter account and noticed a pitch inspection was planned for 09.10. The heavy rain overnight hadn´t cleared and the game at Kingsmeadow was called off. Instead we decided to skip the Sutton game and go to Barnet v Luton before going to The Den for Millwall v Burton. Knowing the game at The Hive would have a very good attendance and the fact I would meet up with fellow FGG member Si (Stockport Blade) I had every reason to still be a in a good mood as we headed towards Cannons Park tube station, from which The Hive was then only a short walk away.
The Hive was opened in 2013 but building works actually started as early as 2003. Back then the site was called Prince Edward Playing fields and was supposed to be the new home of Wealdstone FC. In 2004, Wealdstone's investment partners in the project went into liquidation, bringing construction work at the site to a halt. Harrow London Borough Council put the site up for tender in 2006, and Barnet FC won the right to occupy the site as a result of this. Barnet FC moved into the stadium in summer 2013 due to disagreement with Barnet London Borough Council with regards to the lease of the land surrounding their home since 1907, Underhill Stadium, as well as the limited facilities at Underhill restricting the club's income. The ground has a capacity of 5 200 (3 400 seats). At The Hive there are also plenty of training grounds and a centre of excellence for Barnet FC. Since the complex is quite close to Wembley Stadium The Hive is quite often used by visiting countries. In November 2011 Sweden used The Hive as part of the build up to the friendly against England.
We arrived around 1 pm and on our way to the ground we could see the aftermath of the heavy rain. Plenty of water on the pitches surrounding the football ground. The was by now actually quite goof. A bit windy but the sun was out for most of the time. After a few exterior pictures I met up with Si at the ticket office before heading to the Hive bar for a few drinks. Si and I bought tickets for the home terrace. Stefan and Jocke on the other hand chose to sit in the West Stand. Luton Town had sold out their allocation of 1 710 and those fans packed the North terrace as well as the northern part of the West Stand. In total 4 000 was inside The Hive, by far the best attendance this season for Barnet. In the first half there wasn´t much to cheer about, 0-0 at half-time. The second half started with Barnet scoring, 1-0 after 49 minutes. Luton pushed Barnet back into their own half for most of the remaining 40 minutes but it wasn´t until the 79th minute they managed to score. Celebrations in the away end and I expected Luton to press on for a winner. There was to be another goal in this game but it was not Luton who would score that goal. In the 93rd minute Barnet were awarded a penalty and scored to make it 2-1. Jubilant home fans jumped onto the pitch and celebrated with the players. The penalty and the celebrations that followed took place right in front of me and this was an exciting end to this games. The Hive was my 80th ground of current 92 and I am pleased to have been here to visit for a game like this. After the game another spell of rain arrived but we made it back to Cannons Park station without getting too wet. The Jubilee line would take us all the way to London Bridge where the three visitors from Sweden said goodbye to Si. Dinner and then train to South Bermondsey for the Millwall v Burton game.
Welcome to The Hive
Welcome to The Hive
The Hive, entrance to the West- and South stands
Rear of the South Terrace
View of The Hive
View of The Hive
The winning goal....
....leading to wild celebrations