Dunfermline Athletic’s trip to the ‘British Hollywood’ was far from a blockbuster affair on the pitch. However, manager Allan Johnston has paid tribute to the dedicated supporters who ensured the occasion felt box office.
More than 500 Pars fans descended on Meadow Lane, a five minute walk from the famous Elstree Studios which spawned cinematic classics such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones and The Shining, earning the town its moniker. Having made the 830-mile round-trip, the hardy travellers from Fife – who outnumbered the hosts – were determined to revel in the occasion, making an almighty din throughout and batting around beach balls in honour of their trip ‘abroad’.
That was a welcome distraction from the ordinary fare being served up, as the sides played out a meek 0-0 draw. However, Dunfermline secured their place in the last-16 of the Irn-Bru Cup with a 6-5 win on penalties, with Connor Smith missing the decisive kick for The Wood.
“It was important to come here and get a result, especially when we had so many fans at the game,” said Johnston. “It was something really different and I think it was the support that made the occasion – they were brilliant.
“It was a cracking atmosphere. It was something else. There haven’t been many European trips over the last few years – maybe this is classed as one!
“Facing the same sides week-in, week-out can be difficult for the supporters so it was great to see how much they enjoyed that freshness. You could see how much our players appreciated the effort they all made to come down to the game and I’m glad we got through for them.” Although Dunfermline enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, they struggled to carve open a physical, well-drilled Boreham Wood side who currently sit eighth in the National League. James Craigen, James Vincent and Faissal El Bakhtaoui all tried their luck from distance to no avail.
And they blew a golden opportunity to claim the win in normal time when Aidan Connolly was sent clear on goal in the dying embers, only to be thwarted by a fine Jake Huddart save. Nevertheless, that miss would not prove costly.
“It’s probably been good for the players to get away and bond, spend a bit of time together,” added Johnston of the encounter south of the Border. “And to get through in that manner will give the boys a real buzz.”