Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Aldershot Town

Aldershot Town v Hereford United
EBB Stadium (The Recreation Ground)
Tuesday 14th February 2012

Journey Time to the ground: 1 hour.  Left the house just after 6:15pm and parked up at 7:15pm.  Didn't encounter much traffic along the way.

Parked in The Wellington Centre multi-storey car park in the centre of town.  This was a 10 minute walk from the ground and cost £1 for the whole evening.

Ticket Price: £0 on the gate.  As it was Valentine's Day, Aldershot Town had dedicated this fixture as ladies night so all ladies were admitted free of charge.  I did have to pay £17 for my boyfriend though!

Programme Price: £3.

All home stand turnstiles are situated on the High Street.  Not having a ticket we paid on the gate and decided to go through the turnstiles for the North Stand terrace (High Street End) as I knew this was on the sideline rather than behind the goal and I feel that you get a better view of the game from the side.  After entering the the ground you are greeted by a few programme sellers and signposts to each area of the ground.  We followed the signs to the North Stand terrace walking up a little slope to the left hand side.  We reached the terrace and had to show the steward on the entrance to the terrace our ticket, as you are only allowed into the area that you have bought tickets for.  The terrace was quite sparsely populated so we decided to stand by the barriers in the middle of the stand in line with the goal line.  The North Stand itself is split between seating and terracing, with seating straddling the half way line flanked by terracing either side.  The North Stand terrace (High Street End) is a covered terrace, a little reminiscent of a corrogated metal shed.  Having said this, the terrace is relatively warm as the back and side are enclosed.  The terrace consists of around ten steps of good height so that it is easy to see most of the pitch even with people stood in front of you.

To the right of the North Stand is the High Street End, an unused flat terrace which houses a score board, which is almost like an eye test as the team colours are written in neon red and neon blue, reflecting the Aldershot colours.  To the left of the North Stand is the East Bank terrace, a covered terrace split between home and away fans.  Opposite the North Stand is the South Stand, an all seated stand that straddles the half way line with uncovered terracing to either side of it.

The game itself was a largely scrappy affair with Aldershot having the majority of the play without creating too many chances and having a tendancy to use the long ball, a strategy that the tall Hereford centre backs were well equipped to deal with.  The first half ended 0-0.  The second half followed the pattern of the first half with Aldershot having most of the play again creating few clear cut chances.  After 52 minutes a cross from the Aldershot right wing wasn't dealt with by the Hereford defence and the ball was cleared to the end of the box.  The ball was headed back into the box and was turned in from the centre of the goal from about two yards out.  Any hope Hereford had of getting anything from the game was lost after 66 minutes when one of their central defenders was sent off for dragging down one of the Aldershot strikers baring down on goal.  As he was the last man, the referee had no alternative but to send him off.  The game petered out after this with Aldershot quite content to hold on to their 1-0 lead rather than extend it and the game finished 1-0.

Attendance: 1,871 with 117 from Hereford.

Atmosphere: The majority of the noise came from Aldershot fans in the middle of the East Bank terrace, with a drummer keeping the noise constant throughout the game.  The North Stand terrace was pretty quite for most of the game, bar the odd period of abusing the linesman closest to us, with people more content to watch the game and pass comment rather than create an atmosphere.

Journey Time home: 50 minutes.  After stopping to get some food before getting back to the car, we left around 10:25pm and got back to the house at 11:15pm.  There was no traffic at all.

All in all, this was again an enjoyable experience.  I was quite glad of the shelter as our area of terracing was spasely populated, so the cover kept some heat in on what was a pretty chilly night.  The steepness of the steps meant that I could see the whole pitch no problem, and standing behind a crush barrier made it easier to stand for the entire game.  It was nice to find a ground so close to the centre of town, meaning we could have a cheeky KFC before heading back to the car.  Even with a relatively small crowd the atmosphere was good and the ground didn't look empty, but it would be nice to come back on a day when the ground is sold out.  The only downside was the quality of the football being played.  Hereford really do look like a side struggling to stay in this division, and although Aldershot were the better team and attempted to try different things, more often than not they resorted to the long ball.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

AFC Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon v Macclesfield Town
Cherry Red Record's Stadium (Kingsmeadow)
Tuesday 24th January

Journey Time to the ground: 1 hour 20 minutes.  Left the house at 6pm and parked up at 7:20pm.  Would have been quicker but for traffic getting out of Reading and on the M25.

Parked 5 minutes walk from the ground.  Plently of street parking available in side roads off Kingston Road.

Ticket Price: £10 in advance.

Programme Price: £3.

Had tickets on the John Smith's Terrace.  Entered via turnstiles at the far end of the Paul Strank Stand, after passing a burger van and the clubhouse.  My bag was searched on the way into the ground.  Inside the ground passed the toilets, first aid portakabin and another burger van.  To get to the John Smith's Terrace we had to walk across the front of the Tempest Stand behind the goal to the other side of the ground.  The John Smith's Terrace had a burger van in the corner between it and the Tempest Stand.  The stand is split between home and away fans and we were in the home end.  The terrace is partially covered towards the middle of the stand, but arriving five minutes before kick off we were left in the open in line with the edge of the 18 yard box.  The terrace consists of three shallow steps and standing on the middle step, surrounded by lots of men a lot taller than me I could see around three quarters of the pitch, but could follow all the action by moving around a bit.  The area was almost full to capacity as Wimbledon tend to pretty much sell out home games.
The rest of the ground consists of two covered terraces behind both of the goals, the Tempest Stand and the Kingston Road End, and the Paul Strank Stand, a neat all seated stand on the opposite side to the John Smith's Terrace.

The first half was pretty scrappy with Wimbledon having the better of the play but the half ended 0-0.  Wimbledon started the second half well, but Macclesfield went ahead against the run of play in the 56th minute, with a goal from just inside the penalty box.  Wimbledon hit back almost straight away and equalised two minutes later with a spectecular drive from the left hand corner of the penalty box arrowed into the top corner.  Wimbledon pressed for victory for the remainder of the game and were reward with just two minutes left to play as the ball broke inside the box allowing a goal to be scored from just inside the six yard box.

Attendance: 4,000 with 105 from Macclesfield.

Atmosphere:  The Wimbledon fans created a great atmosphere with almost non stop singing coming from behind the goal.  Even in the uncovered terrace it seemed pretty loud.  I was greatful that it didn't rain, as it had been for much of the day and due to the almost capacity crowd, it didn't feel cold at all, considering it was an evening match in late January.

Journey Time home: 1 hour.  Walked back to the car and left just after 10pm arriving home at 11pm.  It helped that we went in the opposite way to the traffic, but to be honest, it wouldn't have taken much longer if we had travelled with the traffic.

All in all, a very enjoyable experience from the ease of getting to and from the ground, the packed nature of the terrace and the level of football that was played during the game.  Standing on the terrace reminded me of going to games when I was younger, especially not being able to see everything!

A New Beginning

My second start in blogging has begun.  My last one didn't quite work out, so I am trying a new approach on a new blogspot.  The aim of this blog is for me to share my views on football with the rest of the world.

I will primarily be using this as a platform for my reviews of football league grounds.  I am attempting to complete the 92, and have decided, after 13 years of just collecting memorabilia from the different grounds that I go to, my favourites being my ticket and a programme, that I would also like to produce my own little review of the day.

I haven't decided whether I will be remembering grounds previously visited or if I will decide to revisit them, I suppose it all depends on how much money I have at my disposal and also how much time I have on my hands!

So this could be quite a sporadic blog, or it could be updated frequently, you will just have to check back regularly and see what's new!

Thanks for reading.