Monday, 20 January 2014

Brighton and Hove Albion

Brighton and Hove Albion v Reading
The FA Cup with Budweiser
The American Express Community Stadium
Saturday 4th January 2014
Journey Time to the ground: 1 hour 40 minutes.  We left home at 11:20am and parked up at 1pm.  We parked in The Bridge car park, the only car park close to the stadium, at a cost of £15.  The ground is not signposted, neither were the park and ride car parks, where we were intending to park!

The ground was a ten minute walk passed Falmer Station. 
Ticket Price: £15

Programme Price: £2.50
This was my first visit to The AMEX Stadium, a new ground that I was looking forward to visiting.  As the tickets had been bought for me as a Christmas present, I was sat in the Upper Tier of the West Stand.  The West Stand is the main stand and is for home fans.  It has three tiers and houses the players tunnel and dugout.  The view from the Upper Tier of the West Stand was very good, the leg room plentiful and the seats were padded!  It was though, quite a walk up a number of flights of steps to reach the Upper Tier.   
To the left of the West Stand is the North Stand which is one tier.  Opposite the West Stand is the East Stand.  The East Stand is two tiered.  To the right of the West Stand, is the South Stand.  The South Stand is single tiered and identical to the North Stand, but is split between home and away fans.
Reading started the game poorly and were struggling to create any chances, whereas Brighton had much of the play in the first half.  Brighton had already hit the crossbar three times in the first half hour of the game through Keith Andrews, Solly March and Ashley Barnes before taking the lead just after the half hour mark through an Andrew Crofts shot from 20 yards deflected passed Adam Federici by Alex Pearce.  Brighton were good value for their lead at half time, with Reading rarely threatening.
Reading improved in the second half and had much more of the ball without creating many goal-scoring opportunities, with Brighton goalkeeper Peter Brezovan not really having to make a save.  The game petered out, with Brighton more than happy to settle for the one goal victory, and progression into the next round of the cup.
Attendance: 20,696 with 2,155 Reading fans.
Atmosphere:  The atmosphere was fairly quiet with the ground just over two-thirds full owing to the fact it was a cup game between two teams in the same division.  Both sets of fans did get behind their teams, but the atmosphere seemed pretty subdued, which could have been down to the relentless rain and not playing for league points.
Journey Time home: 2 hours.  We split the journey home, stopping in Croydon for some food at Ikea, so didn't actually get home until just before 10pm, having got back to the car just after 5pm.
Although I did enjoy the trip to Brighton, it could have been a much better day.  I know that the club do not want people driving to the ground, and this is discouraged by the fact the ground is not signposted, but you would think that the park and ride sites would be heavily signposted, which they weren't.  The weather was atrocious for much of the day.  The ground itself is very nice, but is let down a little by the massive concrete backs of the South and North Stands, which aren't particularly aesthetically pleasing!

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