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The Crown Ground
Accrington Stanley v Blackpool
Johnson Paint Trophy
Tues
day, October 31st 2006, 7.45pm
By John Ingle

As a Blackpool supporter I was looking forward to this match for a number of reasons Accrington being a local team, this being a new ground for me to go on and Blackpool having won this trophy twice in the last few years. Also we bought one of our best players in recent years from them which helped both clubs gain promotion and therefore I felt we had a bit of a connection.

The journey to the ground was very easy, its not far from Blackpool to Accrington, we used the M65 and got onto Blackburn Road off the motorway and turned onto Whalley Raod and parked up along there. From the motorway to the ground its only about 5 minutes. We were parked along Whalley Road next to a few other Blackpool fans and also a Stanley fan who we walked with to the ground and had a good talk to. They were a very friendly bunch of supporters and the pub right next to the ground, I think its called the Crown, was full of both sets of fans and there was not trouble what so ever.

Since we had stopped on our way for a drink in a pub we decided that we would go straight into the ground and see how many people were there and get a prime position in the stand. The way to the ground was through the pubs car park and down some steps to just behind the two stands along one side of the ground. From the back they didn't look up to much and we just walked behind them down to the away end past the building with the players changing rooms, which was in the corner between in the main stand and the away end.

Getting into the ground the stewards and ticketing people were really helpful and friendly and we got on to what is a good but fairly small uncovered terrace end. For the size of the stand the views were good and there was plenty of safety barriers to lean on so it was a comfortable stand to stand on, and luckily it was not raining or too cold so it was very pleasant. Opposite us there was another terrace which looked like a replica of the one we were in and on the right was a very very small terrace which had a bit of cover over parts of it. The main stand was on the Left with the smaller Thwaites stand a little further down the same side of the pitch, this is a unique arrangement and the stands look good in my view, they could do with building more of the same on the other side of the pitch.

Before the match the Blackpool supporters were all talking about our recent good run in the league and how Accrington had managed to knock out Carlisle in the previous round so the game should be a good one. The atmosphere gradually started to build as more and more Blackpool fans made their way from the pub to the terrace and we filled the end well by the time the kick off came.

The game was a really exciting game with both teams looking to attack all the time and the pitch made it all the more exciting as it was not the flattest pitch that day. With the pitch causing players problems and both teams on the attack as much as possible the game was always going to have a few goals in it but nobody thought it would have as many as it did. In the end it was 4-4 and went to penalties which Stanley won but it did not spoil the experience at all.

Getting away from the ground was easy and pleasant with the supporters again being just as friendly to each other as they were before the game and the traffic moving quickly away, although with 1,344 people at the game it was never going to be a long wait to get out.

Overall I had a great time and think that the Accrington supporters are very friendly and helpful as are the staff at the ground. Its a small ground and may need a bit of work doing to it in the way of toilets and building a new stand on the Whinney Hill Terrace side of the ground would give it a more enclosed feel.

 

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