Aldershot Town v Darlington
Saturday, September 6th 2008, 3pm
By Martyn Stimson
Although we’re Colchester fans, the Colchester – Leicester game had been called off due to international duty and we hadn’t renewed our England membership, so we found ourselves with a free weekend. So the obvious thing to do was to go to a new ground and Aldershot Town at home to Darlington provided the perfect solution, especially as Darlington have three ex-Colchester players playing for them.
We’d mapped out our route
to the ground (and a few pubs) before leaving and
headed straight to the town of Aldershot,
approaching from the East on the A323 which leads
right to the football ground. With England
playing that evening we thought we’d go to the
three lions before the game (the White Lion, the
Red Lion and the Golden Lion). We headed for
the first of the three lions, the White Lion on
Lower Farnham Road, and found some street parking
there (about a mile from the ground). A
fantastic pub with four real ales from the Triple
fff brewery, friendly staff and locals. We
joined a conversation with some other football
fans that turned out to be both local Aldershot
fans and DAFTS (Darlington Away Far Travelling
Supporters). Everyone was sociable, friendly
and happy to share their football related stories
with each other.
As we got to the ground we
decided we go in the away end and had a bit of a
route march up the hill, though a park and down
some steps to the turnstiles. Away fans
should be aware that, as pleasant a walk through
the park that it is, it does take 5-10 minutes to
get from the home turnstiles around to the away
end. There was also a bit of a queue at the
turnstiles as there were only two turnstiles for
the away fans.
It was a good game of football with both sides trying to play good football, Aldershot moving the ball quickly amongst themselves and Darlington playing a good and capable possession game. Both sets of fans contributed to a great atmosphere with plenty of chanting throughout the game. Didn’t particularly notice the stewards throughout the game (always a good sign) and although toilet facilities were limited to a small portacabin behind the stand (must be a nightmare when there’s a full away allocation) they were reasonably clean and fully functioning. There was also a food stall behind the stand but none of us tried it out.
After the game, a 2-1 victory to Aldershot, we walked back to the car by which time most of the traffic had cleared. Apparently there are also car parks closer to the ground and I would guess some street parking is available fairly close too. The station is also only a few minutes’ walk away from the ground.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable day out. Great beer available in the White Lion, both sets of fans were very agreeable, an entertaining and competitive (but without gamesmanship) game supported by a cracking atmosphere in a traditional and quirky old ground. This is what football is really about... much more fun that visiting a characterless warehouse on the edge of town without a decent pub in sight. I think we made the right decision to go to Aldershot instead of Espanyol for the Andorra – England game. :o)
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