Aldershot Town v Accrington Stanley
Saturday, February 28th 2009, 3pm
By Joe Selfe
I'm a Birmingham fan not too far away from completing the 92 so when our game at Sheff Utd was put back to the Sunday by Sky (bless them, we always seem to struggle to get a good result when on the tv, as it was to prove but that's another story now!) there was a perfect opportunity to visit a new ground on the Saturday.
I plumped for
Aldershot (versus Accrington Stanley) partly
as the distance was not quite as far as
the others left on my list but also they had
a good home record and thought it might
be a decent game.
The train journey from New Street whilst not being one of the furthest is a little awkward due to the 2 changes on route (and when I got to Ash and needed to change platforms I was left stranded as my connecting train docked as I couldn't get over the level crossing before it departed!), anyway finally reached Aldershot about 1.00 and after a quick visit to the chippy in the town centre, thought I'd check out how far the ground was from the station and although I'd read it was not far, it literally is 2 minutes round the corner!
The match itself was a bit of a corker with Aldershot 3-0 up by half time playing a high tempo style and the atmosphere was buzzing (even before the goals came) I had chosen to stand on the covered terrace on the East Stand behind the goal, although in theory you could probably go in any home stand unless challenged by a steward as upon entering the stadium you can effectively walk right around most of it.
At half time, I noticed a crowd scampering towards a set of open gates nearby, where you were allowed to smoke and there was what appeared to be a pub inside the gates! You non-smokers will not appreciate this but grounds that have somewhere for smokers to go at HT are a godsend to those of us with the habit. The pub was probably just a bar for home fans but it certainly had a traditional look to it.
The 2nd half was a little slower than the 1st and the match ended 3-1 - pleased for the 50 or so travelling fans when Stanley scored as at least their very long trip had at least wielded a goal (decent journey from Brum so I dread to think how long the journey takes from Lancashire!). The away terrace in the corner is uncovered but the weather was mild, which is always preferable in an open terrace.
Managed to comfortably
get the 1708 train from Aldershot
Station (even though there was 5 minutes
injury time which gives you some idea
of how close the station is to the
ground) on the 1st leg of 3
train journeys (the last of which
contained some very loud and drunken Forest
fans on there way back from Reading
but didn't mind too much as they'd
won there, which was a good result for
In summary, I had a thoroughly enjoyable trip to Aldershot and whilst the ground is relatively basic even for league 2 standard, it certainly has a lot of character (the only thing that takes the feel away a bit is the absence of any fans behind the opposite goal as there is no stand) and most definitely one for the grass root romantic.
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Duncan Adams 2009
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