Aldershot Town v Colchester United
Saturday, September 6th 2008, 3pm
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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