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Recreation Ground
  Aldershot Town v  Gillingham
League Two
, September 20th 2008, 3pm
Daniel Storey
(Gillingham fan)

When we were relegated back in May at Elland Road in front of 40,000 fans you just knew one day away trips to places like Aldershot were going to bring you back down to earth with a unhealthy dose of reality.

So the time came on Saturday 20th September for me , my brother and a friend to make that short journey across to Hampshire to see Gillingham take on Aldershot Town.

I was looking forward to the trip but more out of the fact it was to be the 73rd league ground I had visited and it was going to bring me one more closer to 92.

Our journey by rail was smooth from Kent to Hampshire courtesy of South Eastern trains to London and South West trains to Aldershot. The train arrived promptly at Aldershot station at just before 12noon and we made our way towards the town and the local pubs. We decided to give the pub by the station a miss and we headed straight into town where we found a Yates Pub , a traditional old school pub called Victoria's and a pub that was exactly like a Wetherspoons but for some bizarre reason it wasn't. All these three pubs were within walking distance to each other and all served a wide range of beers and ale's for under 3. The cheapest being served was in the pub that was exactly like a Wetherspoons where you could buy a pint of larger for 1.75.

Apart from a little bit of banter about our 7-0 lost at Shrewsbury the week before the home fans were generally well behaved and friendly, well that was until we came across a pub just outside the away end where a few sad individuals were indulging in a fight that looked like a bad scene out of the football factory. Fortunately this only lasted about a minute or so until the police arrived and we were then able to continue our walk to the ground.

The first thing you notice upon entering the ground is both male and female toilets are all portcabins and the chances of emptying that last beer quickly before the match are not going to be as quick as you hoped due to the rather large queue. My first impressions upon arriving into the away stand was of shock, it was like a throw back to the 1980's when all most all the grounds in England were made up of terracing. The stand we were housed in had great sound acoustics which made for a good atmosphere, was behind the goal, shared with the home fans, and was partly 
covered. The other two stands running down the side of the pitch (their were only 3 stands) were made up of seats that looked like they were put down on old terracing. 

The game itself was spoilt by a very poor referee who decided to send one of our players off after only 15 minutes for a foul on the keeper. After that we defended valiantly for 70 minutes but unfortunately lost 2-1, the second being a deflected goal in the 87th minute, three minutes after we had just equalised with 10 men. The atmosphere between both sets of fans throughout the game was lively due to the close proximity of both sets of supporters and the home fans were made to sound even louder by a home fan banging a drum throughout. I didn't have any food so can't really comment of the quality of it but a catering van is provided for the brave souls amongst you.

Getting away from the ground was smooth and without problems and by the time we have brought our journey home refreshments and made our way back the station the police were on hand to greet us and keep the locals in check.

On the way home the three of us agreed that apart from the referee spoiling the game as a contest and in the end costing us points it had been a good away trip.

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