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Recreation Ground
  Aldershot Town v  Darlington
League Two
, August 8th 2009, 3pm
By John Hubble
(Neutral fan)

A weekend trip to the in laws in nearby Sandhurst for my mother in law’s birthday was planned well in advance of the day so, with a meal at a local pub booked on the Sunday, I had Saturday free having travelled down on the Friday night. Having been to Woking on a previous visit over last Christmas, I was looking for a game to go to elsewhere. I noticed Southampton were at home (an hour away) and needing the ground towards my 92 this looked a promising bet. However noticing Millwall were the visitors on the opening day of the season,I decided it wise not to visit on that occasion and so plumped for Aldershot, as it is only a 20 minute drive away, for their opening league fixture against Darlington.

I had been to Aldershot on two previous occasions when they were last in the league so this wasn’t a new ground (no I don’t adhere to the officious rules of the 92 club whereby you have to visit the ground during their current spell in the Football League), however it was a first since they became Aldershot Town…so I suppose in the rules of the 92 club..this was a new ground!

I arrived in Aldershot at just gone 12 noon and parked in a car park next to the ground albeit a small area for a very reasonable £2 for up to 6 hours and decided to try one of the local pubs in the vicinity rather than walk into town. I went into the Crimea Pub which is opposite the main entrance and as it was a scorchingly hot day decided to have a lager rather than try any of the real ales on offer..(shame I know). It is a fairly small traditional pub with half a dozen or so Aldershot fans in there already when I arrived. I stayed for an hour or so and then went into the ground. Bought a programme and a badge from the club shop which is one of the smallest I’ve been to (garden shed size) and then made my way round the famous area behind the goal opposite the main terrace end which is just a pathway and no stand. I decided to have a shandy in the supporters bar called Wally’s and spoke to a couple of Aldershot fans who wondered why I was there when they heard my accent!. At this point I mentioned to one of them that my last visit to the ground was tragically on the day of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. Aldershot played Wolves that day with Steve Claridge playing for Shots.

The game itself saw Aldershot begin in dominant mood and were 2 up after 30 minutes with goals from Marvin Morgan and Andy Sandell. Darlo,with Dean Windass making his debut,struggled to get any foothold on the game and rarely threatened in the first half. Aldershot were 3 up after 47 minutes with a goal from Louie Soares and it seemed they would go on and get a hatfull. Darlo, however improved, throughout the second half and whilst there was never any chance they would seriously get back into the game, did manage a late consolation goal from Dowson after 85 minutes. Aldershot were worthy winners come the final whistle.

I stood on the open terrace corner next to the “no stand” end and was amazed that despite an impressive performance from the home side, their supporters at that end of the ground were as quiet as  any supporters I’ve heard at any match.They were just content it seemed to chat amongst themselves and it seemed as if the game was of secondary importance. Even when their goals went in, there was only token applause. It was just like a crown green bowling match on a Sunday afternoon. The main terrace at the other end was the complete opposite with the Town fans keeping up a crescendo of noise pretty much throughout the game..was very impressed with them. The 213 Darlington fans as you can imagine were pretty quiet throughout, wondering why they had made such a long journey for such a woeful performance.

I managed to get out of the car park very quickly after the game and was away in no time which wasn’t difficult considering the gate of just over two and a half thousand.  

I like The EBB Stadium, as it is now called, because of its unusual setting with only 3 stands, large trees behind the main terrace end elevated location. The fans are very friendly and it’s a comfortable Family club. Its a ground that I would have no issue with visiting again when next in the area.

Aldershot 3 Darlington 1 Attn 2866

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