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Memorial Ground
Bristol Rovers v Southend United 
Saturday, March 24th, 2012, 3pm
League Two
 
John Spooner
(Southend United fan)


My son and I had never visited this ground and having dropped to 4th in the table after some poor home performances, we were anxious to get a good result to keep Southend in the promotion race. Bristol were mid table.

We journeyed  by car from North Wales as exiled fans, expecting to drive south via M5 and A38 but due to a serious crash blocking the M5 en-route we had to divert through Wolverhampton, Kidderminster down toward Worcester before rejoining the M5. The ground was easy enough to find and we parked near to the Wellington Pub.

We enjoyed a quick home made snack in the car before walking down the hill to the stadium and noticed that both sets of supporters were happily enjoying a pint or two at the Wellington.

The ground on arrival is poor looking and the away covered end looks gloomy. The ground looks old fashioned with different size stands. We had decided to stand on the open terracing in a corner of the ground, and on a warm March day (22 degrees) sunshine was in our eyes for the entire game. The pitch looked okay.

The game was a scrappy affair with Freddy Eastwood, making a return to Southend, finding it hard to get goal scoring chances. Both teams struggled to find the target but with five minutes left we gave away a penalty and Matt Harrold (ex Southend) duly netted to consign us to another loss. A crowd of 6,258 only really came alive with the penalty and the 521 Southend fans were subdued by the lack of goal scoring chances and the hot sun possibly. Southend dropped down to 5th place with just seven games left but hopefully promotion via the playoffs.

I can recommend the huge Cornish pasties and the chicken curry pies looked tasty too. The stewards were friendly enough but it felt slightly intimidating to find by half time that there were about 20 Police and stewards behind us on the terracing and at the end we were stopped from leaving the ground for 20 minutes, despite there being no obvious problems.

Despite the delay in leaving the ground it was easy enough to get moving on the A38 towards the M5 motorway.

So overall, a disappointing day after a tiring journey to the game, although the sunshine was welcome. Hopefully Bristol will move to a proposed new stadium and both clubs will progress to higher levels.


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