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Princes Park
Dartford v Tamworth
  Saturday, August 11th 2012, 3pm
Blue Square Premier
By Scot Rowland
(Tamworth fan)

1. Why were you looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be)?

Obviously with it being the start of a new season I was very much looking forward to the game. As well as having seen details of Princes Park since its construction it promised to be a very interesting stadium to visit.

2.  How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

My journey was obviously a slight more hectic than it would normally be due to the Olympics. I travelled to Stratford from Ipswich on the 09:09 service then took the DLR to Greenwich then a train from Greenwich to Dartford arriving at 11:45. Heading to Stratford and then onto Greenwich both of which were extremely busy and did make the journey slightly more difficult. The ground is quite easy to find and there is quite a bit of parking at the stadium and the surrounding areas if you choose to drive.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy. Home fans friendly:

We took a taxi from the train station to Darenth Road to the Ivy Leaf pub that cost around £4. We found to our dismay that it was shut (it doesn't open until 1pm) so we first took in a drink at The Malt Shovel (also on Darenth Road). This was quite a nice pub with a cosy bar area and a lot of seating at the rear. We then headed to The Ivy Leaf which is again quite a nice pub with a very nice beer garden to the side. It does tend to get busy with it being so close to the ground but the home fans we came across were extremely friendly and the pub overall has a very good atmosphere. 

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of the away end and other sides of the ground:

I was awe stricken on seeing the stadium it is a fantastic place to watch a game of football. The mix of wood and concrete give the stadium a unique feel instead of many bland new stadiums. The quirky aspects of the ground add to the character of the stadium with the grass on the roof, and the wood on the roofs’ of the stands. All the stands are of a similar design; The Main Stand runs across the by-line and has a few rows to it with the bar (which is a very nice large bar, with a terrace outside looking over the ground) and other conferencing facilities to the rear of the seats. The three terraced stands are quite small with only a few rows terracing. The roof is quite high up so the ground feels open despite it being all covered and enclosed. In one corner is a basic scoreboard and then there is obviously the Wooden Man which I think is really good addition to the character of the stadium. The stadium is something to be proud of for Dartford and the fans I spoke to certainly were.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

The game was a very entertaining encounter. Tamworth started very well and deservedly took the lead when Peter Till found a way through and fired into bottom corner. Tamworth continued to press and got a second when Bonner tried to clear and blocked it and the ball came back of Bonner to fall for Adam Cunnington to coolly finish. Dartford started to step up and were awarded a free kick on the stroke of half time that smashed in.

Dartford started the second half brightly and passed the ball around well without creating too many clear cut chances. Mid way through the second half Cunnington hit a stunning strike with the outside of his boot into the top corner to make it 3-1 to Tamworth. Dartford pulled a goal back but after a tense last ten The Lambs held on for the win. The atmosphere was quite good from both sets of supporters with the roof of the stands being quite high good atmosphere can be created inside. The stewards were very good and obviously the facilities were again very good, the food inside the ground is quite good although a bit on the pricey side.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Walking was fine for us, but the car park bottlenecks at Grassbanks exiting from the stadium so I would assume that if using the car park it could require a bit of time to get away, also I noticed that the junction just down from the ground is very busy at the end of the game.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Princes Park is undoubtedly a fantastic stadium and looks fantastic. The Dartford fans are a friendly bunch and makes for a great atmosphere before, during and after the game. This was a fantastic away day and I recommend a visit.

Are you an away or general football fan who has visited Princes Park recently?
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