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Broadfield Stadium
Crawley Town v Swindon Town
Tuesday, November 26th 2013, 7.45pm
League One
  Ronan Howard
(Swindon Town Fan)

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

This would be my first trip to Crawley, having missed our most recent encounters with the relative newcomers to the Football League. A reasonably short trip for me and the last real chance for an away game before Christmas sealed the deal.

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

I decided to drive down this time. Although only an hour and a half from where I’m based, I decided to stay over at the nearby Premier Inn (driving at night in November not constituting my idea of a good time).
 
Straight forward trip – M3, M25, M23 and back into Crawley. Also no mistaking where the football ground is, as you pass a giant red and white football on the roundabout opposite, which is a nice touch.
 
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
 
Went for a few beers at the nearby Half Moon pub. Saw very few home fans before the game although the flip side of that being that there were no problems with the locals. Not much around the ground in the way of pubs/restaurants for people to amuse themselves before the game. It might possibly have a better pre-match atmosphere in the spring/summer months so will give the benefit of the doubt.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
 
Ended up getting to the away end only a few minutes before kick off so not much of a chance for a look around. The ground itself is fairly small but tidy enough. Got into the ground quickly enough and then on to find a decent spot to watch the match. This is easier said than done – I’ve seen worse terracing at grounds around the country but due to there being little height to the stand the view wasn’t great. Luckily as it would turn out, there wasn’t much to miss!

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
The game was a bit of a non-event, certainly in the first half. “Like watching paint dry” was the expression I used at half time. Second half we managed to be a bit more adventurous  - both teams had a couple of chances, with Swindon hitting the post through Nicky Ajose, and both sides having a goal disallowed. Shortly before the final whistle town’s Nathan Byrne was dismissed for a second yellow, harsh I and many others felt, but it was typical of the evening.
 
That said we certainly didn’t deserve more than a draw, as we couldn’t seem to hit a barn door all day. Crawley may feel they deserved to sneak three points, however Wes Foderingham in the Swindon goal pulled off a couple of fine saves to deny their best chances.
 
The atmosphere throughout was muted – normally our travelling support is outstanding but this particular evening we never really got going. Crawley’s with respect was non-existent until the final few minutes, whether this was due to the time of year, the cold weather or the poor turnout (as visitors we made up around 10% of the gate that night and the overall attendance was still only around the 25,00 mark), I’m not sure. It certainly didn’t help that the quality of the football didn’t give either team much to shout about. Both looked happy enough with a point and a quick journey home.
 
Facilities were very sparse – toilets were better than I expected (and definitely better than some I’ve seen at other grounds) but nothing else in the away end. Several youngsters were walking past every so often with drinks containers mounted on their backs to much good natured ridicule – cries of “Ghostbusters” greeted their every jaunt pitchside! Stewards largely invisible which was no bad thing. Another interesting feature is that the stewards seemed to be happy to let us smokers indulge ourselves as the gates were far enough from the stand itself not to cause any legal issues.
 
Before the game I would’ve taken a point and as that’s what we got, couldn’t complain too much.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
Easy enough, straight out the way we came, through an underpass and back out onto the main road.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
Purely due to the relative ease of getting to Crawley I probably would go again, however certainly not much to tempt me back there for an evening kick off in winter. Not much around the ground of interest, the ground itself although relatively new seems to have had some corners cut in terms of keeping terraces and few facilities added, and one of the more subdued atmospheres I’ve seen – for 70-80 minutes you could be mistaken for thinking the home fans were watching a tennis match. The ground itself would be perfectly adequate for non-league but as Crawley seem to be consolidated in the Football League now, would think they would look at making some improvements.
 
That said certainly not the worst football ground in the world and would recommend for someone travelling a short distance and in better weather. Worth a look, if not one to go out of your way for.
 


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