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Broadfield Stadium
Crawley Town v
AFC Wimbledon
League Cup Preliminary Round
Friday, July 29th, 2011, 7.45pm
Martyn Stimson
(92 Club Member)

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

As a member of the 92 Club I always look out for the fixtures of the teams that have either come up or moved to a new ground.  When I discovered that one of my new grounds for this season was achievable in the League Cup a week before the start of the season I couldnít resist it.  It was also a chance to do the ground without clashing with a Colchester game.  There were three of us in our group but there was also an official 92 Club meet before the match.

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

Working about an hour out of London, on the wrong side of London for Crawley, I decided to finish work early (it was a Friday after all) and take the train. It would be tight to get back by train that night so arranged to stay with a friend in London who was also coming along.  Trains ran well and we shared a carriage from London Bridge to Crawley with some friendly but drunk Wimbledon fans, excited at a return to the league after their 9 year absence.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Being a bit tight for time we grabbed food at London Bridge station and ate on the train.  On arriving at Crawley we headed to the nearest Good Beer Guide pub which was The Swan on Horsham Road.  There was a choice of ales on and the staff and locals were friendly.  We sat in the beer garden with some other 92 Club members before organising taxis amongst us to take us to the ground.  It would probably have taken about 30 minutes to walk but the taxi allowed us that extra 20 minutes in the pub.  

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

Itís a tidy little ground and Wimbledon had packed the terraced behind the far goal. There was a large main stand to the left as you enter, to the right there was covered terracing that continued around the corner and behind the goal.  The opposite side was open terracing but only about six feet deep. The stands are close to the pitch ensuring a close up view of the action nearest you.  It was a dry evening so we decided to walk around to the open terracing on the far side for the first half and then swap sides for the second half Ė not many ground left where thatís possible anymore.

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

The game itself provided an exciting and attacking display of football from both sides.  It was an entertaining game with plenty of action and five goals.  Crawley were the better side on the night and ran out 3-2 winners.  Both sides should finish top half and Crawley will most likely be in the promotion hunt come the end of the season.

There was a reasonable atmosphere and the rivalry and close proximity between the two clubs ensured and good turn out from both sets of fans with the travelling Wombles behind the goal vocal throughout the game. 

Didnít really notice the stewards (a good sign perhaps).  The refreshments were better than the usual football ground dross and better priced than a lot of grounds but it was still nothing to rave about.  The toilets were perfectly adequate.

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

We managed to get a lift back to Crawley station with a Crawley fan I used to work with and were able to get a train back to London in good time.  It wouldíve been a push to make the same train on foot having stayed at the ground to the end but it wouldíve been possible.  As it was we were back in Barnes in plenty of time for a few beers before closing time.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

The ground itself is not a bad set up for an up and Iím a fan of having terracing behind the goals.  It is quite a hike from the station and there arenít many recommended ale pubs in the town but the ground does apparently have its own supportersí bar.  It was an entertaining game of football from two sides that are easily equipped to stay up this season and will probably be looking to finish at least top half.

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