Crawley Town v Reading
FA Cup 3rd Round
Saturday, January 5th, 2013, 3pm
By James Busby
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case maybe ):
The FA Cup has always been an interesting tournament over the past few years for Reading, beating the likes of Liverpool at Anfield, Everton at Goodison and two quarter final appearances. Plus Jimmy Kebe scoring one of the fastest goals in FA Cup history (9 seconds). I thought maybe this could be the start to something along the same lines,
Also Crawley isn’t very far away from Reading to travel to, plus I would experience a match standing on a terrace like the old days, And just to add a bit of extra spice to the fixture, we will be reunited with Steve Coppell, the first manager to ever guide us to the Premiership with a record 106 points. Lastly it’s another ground to tick off the list.
2.How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
We travelled to Crawley by train; it was a pretty simple journey Reading to Red Hill, and then Red Hill to Crawley, and £20 for a return, you can’t go wrong. The journey took roughly an hour and half, but we had a few beers to keep us going.
3.What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
We arrived in Crawley at around 11:30am, the first thing we did was try and find the away fans friendly pub called The Half Moon (thanks to this website), which was around a 15 minute walk from the station. Fairly simple to find, turn left when you exit the station, follow the road across the level crossing, until you reach a bridge, you can either take a side route which will take an extra 10 minutes or if you feel brave just walk on the road (like we did) and it's on the left.
It was a very nice pub inside and out, it has loads of TV’s, 6 I counted all showing the Brighton vs Newcastle game, it also has 3 pool tables and an Air Hockey table. The food was limited due to the match day menu they serve but fairly priced with burgers and Pizzas ranging from £2.95 - £5. Pub started to fill as soon as we arrived with both Reading and Crawley fans, all seemed friendly and banter was flowing freely. The staff were also friendly, even had a good chat with the Landlord and surprising enough a lot of Reading fans live in Crawley.
4.What was your first thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of the away end then the other sides of the ground?
We left the pub at 2:30pm with both sets of fans walking together with no signs of trouble, when you get to the stadium it’s not much to look at if you’re not used to lower league football, but it is clean and looks fairly modern despite being 15 years old. It has two identical stands at each end which are both all terrace which meet at both corners. To your left is a small all seated stand which holds around 2,000 people, and there are a lot of supporting pillars in this stand and the roofs looks like one you’ll see on a tent, then again it is only a semi permanent stand, part of this stand was given to Reading fans, and to your right is a much bigger West Stand which looks fairly modern, the stand is above pitch level meaning supporters need to climb a small set of stairs to get to their seats and has some odd looking floodlights. The tunnel and dugouts are also located at this side.
5.Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc:
The game got off to an awful start for us as Crawley scored in the first 14 seconds, Nicky Adams unleashing a thunder bolt right into the top corner giving Adam Federici no chance. The Royals started to get in the game and levelled on 13 minutes with Adam Le Fondre slotted a low ball past Jones after McCleary cushioned Harte's cross to set Le Fondre up. It was pretty even game after this with chances being created by either side until McCleary yet again crossed the ball to Noel Hunt to make it 2-1 to Reading just before half time.
The second half was all Reading and the game was well and truly over when Le Fondre converted a penalty after Hunt was brought down by Walsh, could of been 4 after Shaun Cummings was taken down in the box, but even thought it was a clear penalty, he got booked for “diving” but after that, Reading just sat back and defended until the full time whistle.
The atmosphere even though it was a record attendance (5,880) was very poor from the Crawley fans, but the Reading fans were in full voice all throughout . A few away fans got thrown out for not behaving themselves. which put a bit of a dampener on the game, but still the stewards (who were hardly noticeable) dealt with the incidents quickly. The toilets were a bit on the small side, but did the job.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
After clapping our players off, we were let out the stand straight away and mixed in with the Crawley fans with no hassle, a few police cars were parked around the stadium and the surrounding streets, but it’s expected despite the old hooliganism factor hardly existent in modern day football. We went back the way we came and was back on the train home in half hour.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Overall a good day out, I’d go again if we did play Crawley (cup or league), wish the atmosphere was a bit better but it’s still worth doing if you haven’t been and bring on Sheffield United at home in the next round!
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who has visited Broadwood Stadium recently?
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