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St James' Park
Exeter City v Notts County
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011, 7.45pm
League One
James Spring

(Notts County fan)

1. Why were you looking forward to going to the ground?

Being a Notts County fan living in Weymouth, it's not too often I get to watch my beloved Magpies. But an early season trip to Exeter city, albeit on  Tuesday night, had been on the agenda since the fixtures came out. Notts had started the season pretty well, and this would be their 3rd game in 5 days having played Juventus in a showpiece friendly the previous Thursday, and then won at home to Walsall on the Saturday. Exeter had a sluggish start to the season, picking up just 4 points from their first 7 games, although they had played Liverpool  in the Carling Cup 3 weeks previously and were by no means disgraced.

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

This was my second visit to St Jamesí park. We left Weymouth at 4:45pm, had tea at a McDonalds on the way, and had arrived in the city by around 6:30pm. We parked in a multi-storey car park on Belgrave Road and walked to the ground. Itís simple, head towards Summerland Street from the car park, go left, and then go right once you reach Sidwell Street. There are plenty of food outlets along this road, such as Pizza Hut and KFC, along with a couple of pubs.  Keep heading along Sidwell street, straight through the roundabout, until you reach St Jamesí road. Go left, and you reach the away end.

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

Brought the clubís match day programme, ĎThe Grecianí for £3 (the largest programme in the league at 102 pages!) and made our way through the turnstile.

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

We had paid for tickets in the away terrace behind the goal, but being a Tuesday night, only around 180 Notts fans had made the trip so we were all put in the Grandstand away seating area.  This is a very old fashioned stand, only running around half the length of the pitch, but the view is pretty good. Opposite is the modern looking Flybe Stand, and behind the goal to the left a large banked terrace where the louder city fans seemed to congregate.

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

Things didnít start too brightly for Notts as we fell behind after just eight minutes thanks to our own defender heading in from a corner. However, after sixteen minutes, Ben Burgess fired home the equaliser. Notts then had a strong penalty appeal turned down, and stopper Stuart Nelson parried the ball out for a corner from a dangerous free kick. Both sides had numerous chances to take the lead but it remained level at the break.

The toilets are in a sort of wooden shed on the side of the stand, so donít expect much!

Food is pretty good, served from a hut in the corner of the away end with the usual selection of pies, drinks and pasties, there was even a Dominos pizza man walking around the ground.

Second half was just as open as the first half, with both sides having numerous opportunities to take all three points. City could/should have won it just minutes from the end, when a defensive lapse allowed Daniel Nardiello to go through one on one with Nelson, but the County keeper was able to make a good save low down. Full time, 1-1, both sides seemed content with a draw.

Atmosphere was good from both sets of fans throughout the game. The stewards were adamant we sat down but all in all they were quite friendly and good natured.

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

We walked back towards the car park without any bother. A couple of home fans wished us a safe journey home (have to say, didnít envy the other Notts fans travelling back to Nottingham!). There was a bit of traffic getting out of the city centre as you would expect, but nothing too bad and we got home just after 11pm.

7. Summary of overall thoughts

All in all, a good evening out. Home fans are friendly enough, and you can sense that Exeter is a real community club. An entertaining game of football, a fair result in the end and a decent point for both sides.  Wouldnít hesitate to return next season if weíre still both in League One...

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