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MEMS Priestfield Stadium
  Gillingham v
Bristol City
League One
Saturday, August 31st 2013, 3pm
Paul Mason
(Bristol City fan)

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

Although I had visited Gillingham before as part of my attempts to visit the 92 I couldn't miss the opportunity to watch my team on a lovely August day, I would eventually like to do the 92 watching City games so this was a chance for a nice day out whilst ticking off ground 43 with the cider army.

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

Travelling from Bristol Parkway it was a simple 1.5 hour train journey to London Paddington and then a 15 minute tube ride to St Pancras on the Circle Line. It's then a 45 minute journey on the high speed train (but with many stops) to Gillingham. I got there in plenty of time and Gillingham station is just under a 10 minute walk to the ground.

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

Having been before I had a quick look around the ground before going in. There's not much immediately around the stadium but the town centre is not far with some fast food places including a Mcdonalds.  I wore club colours and had no problems with the Gillingham fans.

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

The ground is dominated by the Medway Stand a two tiered stand housing the media facilities. As per the Football Ground Guide website, the away end is as described; a temporary stand which does let down the overall look of the ground as its basically scaffolding. The other stands are the Rainham End opposite - a reasonable and new stand - which having previously sat in, is a nice stand with a good view. The other stand is an older traditional stand. The away end does offer decent views and good leg room but we were lucky it was a nice day as it is totally open.

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

The game was a game of two halves. First half City started slowly and Gills whilst not looking dangerous did cause some problems from set pieces and long throws and beast mode Bayo Akinfenwa scored with a flick on after 22 minutes. City equalised right on half time against the run of play through a header from Marvin Elliott from a Wagstaff cross. Interestingly there was an unusual substitution in the first half - the referee!!!

Gillingham were kind enough to tell us at half time that his groin injury was being treated with ice - too much information!

The kiosk was slow at half time, prices were standard 2 for hot and soft drinks, 3-3.50 for burgers, pies etc I just had a bovril and water because it was so hot and because the cider - Bulmers and lager - Fosters was 3.50 for a 330ml bottle - far too expensive for my liking. The programme cost 3 and was 76 pages and a reasonable read with normal features. Half time and before the match they had the cheerleaders the GFC Gems who also have a programme segment. Stewards were fine letting people stand at the back - although they were all handed out their payslips during the match! So seemed more interested in that.

Atmosphere was a tad disappointing  not much noise from anywhere but the open away end is not conducive to it.

2nd half City bossed it and had several chances to win but unfortunately wasted these opportunities and in the end it petered out to a 1-1 draw.

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

Simple walk back to the station and a comfortable reverse of my journey, no issues amongst the fans.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall a continuing improvement for City despite a disappointing start to the season. I would recommend Gillingham as a decent day out easy enough to get to, friendly enough but just hope if you visit it doesn't rain.

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Guide to Priestfield Stadium: Gillingham FC

Football Ground Guide Index