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Field Mill
Mansfield Town v
Southend United
League Two
Saturday, February 8th 2014, 3pm

Tom Raffan
(Southend United fan)

I took the train to Mansfield, going from St. Pancras to Nottingham, and then getting the local line to Mansfield, from where I could see the stadium with a very simple walk.
Upon arrival I found it was an unusual complex in that there was a fence around the back of the stand, and the turnstile was in a gate on this, and so once you were through you were not actually in the stand. On the back wall were loos and catering facilities, while also a welcoming poster which had the Southend United logo and the message 'Thank you for travelling 169 miles to support your team' which was a nice touch.
Having asked whether we could sit anywhere, the steward said that officially he was not allowed to say yes, although he was fairly relaxed. I found a seat at the back of the stand near where our drummer was, and from this high central position the view was very good. With a drummer we were able to generate plenty of noise, far more than the home fans I hasten to add, who were very quiet throughout.
The layout of the ground with the three very isolated stands, the unnoticeable tunnel and the dugouts by the empty side did give a feeling of distance from the rest of the ground. Furthermore it was impossible to hear what was said on the tannoy which was quite annoying, as we had no idea when the injury time started, nor how much there was (I didn't notice the fourth official's board go up).

At half time I had a hot dog, which was one of the cheaper hot options at 2.50 and as football food goes, it was very nice.
As for the game itself, it was a horribly windy day (which was not helped by the absence of wind shields on the stand) which completely ruined the spectacle. About 7 or 8 footballs must have gone over the Bishop Street Stand it led to us losing 2-1.
This was not one of the better away day experiences I have had, and not just because of the result, though if you are looking for an away game easily accessible by train, this is the one you want.

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