Morecambe v Northampton Town
Saturday, May 7th 2011, 3pm
(Northampton Town fan)
I was really looking forward to visiting the Globe Arena as Northampton had just secured League Two survival by beating Stevenage the week before. It was also the final game of the season and the Northampton Town supporters were in a great mood and a party atmosphere beckoned. This was the first season that I had really started going to away games towards the end of the season mainly, as I felt the club could benefit from my own and others increased support in the battle for survival.
The journey was a long one, over four hours on the coach, with one stop off at a service station on the M6. The ground was signposted fine and speaking to the driver, he thought it was a tough trip due to traffic and congestion in Lancaster. However whilst driving alongside a coach full of Cardiff supporters on their way to Burnley we had a bit of banter and enjoyment which lightened the mood. The same could not be said for when we encountered some MK Dons fans who had stopped at the same service station as we had on the return when the banter got a bit out of hand between a few.
Before the game we stopped off along the sea-front for a while. The area along the sea front was a bit run down in places, but we found a small KFC to eat at along with a few fellow Cobblers fans. Didn't mix with many home supporters there, although the ground was fairly close to the beach. There were more home supporters nearer the ground who seemed friendly enough.
The ground looks fairly impressive on arrival, but there was a distinct lack of coach spaces for away fans in the car park which could be trouble for more popular games. The away end was functional, a nice terrace but not enough crush barriers for support. Some seats were made available in the Peter McGuigan Stand which some fans decided to sit in. Another 'stand' to our right was just a small terrace, just a few steps high, with a perimeter wall at the back. This terrace was for home fans. Behind that terrace was an AstroTurf area where training sessions for children were taking place. Overall the ground was clean, new, and fully functional.
The game was great! On the back of the previous victory and now looking confident and having nothing to lose, Northampton looked a changed team, taking the lead after 24 minutes through Kevin Thornton. The atmosphere created by the 950 away supporters mostly crammed into the away end was amazing. Many people had brought inflatable items and balloons to celebrate our success,. This was stark contrast to the lifeless home support who were silent throughout. Maybe we just couldn't hear them over our amazing noise! We then scored again after 85 minutes with a fantastic strike from on loan Ben Tozer from 25 yards. Morecambe pulled one back in the dying moments but we hung on for victory.
The toilets were sufficient and clean, but some away supporters did end up flooding them after the game, on purpose? I don't know. I didn't buy any food whilst I was there but friends commented on the good standard of theirs. The stewards were fine, joining in with our fun, throwing inflatables back to us when they had dropped onto the pitch perimeter. They were fantastic. When some supporters decided to run on the pitch however, the stewards were not so great, allowing one 'large' fan to run and kiss a player, get his shirt, then run back off whilst concentrating on one or two others who had attempted to hop the boundary on to the pitch. Then getting police to arrest them, leaving the other man 'Scott free.'
After the game had ended, it took us a long time to get out of the ground due to traffic and a police van blocking our exit trying to catch more troublemakers, but once we got away we traveled at a steady pace all the way back.
Overall a fantastic day, a good ground to visit, wouldn't hesitate in returning. A great turnout from the Northampton fans in bringing 950 fans compared to the 37 Morecambe brought to us, a great atmosphere, good result, nice place, good day.
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