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Boundary Park
  Oldham Athletic v Sheffield United
 
League One
Tuesday, April 29th 2014, 7.45pm
Dominic Bicketon
(Stoke City fan and Doing the 92)

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

It's always good to tick another ground off the list and I was looking forward to this one because Boundary Park has an old school feel to it, with the Main Stand and Chaddy Road End especially oozing character. I was also looking forward to it as I had bought my better half to this match (she actually drove us there!), so it would be her first experience of a more old fashioned stadium.

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

Our journey was a very simple one and the post code provided on this site lead us straight to the club's car park, however it did take us some time to get into the car park as you have to weave through a housing estate to get the ground. We paid 5 to park and then made our way to collect our tickets.

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

We arrived fairly close to kick off, so we made our way straight to the Chaddy Road End and took our seats. Both sets of fans mingled outside the ground before kick off and there were no signs of trouble.

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

The ground currently looks quite strange as you can see straight into it from the club car park, although the new stand is beginning to take shape. Naturally, it diminishes the experience of Boundary Park, but this will be resolved once the stand is completed. The Rochdale Road away end seems to be a fairly modern and neat looking stand, and the Main Stand is a very old two tiered affair with some uncovered seating. The Chaddy Road home end is again an old fashioned stand with supporting pillars and a very low hanging roof at the front. This does mean that you get quite a poor view from the back of this stand, as you can only just see the crossbar of the goal on the other side of the pitch. The Chaddy Road stand was also quite cold due to a gap between the back wall and the roof, which invited the wind to come through.

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

Despite thinking that this match would be a nothing game between two teams with their future in League One secured, it was quite a lively game and started with Oldham looking the most dangerous, the Latics coming close to scoring several times in the early stages. They deservedly went 1-0 up when James Wilson nodded in Connor Brown's corner on 17 minutes. Conor Coady had the ball in the net for the visitors five minutes before half time but had his goal ruled out for being offside. Oldham went in 1-0 to the good at half time and were good value for their lead.

The second half was a different story as the Blades looked to get back into the game and, after hitting the woodwork and wasting several chances, they got an 84th minute equaliser. Ex-Oldham man Chris Porter, who came on as a sub to a chorus of boos and abuse, was picked out in the box and tapped home from close range. The game became a somewhat scrappy contest in the dying minutes and eventually ran out a draw, which was probably a fair result.

The atmosphere at Boundary Park was what I consider to be the only real negative of my visit. Sadly, the home fans have a singing section with a drummer. I have never been of the opinion that instruments make for a better atmosphere at football, in fact I find that they tend to have the exact opposite effect and often drown out the sound of any real atmosphere between the two sets of fans. It didn't help that the Oldham fans had no variety in what they chanted/drummed and the 10-15 minute long (this is no exaggeration) renditions of the Great Escape theme and 'Lee Johnson's Blue and White Army' were extremely irritating to the point where I felt like leaving. I would highly recommend that if you're of the same opinion as me towards drums, then try your best to get tickets as far away from the Chadderton Road stand as possible.

The stewarding at the match was relaxed and the facilities were adequate.

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

Getting away from ground took about 20 minutes as the club car park does become a free-for-all, but once we got out it was fairly easy to get on our way back home.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

I wish I could say that I enjoyed my time at Boundary Park, but that wasn't really the case. The match was good to watch and the ground is decent and still has plenty of character despite only having 3 sides to it. What tainted my visit was the aforementioned drum issue. I do intend to return once the new stand has been completed, but I will certainly be trying to sit somewhere else.


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