Stevenage v Scunthorpe United
Saturday, October 1st 2011, 3pm
(Scunthorpe United fan)
Having already made one visit to Broadhall Way for the Blue Square South play-off final in 2008 between Eastbourne Borough and my adopted side, Hampton & Richmond Borough, I was looking forward to another visit. This time with my recently relegated home town club Scunthorpe United against newly promoted Stevenage, for their first ever encounter between the two clubs.
Now living in South West London, I arrived at Stevenage rail station via Richmond and Finsbury Park stations at 1.15pm. Walking to the ground I bumped into three fellow visiting supporters at the roundabout underpass just past the police station who had no idea where the ground was! After being slowed down by the not-so-quick walkers (and telling them about this website!), I arrived at the ground at 1.45pm, where I made my way into the clubhouse.
Hats off to Stevenage for keeping alive the non-league experience and allowing both sets of fans to mingle in the spacious bar. They do have a polite doorman but on this visit there wasn't a hint of trouble. Despite there being a big queue at the bar I was served reasonably quickly, and it's always a pleasant surprise when you can pay for two pints with a five pound note!
I entered the ground just after 2.30pm, in the relatively new stand behind the goal given to visiting fans. On my previous visit I was situated behind the opposite goal in the small covered terrace so it was good to see the stadium from another vantage point. From the away end there is unobstructed views of the pitch, and the stewards seemed happy to allow fans to stand as long as no one was inconvenienced behind them. I do feel the facilities in the away end need improving though, one single snack bar and toilets (without sinks, just hand sanitizer!) just at one end of the stand are not sufficient for League One. We took 500 but double that and I expect it to be somewhat uncomfortable jostling for the amenities! Due to the length of queue, I decided against sampling the catering.
The Stevenage fans on the steep covered terrace running alongside the pitch got behind their side well, but fortunately for us, despite being outplayed for long periods of the game, Scunthorpe scored late in each half to go 2-0 up. Despite the hosts pulling one back immediately after our second, we held on for the final two minutes of added on time to take all three points.
After a fairly brisk walk back to the station via the town centre, I arrived back with plenty of time to catch the 5.38pm to Finsbury Park. A comfortable, enjoyable day out had been had with the added bonus of a win. I won't hesitate in planning for Stevenage away in the future.
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