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Plainmoor - Torquay
Saturday, August 20th 2005,
v Bristol Rovers - League 2, 3pm.
 By Steve Cullen, Frome, Somerest

Plainmoor is a ground that some people might leave alone due to the distance, but luckily for me I live close enough to reach it easily on the train. The 2 hour journey is as picturesque as youíll come across with much of the later part of the journey spent travelling along the seafront. Once in Torquay it takes a 10 minute walk past the seafront to reach the town centre, where many good shops, pubs and eateries can be found. I spent some time in the Hogís Head before exploring the town centre some more. There were many Torquay fans in the Town centre before a game, but I really had no problems at all in my Rovers top, some fans even stopping for a chat along the way.

I took a taxi to the ground to avoid a fairly long walk, and the traffic was fine as long as you go early enough. Once near the ground I got out to have a quick look at the local pubs, all of which were packed the rafters. The pub nearest the home end of the ground, next to the Somerfield supermarket, was dangerously overcrowded and many fans were buying drink from the supermarket and drinking outside. This may not be such a problem on a different day as Rovers did have a massive away following, but I would recommend spending at least some time in the town centre first if a pre-match drink is as important to you as it is to me. I attempted to enter the Supporters bar and was told in no uncertain terms to go away, and Police were also confiscating drink from supporters who ventured too close to the ground. It seems Police, security officers and stewards were very cautious of away supporters, although I was told that away fans are allowed into the supporters bar if much smaller numbers are expected.

Inside the ground, the Burger bar serves good cheap food, the toilets are okay and there was little in the way of queues for either. The stand offers a good view of the action and has a fairly good atmosphere. Unfortunately the home fans do not make as much of an effort and only really got behind their team when they were winning, so it may take some of the more vocal travelling support to create a good atmosphere.

The game itself was a cracker once Torquay opened the scoring. Rovers threatened briefly before the home side grabbed their second goal early in the second half, inspiring the home fans to start really getting behind their team. This only spurred on the Rovers players and fans and Agogo pulled a goal back with fifteen minutes to go. After more pressure from Rovers, the same player eventually equalised in the 87th minute to send the 1,500 travelling army into raptures. As home supporters began making their way home a deserved draw looked on the cards until, deep into injury time, substitute Richard Walker curled in a Rovers winner and a melee ensued. I myself, standing near the exit in anticipation of the final whistle, was jumping high into the air over and over again shouting my head off, much to the amusement of the home stewards! After the game, the traffic was fairly light and there was no trouble getting to the station to catch the train back at 5.17.

 


On a sour note, I must draw peopleís attention to some incidents early in the game involving many fans in the home terrace taunting the travelling fans. As expected, any Rovers fans who reacted were promptly removed from the ground while the home supporters were left to continue their pathetic behaviour. I have seen this situation occur many times before and it is a shame that stewards donít use common sense and removing the baiting fans to eradicate the problem. I will certainly admit that some of the Rovers faithful were also to blame, but simply be aware that the stewards can be heavy-handed and will tolerate fans who are sensible.

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