Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Game 9 - Burton Albion v Northampton Town 29th August 2009 Coca Cola League One

As I have been thwarted by the weather over the last couple of weeks it is time to catch up with some visits made earlier in the season. A free Saturday due to Sky scheduling gave me the opportunity to visit the League's new boys, Burton Albion.

We park up opposite the ground, less then a couple of minutes walk away, chatting to a Northampton fan as we do so, who tells us how they are doing so far this season, which apparently is not very well. We leave him at the away turnstiles to go and buy our tickets for the seated South Stand. Once these have been secured we go into the Club Shop to buy the obligatory badge. This must be one of the smallest shops I've been into and it is a surprise considering the Pirelli was only finished in 2005. We make our way around the outside of the ground as usual and you are able to walk round the whole ground. I know they are the new boys but you would think they would be able to pay the players more money to be able to afford better transport!

We go into the ground and first impressions are favourable. Opposite us is a long terraced stand and both ends are also standing. The corners are all open, so each stand is separate from each other. The seated stand we are in is not segregated and so home and away fans use the same facilities and on the day we were here there were no problems which was great to see, lets hope this continues for the rest of the season.

North Stand:

West Stand terracing:

South Stand:

East Stand (Away):

The game kicks off and the Brewers have a fantastic start to the game and are 3-0 up in 11 minutes as the Cobblers make several mistakes and cannot cope with the free flowing football from the hosts. The rest of the half saw the Cobblers just keeping the score from being extended. They are so bad that there are two substitutions before halftime with the visiting fans venting their anger at manager Suart Gray.
The second half sees a more resilient Northampton side and they pull a goal back from Steve Guinan after 50 minutes. The pressure was now on Burton and Northampton continued to make chances and pulled another goal back from the penalty spot on 71 minutes. The game now ebbed and flowed from one end to the other with both teams having opportunities to score again. The bookings tally was added to as both teams got more desperate. With no further scoring Burton ran out 3-2 winners in an enthralling game for the neutral.
We made our way back to the car having thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Pirelli Stadium, very friendly staff, excellent facilities and a cracking game.

Burton Albion 3-2 Northampton Town
Att: 3,321
Admission: £15
Programme: £2.50
Badge: £3

More photos of the Pirelli Stadium here.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Game 27 - Liversedge v Long Eaton United 5th December 2009 NCEL Premier

A fine sunny day and not many games are going to be off up here although Tadcaster Albion suffer from flooding again and Eccleshill United is off after a floodlight fell onto the pitch! So the car is pointed to Yorkshire and the trip to the Clayborn Ground, home of Liversedge is soon completed. You have to go down a very narrow Quaker Lane to find the ground and I did wonder if I had gone wrong for a moment or so, but the ground appears after the houses and the car park is straight in front of you. After having it confirmed that the Foxes are being thumped I make my way into the ground.

Everyone I meet is very friendly and I'm greeted by several officials of the Club with a friendly hello from them all, very nice, although I could have done without the reminders of the score at forest thank you very much. The actual pitch is lower than the end of the ground I enter and the seated stand to my left. The Clubhouse and other facilities are all reached by a set of steps.

The opposite end and the open hard standing area on the right touchline are at the pitch level with no cover. The official capacity is 2,000 with 250 seats with a nice Clubhouse with bar and a very large TV with Sky Sports News on, (oh god its 5-1 now). I have a good chat with the gentleman who sells me my badge and he informs me that they have signed several new players since I saw Liversedge lose at Armthorpe Welfare at the start of the season. I wander off to take my stroll round the ground and take my pictures. I eventually take a seat in the covered stand just before kick off and strike up conversation with a very nice gentleman from Liversedge.
Liversedge started the game well and the right back Haigh and winger Walker kept combining well tot trouble the Long Eaton defence. Liversedge took the lead on 11 minutes when a goal kick went straight to Haigh who initiated a neat passing move which resulted in scoring header from Wasley. Both team continued to play some good football and both had opportunities to score. It was to be Long Eaton who scored next. A free kick was given on 39 minutes and it looked like the Sedge defender would easily clear it but he totally miskicked the ball and it ended up in the net, 1-1. A controversial moment followed when Long Eaton's Mabon latched onto a through ball and as he went past the centre half he was brought down. The assistant referee put his flag but the referee signalled no foul and he quickly put it back down again. Had the foul been given there would have been a red card and the game would have been very different. The half ended 1-1 with some frank exchanges of views between the Long Eaton players and the officials being made.

Long Eaton came out in the second half and took control of the game, stopping Sedge's controlled passing game and in particular Walker who was closely marshalled to stop him having as much of the ball as he did in the first half. It was not long before they took the lead with a smart shot from Newton on 53 minutes. For a long time it looked like Long Eaton were going to add to their goal tally, but Liversedge really went for it in the last 10 minutes but could not get past the strong Long Eaton defence. The game ended with Long Eaton having a couple of more chances to extend their lead, but without success.
An excellent day out, a really friendly Club and would recommend a visit to everyone.

Liversedge 1-2 Long Eaton United
Att: 73
Admission: £5
Programme: £1.20
Badge: £3

More photos of the Clayborn Ground here.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Game 26 - Scunthorpe United v Leicester City 28th November 2009 Coca Cola Championship

Ok, so what happened to Liversedge I hear you cry. Well due to my daughters ill advised argument with a HGV on the M1 this was a game I missed. The weather also put paid to a couple of other planned visits so my latest report is on the visit of the Foxes to Glanford Park, home to Scunthorpe United since 1988 after leaving the Old Show Ground.

For me personally, this is the least attractive looking ground from the outside in the Football League. I've been to Glanford Park on numerous occasions but I've only ever sat in the away end, lived in Grimsby too long to be sitting with the home fans! Inside the ground is ok, but the major problem with the away end are the facilities, not because they are poor, indeed the food and drink has always been pretty good when I've had it, but because with a large following the corner positioning of the facilities is inadequate. Not a problem when I'm here on a freezing night in December with the small following from Shrewsbury though.
I wander off to take some photos before kick off. The two side stands are both seated but the North Stand opposite the away stand is standing.

Back to my seat and I have a post in the way that is blocking my view of the penalty area of the goal at this end. The game kicks off and City are quickly into their stride and after 3 minutes are 1-0 up courtesy of Martin Waghorn whose pace is troubling Scunny early on. City spurn several chances due in the main to a great performance by Murphy in the Scunthorpe goal. City go in 1-0 up at half time, thoroughly deserved. Scunthorpe come out and play better in the second half but do not really trouble Chris Weale. City continue to make chances but cannot extend their lead and this comes back to haunt them as Scunthorpe equalise with virtually the last kick of the game through sub Martin Woolford. Disappointing but not the end of the world.
Although it takes about 25 minutes to get out of the car park we are home for 6pm. I wish we got home from home games as quick.

Scunthorpe United 1-1 Leicester City
Att: 6,884
Admission: £18

More photos of Glanford Park here.