Friday, 14 October 2011

Colchester United - The Weston Homes Community Stadium

Colchester United FC
Weston Homes Community Stadium
United Way

01206 752443

Matchday Number: 154
Saturday 27th March 2010

Colchester United 1-1 Wycombe Wanderers
nPower League 1

Colchester United left their dilapidated Layer Road home in 2008 for the brand spanking new Community Stadium. Their bitter rivals Wycombe did not visit in the first season, but after promotion it was decided by the fixture planners that it would be late March before the Chairboys visited.

I had decided to go with the independent supporters club for this game, as they always stop at a decent pub, and there was nothing around the ground. Situated off a dual carriageway, near an industrial estate, the nearest pub was miles away. We set off in good time around 11am, and eventually got to a pub in a nearby village, just before 12.30. The pub we stopped at last time I went with them was fantastic - good, but unspectacular food at reasonable prices, and best of all a home made cider - though at 9%, it was best to go easy! This time however, proved to be one huge disappointment. The only food available was a Sunday Roast carvery - on a Saturday, so it would be like groundhog day tomorrow, food wise. For £8, all you got was one plateful. A small piece of fatty meat, a Yorkshire pud, and some veg (which I don't like much) I tried to go up again to get some more meat, but they said I would have to pay again, even though I took away less than half a plate, first time. So one bad mark for being so lazy as to offer just one choice, another bad mark for offering shit portions. And a hat trick completed for doing a lousy selection of cider - think it was just Bulmers. I was glad to get out of there and to the game.

We got to the ground, just after 2.30 and went straight in. I was glad to see that Colchester had got Kingstone Press on tap under their stand, also the food was better than the pub too, even though it was the generic crap you get at all football grounds. The match itself was a fairly entertaining affair. Goalless at the break, Colchester drew first blood just after the interval with Ian Henderson scoring. Wycombe had to wait until the 90th minute for their moment. Matt Phillips' corner was bundled over the line by Gareth Ainsworth, amid claims from the Essex apes that he had used his hand. Did he? Most likely, buy, hey, who cares. Sadly this point was not enough to aid Wycombe's escape from relegation, and they went down with a game still to play.

The following season, the 2 sides were drawn to play each other again, this time in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, but again at Colchester. This time I opted to drive. After visiting a few grounds along the way, we stopped off in Colchester town centre. It was most unimpressive, and made me realise how lucky I was to live in Wycombe, despite all it's faults. We left and got to the ground just after 6. After a wander around and chat to some of the home fans, we went into the ground. If last time was enjoyable, then this one was even better. Wycombe won 2-0, despite being outplayed for large periods of the game. Goals from Kevin Betsy and Scott Davies set up a fantastic win that would live long in the memory. Earlier this season, Wycombe completed their 3rd visit to the new ground. I was not there to see it, as I worked late, but Wycombe maintained their unbeaten record as they drew 1-1, to make it 3 games without defeat at the ground originally named Cuckoo Farm.

THE WESTON HOMES COMMUNITY STADIUM is typical of new builds. Bunged in the arse end of nowhere, it is almost identical to similar stadiums at Shrewsbury and Chesterfield. Despite it's unremarkableness, it offers a good view of the action, which is more than you can say for the ramshackle Layer Road, though it does lack the character and charm of Colchester's former home ground.

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