Friday, 26 April 2013

Guildford City - Spectrum Arena

Guildford City FC
Spectrum Arena

Ground Number: 267
Wednesday 24th April 2013
Guildford City 1-3 Biggleswade Town
Southern League - Division 1 Central

To be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to doing Guildford City. I had been there a few years back, and from the outside, it looked pretty poor and had a running track around the pitch. Several times I decided against going, but I got to the point where I needed it to complete the Southern League Division 1 Central. I found a date that I had no other game planned on and would go there with an open mind. After all, the league that I would be watching had provided by far the best games of all the competitions that I had seen this season. And from looking on the Guildford website, there were a few good points about it, if not the view itself. Also it would be nearby and a fairly cheap night out as well.

After having a curry for dinner, I left home just before 6.30, hoping for little traffic, as I had not left much margin for error if I wanted to make kick off. There did turn out to be traffic and according to my sat nav I was due to arrive 5 minutes late. so I put my foot down to make up time. In the end, the traffic cleared and I was there just before 7.30. The ground was a bit tidier and smarter than I remember it and so after taking some pictures, I went and took a seat in th
e stand, which was some way from the pitch. As I didn't recognise many of the players, I have cut and pasted the report off of the Guildford City website.

A brace by striker Joel Mason proved the difference between the two sides at Spectrum as Biggleswade Town took all three points in the penultimate game of the season, at the same time clinching their place in the end of season play-offs.
The game started off well for the hosts, with a goal inside the first 90 seconds. Captain Simon Cooper latched onto Dan Moody’s pass over the top, controlled it on his chest before calmly rounding Alex Taylor in the Biggleswade goal and stroking the ball into the far corner to take his tally for the season up to nine.
The first of City’s goal line clearances came straight after the opener, when Biggleswade captain Steve Gentle found the ball at his feet 6 yards out, but his shot could only find the body of Bruce McPhail and City were able to clear their lines. The second clearance came ten minutes later, when Mason cut in from the left hand side and his cross was met perfectly by Paul Barnes, but his shot could only meet the body of Jamie Thoroughgood. The away side would continue to press for an equaliser, and nearly claimed it when Max York’s long throw was met by the head of Paul Barnes, but keeper Anthony Hall was able to turn it round the post.
The equaliser would come ten minutes before halftime when Joel Mason was able to head the ball past Hall in goal, who had been injured minutes earlier in a clash whilst diving for the ball to bring the scores level. One very quickly became two and it was Mason again with the finish, this time taking a through ball on the right hand corner of the area, on the volley and into the far corner of the net.
As the home side pushed for an equaliser, they left themselves open to conceding another and they nearly did, but once again Thouroughgood was there to deny Paul Barnes from getting on the score sheet. That plan only lasted fifteen minutes as Barnes was able to meet Joel Mason’s cross 15 yards out and head the ball past substitute Mike Hall in the goal and give the away side a two goal cushion, which they managed to hold on to until the final whistle.
After the game, it was a fairly easy trip home and although the ground wasn't the best, it had been another good game of football and a reasonable price to get in. After watching Corrie that I had recorded earlier that evening, I went to bed, knowing that an even later night was to follow tomorrow.

THE SPECTRUM ARENA is one of the most uninspiring grounds at any level, thanks in a large part due to the running track. 10 lanes, plus extra space separate the main stand from the action on the pitch. At least it's raised well above pitch level, so the view is improved somewhat. Even so, you feel totally detached from the action and can hear the nearby roads better than you can the players. Standing is also up here, along with more in front of the stand. The only other ares of cover is opposite, a small area of covered standing.

The tea bar is pretty standard for this level, as is the club shop. The clubhouse is a small PortaCabin offering cans and bottles. Despite all this the ground is in nice surroundings, with grass banks and trees surrounding it. And this friendly club offer half price admission to season ticket holders of any club, which is a great thing to do.

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