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 the stand, which was some way from the pitch. Entry was also great value at £4 thanks to an offer that I could take advantage with, thanks to my season ticket.

Guildford City had a bright start and they were ahead in little over a minute. Simon Cooper latched onto a ball over the top before rounding the Biggleswade Town keeper. Biggleswade had a number of chances to equalised but eventually drew level on 35 minutes, thanks to a Joel Mason header. By this time the visitors had the bit between their teeth and were ahead within a few minutes, Mason getting his second, this time volleying home from the edge of the area. Mason turned provided for the goal that sealed the game on the hour mark, setting up Paul Barnes for a header to make it 3-1 to Biggleswade Town. After the game, it was a fairly easy trip home and although the ground wasn't the best, I'd still enjoyed my visit, 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 area 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 offers half-price admission to season ticket holders of any club, which is a great thing to do.

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