Welcome to my blog detailing my groundhopping exploits. My aim is to visit all football grounds in England (Premier league to the 8th tier) Scotland (SPL to 3rd Division) and the Welsh premier league I may also add grounds from other sports or countries. I hope you enjoy reading.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Brentwood Town - The Arena

Match - Brentwood Town 0-0 Harlow Town
Competition - Isthmian League Division 1North
Admission - £8.50 - Includes Programme
Attendance - 63
Scarf - £7
Food - Bacon Roll 6/10
Ground No. 115
Ground Rating 7/10 - Extra mark for leather sofa

On Saturday I ticked off another Ryman Division 1N ground by visiting Brentwood Town to watch their match against Harlow Town. This leaves me with just 5 more grounds to visit to complete the league although as I am unlikely to complete them this season this is likely to increase next season.

Brentwood Town play at The Arena at Brentwood Leisure Centre and is simple to get to as the leisure centre is well signposted once you enter Brentwood although traffic in the Town Centre can be a nightmare.

The Arena is set at the back of the large Car Park meaning that parking is never an issue, with the leisure centre and a number of other sports pitches in front and to one side of the enclosed ground.

On arriving at the ground myself and my dad headed straight to the turnstiles which are situated at one end of the ground and like always made our way straight to the Tea Hut, which on entering is located in a porta cabin just to the left of the turnstiles where I purchased a Bacon Roll which was ok but nothing special and a warm can of Coke which is never nice.

A hungry father racing to the turnstiles
After eating we took a stroll around the ground, The Arena consists of two stands one at the turnstile end which has three steps of terracing located directly behind the goal and is quite large in size, although a terraced stand you do have the option to sit as there is a leather sofa and two armchairs located at the back of the stand, and due to the small attendances probably wouldn't have an obstructed view although I never tested that out.

The other stand is situated on the near touchline straddling the half way line and is an old wooden stand housing a small number of plastic flip seats. There is also a club member seating area within the stand with the home club members having padded seating.

This stand also houses the changing rooms and players entrance tunnel. At the top and back of the stand there is a bar area that has 2 TVs and a projector showing football, we stopped here for a pint before the game kicked off just catching the final whistle of Wigan's shock FA Cup win against Everton.

The other two sides of the ground consist of narrow hard standing areas, with the dugouts on the far touchline either side of the halfway line with a scaffolding structure behind which I presume is used when they film the games, there was nobody up there for today's game.

At 3pm the game kicked off with the pitch only just playable and the home side started the brighter trying to play passing football despite the conditions although never really creating any clear cut chances and their No.9 up front spending more time complaining at his team mates than trying to put the ball in the net which he continued for the whole 90mins.

Harlow came back into the game as the half progressed forcing Brentwoods keeper into one decent save, they then had their captain booked harshly and their left back booked correctly before the half came to a finish with the score at 0-0.

I was disappointed before the game to find no club shop at the ground as I collect a scarf from every ground I go to if possible but thought today I would be unable to add a Brentwood Town Scarf to my rapidly growing collection. Until at Half time over the tannoy I hear "We have a collection of merchandise for purchase including Mugs, Pin Badges, Scarves............" I never heard the end before making my way into the club Bar in the seated stand to find the man with the mic who gladly went and found a scarf for me to purchase for a reasonable £7.

The second half started much the same as the first half with neither team really taking control until about 10mins in Harlow's captain committed a rash challenge about 25 yards out from his own goal and after having been booked and warned once more in the first 45 was sent off leaving his side with 10 for the remainder of the game, although this should have been 9 as minutes before their left back had committed a reckless challenge on a Brentwood attacker but escaped with a final warning.

Brentwood though were unable to make the extra man count and apart from a couple of half chances, a goal closely ruled out for offside and great display at the back from the visitors player/coach Dan Brown couldn't find a winner, not helped by the constant moaning from their No.9

The game therefore ended goalless, that's now two 0-0's in a row for me. Better luck next time.

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