Saturday, 1 October 2016

Hemel Hempstead Town F.C. - Vauxhall Road

Hemel Hempstead Town F.C.

Hemel Hempstead Town F.C.
Vauxhall Road Stadium
Vauxhall Road
Hemel Hempstead

Official Website:

Ground Number: 26
Date: Saturday 10th October 2015
Score: Hemel Hempstead Town F.C. 1-1 Sutton United F.C.
Competition: FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round
Attendance: 707

So it is the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round, one of the most important games in Sutton's whole season because if Sutton does not win this game then they will be knocked out of the FA Cup. This year looked a bit ironic for Sutton in terms of the FA Cup because in the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup two seasons ago, Sutton were drawn away to Hemel Hempstead which ended 3-3 and Sutton won 2-1 in a replay at Gander Green Lane and this year Sutton had been drawn to Hemel Hempstead again.
It was also quite annoying as Sutton fans because this time last week we played Hemel Hempstead at home in the league which finished 2-2 and now we have to play them again which meant that it would be a great opportunity to get some payback on them because last week we was 2-0 up and then we messed it up and conceded 2 and it ended 2-2 so today`s game would be the perfect opportunity to pay Hemel for scoring them two goals.
So we were playing Hemel Hempstead away which to be honest is not a bad fixture because they are in the same league as us which will make the game a bit more interesting and will make the game a bit more competitive. Also Hemel Hempstead is not too far away from London so we are kind of lucky that we don't have to travel to a game like Bath City or somewhere over 100 miles away.
Hemel Hempstead Town F.C. were founded in 1885 but as Apsley End F.C. and are one of the oldest clubs in the National League South. By 1952 the club changed its name to Hemel Hempstead Town F.C. The clubs nickname is `The Tudors` and the clubs badge is a image of Henry VIII. The clubs home kit colours are mainly red and patches of white. The club currently play their home games at Vauxhall Road which has a capacity of 3,152 and there is around 600 seats. The club currently play in the Vanarama National League South. Hemel joined the Isthmian League in 1977 and in the 2003/04 season they entered the Southern League Premier. The clubs best ever league finish is 6th in the Vanarama National League South (2015/16 season). The clubs best ever FA Cup run was when they got to the FA Cup First Round in the 2014/15 season. The clubs best ever run in the FA Trophy was in the 2007/08 and 2008/09 season when they reached the First Round.
So the day of the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round had finally arrived and I woke up with so much energy that I could not stop bouncing and jumping. I went downstairs and had breakfast and had a nice relaxing bath. I then called Harrison to make sure that he had everything he needed before leaving to meet us in Sutton. The plan for today was to pick up Harrison in Sutton and then drive to Wimbledon and catch the train to Hemel Hempstead. I decided to wear my green and white away kit from the late 90`s/early 2000`s and Harrison was wearing my home kit and we both had scarfs which matched our kits which was quite good.
We left my house at 10am and got to Sutton for 10:15am. We had to wait 5 minutes for Harrison to arrive because he missed his bus but he finally got to us at 10:20am and we got in the car and drove up past Morden and parked the car near South Wimbledon and got the bus into Wimbledon. We got off the bus and walked to the station and we was at Wimbledon at 11am. We then collected our tickets and waited on the platform for our train. Our train arrived at 11:18am and was fairly busy. We left Wimbledon a couple of minutes later and then we had a 7 minute journey to Clapham Junction. We got off the train at Clapham Junction at 11:28am and had a 9 minute wait for our train which would take us to Hemel Hempstead. Our train arrived into Clapham at 11:38am and we was pulling away from a fairly busy station at 11:39am. Whilst on the train we had a bit of banter and had a laugh which passed the time as we only had a 50 minute train journey.
We finally got to Hemel Hempstead at 12:30pm. We then tried to find the stadium on a map outside the station and looked to see if any buses went there and we had read on the club website that the ground is a 40 minute walk from the station so we got a cab to the ground which was much quicker and we got to the ground at 1:02pm. We then paid to get in and our bags were searched for security reasons and then we got a programme and walked around the ground and took some pictures.
Vauxhall Road is a small stadium in terms of capacity and size but it is definitely a stadium which is at the level of the Vanarama National League South and I quite like it. On the Tenzing Road side there is a small covered seated stand that sits astride the half way line. It has five rows of seats and has a capacity of around 250. There are flat standing areas to either side of this small seated stand. The opposite side is largely open apart from a very small simple covered stand that appears to be used by Directors and Press. The team dugouts are also on this South side, but unusually one is located on each side of the stand. The clubhouse and entrance to the dressing rooms are also on this side towards the East End. It is on this South side of the ground that the Club intend to build a new stand.
Both of the covered stands/terraces that are behind the goals are similar in terms of appearance. They were both terraced but recently the club put seats in the East End Stand. There are around 350 seats in this old terrace which does give the ground a bit more of a modern look. At the other end is the Adeyfield School End which is raised above pitch level. Both stands have nets on their roofs in an effort to stop stray balls going out of the ground. There is a noticeable slope to the pitch which runs down from the Adeyfield School End to the opposite end. The ground is completed with a set of four modern floodlight pylons.
After taking some pictures of the ground I went and got a cheeseburger which tasted quite nice and I would definitely recommend buying one if you do go to Vauxhall Road. I then went to the East Stand and clipped my flag to the seats and took some pictures of me and Harrison standing behind the flag and then we just sat down and had a conversation about the coming games. Then two kids aged about 12/13 that were sitting at the other end of the stand started to give us dirty looks so I gave them a dirty look back and they looked away. Then one of the kids came over to us and said to us that apparently "this is our (Hemel`s) end" and I just belted out laughing and replied "no this isn't your end at all we can stand/sit where ever we like. We then remained in the stand for another 5 minutes and the kids moved on.
The game kicked off on time and both sides looked like scoring but Sutton had the better chances but it was Hemel who took the lead mid-way in the first half and Sutton continued to create pressure but goalkeeper Jamie Butler who we gave the nickname "midget keeper" just saved everything that Sutton threw at him. Sutton's defence was broken in the 27th minute and James Potten put Hemel Hempstead in the lead and Vuaxhall Road roared. Both teams had chances after the goal but both Sutton and Hemel didn't take their chances and the score remained 1-0 to Hemel Hempstead at half time.
We took our flags down and we walked round to the stand behind the other goal and put our flags back up. The second half looked much better for Sutton and Sutton finally got the equaliser via Ross Stearn in the 54th minute and it was his first goal for the club and what an important goal it was. Sutton then had a good 10 minute spell but the ball just could not find itself in the back of the net. Then it looked like it would be Hemel to take the lead and Sutton keeper Ross Worner made an amazing save in the 90th minute to keep Hemel at bay and to take the game back to Gander Green Lane for a replay.
After the game had finished, we walked out of the stadium and we decided to walk back to the station as it was a 40 minute walk from the stadium and our train was in 50 minutes. Whilst walking back to the station, we held our scarfs up and we got the occasional horn beep from the cars going past and we also sang some Sutton songs whilst walking back to the station. I then checked my phone to see if our train was delayed but it was actually coming early so we had to run to the station. We got to the station at 5:32pm and we just about made the train and we got back to Wimbledon at 6:40pm. We then got the bus back to South Wimbledon and we dropped Harrison off home and then my dad dropped me off home and I finally got back home at 7:05pm.

Stadium: 7/10
Bar: 6/10
Food & Drink: 7/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Friendliness: 7/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Overall Rating: 6.8/10

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