After groundhopping to Raynes Park Vale on Tuesday night and seeing one of the most boring 6-0 games ever, it was time to go back on the road for another long Sutton away game and this weekend is one of the furthest away games in our calender as we face Hartlepool United which is near enough 300 miles away.
Victoria Park has a capacity of 7,858 and there are 4,180 seats. The ground is a traditional compact ground that was greatly improved in the mid 1990's, with the construction of two new stands at one end and at one side. One of these the Cyril Knowles Stand (named after a former manager) was opened in 1995. It is a small single tier covered all seated stand, raised above the ground level. The other modern stand is the Town End which as opened shortly later. It is a covered terrace that is the home end. Opposite is the Rink End Stand which is a small covered all seated stand which houses away supporters. On the remaining side is the Niramax Stand that has covered seating to the rear and open terrace to the front. This stand does not run the full length of the pitch and has an odd mix of orange and green seating, that clashes with the club colours. It was opened in 1968. The ground has a set of four tall traditional floodlight pylons. (Description of Victoria Park is sourced from Football Ground Guide).
After taking some pictures of this really nice looking ground, I started to I really like because of how it has some traditionalism yet a modern look to half of the ground. Jason soon arrived and he had left his house at 5:30am this morning and he had drove all this way and he had his small Sutton flag with him so put it on the seats near my one and I then had a quick read through the match day programme and I noticed they made a mistake because they said we were founded in 1989 and if we were, it would have meant we would have played Coventry in the FA Cup 3rd Round in the same year we were founded but obviously we were not founded in 1989, we were founded in 1898 but it was probably a typing mistake!
By the time I had finished having a quick read through the match day programme, the teams were coming out and there was a roar from the 93 travelling Sutton fans and not much of a loud applause from the 3,000 or so Hartlepool fans. Sutton were kicking up the other end which didn't really bother me too much but we definitely looked like the better side during the first 30 minutes as we were creating quite a few chances but Hartlepool's goalkeeper was on hand to keep Sutton at bay. The deadlock was broken just 6 minutes before half time as Hartlepool shot the ball at Jamie Butler and he saved the shot but the ball slipped out of his hands and there was a Hartlepool player in the right position and scored and with 6 minutes left of the first half, it was 1-0 to Hartlepool. Sutton tried to get a goal back before half time but it remained 1-0 at half time.
Half time and we found ourselves one nile down even though we had dominated the game so far and we should realistically be 2-1 up. We walked over to the burger van to see what food they had on offer and they had steak pies so I decided to get one of them and my dad got a pie as well but a different one but his pie was much larger which slightly annoyed me but the pie was quite cold and tasted really bad so I was quite thankful that my pie was smaller but I should have gotten a cheeseburger but if there is a pie on offer, I'll always go for that!
Onto the second half and Sutton continued to dominate the game and were continuing on from their great first half performance and we were creating chances but it honestly felt like one of those long away games where you wouldn't score. At times during the game, we were letting Hartlepool into the too much and they hit the post and were unlucky not to go 2-0 up. Hartlepool had sung no songs so far but as soon as it hit the 85th minute, they started to make some noise and ended up singing "we're on our way to the Football League" which is alright is you're in the top 7 in March but not if you're midtable in October! Into added time and there was 5 minutes added on but with around 2 minutes of the added time gone, Sutton midfielder Craig Eastmond got tackled heavily and there was a another 5 or so minutes added on as it took a long time to get Craig off the pitch.
Sutton's luck finally arrived in the 9th minute of added time when Aswad Thomas crossed the ball into the box and the ball was given to young striker Tommy Wright and he volleyed the ball into the net and with seconds remaining, it was 1-1 and I ran down along the stand to celebrate with the players and it is the most I have ever celebrated when seeing Sutton score a goal in the league! The game finished Hartlepool United 1-1 Sutton United. We clapped the players off for their excellent performance and then took the flags down and then chanted whilst we walked back to the station.
We got back to the station at 5:15pm and I got a Twist chocolate bar from the vending machine and then we was joined by the other Sutton fans including the two Andrews, who had gotten themselves fish and chips for dinner. Our train back to Kings Cross arrived at 5:55pm and once again, we was sat with all the Sutton fans and we found out that Jeff Stelling who presents Sky Sports and supports Hartlepool screamed when we equalised and someone put it on Twitter and we must have played it over 100 times on the train as it was very funny!
We then played cards for the remainder of the journey and with about 90 minutes left of the train journey, we walked to the buffet car and got something to eat and for me, it was just a croissant and it was actually really tasty. We pulled back into Kings Cross at 9:30pm, then said goodbye to everyone then got onto the Northern Line back down to South Wimbledon, then walked back up to the car and drove home and we got back to my dad's house at 10:30pm feeling very tired and I went straight asleep. I would recommend to Hartlepool United because it is a good ground with some friendly fans but just avoid the pies!