Thursday, 9 November 2017

Cambridge United F.C. - Abbey Stadium

Cambridge United F.C.
Cambridge United F.C
Abbey Stadium
Newmarket Road
Cambridge
Cambridgeshire
CB5 8LN


Ground Number: 60
Date: Sunday 5th November 2017
Score: Cambridge United F.C. 1-0 Sutton United F.C.
Competition: FA Cup 1st Round
Attendance: 3,070

After beating Paulton Rovers in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round, Sutton were in the draw for the FA Cup 1st Round Draw and we had been drawn away to Sky Bet League Two side Cambridge United. When the draw was made, I was quite excited that we had been drawn to Cambridge because it was one of the teams in 'The 92' that I wanted to visit and now I would be visiting it to watch Sutton which will make the trip there more special.
Since beating Paulton, Sutton had picked up 3 points in the league from 3 games which doesn't sound very good but we got a draw away at Hartlepool which was a very good result and a point away at Aldershot which was also a very good result and we got a 0-0 draw at home to Ebbsfleet which isn't too bad, so we are in good form going into the Cambridge game and we were all looking forward to the game because we were all excited about the FA Cup as we are every year around Sutton had sold around 500 tickets which for a club of our size is amazing.
After drawing 0-0 with Ebbsfleet on Saturday, our attention was focused back on the FA Cup and I myself was very excited for the game because like I said, Cambridge is one of 'The 92' that I wanted to visit and as a supporter of a non-league team, there is every reason to be excited for the FA Cup. The week running up to the game was actually really chilled because I was back on college on Tuesday and visited Hayes and Yeading and you can read my blog on my trip there here and the rest of the week at college was also really chilled and on Saturday (my 18th birthday), I spent the day at Millwall F.C and you can find my blog on my trip there here.
After getting back from Millwall on Saturday evening, I was really tired after going to a new ground and going to three pubs but I was able to stay up until around 11pm watching MOTD and I actually found it really easy to get to sleep which isn't like me because I generally find it hard to go to sleep to night before going to a new ground but going to new grounds and groundhopping can be tiring at times and today was a perfect example of a tiring day of groundhopping.
I woke up on Sunday morning at 7:20am feeling very refreshed because I had a really good nights sleep. My dad didn't end up waking up until 7:40pm and when he woke up, he made breakfast which for us this morning was just some toast as we didn't have time for a big breakfast as we were going to be leaving soon. After getting dressed and having breakfast, I made sure that my flag bag had everything we needed and I made sure I had my powerbank because I knew that I would end up needing it at some point in the day. I then quickly looked into the history of Cambridge United FC.
Cambridge United FC were founded in 1912 as Abbey United and are based in the city of Cambridge in Cambridgeshire. The club's nickname are 'The U's' and they currently play their home games at the Abbey Stadium in Cambridge and the ground has a capacity of 8,127 and there are 4,376 seats. The club currently playing in League Two (England's Fourth Tier). The club started out in the East Counties League before they wee promoted to the Southern League in the 1957/58 season. Three seasons later, the club reached the Southern Premier.
In 1970, the club was elected to join the Football League and after three seasons in the Football League, they were relegated. In 1980, Cambridge peaked to 8th in the Second Division but the club faced two successive relegations and were back in the Fourth Division. Cambridge did return to Division Two but were relegated in 2002. In 2005, they were relegated down to the Conference Premier after being in the Football League for 35 years and they were faced with financial problems in 2005. The club remained in the Conference Premier until 2014 when they won promotion at the end of the 2013/14 season and they still remain there today. The club also won the FA Trophy in 2014.
We left my dads house at 8:30am and we drove to my nans house and then met my uncle Ben, uncle Kevin and Mikey there as we decided to meet there. We left my nans house at 9am and she was coming with us because we were dropping her off at her brother Brian's (my great great uncle) house near Stanstead as it is on the way to Cambridge. After being on the road for only 30 minutes, we was already on the M25 and I decided to crack open a bottle of Kopparburg as I was insisting on having a few drinks today and what better way to start off the journey that sitting in the car with some cider.
We then got to my favourite part of the journey which is the Dartford Tunnel and I just like the Dartford Tunnel and Crossing because I have been over it quite a few times, especially when I was younger and to this day I still like the experience of going through the tunnel or bridge. We were following Ben the whole journey like we normally do when we drive to away games because he has the SatNav and my dad couldn't ever seem to find his so we just followed Ben. We arrived at Uncle Brian's at 11am and he gave us some burgers, hot cross buns and sausage rolls for a bigger breakfast and they tasted amazing and we left nan at Brian's as she was going to be spending the day with him.
We left Uncle Brian's at 11:50am and then headed back on the M11 for the final 30 minute stretch to Cambridge and we had experienced no traffic so far and we wasn't really expecting any but when we arrived in Cambridge at 12:35pm, we hit quite a large traffic jam but it soon cleared. We then parked 10 minutes from the ground and then walked up to the Abbey Stadium to find that there was a few Sutton fans already waiting at the away fans turnstile. They opened the turnstiles at 1:50pm and I had my pre-paid ticket which cost £10 which is very reasonable and I then went and put my flags up and then took some pictures of the ground.
The Abbey Stadium has a capacity of  8,127 and there are 4,376 seats. The Main Stand on one side is a covered two-tiered all seated stand, part of which is used as a Family enclosure. This stand has a number of supporting pillars. Opposite is the Habbin Stand, which is for home supporters and is mostly covered. Again there are a number of supporting pillars. At one end of the ground is the Marstons Smooth South Stand, which was opened in 2002. This good sized covered single tiered, all seated stand, replaced a former open terrace. The seating area is raised in this stand, meaning that supporters enter the stand via a small flight of stairs. The North Terrace at the other end of the ground is covered. However, it only runs for about half the width of the pitch, with one side ending in line with the eighteen yard box. Thus there is a large open area at one corner of the ground, that is unused for spectators but houses the supporters club. (Description of The Abbey Stadium is sourced from Football Ground Guide). 
I really like the Abbey Stadium, it has a lot of traditional terracing and a old main stand which I really like and I also like how the modern away stand behind the goal fits in with the ground and normally, a new and large modern seated stand will ruin the look of the stadium but in this scenario, I personally think it has improved the ground and its overall appearance. I like how it has a mixture of terracing and seating and definitely fits in League Two.
Whilst putting my flags up, a lady gave me a Hartlepool pin badge that she purchased online as she read that I couldn't get one and she said she got it for me because she enjoys reading my blogs and this made me feel very happy and proud. I then went and sat with Ben, Kevin and Mikey and read the programme that my dad purchased when he went inside the ground and it cost £3 which is quite reasonable. I then went to the tea bar and got a Kopperburg with my Uncle Kevin and that took around 10 minutes to drink and by the time we had finished, there was a lot more Sutton fans in the stand and people like Theo, Ryan and Johnnie were arriving.
I helped put up their flags and then Darryl and Theo both gave me £5 each for a birthday present and I was very grateful. The teams came out and there was a loud roar from the 468 travelling Sutton fans. The game started and Sutton were kicking towards the Cambridge fans and this didn't bother us too much because if we was going to get a goal in the second half, we would be able to see it clearly. Sutton started the game very strongly and to start off with, we were looking like the team in the league above but obviously we are not. One of the first chances was a Louis John header but was headed straight at goalkeeper David Forde. Tommy Wright then had a good shot on goal but was straight at David Forde.
Louis John was the tackled by Maris and he Maris was shown a yellow card. Dundas had a chance to put Sutton 1-0 up but again goalkeeper David Forde was on hand to keep the score 0-0. Maris then simulated a dive and was shown another yellow card and was sent off and Cambridge were down to 10 men and all of the Sutton fans cheered because we now knew that we had a greater chance of scoring as Cambridge now had a disadvantage. My nan and granddad then arrived because they had gone up to Leicester before the game but they arrived with around 10 minutes of the first half remaining. Cambridge then broke through and there was a clear handball call on Jevani Brown who quickly hit the crossbar and then Ibehre scored from the aftermath and straight after conceding Dundas had a golden opportunity to score from another header but the ball went just over and at half time, it was 1-0 to Cambridge.
Half time and Sutton had found themselves dominate the first half by creating at least 80% of the chances and were having some good patches of possession but we had conceded from the aftermath of Cambridge hitting the crossbar and Cambridge undeservedly were 1-0 up. Me and my dad went to the burger van to see what they had, I got a cheeseburger and my dad just got a coffee. The cheeseburger tasted good but it wasn't tasty and I wouldn't have it again if I had the opportunity. I then checked to see how my bets were going on and they were going well for most of them which kept me in a good mood.
The teams came back out and there was a loud round of applause from the Sutton fans because we knew that we had been the better team so far and we was still in this game. So far there had been literally no singing from the Cambridge fans and not a lot of atmosphere from their fans and even as an away fan, this did disappoint me because I do like to have some atmosphere from both sets of fans but today, it seemed like it was Sutton who were the better side and the louder side.
Sutton again got off to a really good start and within the first few minutes of the second half, winger Kieron Cadogan had a shot on goal from a tight angle but once again, David Forde was on hand to keep Cambridge's lead intact. Cadogan then had a marvellous opportunity to score and his shot rattled the top of the post and would have been an amazing goal to put Sutton back on level terms. Cambridge then had the chance to make it 2-0 but the shot nearly wen across the line but goalkeeper Jamie Butler was on hand to keep the score 1-0. The Cambridge fans seemed to have woken up but were singing the same song for like 2 minutes and it seems like they aren't the best for creating an atmosphere and based on today's atmosphere, a few non-league sides would create better atmosphere than they did!
Ross Lafaytte then had a chance to equalise but the ball deflected off his leg into the hands of David Forde. Adam Coombes then had the chance to put Sutton back on level terms with a few minutes to go but once again David Forde was there to keep the shot away from goal! Sutton had one more chance to score but they didn't and it finished Cambridge United 1-0 Sutton United and we were out of the FA Cup.
We then clapped the players off for their great efforts again a League Two side and we were definitely the better side and had the better fans this afternoon but then again, I wasn't very disappointed that we were out of the FA Cup because we have had a great start to the league so far and I think it would do us good to keep our focus on the league and we also have the FA Trophy and like every year, it would be a great chance to try and get to Wembley.
We walked back to the car and there was a lot of traffic and we were pleased that we had parked 10 minutes away from the ground as it would mean that we would miss out on some of the traffic. It took around 15 minutes to get out of Cambridge and soon after, we was back on the M11 and we was soon back at Stansted, picked up my nan and then drove home. Whilst on the way home, my Uncle Kevin said he was going to the firework display at Morden Park tonight so we said we would come.
Once we were back in our local area, we got something to eat, met up with Kevin, his girlfriend Leighann, Mikey and my little cousin Ronnie and then watched the fireworks, went on a few rides in the little fairground in the park and then I went home and I got back home at 10:45pm. I would recommend going to Cambridge United because it is a good traditional ground, very friendly but if you're looking for a good atmosphere, I would probably say go with the away fans as they are more likely to create a better atmosphere!
Rating:
Stadium: 8/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 7/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Friendliness: 9/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7.8/10

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