Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Brighton & Hove Albion FC

Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Notts County 0 - Football League, One

Brighton is located on the south coast of England, and together with its immediate neighbour Hove forms the city of Brighton and Hove. The Royal Pavilion is a former royal palace built as a home for the Prince Regent during the early 19th century, under the direction of the architect John Nash, and is notable for its Indo-Saracenic architecture and Oriental interior. Other Indo-Saracenic buildings in Brighton include the Sassoon Mausoleum, now, with the bodies reburied elsewhere, in use as a chic supper club. Brighton Marine Palace and Pier (long known as the Palace Pier) opened in 1899. It features a funfair, restaurants and arcade halls.

Withdean Stadium is an athletics stadium in the Brighton suburb of Withdean. The capacity of the ground is 8,850 all seated. The stadium is a temporary home for Brighton & Hove Albion before a new stadium is built in nearby Falmer. The club's former stadium, the Goldstone Ground was sold for redevelopment in1997 by the board at the time (none of whom any longer has any involvement with the club).

Catching a train from London Bridge to Preston Park facilitated an evening jaunt after work to Sussex. Our pre-booked match tickets included vouchers, which meant that the journey south of Haywards Heath was free of charge. To reach the stadium from Preston Park Station takes between ten and fifteen minutes. The walk takes you north along London Road before passing under a railway bridge, bringing you out at the eastern end of the ground.

On arrival I took advantage of the daylight and with the help of a friendly steward, managed to get some photographs from inside the ground. After this we adjourned to the pub adjacent to the ground. For a pub on top of a football ground (literally – Ed), the Sportsman was very reasonably priced. I enjoyed Harvey’s Sussex bitter at £2:05 a pint. The pub also doubles as a carvery restaurant. For £3.69 I was able to enjoy, roast beef, turkey and glazed gammon, accompanied by an abundance of vegetables, yorkshire pudding and stuffing! To be honest, this is pretty much the only facility in the vicinity of the ground and compared to the standard fare of burgers (£3:00 in the ground), the carvery represents extremely good value.

In claiming a narrow 1-0 victory, Brighton extended their winning run in the league to six matches. In truth, this was a hard fought scrappy encounter. The home side failed to take advantage of a couple of very good opportunities in the first period and this could have proved costly. The decisive strike came from Inigo Calderon when he swept in a 63rd minute cross from the left. This win enabled Brighton to move ten points clear at the top of League One.

It is relatively easy to get back to both Victoria and London Bridge after midweek matches from Preston Park and I was through London and at Cheshunt just after midnight. I now look forward to visiting the new Brighton & Hove Albion ground at Falmer in the near future.

Attendance: 7264
Admission: £25:00
Programme: £3-00 (64 pages A5 size)
Fare: £7:90 Day Return from London Bridge to Haywards Heath (Goldcard Discount). The journey south of Haywards Heath was covered by the match ticket.


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