Ground: Lamex Stadium (Broadhall Way)
Date: 9th August 2010
Match: Stevenage - Portsmouth 1-2 (League Cup)
Attendance: 4 236
The first round of the League Cup is played directly after the opening weekend of the Football League season. Last season I went to Darlington vs Leeds and this year I was lucky with the fixtures as well. Stevenage were drawn against Portsmouth and when the match was moved to Monday evening I could visit one more ground before returning home. Stevenage were champions of the BS Conference Premier last season and the 2010/11 season is their first ever season in the Football League. If it hadn´t been for the ground regulations Stevenage should actually have played in the league as early as 1996 though when they won the Conference for the first time. Nowdays their ground, Broadhall Way, has a capacity of 7 100 and with two all-seated stands it is a ground which is nicely suited to host League 2 football.
Stevenage is close to London and the journey from Kings Cross only took some 20 minutes. Outside Stevenage train station I met up with Dean, a freelance journalist who was going to write a feature about groundhopping for CNN. He contacted me a few weeks ago when he found out I was going to Stevenage. We then walked to the ground together. My map reading was below par this evening but with some help we eventually made it to Broadhall Way. Once at the ground we went to the clubshop/ticket office only to find out it was pay on the gate only. I was then going to meet up with Robin, a German groundhopper, outside the clubshop by 6pm. He sent me a text saying he was late so we decided to meet up after the game instead. I had some programmes from Scandinavia which I was going to hand over to him. Dean and I then enetered the ground, choosing to sit in the West stand. As his interview with me came to an end I suddenly heard a voice (in Swedish) asking me if I was from Sweden. Right behind us was a Swedish Villa fan who was touring England as well this weekend. It turned out he had been to Norwich and Cardiff as well. What can I say, it is a small world!
The match between Stevenage and Portsmouth was a really exciting and entertaining cup tie. Portsmouth, backed by 1 300 fans, took the lead early in the first half. Stevenage equalised but Pompey regained the lead before half-time. There were no goals in the second half but with Stevenage working hard and the home fans giving their side an excellent vocal support it was still an exciting game to attend. Full credit to both sets of supporters who did their bit to make this a proper cup tie. After the game I met up with Robin, gave him the programmes and all four of us then walked back to the train station. My trip was coming to end but with 4 new grounds visited, bringing my English total to 52, and a some new friends made I could look back on a successful trip!
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