Groundhopping

The Dark Side of Away Days… Maidstone United v Chelmsford City

Yes, I am from Guildford, Surrey, whole 75 miles from the city of Chelmsford.

But over the last couple of years I have become somewhat of a Clarets fan, mainly due to the fact that my groundhopping friend is a lifelong Chelmsford boy.

Anyway, following Chelmsford has had it’s ups and downs. Ups have included a last minute winner at Dartford and a thumping victory away at Dulwich Hamlet.

The downs have included a 2-0 loss at East Thurrock and travelling from London to Evesham and back in a day to witness a 0-0 draw…

Today it was time for the first away day of the 19/20 season, just down the M2 against Maidstone.

Weeks of anticipation preceded this Bank Holiday fixture and the weather was befitting of a quality day out in Kent.

Once we had finally worked out where to park (it took at least three tries) we head for the Gallagher Stadium, via a stop for water.

Now I know telling you that I bought water may seem irrelevant but said water is actually the subject of a peculiar anecdote.

Upon arrival to the ground we were patted down by the security guards, fair enough. But one of the security guards asked if he could check my water….?

This happened eight hours ago and I am still yet to get my head around what he could be looking for. The search consisted of holding my Evian bottle up to the sun and looking at it, he also conferred with the other security guy to check it wasn’t evil water.

Finally once he had checked the legitimacy of my water it was time to go and watch Chelmsford notch their first away victory of the season……. or not.

After three minutes our optimism was drained as Maidstone took the lead.

Optimism was temporarily restored when Robbie Simpson netted just before half time but three unanswered second half Maidstone goals meant the points were well and truly staying in Kent.

Think this was taken when Chelmsford were 3-1 down

Chelmsford’s performance was so flat that I actually wished that I had watched the guy examine my water for 90 minutes instead.

The mood in the car on the way back was flat, not quite as flat as the Clarets’ performance, but flat nonetheless.

Anyway, on wards and upwards, the ground was alright, nothing special and Maidstone is a pretty pleasant place.

The ticket was quite expensive and the away end was absolutely tiny considering around 300 away fans were expected but otherwise I would recommend a trip to the Gallagher Stadium, just make sure you’re prepared for a thorough water check.

  • GROUND: The Gallagher Stadium
  • GAME: Maidstone United 4-1 Chelmsford City
  • COMPETITION: National League South
  • GROUND NUMBER: 56
  • WOULD I GO BACK? Yep
  • TICKET PRICE: £15

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