Bristol City
Ashton Gate

Ground No. 77
Visited - Saturday 10th December 2005
Result - Bristol City 2-0 Huddersfield Town
Competition - Coca-Cola League 1
Attendance - 9949

Not being too enthusiastic about a trip to Selhurst Park to see Wolves play Crystal Palace, I’d decided to get back to the 92 after not having notched up another League ground for quite a while, so after a quick look down the fixture lists, I settled on the League One top versus bottom clash of Bristol City vs Huddersfield. 

I’d been putting off a visit to Ashton Gate for quite a while after they had looked likely to be promoted in recent seasons, but with relegation looking more likely in 2005/06, it seemed a good time to visit the ground as a neutral.

As per usual, the train was my chosen method of transport, and the journey down to Bristol went well, arriving early into Temple Meads Station, giving me enough time to have a look around the city before finally heading down to the ground. For anyone interested in architecture/engineering, Bristol really is a superb place to go to, from leaving the fabulous Temple Meads Station, to passing the cathedral and churches dotted around the city centre, and seeing the more historic parts of the city as well as the ultra modern areas like Millennium Square, Bristol really did strike me as a fantastic place, and certainly somewhere worth spending time in. The walk down to the ground was just as interesting, I’d decided to follow the path of the Floating Harbour, and passed by both the SS Great Britain and in the distance, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, before finally following the road around back towards Ashton Gate.

Arriving at the ground at about 1:40pm, I had plenty of time to collect my ticket and go into the club shop, before going around and taking pictures. From the outside, the ground is in quite a cramped location, but still manages to look quite imposing, with the Dolman Stand in particular towering above everything around. What also helped make the ground appealing was the distinct overuse of red paint! It really left you in no doubt as to which of the two Bristol clubs you were at! Also one interesting feature was behind the Wedlock Stand, on a wall where there was a mural of players that added a nice, and individual touch.

Once inside, the ground gave just as good an impression as on the outside. I’d booked tickets behind the goal in the Atyeo Stand, which is the newest part of Ashton Gate, being a fair sized all-seated stand with good facilities. To our left was the Dolman Stand which was, if anything, more imposing than from the outside, having a real mean, moody feeling about it with a large roof overhanging the seating areas which were split into two tiers, with unusually, the lower tier being at a steeper angle than the section above it. Opposite was the Wedlock Stand, which had been due to be redeveloped this season, but was still quite intact with a small following from Huddersfield seated in the centre sections. It had quite a low roof with a number of pillars and did in some way let the ground down a bit, being only half the size of its two larger neighbours flanking it. Completing the picture to our right was the Williams Stand, which again was quite unique in that it had a tier of seating that ran for the entire length of the pitch, yet above, a second tier that ran for only about two-thirds of that. Overall, despite being far from modern, the ground did look impressive, and had a character about it that helped to give it a charm all of its own.

By the time I’d finished taking pictures and found my seat, the ground had filled up with the Atyeo Stand being fairly full, and the Dolman Stand to our left well populated as well. Opposite that, the Williams Stand was about half full, and opposite us, only about 600 fans had made the journey down from Yorkshire.

Before kick-off there was a minutes silence for a local FA official, and with that over, the game got underway. If the game had gone to form, then Huddersfield really should have been looking to make it a landslide against rock bottom City, who had suffered nine straight losses before this match. From the off the visitors attacked the Atyeo end, winning a couple of corners, and having a golden chance to take the lead, before the home side went down the other end, and with just five minutes gone, changed the script entirely. After an attacking move, the ball broke to Scott Murray in the area, who hammered home past the Huddersfield goalkeeper making it 1-0. With this, the already boisterous home crowd really started to get behind the team, urging them on to increase their lead. Despite going close from a free-kick, City couldn’t really capitalise on their good start, and as the half wore on Huddersfield looked the most likely team to score next, going close on several occasions, with Pawel Abbot in particular unlucky not to draw them level, but the hosts didn’t lie down, and had good chances to increase the lead themselves, but weren’t helped by the referee who seemed to be giving the visitors absolutely everything, so as he blew the half time whistle he didn’t get the warmest of welcomes as he approached the tunnel which was unusually placed behind the goal, in the home end.

In the second half, City started the stronger, and were really belittling the idea that Huddersfield should have been able to walk away with 3 easy points. On 60 minutes they really should have made it 2-0, when Marcus Stewart hit the Huddersfield post only for his effort to go out for a goal kick. The visitors seemed determined to get something from the game though, and were having a large amount of possession, only to be struggling to actually do anything with it once in the box. With the half wearing on, the home side eventually finished the game off with a superb piece of skill from Dave Cotterill. Starting off from near the halfway line on the left hand side, he managed to run with the ball at pace, beating three Huddersfield players, before unleashing an unstoppable shot from just inside the area past the oncoming Rachubka. At that the Bristol City fans went wild, knowing that they had finally brought a winless streak to an end with a great victory. It wasn’t all over just yet though, and Huddersfield still had the chance to miss a shot that was easier to score from about 6 yards out when the unmarked John McAliskey hit a good opportunity wide. It summed up a miserable day for the travelling fans, and when the referee blew his whistle to indicate that the game was over it was nothing more than the home side had deserved.

Throughout the game, the City fans had created a great atmosphere, and played a big part in the win, which isn’t quite what could be said about the Huddersfield fans, who didn’t seem to sing at all, despite the away end being known for creating a good atmosphere due to its low roof.

After leaving the ground, it was a quick walk back to the station, where there was a train waiting, although it wasn’t the easiest of journeys with me having to change in Severn Junction (quite possibly the most desolate, isolated train station on the planet), Gloucester and Cheltenham. But I finally arrived home happy, after having had a good day out.

Overall it was a pretty good trip, the ground goes right in as one of my favourites, and hopefully the redevelopment of the Wedlock Stand will only help make it even better. Even with it being less than half full as it was for this match, it still seemed a very imposing place to come, so I’ll certainly look forward to going back one of the days.

Rear of the Atyeo Stand

The Club Shop

Main Entrance to the Williams Stand

Rear of the Williams Stand

Rear of the Wedlock Stand

Mural outside the ground

Rear of the Dolman Stand

The Dolman Stand

The Wedlock Stand

The Williams Stand

The Dolman Stand

The Wedlock Stand

The Williams Stand

Ashton Gate Panoramic 1

Ashton Gate Panoramic 2

1 comment:

  1. In other words it's fine as it is. Great post!