Burton Albion
The Pirelli Stadium

Ground No. 139
Visited - Saturday 27th October 2007
Result - Burton Albion 2-1 Tamworth
Competition - FA Cup
Attendance - 2915

When visiting Eton Park for its final ever game in May 2005, I’d got the chance to pop over the road and have a look round Burtons new ground, the Pirelli Stadium. Despite only being half finished at the time, it looked impressive, and I was determined to go back to see the final results of non-leagues newest and arguably most impressive ground. That was two years ago, and despite a number of planned trips, I still hadn’t got round to it, so when the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup came around, with no other trips planned for the day, I decided to head up towards Burton and make my first visit there.

The journey up there went fine enough, although I did miss a connection in Birmingham, which meant I didn’t get to the town until 2:30pm, which was annoying, but I made the 20 minute walk down to the ground, and managed to get in just before kick-off to a packed terrace behind the North goal.

From the outside, the ground had looked good, a lot better than I’d remembered it as a building site, and it was the same inside. Whilst a little unoriginal in it’s design, it did look smart and hadn’t been built on the cheap like a lot of similar grounds. Around three sides of the ground were identical covered terraces featuring about 10 rows of terracing, whilst on the fourth side was the Main Stand, which was all seated and a little taller in height thanks to executive boxes behind the last row of seats, and a TV gantry sitting in the middle of the stand beneath the roof.

With the terraces mostly full, and the Main Stand about half full, then the ground looked better with a good crowd in than pictures I’d seen of it half empty previously, so that was good to see. The reason for the larger than usual crowd was that Burton had been drawn against local rivals Tamworth, so fans on both sides were looking forward to the game, especially with the prospect of a First Round place for the winners, not to mention an opportunity of revenge for the home side, who had been knocked out of the cup by Tamworth in 2006/07.

When the game started, both sides seemed up for it, and for most of the first half it was a very even game, with little to choose between each team, and nothing to show that Burton were a division higher than their rivals. They had taken the lead in the 11th minute when Daryl Clare hit home a close range shot which went in off a Tamworth defender, but the visitors soon pulled level through Matthew Williams, who, looking offside, put past Burton reserve ‘keeper Saul Deeney and ran away celebrating whilst most home fans looked towards the linesman who was beating a hasty retreat back up the touchline.

The second half was more Burton, and until a flurry at the end, Tamworth never really looked like scoring, so it was bad news when the hosts took the lead once more in the 78th minute through substitute Shaun Harrad. Both he and his team mates had had good chances to go ahead before that, but he made no mistake when the ball was chipped in to the box, where he found himself free to make it 2-1. Tamworth striker Anthony Robinson could have equalised a few minutes later when he dragged the ball wide of the goal, but it wasn’t to be, and the Blue Square North team went home defeated, but not downhearted after a good display against a Burton side who should really have looked more convincing considering the higher level they play at.

After leaving, I managed to get a few pictures of the outside of the ground, but with the sky dark and rain pouring down, they didn’t exactly come out great, so I was happy to get back to the cover of the train station and shelter from the rain, getting home without any problems.

Overall it had been a fairly good trip. The ground is smart, if uninspiring, but I was glad to have finally got there after two years of planning to. Compared to Eton Park, the club seem at a different level now, and in close rivals Tamworth still playing at The Lamb, then you can see the contrast between two clubs who seemed very similar in size when I went two years ago. I’d liked Eton Park with its unique character, but without the shiny new ground, perhaps it would have been Burton who were the lower of the two, who knows, but they now seem to have the set up to make the step up to League 2 if they can get it right on the pitch.

Welcome to Burton

Rear of the Main Stand

The Main Stand Reception

Rear of the North Stand

Rear of the East Stand

Rear of the South Stand

Rear of the South Stand

The East Stand

The South Stand

The Main Stand

The North Stand

The Pirelli Stadium Panoramic 1

The Pirelli Stadium Panoramic 2
27/01/10 - Burton Albion 1-0 Lincoln City

The Pirelli Stadium Panoramic 3
27/01/10 - Burton Albion 1-0 Lincoln City


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