Notts County
Meadow Lane

Ground No. 105
Visited - Saturday 14th October 2006
Result - Notts County 1-2 Bristol Rovers
Competition - Coca-Cola League Two
Attendance - 5797

With Meadow Lane being the last Midlands ground that I had to visit towards the 92, I was trying to leave it towards the end and get in a few of the more distant ones first, however on this day in particular I’d left it a bit late to get to one further afield, so with little other choice of league grounds, I decided to make the trip up to Nottingham.

I’d actually visited the ground before, almost 2 years to the day to be exact, when Wolves played Nottingham Forest, I’d popped over the Trent to take a few pictures, so despite not counting towards the 92, it wasn’t exactly a new ground, however I was still looking forward to it.

The journey up there went well, taking little over an hour with one change in Birmingham, and after arriving into Nottingham just after 1:30pm I made the way down to the ground, walking a familiar route down London Road.

Going this way, you can see Meadow Lane quite a way before you actually reach it, with the back of the Kop looking quite imposing in the distance, sitting on top of a small hill. Having got to the ground, up close it was as impressive as from a distance, with the Kop, Derek Pavis and Jimmy Sirrel Stands all being a red brick and grey metal design. The Family Stand looked slightly older, but good nonetheless.

Once inside, the ground looked as impressive as from outside, if not more so. I’d chosen to sit in the Kop, which was a large stand, seating 6000 with fairly good facilities. To our left was the Jimmy Sirrel Stand, a slightly smaller, single-tier stand that featured a gable on its roof and offered unrestricted views in all but the back couple of rows. Opposite, the Family Stand was the smallest stand at the ground, with only 13 rows of seats, although there were a number of executive boxes to the rear, bringing its roof height up to a similar level to the Jimmy Sirrel Stand. The stand to our right was the Derek Pavis Stand, which was quite tall, with a nice seating design featuring two yellow strips with pictures of Magpies in them.

Having taken a few pictures, I found a seat with a good view, and settled down ready for the match to start. Bristol Rovers were the visitors, and with the two teams sitting at the opposite ends of the table, then a home win was expected. The home side kicked off, and could have taken the lead on 5 minutes, but for a header being placed just over the bar. In the 12th minute, it was the visitors who thought they had scored when another header, this time by Richard Walker, found its way into the net, only for the linesman to raise his flag and indicate offside. After that, both sides looked to get forward, but neither could take their chances, and so the first half ended 0-0.

In the second 45 minutes, it was much the same, with neither side really being able to control the game, but it was Rovers who opened the scoring, when in the 54th minute Walker popped up to smash the ball home. With the restart, the game resorted to being end-to-end, before County were able to equalise on 65 minutes. Junior Mendes was the scorer, with a good goal after finding space in the box and lashing it home from an angle, but the scores weren’t to stay at 1-1 for long. Straight from the kick-off the visitors went forward, and after Sammy Igoe had played in Lewis Haldane, the substitute was able to beat his man before driving a shot home past the goalkeeper. Despite late pressure from the hosts, Rovers were able to hold onto the lead to record their first away victory of the season, and one which was loudly appreciated by the 439 travelling fans.

After leaving the ground (and popping back in through one of the exits to get a picture of the Kop!), I made my way over the Trent to take some pictures of The City Ground, before going back to the station later on, catching the train home without any trouble.

Overall, despite being unplanned, it was a good day out, and the ground is certainly one that deserves to be hosting football at a higher level than it currently is. With each of the four stands looking different from one another, it is one of the better examples of redevelopment for a smaller club, with none of the blandness or lack of originality that blights a lot of grounds these days. The only complaint I had was that a lot of the seats in the away end were filthy with bird droppings, which whilst not a problem when there’s only 439 fans, might be when a larger travelling support come to Meadow Lane. Surely it doesn’t take much for someone/a small team of people to have a quick run around and clean-up on say the day before a game. Anyway, despite that, if County can improve the standards on the pitch, then the ground certainly wouldn’t look out of place in the Championship, or even perhaps the Premier League, so I’ll be more than happy to visit again one of the days.

Welcome to Meadow Lane

Rear of the Derek Pavis Stand

Rear of the Derek Pavis Stand

Rear of the Family Stand

The Club Shop

Rear of the Jimmy Sirrel Stand

Rear of the Kop

Entrances to the Kop

The Kop

The Derek Pavis Stand

The Family Stand

The Jimmy Sirrel Stand

The Jimmy Sirrel Stand

The Gable on the Jimmy Sirrel Stand

The Family Stand
(note the City Ground to the rear of it)

The Derek Pavis Stand

Meadow Lane Panoramic 1

Meadow Lane Panoramic 2

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