Hinckley United
The Marston's Stadium

Ground No. 115
Visited - Saturday 6th January 2007
Result - Hinckley United 0-1 Harrogate Town
Competition - Nationwide Conference North
Attendance - 607

One ground that I’d been looking forward to visiting for quite a while was Hinckley’s new Marston’s Stadium, so when the opportunity came up, I was glad to take it.

Being this side of Leicester, the journey shouldn’t have been too bad, but after changing trains in Birmingham, the train to Hinckley broke down halfway there (faulty windscreen wipers being the reason cited), so we were forced to go back to New Street, before trying again, this time arriving into Hinckley with no further incidents.

Because we were later than planned getting there, I had to go straight to the ground, making the long walk down from the town centre. Having been to both Alvechurch and Reading, grounds that are in the middle of nowhere aren’t exactly new to me, but this one was another thing altogether! Sited quite a way outside the town, the walk is a long one, much longer than I expected, but I got there eventually, and after taking a few pics outside, went in at about 2:30pm to take shelter from the rain.

Unusually, the turnstiles are located in the corners of the ground, and after going in, immediately to the left is the club shop, where beyond that is the Main Stand. That runs for about a third of the length of the pitch, centred on the halfway line, and is a fair-sized all seated stand, featuring a number of executive boxes at the rear, and looked quite smart, with the players tunnel in the centre. The far end is empty, with just bare concrete providing hard standing, whilst opposite the Main Stand is the North Terrace, which runs for about two-thirds of the length of the pitch, again, centred on the halfway line. There is another terrace, at the eastern end of the ground, similar in height to the other two stands, but running for half the width of the pitch.

After taking some more pictures, I eventually found a space to stand in amongst the home fans on the North Terrace, with the visiting Harrogate fans taking up residence on the East Terrace to the left. Once the game got started the poor weather and heavy pitch started to play a part in proceedings, with neither side able to take a grip of the game. This created a scrappy, but end-to-end affair, with the visitors looking most likely to score just before half-time, when after a goalmouth scramble, Roy Hunter hit a shot towards an open goal that looked destined to go in until one of his team mates got in the way and deflect it out, much to the relief (and humour) of the home supporters.

In the second half, it was much the same with neither side dominating, but the visitors took the lead in the 54th minute when Chris Ellerker got his head on the end of a cross to smash beyond Sean Bowles in the Hinckley goal. This stirred the home side into action, and they laid siege to the Harrogate goal in the last 15 minutes, but they couldn’t make anything of their chances and so it ended 1-0 to the visitors.

After the match, I left the ground quickly and walked back to the station, although missed the train by a few minutes, so ended up getting a drink over the road in the Railway Inn pub, before catching the 6:30pm train home with no further problems.

Overall, it hadn’t been too bad a day out. Whilst the ground is all very modern and new, it does actually have a fair bit of character, so it was quite a good place to visit, and even with one of the lowest crowds of the season in, it didn’t seem empty. My only real criticism was how remote a location it is, there didn’t even seem to be a bus stop in the near vicinity, so that was disappointing but on the whole it’s a good development, and expansion looks to be easy should the club ever rise further up the pyramid, which is always a good thing.

Welcome to Hinckley

Rear of the North Terrace

Rear of the East Terrace 

Rear of the Main Stand

The Main Entrance

The Clubshop

The East Terrace

The North Terrace

The Western end of the ground

The Main Stand

Looking across the Western end of the ground

The North Terrace

The East Terrace

The Main Stand

The Marston's Stadium Panoramic

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