Nuneaton Borough
Liberty Way

Ground No. 145
Visited - Saturday 22nd December 2007
Result - Nuneaton Borough 2-1 Altrincham
Competition - Setanta Shield
Attendance - 533

When Wolves’ game against Leicester was put back to a 5:20pm kick-off it gave me the chance to do another game on the same day, however after looking down the fixtures, there didn’t initially seem to be any options available, until Nuneaton announced that their Setanta Shield tie against Altrincham would kick off early at 1pm due to the Rugby club that they share the ground with kicking off a match of their own at 3:30pm.

I’d been looking forward to seeing the ground since they’d moved from Manor Park in the summer. By all accounts, the move had been very rushed, with the ground (originally the home of the Rugby club), being bought up to scratch just in time for the start of the season. Due to this, there were a few temporary features, as well as the Main Stand still waiting to be built, but I was still looking forward to going all the same.

The journey over to Nuneaton went well, with the train taking just under an hour, changing once in Birmingham. After briefly going into the town, I made my way on the long walk down to the ground. Finding it was fairly easy, tucked away at the back of an industrial estate, with the railway line running behind it (although no station nearby unfortunately!).

On arrival, the outside does still look a bit like a building site, with a muddy track leading up to the turnstiles, and no real provision made for pedestrians. Once inside though, the ground opens out a bit more and looks quite nice and tidy really.

Entering through the corner, the near side features a small, open terrace split into two parts, with the far bit split into three smaller sections. Behind this is the clubhouse for the Rugby club, which did look open, but didn’t seem to have many people going in. The opposite side was empty for the most part (and inaccessible to supporters), with a temporary stand in the corner offering the only seating available. Also in this corner was the club shop and through a winding maze of corridors, the football clubs own clubhouse, which was another temporary structure and looked to be a large portacabin type construction. Both ends were covered terraces with the Ian Neale Stand being a little larger than the West Stand opposite. Both are unusual in that they are made of metal, with no concrete used in the steps. Despite this though, they didn’t appear to be temporary, both being permanent, good quality structures.

Having taken a few pics, I went to the club house for a quick pint and to watch the first half of Arsenal vs Spurs, before going back out for the game, with the players making their way out onto the pitch.

Sitting one league below Altrincham, it should have been a tough game for the home side, but the first half was a closely fought battle, with neither side dominating. Nuneaton could have taken the lead twice, but for poor finishing, and with the scores still 0-0 at the break, they would have been the happier of the two teams, with the visitors struggling to trouble Darren Acton in the home goal.

After the break, whatever Graham Heathcote had said to his team at half-time must have worked with Altrincham really taking a grip of the game. They opened the scoring in the 48th minute when Chris Senior fired home. After that, it was mostly them with Nuneaton limited to counter-attacks only. Despite having no real allegiance, I had been hoping for ‘The Nuns’ to win, having happy memories from visiting Manor Park earlier in the year, but with getting back for the Wolves match, I couldn’t afford for it to go to extra-time, so I was cursing when Brian Quailey scored a great goal on the break in the 86th minute from all of 25 yards out. It was a fantastic finish, and I was glad for them to score, but was really in two minds as to what to do when the board went up for injury time, and a further 30 minutes looked inevitable, meaning I’d miss my train if I stayed. Reluctantly I was edging towards the exits, but after pressure from the home side, it was virtually the last kick of the game when the hosts scored their second, causing the home end to erupt in celebrations, with me cheering the loudest!

With the game finished shortly after the restart, I quickly left whilst most fans stayed to celebrate. The walk back to the station took about 25 minutes, but I made it, just, and caught the train back to Wolverhampton only to see Wolves put in a woeful performance against Leicester, drawing 1-1 in a poor game.

Overall, it was good to see the ground. I hadn’t really expected to like it all that much, especially having found Manor Park to be a place full of character and all you could ask for in a ground, but it really isn’t a bad place, even with the temporary features, which if anything help add character to this new venue. It’s certainly not an easy place to get to, and with no pubs or anything in the vicinity, then it doesn’t have the location of Manor Park, but it seems a good replacement and certainly worthy of a trip there.

Welcome to Liberty Way

Outside the West Stand

The West Stand Turnstiles

The Ian Neale Stand

Metal Construction of the Ian Neale Stand
(identical to the West Stand)

The Main Stand

The South Terrace

The South Terrace

Getting Ready for Kick Off

The West Stand

The South Terrace

The Ian Neale Stand

Liberty Way Panoramic 1

Liberty Way Panoramic 2

Second Game of the Day
Molineux: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Leicester City

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