Sunday 19 February 2023

Ground #377 - Vauxhall Road

Date: 28th January 2023
Ground: Vauxhall Road
Location: Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

My second new ground of 2023 was on Saturday 28th January at Vauxhall Road in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. The game was Hemel Hempstead Town vs. Dover Athletic in National League South.

Vauxhall Road is situated in a heavily residential area to the east of the town centre. It borders housing to the south and east, a school to the west and a disability day centre to the north. 2.5 miles west of the town's railway station, the venue has been home to the club since 1972 when they merged with Hemel Hempstead United and took over their ground.

The entrance to the ground is on the southern side. After going through the turnstiles there is a small stand to the left with around 60 seats and some covered standing. Beyond this towards the western end is uncovered standing. Coming back to the entrance and turning right there is a food outlet and the Tudor Tavern clubhouse which expands out from a bar into a large function room and is quite sizable. The area in front of this is uncovered concrete with a multitude of picnic benches dotted throughout. At pitchside the two dugouts also reside on this side of the ground. Viewing wise the ground is unusual with the pitch set fairly high against the uncovered standing viewing areas.

The middle half of the northern side is taken up by an all-seater stand with around 300 seats spread across 5 rows and has a TV gantry atop it. Flat uncovered standing exists towards the eastern end whilst there is an uncovered terrace towards the western end. This uncovered terrace is replicated towards the north-west corner and is only broken apart by a little media box with a digital scoreboard above it. The western end has a covered terrace directly behind the goal and has a double-stacked demountable building in the south-west corner. Finally the eastern end provides additional seating with 180 covered seats. The south-east corner has a small club shop cabin and a Racing Pigeon Club shed.

The game was a mid-table clash with 13th taking on 16th. Hemel were the form side coming into the tie off back-to-back wins whilst Dover were doing so off back-to-back defeats. The first close shave came in the 19th minute when Hemel's Andrew Eleftheriou low cross met a sliced clearance by a Dover defender. Fortunately for the hosts the ball went behind for a corner. The best chance for either side occurred in the 26th minute - a Dover cross from the right was headed against the bar by Noah Carney and Hemel cleared the danger. The second half was a poor spectacle, the visitors were the better side but other than a good chance just after the break when Joshua Ajayi's shot was well saved by Craig King there wasn't much in the way of goalmouth action. A dull game finished goalless and in truth was the kind of match where the sides could have played for another 90 minutes and still not scored.

Result: Hemel Hempstead Town 0-0 Dover Athletic
Division: National League South
Attendance: 515

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