Tuesday 1st December 2015 7.45pm
Evostik Division One South
Loughborough University 2 Heanor Town 2 ht: 1-1 att: 114
Ent: £FREE Prog £FREE Coffee £1
Webb 45, 82 : Debrouwer 39, 90
from Loughborough University Stadium (pictures here)
After three grounds at the higher end of the pyramid it was nice to sink back under the comfort blanket of step five and the highest placed university team in the whole of non league. Mind you, for a step five club they have a new ground that would be the envy of any in the pyramid. A few years ago a brand new facility was built for the University with a large 300 seater stand and smart seven step terrace spanning the other three sides.
An added bonus was the free entry offer and free programme promotion for the visit of high flyers Heanor Town. A pint of Oakham’s Incubus in the Swan in the Rushes pub in Loughborough Town was the entree for the game. The University complex is a few miles west of Loughborough, with the ground to the west of the complex just off the Ashby Road.
Not the sort of ground you want to turn up if you want pre-match fish and chips, cafes, pubs etc. Saying that the clubhouse is an excellent facility, with windows out on to the seating and a panoramic view of the ground, in the style of league clubs.
The students started out in 1920 under the name Loughborough College. They left senior football between 1972 and 2007, before joining the Midland Combination (now effectively the Midland League Div Two). They won this league in 2008-09 to join the Midland Alliance (now effectively the Midland League Div One). They used to share with the other non league club in the town, Dynamo, until their plush new ground was built in May 2012. Loughborough University Alumnus Bob Wilson, the Arsenal goalkeeper and Football Focus presenter was there to officially open it for their first fixture.
Being brand new there’s not a lot to say to describe the stadium, aside from the aforementioned seven step terrace all round, including the front of their very elevated stand. One end backs on to a very large sports centre, where one is afforded a slightly disconcerting view of upper bodies engaged in vigorous exercise. Side by side with the ground is another pitch where an American Football game was in session.
The students’ best season has been a couple of fourth places in this step five league, but this season they were slightly below the middle, whereas their visitors tonight were second only to ex-league boys Hereford United.
The programmes had run out by the time we got in, which was disappointing. However, as we did a tour of the ground, the two blokes from Groundhop UK were ambling around in the opposite direction. Like some kind of non league guardian angels, they asked if I needed a prog upon which a programme appeared for me from an inside pocket.
The game was played at pace and the hosts were obviously up for the challenge of the league high flyers. It was Heanor who opened with a back post shot, off the keeper, from Debrouwer. The Uni responded on the stroke of half time when Webb latched onto a through ball and hammered it across goal, into the corner.
Loughborough got better as the game wore on and deserved their second goal again from Webb on 82, with a shot from the edge of the area that fooled the keeper.
Heanor never gave up and with that mild inevitability about being ahead against a top team, they conceded in added time, from a scissor kick after a scramble,from ten yards. The hosts were unfortunate but the game was good value for money for the neutral.