The Carlsberg Stadium is, as I said earlier, a relatively new development. There is ample parking available, free of charge, even if the approach road does require some serious re-surfacing (take special care, there are some really large potholes in that road). On the car park side of the ground is the main stand, club house and changing rooms. There is also a smaller stand on the opposite side of the pitch. Total seating is for 300 people out of a capacity of 3000. There is hard-standing behind both goals. It is a pleasant enough stadium. Very clean and tidy but, as with most new facilities, it lacks a little charm. Maybe this is something that grounds acquire with age? One thing that stood out for me was the apparent condition of the playing surface. I have to say that it appeared to be one of the best I have seen this season. Obviously, not having actually been on the pitch, this is only an opinion based upon my view but it really did seem flat and true.
On to the game itself. Waders started by far the brighter of the two sides, looking very lively up front and forcing the Glassboys onto the back foot for the first 20 minutes or so. Gradually, Stourbridge began to get a foothold. Central midfield pairing of Sean Geddes and Ben Billingham were starting to spray passes around and the back four were beginning to be able to hold a higher line. In the 25th minute Ryan Rowe latched onto a through ball on the left and cut back across the edge of the area. The on-rushing Ben Billigham got to the ball first and fired low and hard past the Waders keeper. 1-0 to Stourbridge, possibly against the general run of play. For the rest of the first half, Stourbridge probably edged the game, certainly in possession, but there was no more scoring.
Waders began the second half as they had done the first. Pushing Stourbridge back again and looking increasingly threatening. This time the Stourbridge team didn't seem to have any answers and were increasingly being put under pressure. The resistance had to break somewhere, and it did in the 77th minute when Sam Reed stabbed home a driven cross from the right. At this point, it looked like there was only one winner. Biggleswade's tails were up and they were looking to avenge the cup defeat.
Stourbridge, to their credit, defended well and did start to push forward themselves making for a much more entertaining last 20 minutes. Then, in the 90th minute, a Stourbridge corner from the right was headed goalward and Ryan Rowe poked it just over the line. Credit to the referee and linesman at this point for spotting that the ball had crossed the line. It would have been easy to miss in the melee. Also, credit to the Biggleswade players, who didn't complain about the decision at all.
It looked like Stourbridge had grabbed an undeserved winner with only 4 minutes of injury time to go. However, with three and a half of those minutes already gone, Lee Reed picked the ball up on the halfway line, beat a Stourbridge player and then unleashed an absolutley unstoppable shot into Coleman's top left hand corner. Reminiscent of the goal that beat Stourbridge at Cambridge, there was nothing that the goalkeeper could have done to keep it out. The Waders scorer was absolutely flattened by his teammates, including the goalkeeper, who ran 80 yards to celebrate.
There was barely time to kick off before the referee blew the final whistle to scenes of more green and white jubilation.
In the end a draw was a fair result. Biggleswade had at least partial revenge for the cup match and Stourbridge had a hard-earned away point.
Biggleswade Town - @biggleswade1874
Stourbridge - @sfcofficial