Saturday 16th November 2014 ko 14.00
Gwent County League Division One
NEWPORT CORINTHIANS 1 (Perszewski 5) Perszewski sent off 28 (violent conduct) Berry missed penalty 37
ABERGAVENNY TOWN 4 (Morgan 10 17 C Norman 18 Jenkins 45)
Industrial areas have a sound all of their own. Whether its the hum of the steelworks, or the buzz of overhead cables, or the distant thunder of a goods train there’s a personality to be found here. And let’s be honest, I picked Coronation Park solely because of the transporter bridge behind. You have Dave Collins to thank for this piece, and if you don’t know Dave, and you really should, he’s the publisher of the excellent magazine Welsh Football, and a recent magazine had a quite wonderful picture on the front cover, several versions of which you’ll see at the end of this text. Me being me, I forgot which team I needed to visit, so that’s another reason to be grateful to Mr Collins!
The bridge dates from 1906 and is the largest of the 3 left in the UK (there are 8 left worldwide), and was built as the banks of the River Usk are low and an ordinary bridge would need a long approach ramp to attain sufficient height to allow ships to pass beneath. The result is twin towers of 73.6m and a span of 196.56m which carries the gondola at a rate of 3m/s, but there is a catch as I discovered…
What better way to visit the club than to travel there on the bridge, so I travelled to the other end of Stephenson Street, the other side of the river, parked up, and there was the bridge-closed. I rather sheepishly made my way over to the correct side by conventional means.
I like amateur football at this level, there’s a real honesty about it. Take away the necessity of having dugouts adjacent to each other, and the teams tend to face each other across the half-way line. The league insists on programme production for no clear reason, so if you want a copy, simply ask in advance and one will be printed out for you. Why print more? The games are committed, the tackles fly in, and everyone goes for a pint afterwards. Every single South Welsh club I’ve visited I’ve found to be friendly to a fault, and you can add everyone at Newport Corinthians to that list. There was nowhere else I could have wanted to be on this afternoon.
The game saw interesting visitors. A few years ago I visited the Pen-Y-Pound Stadium to see the Abergavenny Thursdays. Later they folded, and nearby Govilion, unable to progress at their ground moved in, later changing names to Abergavenny Town. As if that wasn’t enough, Monmouth Town have also moved in, their Chippenham Sports Ground home being far too open to ever fulfil Welsh Premier requirements, and are improving Pen-Y-Pound with that elevation in mind.
Town’s ambitions are more modest, but equally clear. The Welsh League Division 3 is now possible, and judging by the top-of-the-table team’s display, probable. Yes, goal-scorer Steve Perszewski saw red for a stray elbow, but time and again Dan Jenkins and Dean Morgan found holes in the home defence, and on another day could have scored far more than they did.
It slowed down in the second half, both sides needed to avoid any more red cards, and more indiscipline would have been pointless, the game had been over when Dan Jenkins scored in first half stoppage time. The effort was still total, and during an injury break the referee was heard to comment,
“My name’s Paul Lewis, or to these lot I’m a***hole, pr*ck, and c**t,”
His humour I suspect would be entirely lost on the professional game.
The final whistle went, another train rumbled past, and I stole a final glance towards that bridge. An afternoon’s football is seldom as satisfying as this.