Thursday, 18 April 2019

14/04/19 Review: Goytre U19 vs Pontardawe Town U19

Goytre U19 0-7 Pontardawe U19 (Welsh League Youth Division)
Plough Road

Remember that time we saw a red card for a headbutt in a youth match? Yup, the day after seeing Bath City get picked apart by St Albans in the National League South it was time for the second trip of the weekend and it would be to see Goytre youngsters taking on Pontardawe Town at Plough Road in a Welsh Youth League match. As well as this being his 97th ground, my Bristolian pal Tom would also be engaging in his first trip over the Severn Bridge since the removal of the toll- no doubt this will help open up his options into the Welsh leagues as he looks to complete his centenary and beyond. Incidentally, we were also together when I ticked off my 97th- a trip up to Nottingham to see County come from behind to knock Rovers out of the FA Cup. Good times on the Beeston Intergalactic tram that day!

The highlight of this trip was a quick skeg at Tintern Abbey
The journey brought us through Tintern, past Devils Pulpit, Mork, Monmouth and Mardy, before eventually we headed down the narrow winding track through Monkswood and into Plough Road, the home of Welsh League One side Goytre- and of course, their junior side. I'm not gonna lie, going into the match I knew nothing about either side nor how they were fairing in the league, so we didn't bother making pre-match predictions. From my experience at the Flamingo Land Stadium a couple of months back, I know that youth football is highly unpredictable anyway and within just a minute or so of action the opening goal was scored by Pontardawe and this set the young lads in black and white on the way to a comprehensive victory. With goals guaranteed, we were able to only take a few moments in between the action to admire the gorgeous views over toward the village of Penperlleni. The ground itself was pretty quaint too, with a couple of newish stands in black and red giving a bit of character to the place alongside a nifty hall of fame room in the clubhouse area.

Within another few minutes, it was 0-2 already
Despite this being a youth game, I honestly thought the match would be a bit more competitive and it was clear to see the visitors had brought their A game whilst the hosts seemed like they had an orange juice or two the night before. With three more goals making it 0-5 at a fairly quick rate, we would eventually witness one of the host lads losing his temper and earning himself a straight red. A Town player reacted with playground wind-up tactics after a late lunge caught him, to which the Goytre player approached him and stuck a soft headbutt on to his opponent. Not what you'd expect to see on a pleasant afternoon in rural Wales. The disadvantaged home team conceded one more before the break and that meant we'd go into half-time with the scoreline reading Goytre 0-6 Pontardawe.

Nothing to drink but bleach, unfortunately
As with many a youth game, there were no bars open for the few (us) in need of a beer. That didn't stop us though, as we sank ourselves into a couple of cans from the car and watched the best part of the second-half from the comfort of the front seats. How much of the pitch could we see? About 30%- but in fairness it was the area surrounding the Goytre box, which conveniently was where most of the action was taking place. Town would add their seventh and final goal just after the hour-mark through a penalty and by the time Tom and I resurfaced for the final fifteen minutes we had a quick count up and realised that Goytre were now down to just nine men. Not sure if it was an injury or yet another red, but the hosts I must say did well not to let the game go into double-figures.
Just blow the whistle already, end the pain
Much like the statuesque linesman, we stood and watched the closing passages at the halfway line, before the Ref eventually blew the whistle. Goytre 0-7 Pontardawe. This was our cue to jump back in the car and make our way to a delightful village pub for a roast dinner. Whilst we did that, the home team would sit and sob over their display which now leaves them whey adrift of Afan Lido and Taffs Well at the top. The visiting victors, who grabbed only their third win of the campaign, were not only pleased of the points but also the huge impact that the seven goal win would have on their goal difference as they look to climb into the top half. With that, we retreated to The Piercefield in St Arvans and that would bring the end to another top weekend of groundhopping. We'd been to two games in two countries in two days, seeing two very good away sides and two equally lacklustre hosting teams at two splendid grounds. Yes, we'd also missed two trains, but you can't have it all I suppose!

Til next time, you absolute monstrosity of a human being!

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