Ground Number: 1022
Friday 12th November 2021
Croesyceiliog 2-2 Newport City
Croesyceiliog 2-2 Newport City
Ardal South East
CROESYCEILIOG AFC - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was established in 1964 as a youth team for pupils of Croesyceiliog School. It entered a senior team in the Newport and District U18 Football League and shortly after merged with Cwmbran Wanderers. They later joined the adult age league and were founder members of the Premier Division in 1967. The club would later move to the Gwent County League in 1968 and staying in its top division for the entirety of their stay. They won the league four times, latterly in 2002 & 2004. The latter of these wins resulted in them being admitted to the Welsh League. Starting in Division 3, they were an immediate hit, finishing as runners-up to Troedyrhiw. The following year, they were at it again, this time gaining promotion from Division 2 as runners-up to Pontypridd Town. The 2006/07 season would see the best finish in the club's history when they finished 9th in Division 1, which sits at step 2 of the Welsh Non-League pyramid. They would last for another couple of seasons before their results declined, resulting in relegation back to Division 2 in 2009. They would remain here for ten years until league reorganisation in 2019 saw the club placed back in Division 1, They were 12th when the season was abandoned in March 2020. With barely any football played in Wales for 18 months, Ceoesyceiliog were placed in the newly established Ardal South East Division which sits at step 3 of the non-league pyramid in Wales.
The club made their debut in the Welsh Cup in 2004, losing to Caldicot Town on penalties following a 2-2 draw. Croesyceiliog have entered most seasons since. Their best run came during the 2005/06 season when they beat Garden Village 2-1 and West End 3-2 before a 3-1 defeat at Caersws in the Third Round. Local cup honours include the Monmouthshire Youth Cup in 1966 and the Welsh League Cup in 2012, Famous former players to have turned out for the club include Andy Dibble, Glyn Garner and Christian Doidge. Croesyceiliog is a suburb of Cwmbran in South Wales with a population of around 5,200. There are also football and rugby clubs in the town and famous people to come from Wales include the Welsh footballer Terry Cooper and rugby's Dan Thomas and Lenny Woodard.
I had pretty much decided to do this game last Friday when I had enjoyed myself at Newport City v Abertillery Excelsiors. It was a long way again, and I'd been hoping for something closer but nothing came up when I received the Football Traveller on Wednesday. There were backups in place, depending on what time any problems arose. Having hopped on Monday and Tuesday, I'd enjoyed a couple of days rest that Wednesday and Thursday brought, aside from work of course. I hadn't been enjoying the games as much as I should have lately, maybe I needed to ease up a bit. The only one I really had got into, ironically, was the Newport City one last week, so was hoping for a repeat this week. I'd noted last week that I'd better learn how to pronounce the place before I visited, and according to a source on Google, it is CROY-C-KYE-LEE-OG. Certainly easier than some of the tongue twisters in Wales, some of which look like a really bad hand in Scrabble to an uneducated Englishman. I started doing my research on Wednesday and wanting to keep my food options open, planned in a Chinese & Chippy around 10 minutes from the ground. There was one main reason that I was making the trip, aside from Newport City's friendliness on Twitter. The England game was on TV and the qualifying process is a tedious and drawn-out process at the best of times. Throw ITV's woeful coverage with Sam Matterface into the mix and it would be pretty much intolerable. I could resolve to not watch, but inevitably I'd be drawn, like a moth to a flame, to tune in.
The day of the game came and it was work again. Though the store was packed, my workload was thankfully less hectic than last Friday. I was out at 3 and after a quick change and picking my things up, I left. I was glad to have Colin for company, unlike last week. It wasn't a bad journey down, with small delays in Bristol and Newport. We were in a place called Caerleon by 5.30. We headed for JJ's Fish Bar and Chinese where Colin had fish and chips and I had a decent portion salt and chilli chips for £3.50. They were decent and some of the best value I have tried so far. With time to kill, I headed to Morrisons to fill up with petrol and also to Co-Op to see if they had any obscure ciders but no such luck. We were at the ground half an hour before kick-off and paid a fiver to get in.
Croesyceiliog had won 1-0 at Monmouth Town in their latest game and had also beaten Abertillery Bluebirds 2-1 in recent times. They'd also drawn 2-2 against Llandrindod Wells but lost 4-2 to Chepstow Town and 2-01 at Caldicot Town. I'd seen Newport City beat Abertillery Excelsiors 3-1 last week. They'd had a mixed October, winning 2-0 at Aberbargoed Buds and beating Caldicot Town 2-0. They'd also drawn 1-1 at Chepstow Town but lost 3-1 at Abervagenny Town. The visitors started brightly and shot over the bar within the opening 20 seconds. Croesyceiliog had their chances too, heading narrowly wide after 8 minutes. Dean Clifford then sent a shot across the face of the goal for Newport but couldn't squeeze his shot in. It was a bruising encounter and on 28 minutes, Kofi Rowe was the first to see red for Newport City for his part in a scuffle with plenty of accusations flying about. Norton Ferriera also got two bookings, going off in the 55th minute. This left Newport City with an uphill task and so maybe it wasn't a surprise that Croesyceiliog had the better of the second period. It was the visitors who had the best chance though, having a shot deflected over on the break. It looked for so long that we might be heading for a 0-0 draw, Newport City having a third man sent off in manager Sam Houldsworth who was unhappy with a number of decisions that had been made by the referee Neil Wilcox. The game exploded into life in the last 18 minutes. It looked like an own goal by a Newport defender but it was credited to Owen Llewelyn who turned home a cross from a few yards out. On 80 minutes, it was all square, Jack Beech heading home a left-sided corner. A minute later, Newport City took the lead, Jack Wheeler heading home from a similar move. However, Lewis Clare made the game all square on 86 minutes, a low shot from ten yards out. There was a strange incident following the goal. Visiting keeper Tsvetan Rumenov Pateev tried to stop a home player from grabbing the ball to restart. It looked as if it was six of one and half a dozen of the other but the keeper stayed down and as a result, the goalscorer Llewelyn was red-carded with the keeper also getting a yellow. There were no further goals but it had been a great game to watch, albeit with some strange decisions.
I'd really enjoyed the game, but with such a frenetic match, it was hard to note everything down. No official attendance had been given, but I'd guess around 40. Once again, the Cymru Football app was great at providing the details. We had been in the company of a great groundhopper and Wrexham fan called John Lloyd during the game and had a good chat with him about old clashes with Wycombe with him, as well as groundhopping. He also offered to help Colin get a ticket for Wrexham. It's a ground that I'd be up for a revisit to there in the right circumstances. However, having started to enjoy the Welsh non-league scene more and more, I'd aim to visit something nearby. We left at 9.30 and made good progress down the M4. I dropped Colin off at 11.45 and got home myself just before midnight. It had been another great evening in Wales, with a repeat likely with Colin enjoying it too. I stayed up for a couple of hours, happy that I had a Wycombe home game to look forward to tomorrow.
WOODLAND ROAD is a pleasant venue. It is situated in an area with rugby and five a side football pitches and has a decent amount of parking. There is a decent-sized stand, holding around 150. The rest of the ground is open and has hard standing around half of it. The ground is just over a mile from Cwmbran train station. There are basic bar and snack facilities at the ground, though there didn't appear to be a huge amount in the immediate vicinity of the ground.