Friday 28 October 2022

Goytre - Plough Road

Goytre FC
Plough Road

Ground Number: 1127
Friday 28th October 2022
Goytre 1-4 Caerau Ely
FAW Trophy 3rd Round


The club was established in 1902 and originally played at Goytre Hall. That site is now a Grade II listed building and woodland. They then had a nomadic life, playing on various farmers' fields before they settled at their current base in the late 1980s. Originally playing in the Gwent Central League, they won promotion to the Gwent County League in 1998. Starting in Division 2, they won this division in 2002 and then the following year were runners-up to Aberbargoed Buds in Division 1. This earned them promotion to the Welsh League Division 3. A number of seasons were spent here before in 2012, a runners-up spot behind Undy Athletic was good enough for promotion to Division 2 which they won at the first attempt. Now in Division 1, sitting at the second tier of the Welsh pyramid, they enjoyed a couple of third-place finishes in 2016 & 2017. A poor season during 2018/19 saw them fail to make the cut for the newly-established Cymru South and the league subsequently dropped to step 3 in Wales. A couple of years were missed due to the pandemic but when football returned in 2021, Goytre were placed in the Ardal South East where they remain to this day.

Local cup wins include the Welsh League Cup in 2011 & 2014 The earlier triumph came when former Welsh international Nathan Blake was part of the coaching team at the club. The club is based in the village of Penperlleni, which has a population of around 1,300. The name of Penperlleni derives from two Welsh words, Pen refers to the summit or top of a hill, the second element perlleni, has been interpreted as meaning a "round mass" and an "area of round hills", although the current Welsh word for orchard (perllan) may apply.  Penperlleni has a number of amenities, including a primary school, a church, a pub called the Goytre Arms, an Indian Takeaway and chip shop and a village hall and post office.


I decided upon this visit to Wales last Saturday, although I'd had a day out on public transport at that time. With a potential four Wycombe home games coming up on Tuesdays and Saturdays, I was keen to get a groundhop in. With me on my own, south Wales was the obvious choice as it's easy to get on the M4 from work. It's also quite tricky to attract the people that I hop with to come to anything but the top level. Personally, I prefer the lower leagues and even better, it was a Welsh Trophy game. As well as Goytre v Caerau Ely, I had backups at Abergavenny Town v Afan Lido, Merthyr Saints v Penydarren Seniors & Cambrian & Clydach Vale v Llanelli. Football always appears to be abundant in this part of the world on Friday nights, it's a shame that the English leagues don't follow suit.

Tuesday saw the first of my potential four-game marathon with Wycombe. It got off on the wrong foot with my usual pub, the Rose & Crown being closed for refurbishment. It meant that I had to use our local Wetherspoons, one of the worst in the chain. The Falcon is a bit run down, took ages for drinks to come when ordered via the app and had beggars coming around the tables asking for money. I'd have been able to stomach it if we had won, but somehow we were 2-1 down at halftime, despite dominating. We then played awfully in the second half, eventually losing 3-2. I had a couple of drinks to get over the loss and so that was another good reason to be otherwise distracted on Friday night. The worst thing though was the total lack of vocal support from the terrace in the last couple of games. It's never been the greatest atmosphere at Adams Park but the last couple of games have seen the home fans almost completely silent for the most part.
Wednesday and Thursday were pretty uneventful with nothing happening of note. The same could be said of Friday but I made sure I was out of work as soon as 4 pm came. I'd filled up with petrol in the morning but it was an excellent journey down. I stopped in Cwmbran for Morrisons where I picked up 8 bottles of Black Dragon cider amongst other things. With time to spare I also went to China Palace takeaway for salt and chilli pepper chips and chicken satay skewers. I had the chips before driving to the ground and then had the satay skewers. Both were excellent and great value. I was at the ground around half an hour before kickoff, paying £5 to get in after parking in the road outside. It was pitch black but I could tell it was a nice setting. They were also serving decent-looking food but I was full. I was really happy with my choice although Abergavenny down the road was a useful backup.
Goytre were 9th in the Ardal South East and were not in great form. Their only respite had been in the FAW Trophy where they had beaten Treowen Stars 6-1 and won 7-3 at Newport Saints. Elsewhere they lost 4-0 at Llanelli Town in the Welsh Cup and went out of the League Cup to Dinas Powys. In the league, they had lost 2-1 to Blaenavon Blues, 2-1 to Abertillery Bluebirds and 2-0 at Trethomas Bluebirds. Caerau Ely were 8th in the adjacent Ardal South West. They'd been in better form and had won 5-2 at Butchers Arms and 3-1 against FC Cwmamam. In the Welsh League Cup, they had beaten Penrhiwceiber Rangers 1-0. League-wise, they'd won 2-0 at Baglan Dragons. However, they had lost 4-3 to Mumbles Rangers and  1-0 to Pontyclun. The visitors had travelled around 35 miles or 45 minutes to get to this game, with them being based west of Cardiff. It was the visitors who had the better of the play early on without creating any clear-cut chances. Gradually Goytre grew into the game and they came closer, forcing a good couple of saves out of the keeper. Caerau Ely also had a free kick tipped over the bar and it was turning into a good competitive game. Goytre took the lead on 29 minutes, a looping cross from the right was slid home. Then little over a minute later, it was level, Caerau Ely with a driven shot by Hywel Davies following a ball across the edge of the area from Liam Bishop. The hosts had the best chance to retake the lead, the visitors' keeper Josh Murray producing a great save to scoop the ball out from under the bar. The second half was not so open, with some tetchy challenges and quite a lot of moaning at the referee. The better chances fell to the visitors with one screwed wide that really should have been on target. They finally got their goal ten minutes from time, a cross from the right by Calum Bateman was slotted home at the near post by Bishop. A minute later, the game was sealed, another close-range effort by Bateman, though there were complaints of offside. There was a fourth late on, a goal on the break driven into the roof of the net by Bateman for his second.
 I really enjoyed my evening in a friendly atmosphere. I left at 9.40, hoping for a good journey home. That turned out to be the case and I was in the door bust before midnight. Thinking back to the game, it was a clear and deserved victory for Caerau Ely, although had their keeper not pulled off a great save in the first half, it might have been a different story. It was just a shame the hosts were not as active as they could be on Twitter and the Cymru Football app. No goalscorer nor attendance (around 50) was given but I appreciate volunteers are hard to come by. Certainly, a nice place to visit and I look forward to visiting Caerau Ely in the future as they were a lot more active. I decided to do my blog before I went to sleep but was on soft drinks only after Tuesday and before the usual routine for Wycombe v Morecambe the next day.

PLOUGH ROAD is a ground in a pleasant area and is ready to go for step two in Wales. There are various seating areas, the nicest being a small area in front of the bar. There are also a few sets of seats in the open. The main two areas are two metal stands, there are seats for around 250 in all whilst the rest of the ground is open standing. The bar and food looked good and there's a decent amount of parking. Ten minutes walk away is an Indian takeaway and chippy combined.

Saturday 22 October 2022

Penybont - SDM Glass Stadium

Penybont FC
Bryntirion Park
Llangewydd Road
CF31 4JU

01656 652702

Ground Number: 1126
Saturday 22nd October 2022
Penypont 0-1 Connah's Quay Nomads
Cymru Premier


The current club was established in 2013, following a merger between Bridgend Town and Bryntirion Athletic. They started out in the Welsh League D1 which was where both of the teams that created the new club played. They opted to play on the site of Bryntirion following the sale of Bridgend's old ground to supermarket giant ASDA. The ground was upgraded and refurbished, with a 3G pitch being installed. This led to the club playing a long string of away games as the pitch was not ready in time. They eventually finished a credible 3rd in their debut season, going one better in 2017 as they finished as runners-up to Barry Town United. They were finally champions in 2019 and have played in the Cymru Premier ever since. Their best finish was 4th during the 2020/21 season but they look set to beat that this season as things stand. Penybont reached the final of the Welsh Cup last season, losing 3-2 to TNS at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The more prominent of the two former clubs was Bridgend Town. They were formed in 1920 and spent time in the Southern League in the 1920s and between 1977 & 1983. They were Southern League champions in 1980. Back then, the league was split into two regional divisions. Bridgend won the Midland Division and then beat Dorchester Town 5-1 over two legs to win the championship playoff match. In Wales, their best league finish was as Welsh League Champions in 1969 & 1973. Cup highlights included two Welsh Cup semi-finals and the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round in 1979 where they lost in a replay to Hungerford Town. In the FA Trophy, they played my team Wycombe Wanderers in 1977, narrowly losing 1-0. They continued to play in the FA Trophy whilst members of the Welsh League and this was when they made their best progress - reaching the 2nd Round in 1986, losing 1-0 at Worthing. They also won the Welsh League Cup in 1988.

Bridgend Town originally played at Coychurch Road, staying until 2006 when the land was sold to ASDA. Temporary homes were found at the University of Glamorgan, Porthcawl and Bridgend Ravens Rugby Club. When the merger came about in 2013, they decamped to Bryntirion Athletic's Bryntirion Park which has been known under various guises due to sponsorship reasons. Bryntirion Athletic FC was established in 1956 and spent most of its life in the lower Welsh Leagues They came to prominence in 2002 when they won the South Wales Amateur League. Promotion to the Welsh League followed and they won Division 3 in 2004 and finished 3rd in Division 2 the following season. Promotion to the second-tier Division 1 followed and they won the title in 2010. However, their facilities were not up to scratch. Other honours included reaching the Welsh League Cup final in 2008 & 2013.

The town of Bridgend is located 20 miles west of Cardiff and has a population of 147,000. Its name in Welsh is Pen-Y-Bont which gives the local football team its name. The town is named after the medieval bridge over the River Ogmore, the literal translation is "the end of the bridge on the Ogmore". Rugby is the dominant sport in the town and the top club Bridgend Ravens play in the top tier of Welsh rugby. Famous people from the town include rugby player Gareth Thomas and newsreader Huw Edwards. Musically, Steve Strange - the lead singer of Visage - famous for their hit single 'Fade To Grey' is from the town whilst heavy metal band 'Bullet For My Valentine' are also from the area.


I was originally heading to Wales on the National Express for the first time on 10th September, a rare happy Sunday for me as I was off work. However, a few days before, a huge spanner was thrown in the works when the Queen died and the whole country went completely bonkers. None less so than the football authorities who cancelled every single game 'out of respect' whilst other sports carried on. I'd already booked tickets, but happily National Express allowed me to amend the tickets for free. My next free Saturday was this one, some six weeks later, so this was as good a date as any. I'd originally intended to do Penybont on that Sunday, instead, I headed to Belgium instead to escape the country. The late switch cost me a fair bit, but it was a good time. Fellow hopper Colin was coming with me and as he was keen to complete the Cymru Premier, we decided to stick with our original destination. Haverfordwest looked a bit nicer, but with it being tucked down right in the west of Wales, it was logistically impossible.
I started my planning on Wednesday night, with me having planned almost everything. It was disappointing to see a lack of real cider pubs in Bridgend, but it was still going to be a good day out. All the interesting and quirky places were some way out of Cardiff and so I doubted we would have time to go anywhere decent. Perhaps a good thing, more incentive to go to Cardiff on my own for an explore, as Colin doesn't drink. Thursday saw me walk up to my local club Holmer Green for their Allied Counties Youth League game against Slough Town. The visitors were a class above and won 5-0, but some great football was played. The night before saw me have a few drinks to unwind after a week at work, but I've been fairly happy there in recent times. Aside from people asking for 'Prime' all the time - an energy drink created by two YouTubers - the back-to-front named Logan Paul and KSI - the Icelandic FA in my book. I had a fairly early night in the end, what with being up before 6 am.

My alarm went off at 5.50 and I was up fairly swiftly, at least compared to a work day. There was no time for breakfast and I was parked up by Amersham Station at 6.30. I met Colin and we got the 6.36 Chiltern Line train. The underground in Central London was very busy for this time of day. We were at Victoria coach station 40 minutes in advance. That too was busy and our coach was sold out, so I was glad I had Colin with me. Breakfast was a decent cheese and jalapeño roll from a shop near our coach. Though not as good as the lamb version, it was still good. We left bang on time at 8.30 and due to an altered route, went past High Wycombe an hour later. It's a real shame that no coaches go from there as it would be super convenient.
 Due to bad traffic delays, we got into Cardiff 40 minutes late. I was hoping this wouldn't be the case later as getting home would become problematic. It was a pleasant 20-minute walk into Cardiff and then a trip on a busy train to Bridgend. With Colin's disabled railcard it was only £4.15 return, although the standard £6.30 fare was a bargain compared to the prices the scammers the other side of the border. We were in Bridgend at 1.25 and paid the local Wetherspoons a visit. The Wymondham Arms was packed and so we couldn't get a table for food. Instead, we had a drink before heading to the ground. We paid £7 for entry and I also got a bacon cheeseburger for £4.

This was a real top-of-the-table clash with Penybont sitting third and Connah's Quay in second. The hosts were unbeaten in five games. They'd won 3-0 at basement boys Airbus UK and also beaten Aberystwyth Town 3-1 in the league where they'd also drawn 1-1 against Pontypridd and 1-1 at Flint Town United. They'd also won 5-1 at Rosca United in the Welsh Cup. The visitors were in even better form, having won seven games in a row. In their latest game, they had beaten Ruthin Town 2-0 in the Welsh Cup and had beaten Cardiff Met Uni by the same scoreline in their last league game. Their only three defeats in the league had come during an indifferent start to the season - 2-0 at Cardiff Met Uni, 2-1 at TNS and 2-1 at Aberystwyth. It was a dull opening period, the first incident of note was the sending off of Penybont's Daniel Jefferies for a bad tackle. Penybont hit the post following a free kick. Finally, the opening goal came on 73 minutes, an attack down the right, the post was hit and Mike Hayes followed up from close range. Up until then, it had been a tedious encounter, Connah's Quay doing nothing of note with the majority of possession, Penybont had the two best chances up to that point. The goal opened the game up and forced Penybont into attacking and they started to come close. Penybont were awarded a last-minute penalty, however, Nathan Wood's spot kick was brilliantly saved by visiting keeper Andy Firth. It's just a shame that Penybont didn't start attacking earlier as Connah's Quay looked vulnerable when they did. 

It wasn't the greatest experience. Again, traffic had screwed us over and it wasn't as relaxed a day as it could have been. Also they were unable or unwilling to sell Colin a pin badge. I'd have got a notebook and pen too but instead I just saved myself a few quid. It was a rainy walk back to the station but at least we had the good news of Wycombe winning at Milton Keynes to digest. We were there at 5.10 and had twenty minutes wait for the train. We were in Cardiff just after 6 and headed to the Prince of Wales Wetherspoons. Again, tables were at a premium but we got fixed up with one and I was able to order a Black Dragon and a chicken strips basket. Service was excellent given it was rammed. The day finally started to feel good. I was in good spirits as I headed to the coach stop. From there, who knows what, reports of a closure on the M4 put our trip home in doubt, but come what may. The coach was deserted with only about five people on it. One of the passengers was great company on our trip East.


THE SDM GLASS STADIUM is set in a pleasant valley and is very scenic. To meet the ground grading, a few metal stands have been put in and these probably total around 300 seats. They kept the fans dry and did their job but are a bit ubiquitous almost everywhere. Food is provided by a burger van, these were tasty and well-priced. The bar is fairly basic but has plenty of club stuff on display. The club shop offers a decent range but it's difficult to purchase stuff. Parking is plentiful and the town and main station are around half an hour's walk away.