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.

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