Saturday 5 November 2022

Abergavenny Town - Pen-Y-Pound Stadium

Abergavenny Town FC 
Pen-Y-Pound Stadium
Hill Road

Ground Number 1128
Saturday 5th November 2020
Abergavenny Town 2-4 Cambrian & Clydach Vale BGC
Cymru South


The origins of the current club date back to at least the early part of this century. They were originally known as Govilon FC and spent between 2002 & 2004 in the Gwent County League Division 3. They then left, before returning in 2007. They were far better equipped this time and won two titles in a row to find themselves in Division 1 in 2009. They always finished in the top half but in 2014, the decision was made to change their name to Abergavenny Town and move to the stadium of Abergavenny Thursdays who had dissolved the previous year. They won the Gwent League in the first season under their new identity and took the promotion to the Welsh League Division 3. They won promotion in their first season, finishing as runners-up to Llanelli Town. Three seasons were spent in Division 2 before reorganization saw them move to Division 1. They finished 13th in their only season here. When football resumed following the pandemic, Abergavenny Town were placed in the newly-established Ardal South East. They won the title in its first season, earning promotion to the Cymru South for this season. The club won the Welsh FA Trophy in 2016, beating Sully Sports 1-0 in the final.

Abergavenny Thursdays were the club they replaced and easily the most prominent of the town's football clubs. They were established in 1927 and were Welsh League champions on four occasions although at this time, and indeed until the league was disbanded in 2019, it only covered South Wales. In 1992, a new national league, the League of Wales was established. Abergavenny Thursdays spent a single season here. Dogged by financial issues caused by increased traveling and a need for floodlights, a mass player exodus led to them finishing bottom of the league. Relegated to the Welsh League D1, they generally finished in the lower reaches of the table and were relegated again without winning a game in 1998. Though they stabilized for a single season in Division 2, the turn of the millennium saw them suffer five successive relegations and bottom-placed finishes. From 2004 until their demise in 2013, they played in the Gwent League Division 3, never finishing higher than 4th. They withdrew from the league citing a lack of players, a problem that had dogged the club for years. The club had varying levels of success in national cups. They were a regular in the FA Cup in the 1960s, taking Cheltenham Town to a 2nd Qualifying Round replay in 1968. They also reached the semi-finals of the Welsh Cup in 1960, losing to Wrexham after a replay. They also won the Welsh League Cup in 1952.

Both clubs played at the Pen-Y-Pound stadium. In 1963 Pen-Y-Pound was used as a helicopter landing site for John Lennon. The Beatles were playing in the Town and Lennon had been in London making an appearance on the BBC television show Jukebox Jury. He landed in Abergavenny's Penypound football ground at 9.50pm and was driven straight to the Town Hall. The town is located six miles from the border with England and has a population of around 12,500. The meaning of the place's name is literally "mouth of the River Gavenny" and its Welsh name is Y Fenni. Abergavenny is situated at the confluence of the River Usk and a tributary stream, the Gavenny. It is almost entirely surrounded by mountains and hills: the Blorenge, the Sugar Loaf, Ysgyryd Fawr (Great Skirrid), Ysgyryd Fach (Little Skirrid), Deri, Rholben and Mynydd Llanwenarth. Other sports played in the town include cricket and rugby.


 This game was decided upon on the Sunday prior. I was in a quandary of where to go and at the time, I was erring towards Frenford as an economical day out and one of the few grounds I needed to do in London. With the trains on strike for most of the country, the underground was a safe bet. However, fellow hopper Daniel from Braintree finally offered me a lift to start paying me back for all the ones that I'd given him a few years back. He had actually offered Merthyr Saints a couple of months ago, but there was nothing around the ground for pre-match. That'll be saved for a Friday night, but there was no such issue with Abergavenny, a nice town that had a Wetherspoons. With Dan's liking for getting to the ground a few hours before kickoff, it was important. It meant that I could have a few drinks and also relax and enjoy the day as well as getting my blog done. As it turned out, we had a backup in place, as Dan was very cautious about the weather. Even so, Barry Town United was one I'd wanted to do for ages, though the history of the club was very interesting, it would mean a lot of work for my blog.
I'd already ruled out going to Wycombe's FA Cup game with Walsall. As well as it being a pretty uninspiring draw, I'd done too many home games lately. On Saturday there was more frustration. It was actually a decent game to watch. However, bottom-of-the-league Morecambe were our equal, and although we had two goals disallowed through shambolic refereeing decisions, it was still a frustrating afternoon. There was further frustration on Tuesday as more static defending saw us draw 2-2 with Port Vale in a reasonable game. Poor summer recruitment has no doubt led to us gaining two points from the last three games when a genuine promotion contender would have been looking for nine. Perhaps, due to Sky moving the Portsmouth game to Sunday and wasting my season ticket, it's good that I won't be back at Adams Park until 17th December.

After a few days back at work, it was time for the starter before the main course. Chinnor had happily arranged their game against Taplow for Friday night. It was only a revisit with me having been there in 2016 but it was fairly local. I took Colin too, as he needed the ground. It was my second visit, having been in 2016. I paid nothing for entry on either occasion. They've taken voluntary relegation since my last visit, something that Colin is against as he reckons they lack ambition. For me though, if a club is happy to be plying their trade at step 7, that's fine. It's a whole lot less hassle at that level and there are some fantastic community clubs at this level. Unlike last time when it was 0-0, Chinnor won 4-0 and it was fairly comfortable. Taplow United deserved a goal for their efforts though and the only sour note was a head injury to the Taplow keeper which changed the course of the game. I was back by 10.45 though and had a couple of drinks before getting off to sleep.
I awoke an hour before my alarm on the day of the game. I watched YouTube before getting up at 8, getting dressed, and having breakfast. I left to meet Colin at 8.25 and we were at ASDA nearly half an hour in advance of our 9.10 meet time. We got off at 9.15 and were making good progress until we got to Chippenham where we got stuck in 20 minutes of traffic. Colin's flatulence did not improve the mood and we got to Magor services at 11.20, hoping to make a decision. However, Abergavenny had not tweeted anything and the number listed on the website linked to some random house. This led to them getting at least two phone calls within the space of five minutes asking if the game was on. We then got stuck in traffic heading to the Wales v New Zealand Rugby game.

 We decided to chance it and head to Abergavenny who soon confirmed game on. We went for a quick double-check before heading to town, arriving at 12.40. By the time we'd found a space and got to the Wetherspoons, it was nearly 1. There was disappointment with no Black Dragon on the app but I did at least get to try the new heatwave burger, having to settle for an Aspalls as my meal drink. The burger was great and I was able to get a pint of Black Dragon at the bar. We then went to the ground, getting there 40 minutes before kick-off. It was a lovely setting and was only £5 entry. We relaxed before the game and it was nice to catch up.

Abergavenny were in disappointing form, only having won one of their last six. That was as they beat Carmarthen 3-1. They'd drawn 1-1 against Trefelin and Afan Lido and they'd also drawn 0-0 against Goytre United before losing on penalties in the Welsh Cup. They'd also lost 6-1 at Llanelli and 2-1 at Llantwit Major. Visitors Cambrian & Clydach were in similar form, their only win being a 4-3 epic against Taff's Well. They'd lost on penalties to Portdawe Town as well as losing twice against Llanelli. They'd also lost 4-1 at Portdawe in the league. The visitors were much the better side in the first half. They took the lead through Cameron Keetch on 4 minutes as he fired into the roof of the net. It was a similar goal on 27 minutes with a finish from just inside the area. The third came on 32 minutes, a cross from the left was headed home by Ceri Morgan. A 4th was scored on bin 34 minutes, the ball was cleared off the line only for Liam Eason to follow up. Drew Hefferman pulled one back in first-half injury time for the hosts, with a looping header. On 56 minutes, it was 4-2, Rhys Tandy finished from close range. The hosts tried to mount a comeback but had Efu Kazadi harshly sent off for denial of a goalscoring opportunity. This was despite the visiting forward still having plenty to do to finish. That was how it ended with the game concluding in a slow fashion.

We'd certainly seen some variation in the weather. A gloomy start had been followed by torrential rain which had followed by blue skies and sunshine. We left just after 4.30 and headed homeward. Back in Wycombe, they were 2-0 down to Walsall in the FA Cup. That was how it ended with us stopping at Tesco in Pontypool for Dan to fill his car up with petrol. The plan was to upload my blog and hopefully get home around 8 after driving home from work.



The Pen-Y-Pound stadium is a great place to watch football. The scenery is beautiful and it's a really peaceful place to watch football. There are two covered areas, one behind the goal which is smart and includes the bar and one along the side. The latter includes a derelict old stand (since 1991), the only part used is the directors box. At the front are some new seats which make the stand usable. The rest of the ground is open. There's a basic bar and a decent food truck. The town, ten minutes away has a wider choice, including a decent Wetherspoons.

No comments:

Post a Comment