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Tuesday, 06 May 2014 07:15


MONDAY 5TH MAY : The Cigg-E Stadium, Penydarren Park - sunny, then rain.
MERTHYR TOWN 0 PAULTON ROVERS 2 (Calor Southern League S&W Divisional Play-off)

There's a great deal of expectation, not least on social media, as Merthyr Town's season hinges on one more match. They looked certainties for automatic promotion a couple of months ago, but a few bad away results cost them top spot. Still, they have the alternative route of the play-offs, and got through their semi-final on Tuesday. Now they face Paulton Rovers, at home. The expectation comes from the fact that they finished above Paulton, the fact that the town's rugby team won the Swalec Plate only yesterday, and well... the feeling that, willed on by a big crowd, the Martyrs should be able to deal with a village team from Somerset.

It's a sunny afternoon in Merthyr, not unlike another one 25 years ago: then, my five year-old son and I made this same journey up to Penydarren Park for a vital promotion game. Then, Merthyr overcame the nerves to beat Crawley and earn promotion to the Conference. Bitter-sweet memories, certainly in retrospect, but it was a good day, one that has stayed clear in the memory. For old times sake, I walk up the High Street (not the most direct route from the station now, as the steps up by the old Education building are long blocked off), but that's the way we walked in 1989.

Published in Football
Saturday, 08 February 2014 20:14


SATURDAY 8TH FEBRUARY: Penydarren Park - wet, wild and stormy.
MERTHYR TOWN 12 GUILDFORD CITY 0 (Calor Southern League, South & West Division)
Another weekend, another storm. It's rained during the week, and it's forecast to rain some more today, so the football programme will be washed out again, but on this occasion the weather is only a minor nuisance, as I have already decided to head for Merthyr for the first time since they installed their 3G artificial surface at Penydarren Park.

The lure is not just the all-weather surface - I need to catch up on Merthyr, topping their division of the Southern League, as I last saw them in that FA Cup defeat at Bridgwater. And their opponents today interest me too, Guildford City, a famous old name from my early days of watching Southern League football, except that in those days Guildford played at St. Joseph's Road, one of my favourite venues. That club lost its ground 40 years ago and slipped into oblivion, and today's incarnation is a new entity that has adopted the old name and plays in the same red and white stripes that I remember (though not today). They're back in Guildford too, but at a leisure centre ground as different from St Joseph's Road as you could imagine.

Published in Football

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