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Sunday, 08 November 2015 21:06

Martyrs Stumble at the Crossroads

SATURDAY 7th NOVEMBER. Penydarren Park, wet.
MERTHYR TOWN 1 WEYMOUTH 3 (Evostik Southern League Premier Div.)
The wettest spell of the season so far means widespread postponements and only fixtures on 3G surfaces are a safe bet. What better excuse to catch up with the Martyrs for the first time this season - especially as pre-match comment has suggested they are at something of a 'crossroads'.

Merthyr found the early months of the season tough. Promotion to the higher level, then player losses and injuries, a limited playing budget, all combined to bring a worrying run of results through September and into October. But fortunes have improved recently and the question now (the one presumably behind the crossroads analogy) is whether Merthyr can build on this, and push on up the table.

It's only just over six months since my last visit here, but much is slightly unfamiliar as I approach up Park Terrace. Alongside the challenges on the field, supporters have to cope with building works as Penydarren Park is being redeveloped. The project - due to complete in the spring - has put part of the ground out of bounds, with all access round the back of the stand at The Walk end of the ground. Bars, offices and changing rooms are all relocated away from the main stand, and the players emerge from a temporary entrance in the corner rather than the traditional point under the grandstand. In the circumstances, the crowd (later confirmed as 474) is pretty healthy on a nasty, damp afternoon, though maybe the postponement of so many local games actually helped swell it. No doubt the recent upturn in results played a part too.

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