Welsh Football

Switch to desktop

Sunday, 06 November 2016 14:06

The Fifty-four Steps

Rate this item
(1 Vote)

SATURDAY 5th NOVEMBER. Bush Park, sunny but cold.
TREOWEN STARS 1 TON PENTRE 2 (JD Welsh Cup, Round 2)

Spoiled for choice again with Welsh Cup Round 2 option today, and I'll admit my decision was based partly on travel options. Today is the first of the autumn rugby internationals in Cardiff, and regular readers of this site will know how much I dislike getting caught up in the city centre on these afternoons - the crowds, the road closures, the delays, the stewarding, not to mention the boorish drunks and all the silly pantomime Welshness of daffodil hats and the like.

So I'll do a lot to avoid travelling through the city, including the slightly convoluted bus trip required to reach Newbridge for this afternoon's game (I can go east, or north into the valleys, avoiding Cardiff, but I can't go west, which was a pity as that ruled out my other main option today. Still, it's many years since I've been to Bush Park, Treowen (more than five, certainly, maybe nearer ten?) and there's a chance of a cup upset here. Two divisions separate the Stars from the Bulldogs, but recent form and home advantage give them a chance. Last night, at Taff's Well, I saw a Welsh League Division 2 side knock out one from Division 1. What chance another Division 1 casualty today?

I just about remember the way up to the ground through the narrow lanes and residential streets north of Newbridge. The clubhouse bar is open, but couldn't be more of a contrast from the packed scene I encountered arriving at Rhiw'r Ddar last night. Just 14 people here awaiting kick-off, at least half of them travelling Bulldogs' supporters. The people of Newbridge clearly aren't here.

Eventually it's time to face Bush Park's most notable feature - the steps. A steep flight stretches up from the car park to pitch level - and with all due respect to John Buchan, thirty-nine steps is nothing - I count 54 here on the way up. Once at the top, I can see nothing much has changed here - I remember the small covered stand opposite, and the wind.

The teams and officials bound up the steps and the game is soon underway in bright sunshine and biting wind. Treowen have the first attack and win a dangerous free-kick, but it's straight at keeper Massaro. Immediately, at the other end, Ton win a free-kick out on the left. Liam Hutchinson fires an unstoppable shot into the top corner and Ton Pentre lead after just three minutes. Just what they needed to steady the nerves, for with their moderate away record this season an early setback might have been hard to overcome.

The rest of the first half is hard-fought: plenty of robust challenges, but no moments of magic to lift the game in the way that Lee Trundle and Leon Jeanne had done so memorably yesterday. Off the field it's all a bit bad-tempered - complaints about challenges, met by complaints about the complaints... Just as it seems Treowen will go in just one behind, they hesitate at the back and Sam Small nips in during stoppage time to double Ton Pentre's lead.

The teams go off down the steps. It's a long way down, and indeed back up again, so I stay put. I could do with a cup of tea, but the little hut by the entrance, tantalisingly labelled "Refreshments", stays shut. Eventually the teams trudge back up the steps.

For Ton Pentre, the less excitement the second half brings, the better. They contain Treowen quite effectively and seem to be on course to hold their lead. But thirteen minutes from time, the Stars get a lifeline. Ross Brown needs three attempts to get the ball past Massaro, but the goal means the closing stages will be more interesting. Treowen battle hard, but can't quite conjure up another goal. In stoppage time, Treowen are reduced to ten men, then Ton almost add a third goal, and then the whistle goes and we all set off down the 54 steps again.

Read 5508 times Last modified on Sunday, 06 November 2016 14:09

© Copyright 2013 Welsh Football

Top Desktop version