Saturday May 11th 2013, kick off 14:30pm at ‘Celtic Park’
Welsh League Division One.
Cwmbran Celtic (Yellow/white) 5-1 Haverfordwest County (Red/Red).
Att 82, Admission 4 pounds, tea and crisps 1 pound.
Still plenty of venue choices only two weeks into the merry month of May, and I fancied another trip to South Wales for one of my favourite leagues.
Ros was happy to visit nearby Tredegar House (NT) and with Cwmbran being ‘not to far’ over the bridge across the Bristol channel, Celtic Park was my chosen venue for the day.
What I hadn’t realised when choosing this game was that Celtic had needed to win one of their last two home games to be assured of Welsh League D1 football in 13-14.
The night before Cambrian and Clydach’s victory had ensured that Haverfordwest could not occupy a top three position, meaning that their hope of Welsh Premier League football had been dashed. Those above apparently not having the suitable ground grading, which West did, to be issued a Welsh Prem membership license.
So, whereas I may have been expecting a rather tame end of season game, what I actually got was a rather exciting end to end game played at a frenetic pace and competitive throughout. Fair play to the visitors who may have just played out this game, but gave a really good account of themselves, and frankly the final score was not indicative of the effort they had put in.
It was rather disappointing to find nothing in the way of food available to purchase at the ground, aside from some crisps and chocolate, but I do appreciate that at this level those working for the club do so on a voluntary basis, but perhaps some basic rolls may have helped to stave my hunger, as a small bag of crisps certainly did not. Tip, eat elsewhere before visiting Celtic Park!
I fell into conversation with the fella standing next to me, and coincidentally he was also from the Reading area, Caversham Park to be precise, and doing the ground/game before a two-week holiday. His wife sitting in the car, an NT member and not aware of Tredegar House apparently. Such are the numbers of people I tend to get chatting to a NL football, it was a good half an hour of chat before we realised we’d met at Woodcote/Stoke Row FC at the back-end of the previous season. See my blog ‘village football by bicycle’, he WAS one of the cyclists!
A heavy downpour soon after kick off had me running back to the car for my umbrella. Typically by the time I was back pitchside the sun was back out, and the rain destined not to return. I noticed quite a number watching from the car park end, raised above pitch level. Shame that they didn’t wish to, or couldn’t afford the four pounds admission. Perhaps a reflection on the economic situation in South Wales, or the something for nothing mentality some people exude in this day and age?
If County were feeling disappointment at missing out on promotion after the Fri evening result, well then it didn’t really show in the first half, as they gave a good account of themselves.
However Patel struck first for Celtic after twelve minutes with a twenty-five yarder before on thirty-one minutes they made it two after a good team move finished by Connor. Between these goals, County were well in the game and had chances of their own. And three minutes before half time they were back in it, after Christopher scored from a rebound of the post. Just before half time, a serious bout of handbags near the centre circle resulted in Cheedy (home) and Raymond (away) receiving their marching orders. From my view the home player dismissal looked the more valid of the two, 2-1 HT.
At half time you could not have anticipated the final scoreline. But Celtic upped the gears, added three goals and secured the top flight status their performance on the day deserved.
While West had most of the early second half pressure, it was Celtic who secured a two goal lead on 63 after Connor was put clean through and finished well. On 79 it was 4-1 as Llewellyn headed firmly in from a corner. And it was only left for a late penalty from Challenger to drill the nail into the West coffin. The Celtic website described it as their best performance of the season, and they certainly played well against very decent opposition. At games end, the home players received a ‘talk down’ in the centre circle from their management, before bouncing back to the changing rooms chanting “We are staying up, say, we are staying up”, you couldn’t help but be pleased for them, well done lads.
In summary, a pretty basic venue but a cracking little programme, and a really enjoyable game. And as for my rumbling tummy, perhaps I caught them on a bad day, the sign below would imply I had!