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Rodney Parade
Newport County v Southend United
Saturday, October 26th 2013, 3pm
  League Two
John & Stephen Spooner
(Southend United fans)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

Not been to this ground before. Went to the old ground at Somerton, but it was too long ago to remember details. The Newport manager is Justin Edinburgh who is fondly remembered at Southend where he started his careen before gaining fame at Spurs etc.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

My son and I travel to games from North Wales as exiled fans so it was about 140 miles each way and 3Ĺ hours along A5, A49, A40 and A449 though Wales using trusted satnav. The journey was straightforward via Hereford passing their football ground, despite constant drizzly rain. We used the M4 for about 3 miles and it was very slow with I guess rugby fans heading for Cardiff for the Wales v Italy Rugby League World Cup match, as well as traffic heading to Cardiff airport. We found free street parking at the rear of the Hazell Stand where 3 storey houses are being constructed and no yellow lines yet, but we did arrive early and parking around the ground is severely restricted due to permit only areas.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

We parked up and had a walk round the ground and found staff at the club friendly, advising us where toilets were and how we could collect our tickets from the away turnstiles. We then had our usual picnic prepared by wife/mum in the car listening to commentary of Crystal Palace v Arsenal match. We also met the Southend kit man who found a parking spot next to us and had a chat with him. The Newport chief executive even found time to talk to us whilst we waited for tickets from team bus.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The ground is hidden by houses and is small used mainly for the local rugby club. The away Synter end looks better in photographs than it actually is, being temporary seating of 8 rows of small plastic seats with rusting from the fixing bolts and no cover. This seating is limited to half the end from corner flag to about centre of the goal. The ground is neat enough with the 2 side stands but the home end is just concrete terracing. There is provision for covered seating for away fans in the end of the Bisley stand. The pitch looked good considering rugby is played on it. Stewards said that there had been investment last season to upgrade the pitch.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The game was scrappy initially and a blunder after 30 minutes by the Southend keeper gave Newport the lead, then a cracking free kick levelled it with 5 minutes of the first half to go. With injury time being played and everyone thinking about the interval Southend switched off and Newport took a deserved lead. Newport then stamped their obvious authority by scoring a 3rd in the 2nd half and could have scored more after hitting the post and forcing our keeper into several good saves. The atmosphere was good mainly due to the Newport fans enjoying a good performance and taking their goals well to ensure 3 points and carrying on their progress after promotion last season. Nearly 500 Southend fans turned up, being a new ground to visit, I guess, but left dispirited after a poor showing by the team. I found the stewards helpful and friendly, being relaxed about us standing in the uncovered end. I would urge fans to avoid the uncovered Synter end in cold or bad weather. The hotdogs seemed to sell well and prices for all food appeared reasonable. The match program of 100 pages for £3-50p was good too.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

The away fans were ushered away from the ground to keep them away from home fans and police did check us as we walked away but once satisfied we were going to our car and not to confront the home fans it was easy enough to get away. The roads were clear, and our satnav sent us under  the M4 rather than along it which made for a quicker journey home despite almost constant rain.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

The result always determines our thoughts so a bad team performance and loss didnít help our mood, but another ground ticked off our list and we had to be impressed by Newport County. The city area can be seen from the ground and on reflection we were disappointed that we had not visited and explored the city centre across the river Usk.

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