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Rodney Parade
Newport County v Exeter City
Sunday, March 16th 2014, 3pm
  League Two
Myles Munsey
(Neutral fan)

1. Why were you looking forward to going to the game?

I had visited Newport before on New Year's Day 1987 (which if I recall was damp and dismal) in the old Newport County's final season at Somerton Park before their sad football league demise. 27 years later same opposition - the Grecians - , different ground and a lot warmer! The attraction of attending a Sunday fixture, my first in 45 years was a novelty. 

2. How easy was your journey/fnding the ground

A straightforward train journey from Newbury changing at Reading and waiting 10 minutes at Newport for my colleague from Gloucester. The ground was not that easy to get to owing to a spate of redevelopment round the town centre and at the ground itself, our way being repeatedly blocked by temporary fences. Even the locals were confused by this!

3. What did you do before the game pub/chippy?

With plenty of time of our hands, we walked through the town centre down to the River Usk to view the transporter bridge. This structure - one of only two in the UK - was closed for winter but is still an impressive sight.  It is the sort of symbol that you might think would feature on the club badge. Sadly it doesn't. Afterwards there was time for a spot of lunch at Wetherspoons and then to the ground.

4. Thoughts on seeing the ground/first impressions

Whilst accepting that Newport are new to league football after their prolonged forced absence, I didn't find the ticketing arrangements all that wonderful. Signage seemed very scant and I repeatedly had to seek guidance from the stewards and the police. We viewed the game from the Hazell Stand (to make sure we weren't facing the bright sun). Our seats afforded a good view but were cramped, nowhere near enough leg room. For convenience to local transport Rodney Parade is a winner, but there are very few features of note. It is functional and modern.

The Away End

Away End

5. Game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies

More than a quarter century  on In a bizarre twist of fate it was the away side desperately needing points in their bid for league survival, yet Exeter did not resemble a side scrapping for every point. In warm sunshine, most welcome after all the rain, an open game ensued, not a classic, but entertaining enough.  No score at half time the goal the game needed arrived on 50 minutes when Harry Worley inexplicably headed past his own keeper. Newport's response was immediate when Krysiak under pressure from Zebrowski dropped the ball conveniently at the feet of Lee Minshull who gratefully accepted the gift.  Scarcely a minute later the Exiles were level. Afterwards both sides went for it. Krysiak atoned for his error with a fabulous stop from Zebrowski near the end. 1-1 was a fair result, but the point,  whilst of some use to Exeter in the battle to avoid the drop was not a lot of help to Newport whose late push for the play-offs looks now as if it is over.

The resident drummer in the Hazell stand made for a somewhat light-hearted atmosphere and I barely noticed the stewards so no complaints there.

6. Getting away from ground

Easy, and straight back to the station in 10 minutes.

7. Overall thoughts on day out

Overall I enjoyed the whole day and the game itself. Playing soccer in a rugby ground has 'issues' I guess, but the redevlopment in and around the ground and the dodging about trying to locate the ticket office and the correct turnstiles regretably means I have to 'dock points'. Never mind - a good game and another ground 'scratched off'.

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