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
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
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
4. Thoughts on seeing the ground/first
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.
5. Game itself, atmosphere,
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
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
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'.