Friday 16th January 2009

Technogroup Welshpool 1 Caernarfon Town 1
Principality Welsh Premier League
At: Maesydre
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Admission: ££6; Programme: £1-50 (60 pages)
Attendance: 125
Weather: mild, rain before kick-off
Duration: first-half: 47:23; second-half: 48:23

Welshpool’s Maesydre is a ground I was convinced I’d visited before but my records showed I hadn’t. Maybe my memory of the place stems from a visit to nearby Waterloo Rovers (whose ground is accessed via Maesydre) or for a postponement? Anyway, whatever doubts I had have ended following my visit to this see this Friday night Principality Building Society Welsh Premier game with Caernarfon Town.

The ground was straightforward to find from the roundabout by the station on the A483. Travelling from east to west, turn right into Severn Road then an almost immediate first left (signed) into Howell Road and the Maesydre is at the end of the road. The main entrance is via a road on the left further up Severn Road.

I got there so early that the official at the Howell Road entrance hadn’t received his quota of programmes but I obtained my copy (priced £1-50) from the other entrance. Teams were read out over the tannoy and I obtained a teamsheet.

The pitch is orientated south-east to north-west. Whichever entrance is used, all the facilities are down the near touchline with seated stand (six rows of black individual seats) on halfway with toilet block, changing rooms, tea bar and club shop. The recreation ground is shared with cricket and there is no spectator access to the far touchline.

In the lead up to the game, both sides had made use of the transfer window to strengthen their respective squads. Welshpool included Mike Thompson, who had rejoined the club, and Philip Doughty, signed on loan from Blue Square North side Fleetwood Town. New recruits Kieran Molyneux, a former Everton youth striker, and John Lawless, brought in from Marine, started up front from Caernarfon while the returning James Glendenning was on the bench.

I opted for a seat in the stand, fourth row. After the teams ran out to a rap-style version of ‘We Will Rock You’, bottom-of-the-table Caernarfon got the game underway, just as the rain eased, defending the bypass (or south-east end). It certainly wasn’t the one-sided affair that the visitors’ league position might have suggested and, not long after the quarter-hour mark, Welshpool keeper Danny Jones was forced to beat away a 20-yard curler from Steven Johnson.

One additional minute was indicated by the fourth official, sufficient time for Welshpool to take the lead in first-half stoppage time. Keeper Lee Guinion clumsily brought down Philip Doughty inside the area and Steve Rogers duly converted the resulting penalty. Play resumed for barely six seconds before the referee brought the first half to a close.

Back to my seat for the second half. However, the visitors got back on level terms in the 56th minute. Johnson hit a well-struck low right-foot shot into the bottom right corner from inside the ‘D’. “Well played Jonno,” said a Caernarfon fan (or was he a coach?) sat in front of me to the left.

“No pressure, enjoy it,” was the comment as Caernarfon sent on Peter Smith in place of Kieran Molyneux. The visitors were forced to work to stay on level terms. Andy Davies sent a right-foot shot flashing past the Caernarfon goal and Welshpool, in fact, won no fewer than seven corners in the final 15 or so minutes. Deep into the three additional minutes, the home side had one last chance. Mike Thompson delivered a deep corner and Guinion pounced on the resulting loose ball. Game over and a point a piece.

Technogroup Welshpool (white/black/white): 1. Danny Jones, 2. Kevin davies, 3. John Boardman, 4. george Hughes, 5. Timmy Edwards, 6. John Keegan (capt), 7. Andy Davies, 8. Mike Thompson, 9. Steve Rogers, 10. Philip Doughty, 11. Paul Roberts. Subs: 12. Will Thomas (for Rogers, 85), 14. Max Powell (not used), 15. Andy Mulliner (not used), 16. Ian McLeod (not used), 17. Christian Webster (not used).

Caernarfon Town (sky blue / claret / claret): 1. Lee Guinion, 2. Marc Dermott, 3. Andrew Jackson, 4. Danny Brookes, 5. Dale Ridler (capt), 6. Paul Rudkin, 7. Steven Johnson, 8. Michael Garrity, 9. Keiran Molyneux, 10. John Lawless, 11. Tom Grice. Subs: 12. Dale Corey (not used), 14. James Glendenning (for Rudkin, 73), 15. Peter Smith (for Molyneux, 61).

Referee: R Duncan.
Assistants: J Spender and MD Pugh.
Fourth Official: A Alexander.

1-0 Steve Rogers (45+2 pen)
1-1 Steven Johnson (56)