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Travelog

Port Talbot Town

Port Talbot Town prog 2012Saturday 20th October

Welsh Premier

Port Talbot Town 1 Bangor City 1 ht: 0-0 att: 240
John 83: Roberts 46

Entrance £7 Programme £2 Coffee £1

from the Geoquip Stadium

Pics of the Geoquip Stadium

Port Talbot Town FC (21)After a Friday night at Llanelli, it was off to Port Talbot for the Saturday game against title hopefuls Bangor City. Llanelli’s was a cracking ground but Port Talbot’s was even better. Forza PTT indeed, as it said on a mural on the building as you come in, along with Croeso i’r Sand Siro, (welcome to the Sand Siro). Touches like this add real character and individuality to the ground. I was equally impressed with the large mural inside the ground, on the wall – PTT AFC, in giant letters. Reminded me, funnily enough, of the visitor’s old stadium at Farrar Road with the ;etters BCFC CPDB, the club crest sat in the middle, splashed luridly against the wall behind the terrace – a truly iconic football image.

On a tick list of what you’d want from a football ground, Port Talbot scores very highly – the urban location, near the station, two large banks for quality viewing, added extras in the murals, a couple of stands each side (albeit a bit modern), fantastic views and still some terracing and odd little structures scattered throughout.

Port Talbot is an unusual town that I found very difficult to traverse. The football ground is near the seafront, on the west of the town, which lies a bit inland. Getting to that side of the town after a very chilled lunchtime in the Lord Caradoc proved extremely difficult, not something you come to expect from 21st century Britain. The A48 Talbot Road was almost like a prison wall. I ended up running in short bursts across dual carriageways and large roundabouts, very much in the style of Frogger, the 80s video game, but thankfully without the option of killing myself by outrunning and smacking into the back of a car.

After my death-defying stunts, I was now on the right side of town, albeit on a grass verge on another dual carriageway, Afan Way, certainly not meant for pedestrians. After hopping a crash barrier I saw to the right of me the steel skeleton structure of perhaps a supermarket, sitting among overgrown weeds and wild flowers. The discarded foetus of a new project. A strange vision, rmeinding me of Spain. Victoria Road marked the start of the more traditional and civilised pavement/road combination, which was where the Geoquip Stadium resides, not far from the seafront. Incidentally Afan Lido’s ground is just a hundred or so yards away. I’ll have to remember my pole vault for when I go there.

ptt afc map

It was a perfect day for a match, an unusually hot and sunny October day, enough to have a real ale in the Bar Gallois beer garden down by the seafront – a seafront that seemed slightly surreal given the industrial landscape of the town. The Geoquip lies just off Victoria Road, one entrance being via the back alley serving the houses on the main road. The other is on the other side from Webb Place that leads out on to the top of the main stand.

Port Talbot Town FC (9)

Blue and white paint proliferates throughout this charming ground. The main stand, the Gerald McCreesh Stand sits snugly in a large bank, with a small tv gantry sat atop it. About eight rows up, it holds around 600 seats.

Port Talbot Town FC (12)

Opposite is a smaller covered stand, sitting next to the PTT AFC mural.

Port Talbot Town FC (10)

A narrow terrace runs along the bottom of the ground and at the top, the bank the main stand sits on curves round to give an elevation from behind the goal. This is where the snack bar is.

Bangor City, one of the most successful of Welsh clubs, can be relied upon to take a large following, even when it means crossing the whole of Wales. They came adorned with Ultra style flags.

Port Talbot Town FC (19) bw

Port Talbot Town have their Ultra of their own, a group I first saw at Newtown’s Latham Park. They stood at the back of the main drumming throughout. There seems to be a hardcore of about 20 of them.

Port Talbot Town FC (18) neg

The game kicked off and finished in bright sunshine, adding to my positive feelings about the ground. The game wasn’t a classic, but it was good to see Port Talbot get an equaliser. After a first half of surviving Bangor pressure it was ironic and hugely disappointing that straight after the break a weak pea-roller of a shot went straight through the keeper’s hands for 1-0. The steely determination of the first half all in vain, it seemed, so all the better that Port Talbot rallied and were rewarded with a great 20 yard strike to equalise on 83. Great Welsh double – two of the finest grounds in Wales. I now plan to finish off the Welsh Premier nest season with a Haverfordwest-Carmarthen double, or Carmarthen and whichever club it is, if any, that replaces Afan Lido.

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