Additional: Entrance £7.00, Programme £1.50
Latham Park in pictures
Ground Statistics (marks out of ten, maximum 40)
Character 9, Structures/Terracing 8, Hospitality 7, Backdrop/Scenery or aesthetics for larger stadiums 8
Newtown marked my completion of the mid-wales Welsh Premier clubs. Only three of them but it’s quite an exclusive triumvirate, the other two being Bala Town and Aberystwyth. They require some serious mileage through tortuous countryside. Newtown is no exception, with a lot of the 70 miles being Welsh miles, for which there are 2.76 to every English mile.
Newtown are one of three ever present teams in the Welsh Premier, since its inception in 1992, the others being Aberystwyth Town and Bangor City. They were founded in 1875 as Newtown White Stars and became Newtown FC after merging with Newtown Excelsior in 1877.
They have one of the best grounds in Welsh football, one which has been on my radar for some time, in Latham Park. It holds 5,000 has four separate stands and is UEFA compliant.
The ground is slightly south of the town centre and in a rural setting, on the right if you’re coming in from the north.
I came in at the corner, paying just £7 entrance. Turning right behind the goal there is a line of trees providing a natural border. The bank slopes up to a few slivers of terracing, more like railway sleepers, but complete with their own crush barriers. A few benches line the top of the bank, giving great views.
A big stands sits at the top end of the main side, the biggest in the ground at 408 seats. Next to this is another stand of differing style holding 326 seats. Further down is the clubhouse and snacks bar.
Behind the other goal is where the vociferous band of 20 odd Port Talbot Town sat in the first half, in the open 322 seat stand.
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The other long side has two stands, a 182 seater down the far end and a 120 seater two tiered stand in the middle, with the upper deck providing the TV gantry.
Newtown were in second bottom place and a relegation place coming in to the game. Port Talbot were seventh but fairly comfortable, points wise. It was Newtown who impressed most in the first half, in yet another great advert for Welsh football, their goal a beauty chipped in over the keeper and off the bar from the edge of the area.
In the second half Newtown got their second through some excellent approach play to complete a solid victory. Port Talbot to their credit kept going to the end, backed by a very noisy following of flag wavers and singers all the way from the south of the country.
Latham Park, along with Park Avenue of Aberystwyth are my favourite Welsh grounds. Both have great set ups, some interesting stands and features with great backdrops. I hope they stave off relegation this season as the ground is way too good for second tier football, and it would leave just two clubs ever present since 1992.