Newport – League Two State Of Mind

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Nessa, Gavin and Stacey

Nessa, Gavin and Stacey

Oh. What’s occurrin’…?

So then. Newport – twinned with Guangxi Province in China, there’s no province finer. We can’t vouch for that specific part of south east Asia, but we can for that part of south east Wales that is so often overlooked by the folk at Lonely Planet and Rough Guides.

Is it the uncertainty of what you might experience? The questionable cultural ambience? Or the fact that you’ve handed over several quid just for the honour of being there? Wait – is this Newport or the local Liquid and Envy?

This week’s League Two adventure takes us across the Bridge and past the Croeso i Gymru signs that mean you’re just about to find you don’t have £6.40 in change. As 20th league games of the season go, this one has the potential to be a classic.

A home side unbeaten for two months and a visiting side with a worse record on the road than a clapped out 1960s Ford Anglia. We might have to start calling in a few favours to get ourselves an early Christmas miracle at this rate.

After a two-week break from football, there’s no reason for us not to return footloose and fancy free for this latest outing. Apart from what we consider to be “long-term absentees”, the minor niggles and knocks have had extra time to heal. Yep, the Stevenage FC machine is up and rolling into Wales – much like those royalties cheques addressed to Mr Shakin’ Stevens at this rather special time of year.

Here’s the hash we made of this fixture on FIFA 15. It’s our first time doing this with the new game, so the fact we weren’t able to pick our own team is a bit annoying. But, hey, Bira Dembele is used to it now… The lowdown? Barney put us ahead after a couple of minutes, Beardo got carried off after six and nothing much else. We even the lad Brunt on, took him off and went 4-5-1 towards the end!

A quick glance at the flutter forecast and you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that we’re trailing a close second in the pecking order, with BetVictor the only place that seems to be offering odds that are better than evens (11/10). In contrast, the best price you’ll find on a Stevenage win is 14/5 and the draw is 13/5. With an average of less than a goal a game on the road this year, you can get evens on just the one team scoring this weekend. Feeling adventurous? Over 2.5 is evens at a few places…

Well then, we’ve said pretty much all we want to for this one. It’s off to sunny South Wales (not the Australian one), Newport (not the Isle of Wight one) and Dave Parade. This is arguably the most important game since in Boro’s history since we started writing half an hour ago – it doesn’t get much bigger than that. And tell your families not to worry – we’ll be back before they can say llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch…

Ble mae’r bêl-droed yng Nghasnewydd? Check out our club guide (no phrasebook though)…

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