Phil Yelland takes a look back at our previous visits to South Wales ahead of this weekend's trip to Rodney Parade.
On Saturday we hit the road south to play our first Football League away game since April 1972 when we lost to Exeter City.
We met County previously in Division Four and, more recently, in the National League.
Our ten visits to Wales have seen us meet them on three different grounds. During the initial Football League days our trips were to Somerton Park but when we headed to South Wales for the first two of three visits in the National League it was to Spytty Park. More recently, in January 2013, we visited Rodney Parade, their current home which they ground share with Pro 14 rugby union side Newport Gwent Dragons.
Our first meeting at Somerton Park came on 17th September 1962. County had been relegated the previous season form Division Three - and it’s fair to say we don’t remember the visit with any fondness. We went down 6-0 to a side that, at the end of the season, finished eleven places below us in the table.
The following season, 1963/64, we finished bottom of the table and our visit to Somerton Park on 3rd February saw us lose again, this time it was 3-0.
Our first point at Somerton Park came late in the 1964/65 season after County had humbled us at 4-1 at home earlier in the season. Now, on 20th February, we took a point in a 2-2 draw. Our first goal at the Welsh venue was scored by Ray Brennan, with the second going to Roy McCarthy.
In the following season we went close to taking another point in our visit on the 11th September; Bobbie Tait, who was the division’s joint top scorer that season, netted twice in a 3-2 defeat.
Our first win in Wales could not have come at a better time than on 29th April 1967. It was the second last league game of the season and we knew that we needed a win to further our promotion ambitions. County were in the lower half of the table but put up a real fight. Roy McCarthy got the only goal of the game to ensure two vital points.
Back To Square One
When we returned to Division Four for the 1970/71 season, for much of the time we battled with County to avoid the bottom spot. We recorded our second home win of the season on 23rd January when they came to Holker Street; the 3-1 triumph provided some hope that that might mount a revival.
Three weeks later, on a miserable Friday night (12th February), we headed to Wales in a match covered later in the Sunday Times magazine as part of a feature on the Club. Goals from Ron McGarry and Eddie Garbett gave us a 2-1 lead, which we squandered and lost 3-2. We finished bottom, as County continued to revive.
Our visit to Wales the following season on 13th November was memorable for the fact that it was our first outing following the sacking of manager Don McEvoy. Director Bill Rogers was in caretaker charge as we lost 2-1. Jim Irvine gave us a first half lead but two goals from former Carlisle United striker Willie Brown, who had a spell on loan with us during the early part of the 1969/70 season, gave County victory.
Our first visit to County as a non-league side came on 16th April 2011, as we were still battling relegation. Seven days earlier we had beaten Kettering Town 5-0 at home and then drawn at Mansfield. County blew us away and were 4-0 up at half time – it could have been five but Darryl Knights, who scored twice, also missed a penalty. The final score was 5-0 and it could easily have been a more gruesome scoreline.
The following season we visited on 24th September and took a point in a 2-2 draw thanks to a last-minute penalty from Richie Baker following a foul in the box on Andy Cook. Adam Boyes had given us the lead before Nat Jarvis and Danny Rose had seemingly put County on the road to a win.
Last Time Out
Our last meeting was on 19th January 2013 when we made our first visit to Rodney Parade. We were battling against relegation and in our previous game had lost 6-1 at Luton when we were only able to name two substitutes due to a transfer embargo. Now we faced County, who would return to the top of the table with a win, on a pitch which had been cleared of snow by volunteers on the morning of the game.
We won thanks to goals from defender Matt Flynn just before the interval and on the hour by on loan striker Danny Rowe.
Two wins, two draws and six defeats before our trip this weekend - let’s hope we can add to the win tally on our return to Rodney Parade.