The low-down on Yeovil Town, ahead of our trip to Huish Park.
Newport County’s next away match is in Somerset, against Yeovil Town. County have had to wait a long time to renew our (historically, very fleeting) acquaintances with The Glovers and it’s beginning to look likely that the fixture will pleasingly be fought out in League Two next term, as Yeovil like County have also had a much improved second half of the season.
Just a couple of months ago this game promised to be a critical six pointer between two clubs in a relegation dogfight but as they say it’s a marathon not and sprint, and a good run of 8-10 games can make a world of difference. Although Yeovil’s improvement started later than County’s it looks like they have almost done enough for survival, particularly as the bottom two teams have rarely put any positive sequences together.
So then, I would suggest this game may not be the nerve shredder we anticipated but instead a chance to relax in the Somerset sunshine (maybe).
Francois Zoko is a burly, experienced centre forward who it is believed was a Newport County target in November of 2015 before opting to join Yeovil instead – in fact his debut for Yeovil came against County at Rodney Parade. He was born in the Ivory Coast but moved to France as a youngster, and began his career with Nancy and Laval in France. Following some time in Belgian and in Turkish football, Zoko began his English career in 2010 with Carlisle and he’s been here ever since. After Carlisle there was Notts County, Stevenage, Blackpool and Bradford. He’s now played over 200 matches during his time in England, scoring about 50 goals.
Yeovil are managed by ex-player Darren Way, who played 274 times for the club between 2000 and 2008, before a serious car crash eventually terminated his playing days as he was unable to fully recover from multiple fractures to his arms, hips and legs. He thereafter joined the Yeovil coaching set-up and eventually worked his way up to manager, replacing Paul Sturrock who it has to be said didn’t have a particularly successful time of it. Way’s record thus far has been excellent, with just the four defeats from his first twenty matches.
This will actually be County’s very first visit to the new Huish Park, although we did play them at the old ground just a couple of years before they vacated it. That was in October 1988, in the Conference Clubcall Cup, and we won 5-4 in extra time that night, after being 3-0 down inside the last twenty minutes. Our goals to secure the win (and there weren’t many that season…) came from Chris Banks (2), Paul Sanderson (2) and David Abbruzzese.
The ground was opened in 1990, after more than 90 years at the old Huish Athletic Ground. The stadium consists of two very similar touchline stands, which are medium sized single tiered cantilever stands. One of these stands has some corporate facilities at the rear, but otherwise they are fairly similar. The two ends are also about the same size but are terraced. The home end is covered, the away end is open unfortunately. Some seats are also available in the Screwfix Community Stand for visiting supporters. There are no bar facilities available to visiting supporters behind the away section, but at least the terrace is fairly steep and close to the action.
WHERE TO DRINK
There are three pubs within a 15-20 minutes walk. The Arrow can be found on the nearby Abbey Manor estate, whilst the Airfield Tavern is located on Alvington Lane, off Brampton Road. Both pubs have full menus to choose from. The Bell is on Preston Road.
To get to The Arrow from the ground, head out from the Huish Park car park, walk past the ground and turn right at the end of Lufton Way. At the end of this road, turn left into the main road and then turn right. Go straight down the road through the residential area, and after about ten minutes there is a clearing on your right with some shops and The Arrow is in the middle of this development.
For the Airfield Tavern head away from the ground by turning left onto Lufton Way and follow this road around towards the roundabout which has ASDA on the other side of it. At the roundabout turn right onto Bunford Lane and the Airfield Tavern is the other side of the next roundabout.
The third recommended pub is The Bell, on Preston Road towards the town centre. Follow directions for The Airfield Tavern, but at the roundabout go straight on passing ASDA on your right. This is now Preston Road, and the pub is a further ten minutes walk.
The ground is on the western outskirts of town, a couple of miles from the centre. Both railway stations are on the opposite eastern side of town, and are 3-4 miles from Huish Park.
Catch David's feature 'On the Road' in the Official Match Day programme, available at all home games.
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