Newport County v Hereford United
Conference Premier Division
Tuesday, 28 August 2012
Rodney Parade, Newport
Rodney Parade Brings Back The Crowds
On Tuesday evening, local rivals Newport County and Hereford United will meet for the first time since Newport County reformed back in 1989 in a highly anticipated top of the table clash that could break the record for Newport’s highest Conference Premier League attendance. The current record is 3,462 which was set in another top of the table clash against AFC Wimbledon back in January 2011. However, the level of interest in the game means that this record is under threat, with County taking the unusual step of recommending that supporters buy tickets in advance and Hereford potentially bringing several hundred.
Although County’s record Conference Premier League attendance is undoubtedly under threat, it would be a remarkable achievement should their record league attendance be broken. The 4,221 that saw the Exiles beat Havant & Waterlooville 2-0 to claim the Conference South championship was more than 750 higher than have attended any other Newport match since reformation in 1989. Without doubt it was the occasion and the pending success of the club that drew the supporters out that day, as the next County home game against Woking just 12 days later saw only 1,742 attend, a drop of approximately 2,500.
Although Newport have yet to find a way to keep such large crowds on a regular basis, significant progress was made under the Chris Blight regime. When 1,080 people turned up at Spytty Park to see the 4-2 Conference South home defeat by Sutton United on 30 August 2004, it was the first time that the 1,000 attendance barrier had been breached in two and a half years. Although the 1,000 barrier was broken again in the final home game of the season against Maidenhead United, it was only six seasons ago, in 2006-07, that County finally started to see four figure attendances on a regular basis. In the light of this reality, the attendances during the relegation battle at Spytty last season, all of which were above 1,000, were perhaps not as bad as has been made out.
In any debate, there are always at least two perspectives. One perspective on attendances is that they are on a long term upward curve. However, there is another perspective which suggests that they are still not as high as they ought to be. Back in May, upwards of 11,000 attended the FA Trophy Final against York City at Wembley. Even allowing for the fact that some of this momentum has undoubtedly been carried forward to this season, with County recording their 6th (v Lincoln City) and 12th (v Nuneaton Town) highest league attendances since reforming, the reality is that several thousand people who attended the Wembley showpiece have not yet set foot inside Rodney Parade this season. The hope and expectation is that, with the Exiles sitting on top of the Conference Premier League table and second placed local rivals Hereford United the visitors, that many more of the Wembley attendees will be present on Tuesday night.
Below is a list of Newport County’s top 20 league attendances. It is interesting to note that, despite now playing at a higher level than at any other time since 1989, eight of the top 20 attendances were achieved during periods of success at a lower level.
|Attendance & Opposition||Date||Division||Result|
|1||4,221 v Havant & Waterlooville||15/03/2010||Conference South||Won 2-0|
|2||3,462 v AFC Wimbledon||03/01/2011||Conference Premier||Drew 3-3|
|3||3,206 v Wrexham||05/09/2010||Conference Premier||Drew 1-1|
|4||3,201 v Dover Athletic||17/04/2010||Conference South||Won 3-0|
|5||3,084 v Bishop's Stortford||12/03/2010||Conference South||Won 1-0|
|6||3,024 v Lincoln City||18/08/2012||Conference Premier||Won 2-1|
|7||2,903 v Bath City||01/01/2011||Conference Premier||Lost 1-2|
|8||2,834 v Luton Town||18/02/2011||Conference Premier||Drew 1-1|
|9||2,802 v York City||09/10/2010||Conference Premier||Won 4-0|
|10||2,713 v Mansfield Town||18/09/2010||Conference Premier||Won 1-0|
|11||2,677 v Forest Green Rovers||28/09/2010||Conference Premier||Won 3-1|
|12||2,646 v Nuneaton Town||14/08/2012||Conference Premier||Won 4-0|
|13||2,546 v AFC Wimbledon||09/08/2008||Conference South||Lost 1-4|
|14||2,525 v Worcester City||01/01/2010||Conference South||Won 1-0|
|15||2,475 v Redditch United||23/08/1994||Southern Midland||Won 4-0|
|16||2,403 v Eastbourne Borough||05/10/2010||Conference Premier||Drew 3-3|
|17||2,271 v Redditch United||22/08/1990||Southern Midland||Lost 0-1|
|18||2,230 v Kettering Town||30/10/2010||Conference Premier||Lost 1-2|
|19||2,217 v Tamworth||17/08/2010||Conference Premier||Drew 1-1|
|20||2,205 v Dorchester Town||28/12/2009||Conference South||Won 3-0|
Recent Form Comparison
|Newport County||Hereford United|
|10/11 Aug-12||4-3 (A) v Mansfield Town||2-1 (H) v Macclesfield Town|
|14-Aug-12||4-0 (H) v Nuneaton Town||2-2 (A) v Tamworth|
|18-Aug-12||2-1 (H) v Lincoln City||3-0 (A) v Alfreton Town|
|25-Aug-12||2-1 (A) v Braintree Town||4-2 (H) v Ebbsfleet United|
As if often the case with teams getting relegated from a higher division, many expect Hereford to be amongst the frontrunners in the Conference Premier this season and their early season form suggests that this may well indeed be the case. After winning a tough opening fixture against the other relegated side, Macclesfield Town, they drew at Tamworth and then recorded two comfortable victories against Alfreton and Ebbsfleet. Like Newport, they have found goals easy to come by with seven different players scoring in the league already this season and Marley Watkins and Sean Canham both netting in three of the four games played so far.
Given that this is an early season top of the table encounter, a first derby between these sides since the 1980s and a game which will be played in front of a big crowd in the still new setting of Rodney Parade, it would not be a surprise if the game is a close, feisty encounter and neither side would view a point as a bad result.
Newport County 1 Hereford United 1