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Wednesday, 27 July 2016 15:23


THURSDAY 21st JULY - Belle Vue, warm, dry.
GAP CONNAH'S QUAY 1 FK VOJVODINA 2 (UEFA Europa League, 2nd Qualifying Round, 2nd leg)
The fifth match of my annual July European travels, and before a ball is kicked, almost certainly the last this year. Already this week TNS have lost in Cyprus, leaving only Connahs Quay flying the flag. They only trail 1-0 from the away leg in Serbia last week, having held out for 86 minutes and finally conceded a deflected goal, but it's hard to see them preventing the talented visitors from scoring here in the home leg. But we travel in hope.

Published in Football
Saturday, 02 July 2016 16:11

Nomads undefeated in Europe....

THURSDAY 30th JUNE - Belle Vue, wet and cold
GAP CONNAH'S QUAY 0 STABAEK 0 (Europa League 1st Qualifying Round, 1st leg)

48 hours on, same train, same journey up the Welsh/English border. Today's destination Rhyl, whose ground is being used by Connah's Quay for their European debut against Stabaek of Norway. Out in Scandinavia, the Welsh Premier's other two Europa League entrants face Swedish opposition. Tough draws for all three, against clubs in the middle of their domestic seasons.

Rhyl has, in the past, hosted plenty of these games, and usually there's some evidence in the town that there's a match on. Not so today, and once again it seems the European Championships are occupying the minds of public and press alike, leaving these club games overlooked. Indeed, as the torrential rain lashes down on Belle Vue an hour before kick off, the ground is as quiet as I have known it for such a game. The weather again hardly helps, nor does the clash with the first Euro2016 quarter-final. Still, it could be worse - if it had been Wales playing their quarter-final in France tonight, there wouldn't be anyone here. Finally a queue briefly forms at the turnstile, as the small but noisy Stabaek contingent arrives.

The teams emerge with the downpour still at full force, Connah's Quay in red and Stabaek in blue. The visitors' line up is unexpectedly varied - an Indian goalkeeper, Africans from Ivory Coast and Ghana, an Albanian - and a Scottish manager. My initial impression is that it is a very young side indeed.

Published in Football
Saturday, 22 February 2014 21:46


SATURDAY 22ND FEBRUARY - The Marstons Stadium: dry, sunny, cold wind.
AFAN LIDO 0 PRESTATYN TOWN 2 (Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League)
It's a Saturday, but not as we know them. It's not raining, and there a only a few reports of waterlogged grounds, so for the first time in 2014 we can look at the fixture list with reasonable confidence that a chosen game will be on.

For me Port Talbot is the obvious place to be this week, as the borough's two Welsh Premier sides are both at home to northern visitors, with staggered kick-off times. In fact, there's a third game, just up the road, where Trefelin entertain Penrhyndeudraeth in the FAW Trophy, but attending that would mean not being able to attend the other two, so I'm going for the Welsh Premier option.

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