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Saturday, 28 November 2015 20:00

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

SATURDAY 28th NOVEMBER: The Willows, wet and windy.
BRIDGEND STREET 5 CAERAU 1 (Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Div 3)
The continuing rain - and the forecast of even more - puts paid to plans for a longer trip today, to north-east or west Wales. It even looks as though it might be another '3G only' day, but news during the morning from Bridgend Street is hopeful, and I'd rather go there than any of the other local options today.

I set off for Splott half-expecting bad news at some point, for the weather is worsening over the lunchtime period. The car park at the Willows is flooded, but on arriving at the ground I hear that the referee has said he'll start the match. In the circumstances, I'll settle for that. On closer inspection, the pitch is in remarkably good shape - except for a couple of small patches on the stand side, where it's boggy, and the ball will get stuck. So, against expectations, it's game on.  Maybe we'll get half an hour... 

Published in Football
Thursday, 15 October 2015 10:55

Goyts Go Top in the Non-Derby

SATURDAY 10th OCTOBER: Glenhafod Park, dry but chilly.
GOYTRE UNITED 3 GOYTRE FC 0 (Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division One)

No Welsh Cup or Trophy matches this week so it's an opportunity to catch up on some league action, and there is a stand-out fixture in south Wales, with the top two sides in the Welsh League, both unbeaten, coming up against each other at Glenhafod Park. It's the clash of the Goyts, but of course it's not a local derby: Goytre FC's journey (to Goytre) is actually one of their longer ones in the league, from their base in rural Monmouthshire to the outskirts of Port Talbot. It's the sort of fixture that should draw a good attendance, especially on a weekend with no English Premiership and Championship games due to the international break. In England and Scotland, the designated "Non League Day" is a cue for clubs to try to boost attendances with offers, but it doesn't really happen in Wales - partly because "non-league" doesn't have much meaning here, but also partly because our semi-pro clubs, especially in the south, just don't really think about attracting crowds in the way their English counterparts do. Not that it would have been easy to tempt many south Walians to local football today - everyone is seemingly gearing up for a long evening in the pubs watching the Welsh rugby and football teams in vital internationals.

Published in Football
Sunday, 27 September 2015 20:42

A Day of Firsts

SATURDAY 26th SEPTEMBER: Parc Ynysderw, dry and sunny.
PONTARDAWE TOWN 2 CALDICOT TOWN 0 (Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Div 2)
A return to league matters a bit closer to home, after a couple of weeks of cup action in the north-east. Six weeks into the season tables are beginning to yield some clues to the season, and in the Welsh League Second Division Caldicot Town hold a 100 percent record after five games, and with the East Gwent side in action at Pontardawe's Parc Ynysderw, I can not only check out the new venue but also catch one of the league's in-form teams.

Published in Football
Monday, 19 January 2015 19:50

HARD LESSON FOR STUDENTS

SATURDAY 17th JANUARY: Cyncoed Campus, cold, wintry showers.
CARDIFF MET UNIVERSITY 0 CAERAU (ELY) 2 (Welsh League Division 1)
The weather wreaks havoc on the football programme again, with practically all the grass-pitch fixtures in south Wales lost to waterlogging, snow or ice. But in truth, this simplifies things today - I had other options in mind, and having watched the Mets twice recently, I was minded to go slightly further afield, but this top of the table game was always the stand-out fixture today. I am not at all sorry to have it emerge as the only sensible choice today.

Published in Football
Sunday, 04 January 2015 10:02

STUDENTS HELD IN TOP-OF-THE-TABLE ENCOUNTER

SATURDAY 3rd JANUARY 2015: Cyncoed Campus, rain clearing.
CARDIFF MET UNIVERSITY 1 GOYTRE UNITED 1 (Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Div One)
The first Saturday of the year starts with a prolonged downpour which is more than a match for the grass pitches of south Wales. By mid-morning, despite no consolidated online information via the Welsh League, Twitter is awash with postponements and my plans clearly need to be revised - 3G being the only safe course of action. And while it's only a couple of weeks since I was at Cyncoed, their 1st v 2nd fixture today is attractive in its own right.

By 1.30, as I enter the ground, it's looking like a fair afternoon for watching football: drier, brighter and relatively mild (I was regretting my layers of clothing on the walk up to Cyncoed). Another plus, I've even got a programme this time. With everything else in Cardiff and the valleys off, you'd expect the football folk to have flocked here for a top of the table clash, but they haven't - where are they ?

Visitors Goytre United, who have impressed this season, appear depleted, at least in numbers. They have only one recognised substitute, with manager Andy Hill naming himself at 14 as well. But the same may be true of the students - I notice Jordan Lam is absent today, for one. Opening exchanges are even: although play is mostly in midfield and the visitors' half, the students are finding it hard to play their intricate passing game against a team capable to tackling and intercepting. On more than a few occasions, the Met resort to uncharacteristic long balls and hurried punts. They have a few chances, with several crosses into the box eluding the strikers, and a couple of long-range efforts close. By half time, Goytre have frustrated the home side, but not really troubled Will Fuller's goal at all.

The second half brings an early goal, a header from the visitors. This prompts the students to increase the tempo of their game, and that in turn brings more excitement for the neutral. They start to look dangerous down the left, where they have the pace of striker Adam Roscow and versatile number 3 Karl McCarthy getting forward effectively when needed.

There's no immediate reward for the more positive play, and some promising moves break down when wrong options are chosen. But eventually the pressure tells and from a corner, the ball is knocked into the six yard box and Roscow fires it over the line. He comes close after getting behind the right back, but the ball squirms along the line and is cleared, and Luke Martin's goal escapes several other times in the closing stages as Goytre hold on for a point. The result keeps the Met top in an increasingly congested title race, but it also ends my long run of one-sided wins. Rarely has a draw been so welcome.

Published in Football
Sunday, 04 January 2015 09:59

BARRY END THE YEAR UNBEATEN

SATURDAY 27th DECEMBER: Jenner Park, cold & showery
BARRY TOWN UNITED 4 TATA STEEL 1 (Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Div 2)
After a dry festive period, there are at least no worries about postponements, and my intended first trip of the season to Jenner Park is not in doubt. Nevertheless, the weather manages to delay my journey, forcing me to take shelter at Cadoxton station for 15 minutes to avoid a fierce shower.

It's high time I watched Barry, who now top the Second Division after winning the Third last season. I perhaps could have chosen a match against a promotion rival, rather than struggling Tata Steel, who seem to be travelling in the opposite direction, having come down from Division One six months ago. My run of one-sided games may be about to continue...

Jenner Park is such a large stadium that it generally looks empty, even when, like today, a respectable crowd has gathered. It's generally believed to be around 175, which is more than some Welsh Premier matches attract, although maybe less than Barry would hope for, given they have a winning team and are doing everything possible to stimulate local interest. That said, for the spectator it's still a hit-and-miss experience: on the plus side, there's no shortage of cover, merchandise on offer and a good quality programme (although on this occasion something's gone wrong, as the line-ups have been omitted). But there's no public address operating today, and even worse, nowhere to get any type of refreshments. A hot drink on a cold day is a basic expectation at all but pure grassroots football and, while the answer should lie in the supposedly supportive Vale of Glamorgan Council granting the football club use of the large, vacant social club, in the interim an alternative is needed.

The game gets underway in an interlude between showers and does not live up to its top v bottom billing. Tata play their part in the first half and are far from over-run, while Barry struggle to assert control. After half an hour's fairly forgettable play, they do finally take the lead from a TJ Nagi header, fittingly marking his 100th appearance with a goal.

The second half starts much the same, but in rain and dipping temperatures, but is transformed by two goals in six minutes as Barry unlock Tata by getting round the back of the defence : in the 55th minute, Blatchford finishes off a neat move with a close range finish, then Dixon sidefoots a similar effort for 3-0. That just about wraps up the game and the remaining half an hour is once again academic. Tata do catch Barry by surprise from a free-kick to score a consolation, then sub Tom Billing restores the three goal cushion with a well-taken shot inside the near post. Barry enter 2015 unbeaten in the league but today's game hasn't told me much about their true strength. They've won without playing particularly well, and I suspect manager Gavin Chesterfield is likely to need to strengthen his squad for First Division football in due course - although I've been impressed with several of the current team today, notably Rhys James. It's good to see youth players being included in the squad too.

A worthwhile dose of fresh air and football in the midst of the holiday period. But when am I next going to see a game where the result is in the balance until the closing stages?

Published in Football
Sunday, 21 December 2014 08:38

Students Top of the Form

SATURDAY 20th DECEMBER: Cyncoed Campus, dry with a chilly wind.
CARDIFF MET. UNIVERSITY 5 AFAN LIDO 0 (Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division One)
The shortest, darkest Saturday of the year, and the travel and weather complications of the season all mean this is no day for attempting ambitious journeys. As luck would have it, there are two attractive fixtures in Cardiff and, baulking at the prospect of bus journeys through the city centre and out west, I choose the closer option - a first visit of the season to Cardiff Metropolitan University, who sit proudly top of the Welsh League and are entertaining Afan Lido, relegated from the Welsh Premier six months ago. Although Lido are struggling, I'm hoping to break my sequence of one-sided games....

Published in Football
Friday, 24 October 2014 17:57

Issue 177

WF177 upload

Published 23rd October 2014

Contents include:

Football in Caerphilly - updated history and focus on DYNAMO ABER

Club features on CHURCHSTOKE and GILWERN & DISTRICT

Looking Back - 1989-90 season

Liverpool in Wales - the Reds' past visits to Bangor City, Connahs Quay Nomads and Caernarfon Town

Welsh Football and the Victoria Cross - the story of Fred Birks

RISCA ACADEMY article

News, statistics, photos etc from all the mainb Welsh competitions. 

 

This issue now reduced : £2.55 inc P&P from Welsh Football, 57 Thornhill Road, Cardiff CF14 6PE.

 

 

 

 

Published in Publication Dates
Sunday, 17 August 2014 07:45

KINGFISHERS HELD IN THEIR NEW NEST

SATURDAY 16th AUGUST: Penypound Stadium, dry, cloud, sunny spells and a cool breeze.
MONMOUTH TOWN 1 CARDIFF MET. UNIVERSITY 1 (Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Div 1)

Domestic football returns, on a pleasant mid-August day - somewhat drier and warmer than some of the opening days I can remember. Welsh League Division 1 champions Monmouth have been scheduled to face the Division 2 champions, the students of Cardiff Met, an interesting fixture in itself, but made even more so by Monmouth's controversial move to Penypound Stadium, Abergavenny over the summer.

While the relocation of any football club is bound to be controversial, and we all have misgivings about the 'franchising effect', I do find it hard to oppose this one. The Kingfishers were unable to upgrade their facilities in their home town and any thoughts of continuing this club's rise would have to be abandoned if they'd stayed there. Welsh League clubs have come in for some heavy criticism for lack of ambition recently... so here's one showing real ambition and taking a gamble: sixteen miles down the road, Penypound, one of our iconic old grounds, had lacked a senior tenant for well over a decade and its future was uncertain.

Published in Football
Sunday, 20 April 2014 16:55

FOUR INTO THREE....

SATURDAY 19TH APRIL: Old Road, sunny.
BRITON FERRY LLANSAWEL 1 CARDIFF METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY 3 (Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Div 2)
Easter Saturday, and not a day for attempting long trips by rail or road, so a game of significance in south Wales is needed: and Division 2 of the Welsh League obliges, with a head-to-head encounter between two of the four sides chasing three promotion places. Four into three definitely won't go - something has to give.

Published in Football
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