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Sunday, 14 December 2014 20:11

Easy does it

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SATURDAY 13th DECEMBER: Penydarren Park (the Cigg-e Stadium), sunny and cold.
MERTHYR TOWN 6 BASHLEY 0 (Evostik Southern League, S& W Division)
Four months into the season and I haven't yet been up to take a look at Steve Jenkins's Merthyr side as they attempt once again to win promotion to the Southern League Premier Division. Time to remedy that, especially with the Martyrs sitting top of the league, having recently overtaken Stratford.

It's a sunny dry day in north Cardiff as I set off at lunchtime, feeling warm on the walk over to Llandaf having dressed for a cold afternoon to come, but sure enough, in Merthyr an hour later, it's a couple of degrees colder - but still pleasant in the strong winter sun. The walk up to Penydarren Park is familiar enough but there are changes afoot: the old Strikers building has been demolished and is now a building site, while the iconic high terrace is condemned and out of bounds. A couple of pre-match conversations confirm a positive, optimistic mood, and once I peruse the match programme I can see why fans would be expecting to stay top of the table today: visitors Bashley seem to be cannon-fodder, the club struggling on after near-extinction but fielding a team with many young recruits from local Wessex football. I'd not realised I was choosing another potentially one-sided game, for the third week running.

Sunday, 07 December 2014 09:00

David 1 Goliath 9

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SATURDAY 6th DECEMBER: Rogiet Sports Fields, sunny.
SEVERN TUNNEL NON-POLITICAL CLUB 1 ALBION ROVERS 9 (Gwent FA Amateur Cup)
It's one of those 'late decision' days; not because of the weather, which is fine here, but because no fixture within easy reach has yet convinced me of its unmissability - though there are plenty such further afield in the West Wales and North East Wales cups. By 11a.m. I am drifting towards an easy option of one of the Welsh League games in the capital, but a last glance at the pages of The Football Traveller makes me re-consider the Gwent Amateur Cup. A few minutes research and I've established that "STNPC" would be remarkably easy to get to, even for a 1.30 kick-off.

Monday, 01 December 2014 07:38

END OF THE ROAD FOR TIGER BAY

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SATURDAY 29th NOVEMBER: Canal Park, sunny and dry.
TIGER BAY 0 CAERSWS 4 (WELSH CUP Round 3)
Welsh Cup Third Round day - a highlight of the season. When the giants of the Welsh Premier League enter the fray, joining the survivors from the early rounds, always a mixed contingent of clubs from various regional competitions, and usually a couple of real 'minnows'. And they don't come any more minnow than Tiger Bay of the Cardiff Combination, whose extraordinary achievement in battling through the qualifying rounds and two main rounds is a home tie with Caersws.

Saturday, 15 November 2014 20:38

Young Guns shoot down Celtic

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SATURDAY 15th NOVEMBER 2014: Celtic Park - bright.
CWMBRAN CELTIC 0 CAERAU (ELY) 2 (FAW Welsh Cup Round 2)
It's finally stopped raining. A downpour overnight leaves enough room for doubt over postponements, but Saturday dawns dry and the forecast is good. I don't plan to look any further than the handful of rescheduled Welsh Cup ties, and I'm inclined to head east where there are three games. By mid-morning, with positive vibes from Cwmbran (if not absolutely definitive), I've made my decision and I'm heading for Celtic Park.

Sunday, 09 November 2014 09:08

Cornelly beat the weather - but not Goytre

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SATURDAY 8th NOVEMBER: Meadow Street, wet and windy.
CORNELLY UNITED 1 GOYTRE UNITED 5 (FAW Welsh Cup - Round 2)
Returning to Wales after five days away, I find that the rainy season has arrived; heavy rain lashes south Wales on Friday evening and overnight, and early on Saturday postponements start to be listed. In the worst of the downpour on Saturday morning, I seriously doubt if any grass pitch will be playable, never mind my chosen Welsh Cup tie at Cornelly. Since the Round 2 draw I've had this game in my sights, a true "magic of the cup"-style fixture with four levels separating the two teams, and a local derby as well.

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