Welsh Cup woe for Afan Lido

Mark Pitman reports from Afan Lido as Airbus UK Broughton progress into the quarter-finals of the Welsh Cup in a dramatic cup tie.

New Airbus UK Broughton manager Andy Preece maintained his perfect record since taking charge of the Wingmakers with this Welsh Cup victory at Afan Lido in the only all-Welsh Premier League tie of the fourth round. Airbus UK defeated an experimental Wrexham side under the guidance of former boss Craig Harrison to reach this stage of the competition and arrived at the Marston’s Stadium high in confidence following a convincing win over Bala Town in the League Cup. Afan Lido were equally as confident however, having defeated local rivals Port Talbot Town in the previous round, but with £5,000 prize money at stake for the winners there was some concern amongst the home fans when the teams were announced 45 minutes before kick-off.

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Winning away is overrated anyway

After last week’s memorable win over Arsenal, Abi Davies hopped on the Swan Express and headed north to Wearside to visit the ever improving Sunderland team.

Swansea City went into Saturday’s game at The Stadium Of Light undefeated in their previous 5 games, and on the back of 3 consecutive victories were looking to retain their 100% win record in 2012.

Brendan Rodgers made just one change to the side that started against Arsenal six days ago, as loan signing Gylfi Sigurdsson was handed his full Swansea debut, following a sensational second half performance last weekend.

The Swans should have no shame in the manner in which they lost the game on Saturday, with it taking a sublime strike either side of the interval to condemn the Welsh side to their eighth defeat of the campaign. Continue reading

Swans know how it feels to win away

Brushing off any signs of a hangover, Abi Davies headed north east to the bustling metropolis of Birmingham to see if her beloved Swans could get that all important first win away.  She wasn’t disappointed.

Swansea City headed into their first game of 2012 as the only Premier League side still awaiting their first away victory of the season.  Having acquired two points from their previous two games, Swansea went into Monday’s fixture hoping to record their first victory in five.  They faced an Alex McLeish side full of confidence and looking to build on their 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Saturday.

The Swans, who had failed to score in their previous two away fixtures, got off to a sumptuous start, taking the lead within the opening 5 minutes of the game when Nathan Dyer pounced on a defensive error from Warner, using his pace to serge into the box and drill home his second goal of the campaign. Continue reading

Swansea try to delay the Spurs train

With the smell of a New Year’s Eve party in her nostrils, our very own Abi Davies headed off to the Liberty for the last time in 2011 to see if the Swans could stop the Spurs juggernaut.

Swansea City went into Saturday’s game hoping to defy the odds in order to record their 5th victory of the campaign and round off a historic year in style. In their way of doing so, stood a formidable Tottenham side aiming to close the gap between them and top of the Premier League table to just 4 points.

Brendan Rodgers team selection suggested that he had one eye on Monday’s trip to Villa Park as he made 6 changes to the Swans starting XI to face Spurs. Neil Taylor returned to the side having missed Tuesday’s game due to a knee injury, meaning Jazz Richards switched to right back to cover for Angel Rangel who was amongst the substitutes having not fully recovered from his ankle injury.

Gary Monk was restored to the starting line up in place of the ineligible Steven Caulker, whilst Mark Gower was restored to the XI in place of Britton. Stephen Dobbie was handed his first start since the opening game of the campaign, and Luke Moore lead the Swans line of attack, replacing Danny Graham. Nathan Dyer made his first start in 4 games, meaning Wayne Routledge dropped to the bench. Continue reading

On the fifth day of Christmas…..The best game of 2011

“On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, beautiful football that we all want to see”

With over a hundred games to chose from in 2011 we have seem some brilliant games…and some utter dross.  We have a saying at GTC Towers – “A great day out spoilt by 90 minutes of football” which is nearer the truth on most occasions. We drew inspiration from those games that made us smile, that when we got home and CMF said to me, “how was the game?” I would enthuse about my afternoon/evening.    So here we go.

3rd – Götland 2 Isle of Man 4
We’ve already mentioned that one of the best away days of the year was the Island Games and this was the first game in our festival of football.  The tournament kicked off at 2.15pm.  At 2.15pm and 8 seconds Götland were one nil up.  What followed was a festival of football where Isle of Man raced into the lead and could quite easily been four or five goals to the good by half time.  Neither team had defence in mind as they threw everything forward in sweltering conditions.  The only downside?  No beer.

2ndWhyteleafe 4 North Greenford United 3
This was one of those classic cup ties full of incident.  The cup in question was the FA Trophy, the two teams from respective levels in the Isthmian and Southern Leagues.   When we pitched up at South Whyteleafe and wandered the country lanes looking for the ground little did we know we would be on the end of a seven goal 34 minute cracker.  At half time when we supped our beer in the club bar, looking back at a relatively dull scoreless first half, little did we know that a monster of a game would be unleashed in the second period. North Greenford raced into a 3-1 lead only for Whyteleafe to pull level and then they were awarded a controversial last minute penalty.  With tension mounting in the 50 or so crowd, Whyteleafe scored and took the prize money and a place in the next round.

1st – Neath 0 Real Betis 8
In years to come people will talk about the 4th August 2011 and the events at The Gnoll in Neath.  I will sit down my Grandchildren in thirty years and tell them the tail of Jonathan Periera Rodriguez who arrived in the small town of Neath in the Welsh valleys as a mere squad player for La Liga’s Real Betis, and left a hero.  When he left the pitch after sixty five minutes he had scored all seven goals for the Spanish side in the most one-man performance I have ever seen.  He literally was the difference between the two sides and the stats after the game showed that he had seven chances in his time on the pitch.  Quite how a La Liga side came to be playing against a Welsh Premier League side is in itself a mystery especially as they rolled into town in their branded coach.  Just for the night…

The Queens speech

Our very own Abi Davies puts on her new Christmas Jumper, packs her Turkey sandwiches and heads down to the Liberty for the last time in 2011.

Having picked up 15 points from our opening 8 home games, Swansea City were hoping they could continue in a similar vein of form when they played host to fellow promoted side Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday. Swansea were looking to gain revenge for last Boxing Day’s game at Loftus Road, which saw Brendan Rodgers’ side condemned to a crushing 4-0 defeat.

Having made impressive second half appearances against both Newcastle and Everton, Kemy Agustien was rewarded by a place in the Swans starting XI, as he was favoured ahead of Mark Gower for Tuesday’s game against Rangers.

The only other Swans change came in defence as Neil Taylor missed out due to a knee injury, Angel Rangel made his first start since picking up an ankle injury against Aston Villa, whilst Jazz Richards was drafted over to left back. Continue reading

Derby Day part 2 – The new steel city derby

Mark Pitman reports from The GenQuip Stadium as Port Talbot Town were held by local rivals from literally around the corner, Afan Lido in the Welsh Premier League. Gareth Elms was on hand for the photo’s.

Once a traditional festive derby in the Welsh Premier League, the last time Port Talbot Town and Afan Lido competed against each other with league points at stake was back in 2004-2005. Local pride was shared that season as Afan Lido claimed three points at Port Talbot before Port Talbot repeated the feat at Afan Lido, and honours remain even after the first festive game since Afan Lido’s return to the top-flight this season after this 2-2 Boxing Day draw at The GenQuip Stadium. Afan Lido have claimed the upper-hand with two Welsh Cup victories since the two sides last met in the league, the most recent being earlier this month, but this latest share of the points sets up an interesting return fixture in January.

Afan Lido went into the fixture with a three point advantage over their local rivals and approached the match in better form. Manager Andy Dyer has turned his side into over-achievers this season and his quickly-assembled squad have already taken points off the top four teams in the league table. By comparison, opposite number Mark Jones has not seen his side win since October, and has suffered defeats against the only three teams below them in the Welsh Premier League table this season. Dyer and his side also have the advantage of a Welsh Cup victory over their rivals, but went into the match without suspended defender and captain Carl Evans, while Jones had the rare luxury of having a full-strength squad to choose from for this much-anticipated derby. Continue reading