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.

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

The greatest derby in the world

Mark Pitman reports from The GenQuip Stadium as Afan Lido claim another Welsh Cup win over their rivals. Gareth Elms was on hand for the photo’s.

The first competitive match between local rivals Port Talbot Town and Afan Lido for over four years was a very different affair to famed previous encounters, but the only consistent of derby days passed was on hand to head home the headlines as the scoreline once again went in favour of the visitors. The two sides, separated by a couple of streets in the South Wales town, last met when they were drawn together in the Welsh Cup back in 2007 and a 1-0 win for the Lido was as good then as it was again in this latest contest. The fixture had a string of similarities in terms of the competition, the venue, the score, the goal and the importance, but the personal and the passion of previous derby days were very sadly missing.

The scene was set for another intense encounter between two sides battling for local supremacy, but the match echoed little of what has made this fixture so famous over the last decade. Over the years the fixture has been memorable for midfield battles, red cards, penalties and controversy in front of a crowd quadrupled for a one-off occasion. Sadly, this latest instalment lacked it all. Since the last time the two sides met, both teams now have different managers and while Leigh De-Vulgt, Lee John, Martin Rose and substitute Dylan Blain remain for the home side, the only name still on the Lido team-sheet from that 1-0 win in 2007 was Carl Evans. Although Evans played briefly for Port Talbot Town after that win, he like so many others before eventually him found his way back to Lido, and it would be his winning goal that would decide the tie. Afan Lido left-back Craig Hanford should also receive a mention at this time, he was part of the Port Talbot Town side that lost the 2007 fixture. Continue reading

Saints suffer at the Seaside

Mark Pitman reports from The Marston’s Stadium as Afan Lido upset the Welsh Premier League leaders. Gareth Elms was on hand for the photo’s.

Afan Lido eased their Welsh Premier League relegation worries on Friday night with the result and performance of the season. League leaders The New Saints arrived at the Marston’s Stadium looking to return to form after a rare home defeat to Bangor City the week before. Andy Dyer’s side had already defeated the only other full-time club at home this season when they edged past Neath back in August and more recently had frustrated a list of clubs challenging at the top of the table with draws against champions Bangor City, Llanelli and Neath. Addressing their limitations with a defensive line-up had suitably upset their superior opponents, but the fact that the side had not scored more than one goal in any of their previous fifteen league games this season explained their place in the bottom two.

The New Saints have seen their lead at the top cut in recent weeks but a 3-0 win over Afan Lido at Park Hall earlier in the season offered an indication that the club could and should retain their place at the top of the table following this latest fixture. While Bangor City were claiming a memorable 4-3 win at Park Hall the week before, Afan Lido were slumping to a comfortable 3-1 reverse at bottom-half side Airbus UK Broughton in a match that their usually solid defence had been easily exposed. The New Saints have consistently challenged at the top of the Welsh Premier League over the last decade and the chance of the side losing two consecutive games meant that the smart money was firmly on the visitors for this latest match. Continue reading

Seaside frustrations for pre-season favourites

Mark Pitman reports from Aberystwyth Town and Afan Lido in a double seaside visit to the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League.

An early split has emerged in the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League table after just six rounds of games, and while Aberystwyth Town and Afan Lido, both find themselves in the wrong half of the table with an equal return of four points but both sides have a game on hand on the rest of the domestic top-flight. Things looked much better for the two clubs before a ball was kicked in August as they occupied the top two places, but their rise was due only to alphabetical placings over ability, and their respective lack of finishing this weekend has left them has left them in desperate need of a quick victory.

Both clubs have struggled for different reasons so far this season. Alan Morgan’s Aberystwyth had a player sent off in each one of their opening four games of the season, while Andy Dyer’s new-look newcomers Afan Lido had the unenviable task of taking on three of the best teams in the league in their first few fixtures. Both sides had recorded one win each ahead of this weekend however, Aberystwyth defeating Newtown 4-1 while Lido earned the shock result of the season with a 1-0 win over Neath, and this weekend both sides would find themselves back at their respective seaside grounds for the visits of Port Talbot Town and Airbus UK Broughton. Continue reading

The worst game I have seen in my life

In the first of two reports on Welsh games from the weekend, Abi Davies heads down to the Port Talbot Riviera to see what she describes “The worst game I have seen in my life”…Bet you cannot wait to read on now!

Terry Boyle’s Neath side made the short trip to Port Talbot on Friday night to take on Andy Dyer’s Afan Lido.

The two teams made contrasting starts to the season, with Afan Lido going into Friday’s game still searching for their first point since promotion to the Welsh Premier League, while Neath travelled to The Marston aiming to retain their 100% winning start to the campaign, having already completed comprehensive victories over Aberystwyth and reigning League Champions Bangor. Continue reading

Low-key friendly exposes Swans contrasting similarities

Mark Pitman reports from The Marstons Stadium as Afan Lido take on a Swansea City XI in a low-profile match that seems set to confirm a high-profile exit from the Liberty Stadium.

Swansea City sent a young team to play a low-key friendly and Welsh Premier League side Afan Lido on Tuesday night. Alan Curtis took his place in the dugout as Tony Pennock watched on from the sidelines to oversee a rare opportunity that his players had to show how they can perform against senior opposition. In-amongst the young Swans side were Shaun MacDonald to offer some experience at centre-half, even though he is still only 23, while Tom Butler continued his rehabilitation after a long-injury with a place in the starting line-up. The seniority list was completed however by David Cotterill, an almost forgotten by-product of Swansea City’s recent success, and a player who’s career has covered more ground than his young years but not his hairline suggest.

What many outside of the Swans fraternity fail to realise is that David Cotterill, like Shaun MacDonald, is still just 23. While MacDonald has only ever left his hometown club for a series of loan-spells at Yeovil Town, Cotterill has been the subject of a number of big-money transfers that include a £2m switch to Wigan while he was still a teenager as well as breaking the Swansea City transfer record at the time in a £600,000 move from Sheffield United. He has also played for Bristol City and more recently was loaned out to Portsmouth having failed to hold down a place in the Swans starting line-up. His impressive career stats also include 19 caps for Wales since making his debut for his country 2005.

While MacDonald has worked hard for his chance with both Swansea City and Wales, making the most of his opportunities with the club he grew up supporting and the country he has shined for at Under-21 level, Cotterill was making a name for himself for all the wrong reasons at the age of 20 when he publicly criticised then-manager John Toshack for leaving him out of the squad. Although later re-instated to wear the Welsh shirt by Toshack, it was another significant moment in an already eventful career, and one that the once-capped MacDonald would never be expected to add to his CV.

But on Tuesday night, the duo were both named as part of the young Swans starting line-up in a sparsely-filled Marstons Stadium while their team-mates prepare to take on Celtic at the Liberty Stadium the following evening, and their inclusion could prove to be significant in their careers. MacDonald has found his level in League One with Yeovil Town in recent seasons and has become a fan-favourtie at Huish Park having already played more than twice as many games for the Glovers than he has for the Swans. It seems likely that MacDonald will pay the price of Swansea’s promotion to the Premier League and his sixth return to Yeovil will more than likely be a permanent one. Continue reading