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

A Fan of football at any level

Tuesday 26th July 2011 – Afan Lido 0 Coventry City 1

Abi simply cannot get enough of the Port Talbot riviera so she was back again. Tuesday nights fixture at The Marston’s Stadium saw a young Coventry side turn out to face Andy Dyer’s newly promoted Afan Lido.

Gregor Rioch’s academy side got the game under way, and from the outset looked confident in possession, spreading the play well finding success down both wings as well as through the centre.

Striker Jonson Clarke-Harris was proving to be one of Coventry’s biggest threats early on, with his blistering pace he was at the forefront of numerous Coventry attacks. With 20 minutes gone Clarke-Harris found himself with space to attack Afan Lido’s defence, however some great work from Carl Evans ensured the young striker could not develop the attack. Continue reading

Swans take a dip on Port Talbot beach

Abi Davies continues her look at Swansea’s preparations for life in the Premier League with a trip to the seaside.  The seaside in this case being Afan Lido aka Port Talbot Beach….She is a braver girl than I am a bloke as she took a dip in the water.

Following on from last Saturday’s double header in which The Swans were defeated at The Gnoll before emerging triumphant against Port Talbot, Brendan Rodgers side made the short trip to take on another Welsh Premier League side in Afan Lido. Continue reading

The inevitable disappointment of anticipation

Mark Pitman brings us a double helping of Tales from the Valleys this week.

This Welsh football double-header over the course of the weekend had all the ingredients to produce two memorable encounters. The action would kick off on Friday night with a MacWhirter Welsh Football League Division One match between third-placed Afan Lido and current league leaders Bryntirion Athletic. The home side are making strides forward with the aim to return to the Welsh Premier League while Bryntirion top the table thanks to an undefeated run of results stretching back to September.

Following this would be the much-anticipated Sunday afternoon Welsh Premier League derby between Neath and Port Talbot Town at The Gnoll. Previous encounters had been memorable contests and a great deal was expected from this latest fixture as Neath stake their claim for an automatic European place and Port Talbot Town show their place in the top six was based on merit and not through the failure of others. Local pride also brought an added edge to the fixture but with both games promising so much there was only ever to be one realistic outcome, they would both be complete rubbish. Continue reading