Palmer issues reminder to Jones with opening goal

Mark Pitman reports on a surprise win for Carmarthen Town over Port Talbot Town in the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League. Gareth Elms provides the photo’s.

The Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League is a close-knit affair and each week a number of players and managers find themselves in action against their former employers. This popular South Wales fixture between Carmarthen Town and Port Talbot Town offered just that expected sub-plot as visiting boss Mark Jones brought his Port Talbot Town side to the club that sacked him four years before. Joining Jones in his re-acquaintance with Richmond Park was substitute Sacha Walters following his summer switch between the two clubs, but the night would belong to a former Port Talbot Town player in the home squad who would make a much bigger impression on the game than he did during his brief time at his opponents.

Nicky Palmer signed for Port Talbot Town just over twelve months ago as the club prepared to compete in the UEFA Europa League. Palmer was signed as an experienced campaigner from Carmarthen but started on the bench for his new club in their opening European game at Finnish side TPS Turku. Palmer made the starting eleven for the return leg however and almost scored inside the opening few minutes before the side slipped to a convincing 4-0 defeat. This brief foray into Europe would prove to Palmer’s only appearance for the club and he eventually returned to Richmond Park having been unable to earn himself a place in Mark Jones side. The visit of Port Talbot Town would however offer Palmer the chance to avenge his lack of opportunity, and the form of Port Talbot Town at Carmarthen over the last few seasons would suggest he had every chance of achieving just that. Continue reading

Y bêl yn rownd

It’s not all beaches, ice cream and lava bread down here in Wales you know.  Part of my work for the week is to look at the state of Welsh football, quoted a month ago by Neville Southall as “in the last chance saloon” and obviously take in a game or two in the process.  There are some real good news stories in the valleys of South Wales at the moment.  Dean Holdsworth has led Newport County into the Blue Square Premier after walking the Blue Square South league last season and Cardiff City have been to Wembley three times in the past two seasons just missing out on a spot in the Premier League to accompany their new stadium a few months ago.

So what is Southall talking about?  He was referring to the dire situation in the Welsh Premier League.  On Friday 13th August the new slimmed down Welsh Premier League will kick off with The New Saints (aka TNS) taking on Prestatyn Town in what is seen as the last throw of the dice to make the league work.  The Welsh Premier League have been ruthless this time, reducing the league by 6 teams and applying a strict entry criteria for the twelve that remain.  The league does not have any major sponsor, vast pots of TV money or overseas commercial rights.  It is a league where part time clubs face some long slow journeys to away games to play matches in front of a couple of hundred people, whilst in the pub next door more people will be watching Sky Sports. Continue reading