Neath continue to Trundle to the start of the season

After their impressive victory over Premier League side Swansea City, Neath continued their preparations for the forthcoming Welsh Premier League season with a comprehensive victory over Western Football League Premier Division side Merthyr Town, and who was there to see it for us at The Gnoll?  Yep, you’ve guessed it, Abi Davies, South Wales own Georgie Thompson.

The Eagles got the game under way and were quick to show their intent, coming close to breaking the deadlock early on with efforts from Kristian O’Leary and Kerry Morgan testing Merthyr keeper Joe Perry. Continue reading

The Swans finish underNeath but over Town

In a bizarre arrangement, Swansea City played two back to back friendly games on Saturday against local Welsh Premier League sides.  First up was a visit to The Gnoll, home of Lee Trundle’s Neath, before heading down to Michael Sheen’s club, Port Talbot Town.  As always Abi Davies and Mark Pitman were on hand to give contrasting views on the afternoon’s festivities.  First up is Abi with the events at The Gnoll.

Neath 1 Swansea City 0 – The Gnoll – Saturday 16th July 2011
Swansea City continued their preparations ahead of their début season in the Premier League with back to back friendlies against Welsh Premier League sides Neath and Port Talbot.  Brendan Rodgers named equally strong sides for both games with a mixture of first team and youth players featuring.

The game as The Gnoll was the first chance Swans fans had to see Danny Graham in action following his £3.5 million move from Watford.

Steven Caulker also made his Swans debut against Neath two weeks after agreeing to join the newly promoted Welsh side on a season long loan. Continue reading

Neath Trundle into Europe

Mark Pitman reports on an unexpected football fairytale as Neath win the inaugural Welsh Premier League play-off final. Photo’s courtesy of Mike Greenslade.

The celebrations at The Gnoll on Saturday were down to relief more than achievement as big spending Neath made the first step in justifying their substantial investment by qualifying for the UEFA Europa League. The South Wales club hit the headlines with a number of high-profile signings last summer, but while the attentions of the Welsh Premier League were focused on Lee Trundle and their other former Football League stars, a figure from their humble past, Andy Hill, scored the decisive goals that would take Andy Dyer’s side into Europe for the first time.

Neath were formed as recently as 2005 and achieved promotion to the Welsh Premier League in 2007. The club had previously played in the neighbouring village of Llandarcy, but following a merger between Neath Athletic and Skewen Athletic, a new-era begun and the club made a further and significant stride forward with a move the The Gnoll, the home of Neath Rugby Club. An ambitious project for football success began last year and the arrival of players such as Lee Trundle, Kevin Cooper, Kristian O’Leary and Chris Jones amongst others meant that success for the club would only be a matter of time. Continue reading

Hughes header a history repeating derby deja-vu

Ask any Port Talbot Town fan for their most memorable derby goal in recent years and the majority of the Burns Road End regulars will fondly talk of the events that occurred at local rivals Afan Lido on the 26th December 2003. The two sides were juggling for supremacy in the town at the time as Afan Lido adjusted to the promotion of Port Talbot Town to the Welsh Premier League just a couple of seasons before as one of the fiercest games between the two clubs took place on a wet Boxing Day afternoon at the Lido.

Man of the moment Craig Hughes

The game had all the traditional dramas of games between the two sides with the referee being the busiest man on the field as local pride took over the implementation of any tactical plan. A local event for the people of the town, both clubs benefited from a ten-fold increase in attendance when the two rivals came together, and the game of 2003 did not disappoint. For the record, Port Talbot Town won 2-1 with a late winning header from Craig Hughes as he sprung above the opposition defence to capitalise on a superb cross from the right. Then on the 16th April 2011, something all too familiar happened all over again. Continue reading

Legg up

Abi Davies takes us across Swansea Bay for the local derby between Andy Legg’s Llanelli and Lee Trundle’s Neath.

Friday nights Welsh premier league game saw Andy Dyer’s Neath travel to Llanelli with the hope of extending the gap between themselves in 3rd and Llanelli in 4th.

With the last meeting between the two sides resulting in a 4-0 victory to Andy Legg’s side, Neath looked adamant they were not going to allow history to repeat itself, looking the brighter of the two sides in the early exchanges with ex-Swansea city players Lee Trundle, Chris Jones and Chad Bond combining well and causing the Reds back line countless problems.

Dyer’s side were handed their first chance to capitalise on their dominance after Llanelli keeper Ashley Morris handled the ball outside the area, having been put under pressure by Chad Bond. Trundle stepped up to take the free kick but his effort fired just over the top corner. Continue reading