Our first post in 2021! Happy New Year to you all, let’s hope 2021 is better than 2020, not that the bar is set high but still, fingers crossed. In the game at least 2021 has been a very good year for myself and Llanelli Town. It was the results in December 2020 that sparked a turn in our fortunes and kick started a fantastic run of results that kept us in the job initially, and now has us flying high at the top of the league at the end of October. As promised this episode will take you through November, December and January 2022. So sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Following quite heavy fixture congestion (for this level, where most clubs are semi-pro and part-time) in September & October, November looked to be quite a straight forward month with only 4 matches to be played.
Another heavily rotated team gave us a comfortable 3-0 win away at amateur side Felinheli and progressed us into the third round of the JD Welsh Cup, but no Jamie Jenkins hat-trick on this occasion, the other members of the backup brigade decided to chip in this time. We were back to full strength against recently promoted Ton Pentre and with another 2 goals from Nathan Logan (JD Cymru South’s Harry Kane) we recorded another comfortable win.
A tough away fixture to promotion and title rivals Swansea Uni followed, interesting fact about Swansea University, they actually won the league and promotion into the JD Cymru Premier in 2019/20, however they were denied in their application to become a tier one licensed team, and as this is a requirement to play in the JD Cymru Premier, they were subsequently denied promotion and had to remain in the JD Cymru South, with Haverfordwest taking their place instead. All very unfair if you ask me, It doesn’t matter how impressive your infrastructure is, if you win the league and promotion you have to go up! Anyway, back to the game, an impressive 1-0 win away, with none other than summer signing, and former Swansea Uni left back Joseph Cutter bombing up the pitch to unleash a 20 yard screamer to win the game in the 82nd minute.
The game against Port Talbot definitely had my blood pressure going. We dominated the game but found ourselves 2-0 down all the way until the 84th minute when Joseph Cutter made it 2 goals in 2 games with a lovely strike to bring it back to 2-1 with 6 minutes to go. Port Talbot’s Jacob Edwards was then shown a red card in the 90th minute and from the subsequent free kick, Olaniyan whipped in a beautiful ball for George Burroughs to head in a 91st minute equaliser. We still should have won the game but considering with 7 minutes to go we were 2-0 down I’ll certainly take a draw. At the end of November the table looked like this:
Again as there is not that many league games at this level (only 30 a season), December looked to be a quiet but important month. There was a JD Welsh Cup 3rd round tie against Port Talbot, followed by a tough league fixture away at title rivals Llantwit Major and a home game against Haverfordwest, who were in the JD Cymru Premier last season.
As you can see we went all the way to extra time against Port Talbot, which was ridiculous as we had completely dominated game. Finally who else but Nathan Logan scored the winner in the 111th minute of the game and we were into the fourth round. It was an extremely frustrating day for Charlie Ridge as he had no less than FOUR goals ruled out for offside! Don’t believe me? See for yourself…
An extremely impressive 3-0 win away at Llantwit Major followed, with another 2 goals from Nathan Logan. Before an incredibly frustrating 0-0 draw at home against Haverfordwest, with yet another Charlie Ridge goal ruled out for offside! Honestly look at these stats and tell me how we didn’t win this game:
After a bit of a chilled fixture list in November & December, January was going to be a real test of the squad depth and fitness levels with 6 games squeezed in. Let’s start with the first 3 games, including the Nathanial MG Cup Semi Final vs Premier division side, Aberystwyth.
We kicked the year off with another goal fest against Cwmbran Celtic, this time Charlie Ridge finally got 2 goals that were not ruled out for offside. Before an incredible result against Aberystwyth took us into the final! This time was not like the game against Connah’s Quay however as we absolutely dominated the tie and were thoroughly deserved winners. Oh yes, and there was another Charlie Ridge goal ruled out for offside… I was starting to wonder if he knew the rule!
However it was heartbreak for star striker Nathan Logan as he suffered a muscle injury that would keep him out of our next league game and then the cup final against Welsh powerhouse Bala Town. A poor performance at home against rock bottom Caersws was a real missed opportunity to grab all 3 points in the title race, however I had rotated very heavily with the upcoming cup final in mind. So this was it, our first chance of silverware, we had already beaten 2 premier division sides on our run to this point. I had absolutely no expectations, particularly without Nathan Logan in the side, so I just told the players to enjoy the experience…
They tried their best, and it wasn’t a poor performance at all, but Bala’s significantly greater quality shone through and they won the cup. Really proud of my boys though as they more than held their own against one of the biggest sides in Welsh football. But there was no time to sulk as we had 2 more games to finish off the month.
A comfortable 2-0 win against Buckley put us into the quarter finals of the JD Welsh Cup, and I am not joking, Charlie Ridge had another 2 goals ruled out for offside!! Followed by an impressive 3-0 win at home against the surprise package of the season Trefelin Boys and Girls Club, with another Charlie Ridge goal ruled out for offside…
Number of Charlie Ridge goals ruled out for offside so far this season = 11
SOMEONE TELL HIM THE RULE!
There were now only 10 games left in the league and we were in good form, we have only one real challenger in Briton Ferry, but they are on an incredible run and just keep winning, so we cannot afford any mistakes or slip ups in the last few months of the season.
In the next episode we will be covering the last three months of the season where it will be make or break in terms of winning the league and promotion. It’s either us or Briton Ferry and I can tell you now, it goes right down to the wire. We also have a cup quarter final against Connah’s Quay to contend with, we have beaten them once this season, can we do it again? Find out on Wednesday 6th January 2021.
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While you’re here if you want to follow more challenges go over to Scott’s (the co-author of this site) challenge where he is on a journey to rebuild Bolton Wanderers and take them on a Europa League run! Link: https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/
Thank you for reading and see you again soon!