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 The Wingmakers - March 2009 Welsh Premier news



April 20
Win's in big games key to Rhyl's success

ONE of the most outstanding features of Rhyl’s title winning campaign has been their ability to win the big games.

Saturday’s victory over The New Saints at an emotion-charged Belle Vue meant Allan Bickerstaff’s side had done the double over both full-time clubs this season, as they did over high-flyers Carmarthen Town and Bangor City, the team that knocked them out of both domestic cups.

Even though the championship was in the bag before the Lilywhites kicked off on Saturday, the hosts wanted to mark the occasion in style and did just that, coming from behind to claim another deserved triumph.

“There were some tired players out there today,” said head coach Bickerstaff.

“But they dug deep and did an excellent job.

Daily Post

April 18
Rhyl come from behind to beat TNS

Rhyl have claimed their first Principality Welsh Premier League Title in five years, and they did so on Friday evening without kicking a ball.

Former Champions Llanelli were held by Welsh Cup Finalists Aberystwyth Town at Park Avenue, which means that Rhyl's seven point lead at the summit is unassailable.

They will be officially crowned Champions at Belle Vue this afternoon after their match against TNS in front of an expected bumper crowd.

Jubilant Rhyl goalkeeper Lee Kendall told us how he found out about the news;

"I went out to a restaurant with my wife last night to take my mind away from what was happening in Aberystwyth. When the text came through to say that they had drawn, I was over the moon,"

"Today will be a really special occasion at Belle Vue in front of our excellent fans and we're expecting a large attendance, so it will be a really big Thank-you to them."


April 17
Rhyl are champs without kicking a ball

Rhyl will be crowned welsh premier league champions tomorrow at Belle Vue before they play TNS. They win the title due to the only other team who could catch them failed to win. Llanelli could only draw tonight away at Aberystwyth 1-1.

They took the lead on 71 mins with a goal from Jordan Follows, but they could only stay in front for one minute as Tom Bradshaw pulled the home side level on 72 mins, Llanelli could not find a winning goal and so relinquished their title to Rhyl.

Port Talbot's season gets better and better, with another win tonight, this time it came against Haverfordwest at Bridge Meadow, their top scorer Martin Rose scored the games only goal on the stroke of half time, Port now rise up to 5th place in the table, it would make you wonder where they would be in table had manager Mark Jones started the season at the helm of the Steelmen.

Neighbours Connahs Quay look set for a 4th straight win tonight, they led relegated Caernarfon 1-0 with an own goal from the Canaries, but with only a minute left on the clock Caernarfon equalised through Gerard Courtney, the game finished 1-1.


April 17
Uncertainty unfair says Nomads boss

STEVE O’Shaughnessy has inspired Gap Connah’s Quay to their finest run of the campaign – despite fears that the club will not even exist next season.

In-form Nomads claimed their third Welsh Premier League win on the spin with a 3-1 victory at home to Porthmadog on Monday, yet everyone at the club is still uncertain as to where their futures.

When asked about his own prospects, Nomads boss O’Shaughnessy said: “I’m in the dark as much as anyone else. I don’t know what’s going to happen next year. It’s all up in the air at the moment and it’s not doing anyone any favours at all.

“Other clubs are trying to bring players in for next season already. I want to do that but I don’t know if I’m going to be the manager, I don’t know what the budget is, I don’t know where the club is going to be, or even if there is going to be a club.

“It’s all up in the air and it isn’t fair on the lads either.”

Flintshire Chronicle

April 16
Caernarfon plane to regroup following relegation

CAERNARFON Town secretary Elwyn Hughes is backing the club to bounce back from the disappointment of being relegated from the Welsh Premier League, a fate confirmed before the Cofis drew 1-1 with Welsh Cup finalists Bangor City on Monday.

Hughes, who took up his duties at The Oval five years ago, admitted it had been a constant struggle to compete at the highest level of domestic football and said a spell in the Cymru Alliance would provide an opportunity to regroup and rebuild.

"Over the five years I have been secretary it’s been a struggle every season," he said. "Every year we were looking over our shoulder, which is not healthy and certainly does nothing to encourage supporters to come to games.

"Now that we have finally been relegated it is a time to regroup and sort ourselves out in time for the start of the Cymru Alliance campaign.

"The aim will be to return to the Welsh Premier League, although I appreciate that won’t be an easy task. But if we can put together a successful team for that league, the fans will start to return."

Caernarfon Herald

April 16
Caernarfon plane to regroup following relegation

CAERNARFON Town secretary Elwyn Hughes is backing the club to bounce back from the disappointment of being relegated from the Welsh Premier League, a fate confirmed before the Cofis drew 1-1 with Welsh Cup finalists Bangor City on Monday.

Hughes, who took up his duties at The Oval five years ago, admitted it had been a constant struggle to compete at the highest level of domestic football and said a spell in the Cymru Alliance would provide an opportunity to regroup and rebuild.

"Over the five years I have been secretary it’s been a struggle every season," he said. "Every year we were looking over our shoulder, which is not healthy and certainly does nothing to encourage supporters to come to games.

"Now that we have finally been relegated it is a time to regroup and sort ourselves out in time for the start of the Cymru Alliance campaign.

"The aim will be to return to the Welsh Premier League, although I appreciate that won’t be an easy task. But if we can put together a successful team for that league, the fans will start to return."

Caernarfon Herald

April 12
A round up of Saturday's games

Bangor City 2-1 Bridgend Town

Welsh Cup holders Bangor City have booked their place in the Final at Parc Y Scarlet's, which will be held on Monday May 4th.

They had to come from behind in their Semi-Final at Park Avenue, Aberystwyth though as Rameer Outlaw put minnows Bridgend ahead on 19 minutes. Chris Seargeant hit back soon afterwards for Nev Powell's side and substitute Kevin Killackey secured Bangor's place in the final with a 75th-minute strike.

Citizens Manager Nev Powell continued his excellent record of never losing in this competition as Bangor Boss in two seasons.

Llanelli 0-1 Rhyl

Rhyl have beaten Llanelli in one of the Biggest Matches in the League's history to extend their lead at the top of the Principality Welsh Premier League Table to five points.

The only goal of the game was scored in the first half by ex-Wales International Neil Roberts, whose glancing header at the near post from a Luke Holden corner went into the far top corner, via the crossbar.

Rhyl had a great early chance when Craig Jones fired a strong effort from distance, but Ashley Morris tipped over well. Rhyl continued to hold the upper hand and their slender lead was deserved at the interval as they enjoyed the majority of possession and territory in the opening period. The visitors almost doubled their lead five minutes before the break, when skipper George Horan fired a free header over the crossbar.

The second-half was all about consolidation for Rhyl, whose centre-half partnership of George Horan and Greg Strong were immense, giving Rhys Griffiths and Mark Pritchard little joy all evening. The only chances that Llanelli could muster were speculative shots from distance with Andy Mumford and Griffiths barely testing Rhyl 'keeper Lee Kendall who had a quiet afternoon.

Rhyl now play a local derby against Prestatyn Town on Monday and could claim the Title at home the following Saturday against TNS. Their last game is away at NEWI Cefn Druids, but following this triumph, they look favourites to win the Championship for the first time since 2003/04, which would be an excellent achievement for Manager Alun Bickerstaffe in his first campaign in charge.

Porthmadog 2-1 Haverfordwest

In the day's other two matches, Porthmadog did their chances of survival the world of good with a 2-1 home win over Haverfordwest County. The day was a memorable one for Marc Lloyd Williams who notched his 300th career League goal. The result condemned bottom-club Caernarfon to the drop, whilst Caersws are five points adrift with three matches remaining.

WPL Website

April 10
Super seven awarded UEFA licences

Seven Principality Welsh Premier League clubs were granted an FAW UEFA Club Licence at the annual First Instance Body Meeting, which was held in Cardiff today.

The successful applicants were Aberystwyth Town, Bangor City, Carmarthen Town, Llanelli AFC, Port Talbot Town, Rhyl FC and The New Saints.

The Licence is a pre-requisite for clubs who wish to play in the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League next Season. For the League's Top Three of Rhyl FC, Llanelli AFC and The New Saints, it's excellent news as they look to have already booked their place. It's also a timely boost for Aberystwyth, Bangor and Carmarthen, who all play Welsh Cup Semi-Finals on the weekend, with the prize for the winners being a Europa League spot.

The result shows an excellent improvement from last year, when all eighteen Licence Applications were rejected at this stage, although six were granted the Licence on Appeal.

The four other clubs who were rejected a UEFA Licence today were GAP Connah's Quay, Neath FC, Prestatyn Town and Technogroup Welshpool. Six League clubs; Airbus UK, Caernarfon Town, Caersws, NEWI Cefn Druids, Newtown AFC and Porthmadog chose not to apply at the start of the process in August 2008.

WPL Website

April 9
Rhyl manager says we are going for a win

RHYL head coach Allan Bickerstaff insists his team will go all out to win this Saturday’s potential title decider at Llanelli, even though a draw would keep the Lilywhites in the driving seat in the title race.

A victory for champions Llanelli at Carmarthen Town last night (Tuesday) would have put them two points behind leaders Rhyl with four games each left to play.

Peter Nicholas’ side will see Saturday’s crunch encounter at Stebonheath Park as a must-win game and they will be out for revenge for a 5-1 thrashing suffered at the hands of the Lilies last August.

Bickerstaff, whose team is on a 14-match unbeaten run, is certain how Llanelli will approach the match, which kicks off at 5.15pm and is being shown live on S4C.

"The 90 minutes on Saturday will be a big part of the season," said the Rhyl chief.

"We are under no illusions that Llanelli will be out for revenge; they are a major force who will be gunning for us.

"But we will go out there to win. This team has been built on a philosophy of attacking football and we’re not going to change now."

Denbighshire Visitor

April 7
Scarlet's to host welsh cup final

THIS season's Welsh Cup final is to be played on a rugby ground - Llanelli's new £23 million Parc Y Scarlet's.
The FAW says that it was decided to fix the final venue prior to this weekend's semi-finals, "to enable clubs to make immediate arrangements, should they be successful and progress to the final" which will be held on Bank Holiday Monday, May 4.
The new venue recently staged the UEFA Under-21 championship qualifier between Wales and Luxembourg.
"Following incidents at last season’s final at Newtown, the Football Association of Wales is conscious of the necessity to play this match at a venue which is conducive with the safety and security of players, match officials and spectators and Parc Y Scarlet's is an ideal venue to comply with these requirements," says FAW Head of Competitions John Deakin.
Last year's final was marred by a pitch invasion of Bangor City supporters in which Llanelli players were man-handled, leading to the eventual winners being heavily fined by the FAW.
Bangor and Bridgend Town meet in the first semi-final on Saturday, with Aberystwyth and Carmarthen vying for the other place in a live televised game on Sunday.

WPL Website

April 7
Flint Town manager responds to merger

A meeting for Flint Town fans is being held in the club house tomorrow evening (8pm) and joint manager Paul Davies admitted he had an open mind about the plan.

"We are hoping everyone associated with the club will come along and give their views," he said yesterday.

"There are obvious pros and cons in respect of a merger, but I think Nomads need it more than we do.

"It makes sense from an economic point of view because if we were in the Welsh Premier League we would struggle to cope.

"On the other hand there is a long tradition and history associated with both clubs and some people might not want that to be lost.

"I would imagine that we will be guided by the views expressed and the mood of the meeting tomorrow, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a case of Flint Town being taken over," he added.

"It will be a merger if both clubs agree."

Daily Post

April 6
Nomads & Flint to merger official

The Owners and the President of Gap Connah’s Quay Football Club and the Chairman and Committee of Flint Town United Football Club have resolved to propose unison between the two near neighbours. This will create a single entity capable of uniting to provide the highest quality of football possible to the populace of Flintshire. The proposed merged club would be named Gap-Flint Nomads. The restructured club would play first team home games at an improved Cae y Castle ground in Flint. This ground being 4.1 miles from Gap Connah’s Quays previous rented home ground of the Deeside College Stadium. New 500 Lux Floodlights and a new 300 seater stand would be constructed this summer with a new drainage system ensuring a great playing surface for the next WPL season. The merged club would be controlled by a board comprising directors from each of the former clubs. Gap Connah’s Quay’s owner will not stand as a director of the new club but has contracted to generously support it as main sponsor for an initial period of three years.

The new club would retain its offices at the Dock Road Ground in Connah’s Quay. The clubs Academy of Football would continue to be based at Connah’s Quay Sports Centre and play at Wepre Park, Connah’s Quay. The current Gap Connah’s Quay Reserve team would be supported to re-launch as a fully independent club under its own committee and officers. It will be granted permission to play at a refurbished Dock Road Pitch rent free for an initial period of five years. Flint Town United’s reserve team would join the new set up as its reserve team with the Flint and Bagillt Junior club unaffected by the restructuring.

In the current economic climate to have two senior football clubs competing for the same set of supporters and sponsors within five miles of each other makes little sense. Currently Connah’s Quay are struggling to get more than a handful of supporters through the turnstiles. They have to hire the Stadium and it’s both badly maintained and prohibitively expensive. Recently Connah’s Quay ground shared at Flint and the crowd averaged over 240 per game. Should this merger not go ahead then Connah’s Quay may well lose its current sponsors and owners. It would prove difficult for the club to continue as a Welsh Premiership outfit.

The football club will be holding private initial consultation with its current First team, Reserve team, Youth team and Academy officials, players and ground staff in the next few days. This will be followed with a public open meeting to be held at the Albion Hotel on Thursday April 9th at 7 pm. All are welcome and all questions will be answered to the best of our ability.

Yours Sincerely,

Trevor Green

General Secretary

April 5
Saints go marching home

Bangor City 0-2 The New Saints
John Leah (p), 11' ; Conall Murtagh, 75'
Matthew Berkeley Sent-Off, 42'

The New Saints lifted the Loosemores League Cup Trophy following a 2-0 triumph over Bangor City at Latham Park on Sunday afternoon.

Despite playing for fifty minutes with just ten men, the side from Oswestry showed character in the second-half to extend their 1-0 interval lead and in tireless midfielder Alex Darlington, had the Loosemores Solicitors Man of the Match.

The opening goal was scored by midfielder John Leah from the penalty spot after Steve Evans was pushed in the back by Jamie Brewerton from a corner in the 11th minute. Leah. who was an injury doubt right up until kick-off converted calmly, sending Paul Smith the wrong way.

Bangor dominated the opening exchanges, but the neither side could muster any clear-cut chances until the final minutes of the half. Five minutes before the break, Matthew Berkeley shot well from the edge of the box, but Smith dived at full stretch to take the power out of the shot, before gathering at the second attempt.

Berkeley was in the middle of the action just moments later for all the wrong reasons when Assistant Referee Maldwyn Williams spotted an off the ball incident and he was red-carded by Phil Southall. The Citizens were inspired by the advantage and almost equalised on the stroke of the interval when Les Davies' powerful effort was tipped onto the cross-bar by Paul Harrison.

The first chance after the break came in the 65th minute when a clever overhead kick from Peter Hoy could only find Saints' Keeper Paul Harrison, and straight from the clearance, Scott Ruscoe found himself with a one-on-one courtesy of a sublime Darlington through-ball. Smith denied Ruscoe twice with the initial effort and the rebound.

Then with fifteen minutes left, the Saints got the cushion they were after, when Darlington broke into the Bangor box, stayed on his feet despite a clumsy challenge and after rounding two defenders, centred the ball on a plate for Conall Murtagh to fire into an empty net. Ruscoe had a late chance but shot over, although it was irrelevant in the grand scheme of things as the Saints have been crowned new Loosemores Cup Champions.

Attendance: 555

WPL Website

April 5
Eagles flying high with 4th win on the trot

Caernarfon Town now look destined to make a return to the Cymru Alliance after 8 season's back in the top flight.

The Canaries lost today at the Gnoll against Neath by 2-1 and they are now 11 points from safety with just 4 games left.

The eagles went in front from the penalty spot on 27 minutes when Sean Cronin put the home side ahead.

Caernarfon Town drew level on 80 mins through a Tom Grice effort, but the home side claimed all 3 points and sealed their 4th win on the trot when sub Carl Shaw scored in the 89th minute.

View league table


April 4
WPL round up

Llanelli really showed their Title credentials this evening by scoring a 90th minute winner at the New Bridge Meadow to gain all three points against Haverfordwest and close the gap on leaders Rhyl to just two points.

The game looked destined for a goalless draw, but Aberystwyth-born defender Stuart Jones's fourth of the Season with a clinical header, sent Peter Nicholas' side back home in excellent spirits.

The Reds' Manager showed his intentions from the start playing Rhys Griffiths, Jordan Follows and Mark Pritchard in an attacking formation, but it took the current Champions almost the entire duration of the game to break down the stubborn Bluebirds defence before the talented Lee Idzi's goal was finally breached. Llanelli will now be hoping that leaders Rhyl slip up at home to Airbus UK Broughton on Saturday afternoon, which would cap a fine weekend for the Reds, who remain unbeaten in the League since December 13th and have now won seven games on the bounce.

In the evening's other games, Technogroup Welshpool's good run continued at the Recreation Ground, Caersws in the Powys derby. The visitors ran out 1-0 winners courtesy of another injury-time winner. Paul Roberts broke the deadlock late on for Welshpool and at the same time, broke the hearts of the struggling Bluebirds who remain in the relegation zone with just four matches remaining.

There was also a welcome three points for GAP Connah's Quay, who have endured a very testing time of late. They ran out 3-1 winners against Prestatyn Town at the Deeside Stadium. Danny Forde handed the hosts the lead as early as the seventh minute, before the in-form Ian Griffiths leveled for the visitors on 22 minutes.

Phil Doran restored the Nomads' advantage with twelve minutes to go and Ronnie Morgan's penalty five minutes from time settled it. The Seasiders had defender Danny Distain - a ninth minute sub for Jamie Duffy sent-off and Neil Gibson's side will be disappointed not to have picked up anything, as they are still not safe from the drop.

WPL Website

April 2
D-Day for Nomads next week

GAP Connah’s Quay’s immediate future could be decided next week.

Owners Gap Personnel threatened to pull out of the club last month and stated they would make a final decision on Tuesday.

That decision has now delayed until after they hold a meeting on Monday.

One option open to Gap is to move Nomads, who are facing eviction from their Deeside Stadium home, out of Connah’s Quay to Flint to merge them with Cymru Alliance neighbours Flint Town United.

If that fails to come to fruition, Gap, who have been surprised by the “apathy” from supporters and sponsors, could make a clean break from the club they took over last summer.

Flintshire Chronicle

Apr 1
Bangor stunned by Druids

REVITALISED Druids took another massive step towards Welsh Premier safety after stretching their unbeaten run to six games with a determined victory over Bangor at Plas Kynaston.

Kevin Holsgrove's third goal in two games early in the second half proved enough to settle a tightly contested affair as the Ancients climbed to a respectable 12th in the table.

The front runner smashed home from 15 yards into the roof of the net after the ball had been played in his path following a good run and cross on the right by youngster Joey Price.

Chances, however, were in short supply for most of the night at both ends as Bangor, without front men Les Davies and Chris Sharp and midfielder Marc

Limbert, struggled to find a way past home keeper Ged McGuigan despite their efforts.

Kevin Lloyd did see a header tipped over in the second period, while another Citizens effort was deflected wide, but for most part the home defence

looked solid. It was the Druids who went closest to increasing their lead in the second half with Ricky Evans' header from a Price corner on the right being well saved by keeper Paul Smith on 68 minutes.

For Bangor, it was a setback ahead of Sunday's Loosemores Cup final with TNS at Newtown, but for Druids the victory marked their best ever run in the Welsh Premier.

View league table

Daily Post


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