Berffro taste defeat in first Welsh Alliance outing
Narrow 3-2 loss in tight fought match
On Saturday we travelled across the A55 to Glan Conwy where we lined up for our first ever fixture in the Welsh Alliance Division 2. Preparation throughout pre-season had set us up well for a tough opening day fixture against a side looking to rejuvenate themselves following relegation from Division one last time out and now touted as one of the favourites for Division 2.
The opening quarter was typical of an opening day fixture, very cagey and both sides trying to feel there way into the game, and it was evident from the off there was very little between the two sides. Glan were very strong and physical through the spine of the side and had a real live-wire up top in their number 9 but it was Berffro who forced the first real opening with some neat play between Connor and Nath up top, resulting in the latter shooting off target from some 25 yards out. The nerves were soon settled some 18 minutes into the first half when we took the lead and it was Connor who grabbed our first goal in the Welsh Alliance, a goal of real quality. Harper won possession in midfield and quickly released Ieu Lloyd down the right hand side, he scampered away and had the presence of mind to pick his up up and drill a ball right across the face of the penalty area where Connor steamed in and got there before the despairing defenders to drill home from 8 yards out to put us 1 up. From that moment on though, Glan Conwy used all of their experience and nous to pull level. On a very narrow pitch they peppered our penalty area at every opportunity from long throws, free kicks and corners, and only some last ditch defending from Jenks and Iwan kept us in front. That was until some 30 minutes gone when their centre half powered home a bullet header from an in-swinging corner and disaster struck straight from the resulting restart as we lost possession in a dangerous area and within seconds Glan's left winger slotted home inside the near post from just outside the area. The home side now sensed our heads were down and for a spell of 10 minutes they really turned the screw as they tried to take the game away from us, only some real resolute defending and superb goalkeeping by Kieran kept the score at 2-1 as he produced a superb double save from a goalmouth scramble. We managed somehow to weather the storm and eventually found ourselves higher up the pitch as we searched for an equaliser. Just before the break we had two good opportunities to level matters. Adam did well in midfield to find Nath on the half way line who, in an instant, turned and played a delightful right foot ball through for Ieu Lloyd who was in acres of space but the host's number 1 was out quickly to smother the chance, and then in almost a carbon copy of our goal, Ieu found Connor in space down the right but his drilled cross just eluded Nath at the far post. 2-1 half time.
The message at half time was to cut out the basic errors which will be punished at this level, but on a more positive note, that we were still well in the game with only a goal in it. It was very nip and tuck after the restart as again both sides became embroiled in a midfield battle with little by way of clear cut chances. The home side's back-line had something different to contend with now with the introduction of Rich at half time who was involved from the word go trying to stretch the play with some runs into the channel, and at the other end, Jenks and Iwan had their hands full with a very tough Glan Conwy number 9 who never gave either a moments peace but both did very well to stifle him from having any major chances. Billy and Al were also being tested down the flanks by some clever wingers but kept things simple and cleared their lines well when needed to. Rich's first chance of the match came after some good play between Harper and Billy down the left flank, after a neat one-two Billy was able to cut back to Rich just outside the area but his effort was wide of the mark. Our achilles heel came back to haunt us once more in the game though on the hour mark, from a corner we managed to clear the first ball but were caught out from the second ball as Glan's right back was left alone on the 6 yard box and flicked home a deep cross to make it 3-1. We had a mountain to climb now and found it difficult to create anything clear cut as a very street-wise centre back pairing for the home side defended deeply and denied us any sort of space to find the pace of Rich and Gary, who had also now entered the fray as a substitute. Connor continues to be a real presence in midfield as he tried hard to drag us back into the game but it looked as though the game was petering out into a 3-1 home win before Rich got on the end of a superbly delivered free kick from Billy and glanced his header away from the keeper to make it 3-2 with just over 5 minutes to go. After seemingly looking comfortable, the home side now showed some nerves as we threw bodies forward in a bid to rescue a point from the game. Another set piece from Billy caused panic in the hosts box as his corner whipped right across the 6 yard box with no-one able to get a final touch but we ran out time with the final whistle blown soon after our final chance of the match. Full time 3-2. Connor Rees Man of the Match.
A tough encounter for us first up but that's life in the Welsh Alliance Division 2. Mistakes at this level will be punished but we showed enough spirit and fight to try and claw a way back into the game which we will have to continue doing this season. In patches we played well and stuck with our opponents for long parts of the game and Glan Conwy will be a tough place to go for many a team this season. No time to dwell as games come thick and fast this season, Wednesday night we go again with our first (of many) Anglesey Derby of the season as we host Gaerwen at Cae Cynlas.