Great Start For The New Team
Stokesy secures a 2-1 win at AFC Llwydcoed with a mix of old and new!
With Director of Football Jason Dykes otherwise engaged setting up his wife Kathy's 50th Birthday (Happy Birthday Kathy from us all!) it was new manager Andrew Stokes and Paul Lewis who took the team. They were also joined by new club physio Rebekah Powney.
The game kicked off with a new look side featuring 6 players who have joined us during the close season.
Town looked a bit ragged at the start it was fair to say and the home side capitalised on this after just 4 minutes as from a free kick centre half Adam Hawkins was unmarked in front of goal and his header gave Steven Reeve no chance. The tweets hadn't been sent though when Town broke forward just a minute later and levelled with a fine strike from Sam Brown giving Andrew Hargreaves in the AFC Llwydcoed goal no chance. That settled Town and with newcomers Conor Morgan and James East looking sharp down the sides already the home side defence were starting to look rattled. They were looking better in attack though and after 10 minutes Town were rescued when Mark Napieralla, returning to the club after a few seasons away, made a great tackle to clear.
On 15 minutes Town were awarded a free kick on the left and it was Garry Taylor who crossed for Daryl Jeffries to glance a header which just shaded the outside of the post with the keeper beaten. Town were on top now and got a deserved lead through a penalty after Ross Jones was brought down in the box. The officials awarded the penalty after a confusing minute or two and Garry Taylor blasted it into the top right of the net.
On 26 minutes referee Alan Gray had to be replaced by his assistant Geoff Pridmore and almost immediately Town nearly extended the lead as Mark Napieralla and Garry Taylor linked well to put Josh Dorward in a scoring position but his strike went wide. The home side weren't causing too many problems but Town had to be alert on 31 minutes as they faced a free kick but that was well defended as was the subsequent corner. On 44 minutes Town thought they had a 3rd goal as Josh Dorward was put through but keeper Adam Hargreaves spread himself wide and saved with the ball running to Town's Sam Brown who went close with a shot.
Match Official Alan Gray, who was now assistant, was replaced at half time by Referee Lewis Edwards who happened to be watching the game from the side.
The home side came out of the blocks better in the second half but Town did have a chance from a Sam Brown free kick which went wide. Then Steven Reeve was brought into action as he pulled of an excellent save from a close range strike and that then seemed to settle Town. With Daryl Jeffries and Rhys Powell looking comfortable and organised at the back there was a confidence starting to build throughout the team.
On 69 minutes James East, another newcomer, went on an excellent run but his strike was blocked by an over worked home defence. Three minutes later Josh Dorward put Corey Saunders through but once again keeper Hargreaves was there to make an excellent save. Town were definitely on top now and just a minute later, on 73m, Ross Jones headed straight at the keeper from a Conor Morgan cross. Then followed a free kick which was well defended by AFC Llwydcoed.
As the game went into the last 10 minues, and with the home side now throwing everything at Town, substitute Darryl Hughes and Conor Morgan went close again for the visitors with the home side also going close with strike that went over the bar.
Town then saw the game out and took the 3 points which was well deserved and a great start for all.
Unfortunately after the game Sam Brown received his second yellow card for dissent which means he will miss the cup game against Ton Pentre. It seems to be a misunderstanding on the match official's part which is the most frustrating part of the event.
Full marks though go to the match officials and we wish Alan Gray a speedy recovery.