Gwent Senior Cup Final - Goytre, Plough Lane
Tuesday 7th May 2013
Caldicot Town 1 - 0 Monmouth Town
(D.Biggs 1 pen)
The last and only time Monmouth Town won this cup Hitler was busy flexing his muscles in and around Eastern Europe and Duncan Powell was kicking the inside of this mother’s womb. Then, the only stat that mattered was the final score line and talk of formations was consigned to discussion about RAF squadrons. Football was simple; wing halves, inside rights and rugged centre forwards. Possession, territory and completed passes were the preserve of the oval ball game.
Despite the onset of ProZone and the Opta index football hasn’t changed. The record books won’t say that Monmouth Town had almost all of the ball or all of the territory, made the most successful passes or were unlucky or lucky depending on your point of view. It will say 2013 Gwent Senior Cup Winners - Caldicot Town. The less myopic spectators will recall a successful defensive performance from Caldicot with a young ‘keeper having the game of his life. The boy could catch sticklebacks in the Usk with his bare hands. Blackburn in the Monmouth goal on the other had could have been charged admission - troubled only by long punts, hopeful shots and bizarrely two penalties which although correctly awarded were self inflicted and the sum total of attacking intent for the most part.
The game began brightly enough with the Kingfishers outgunning the Caldicot midfield but not really troubling the Caldicot five man defence. Palmer had a free kick tipped over, Harrhy miscued when well placed but all the trickery, running and passing angles failed for the most part to penetrate a stubborn defence. Caldicot did have breaks of their own in the first half but a fizzed shot and some interesting situations apart again didn’t really trouble Blackburn. That came when Spence was caught in rather more than just two minds, was undone by Harris and brought him down. He was possibly lucky not to receive red but Biggs did the rest from the spot.
The Kingfishers started with a bit more vim in the second half and Caldicot quickly conceded possession and territory but in truth Monmouth lacked the wherewithal to figure out whether to go round, through or over the massed ranks of blue. They seemed to opt for the latter option but Sandiford, despite a few early wobbles under the high ball regained his composure and claimed most of the high balls thereafter. MacDonald stung his hands from a rasping free kick, placed another into the side netting, and as the game entered its final stages Laurie headed wide and Compton had a shot blocked on the line. Some brave defending saw off other attempts. In between times Spence conceded his second penalty with a push defending a corner that looked to be landing on the Sugar Loaf but Biggs pulled his spot kick wide. Harrhy had a fair penalty shout tuned away as did Alderdice as he was brought down late on - this time defender Crook seeing red. But that would be clutching at straws.
Caldicot came with a plan, executed it and took home the cup. No stats, no complaints. Just football. Old fashioned, painful and beautiful for all that.
Table Topping Town Look to Make History
Saturday 9th March
Monmouth Town 3 Goytre United 0
Monmouth Town’s Kingfishers flew to the top of the entire Welsh League for the first time ever courtesy of goals from Nick Harrhy, Jacob Guy and Dan MacDonald, some fine defending and a lack lustre performance from former Welsh league Champions, Swansea based Goytre United. Town, sponsored by WyeMedia are in pole position following a remarkable rise up the football ranks from lowly Gwent County leagues a mere 8 seasons ago, to winning back to back Welsh League divisional titles and now looking for an unprecedented hat trick. A little title tittle tattle is no bad thing but Saturday was remarkable for how routine it all seemed.
Title rivals Taffs Well had held the lead for a number of weeks before two defeats including Friday night's 4 -3 reverse at Ton Pentre had handed the initiative to Monmouth who knew a win would take them top for the first time in their 136 year history.
Lesser teams would have found that added pressure caused some jitters but there was no sign of that as Town took a 6th minute lead, Elliot Ford making a great decision to roll a fine cross into Harrhy’s path and his finish was clinical. A joy rider’s tyre tracks had laid waste to the river end penalty area but that didn’t put off Town extending their lead on 26 minutes as a deep corner from Harrhy was turned in at the far post by Jacob Guys posterior. Town did have to defend for a small while in between and Davies the Goytre striker crashed a relatively simple chance against the bar which would have reduced the arrears, but they then simply shifted through the gears, switching this way and that before MacDonald found himself bearing down on goal with predictable results. A 3 – 0 half time lead was just reward for a blistering 45 minutes.
The second half was a less entertaining half but the game had been won and it was more a case of not conceding as Blackburn’s back five kept their third consecutive team clean sheet. Town still dominated possession and territory and had by the far the better ideas going forward with Harrhy again proving pivotal, MacDonald looking sharp again and Ford causing problems all afternoon. Indeed a great combination put in MacDonald who was upended to earn a penalty which was saved by the keeper. Lee, Hyde and Skopinski were introduced for Harrhy, Palmer and MacDonald and again did themselves no harm with comfortable displays with Lee in particular catching the eye with his bravery and invention. Skipper Alderdice deserves a mention for his vigorous display while Rob Laurie seemed to provide a swagger in midfield as the pair of them bossed proceedings.
Boss Barry Burns was not getting carried away after the match “It’s very pleasing as we’d rather be top than anywhere else but it’s just a punctuation mark on a long hard season. There’s far too much football to be played to start thinking we’ve achieved anything other than feeling good about ourselves. If we’re still there when everyone’s played 30 games then we’ll have cause to celebrate. We did play very well for the first half and I was very pleased for everyone. All we have to do is keep playing like that and we won’t be far off“
Town’s second placed reserves, however, went down 5 -0 to table topping Cardiff Met University and but the Youth team soundly beat runaway leaders 2 – 0 last Sunday. Jones and Cleaves the scorers for the Kingfishers.
This Saturday Town, whose match day catering is provided by Raduni Restaurant are looking to make it six straight wins when they take on Ton Pentre at home (kick off 2.30). Next Saturday evening (16th) local band The Donnachies are playing in a title challenge fund raiser at the club house with free entry for everyone. (8pm)
Super Harrhy Goes Ballistic Celtic Quite Atrocious
Monmouth Town 3 Cwmbran Celtic 0
Two goals from the ever impressive Nick Harrhy secured the win and the points for the Kingfishers and, on a weekend when their title rivals were losing at home, moved them to second in the Welsh League Division One table. Despite the headline and the scoreline however Celtic were far from pushovers and indeed dominated large chunks of the first half and subdued the Monmouth attacking force when Town could barely muster a string of passes let alone a shot on goal . MacDonald did draw a sharp save from Church in the visitors’ goal but at the other end it was Blackburn who had to be at his commanding best dealing with a succession of corners and free kicks in dangerous positions. Once again he was aided and abetted by a great defensive performance and claimed a second successive clean sheet. If Celtic were indeed atrocious it was in front of goal as despite some promising flank play they appeared largely toothless. Town’s attackers on the other hand for the first half at least seemed have put their teeth in a glass next to the bed for the second successive week.
Two minutes after the break however Harrhy’s breakthrough changed the complexion of the game. In a rare outbreak of the passing football to which Monmouth’s supporters have become accustomed Town pieced together a move which pulled the Celtic defence apart and Harrhy took his time before calmly picking his spot from close range. It was inevitable that the game would open up . It did to a degree but both teams still found chances at a premium as the aerial aspects of the game dominated. Celtic crashed the cross bar with a free kick, a few headers flew high wide or both , Ford ballooned one over the bar when well placed but there were signs that any decent passing from Monmouth would bring some more rewards. The question was when. Strangely when flu victim MacDonald was replaced by the effervescent Dean Lee for his second appearance things started to happen. The injection of pace and energy unsettled a tiring Celtic back line. Ford was moved to the left to allow him to drive inside and within minutes former Cinderford starlet Lee’s superb reverse pass set up Ford who waltzed in on goal before sliding the ball to Harrhy who took his tally for the season to 12. With Hyde on for Palmer the nippiness factor increased again and Hyde was all vim and vigour putting some exceptional crosses in his 20 minute appearance although he should have done better with a volley from another superb piece of work by Lee.
Celtic’s introduction of the burly Williamson livened proceedings a little but Guy and Evans were more than equal to the challenge. Ford got on the end of another good move to make it three with just four minutes remaining. There was however still time for a red card for violent play as the Celt's centre half let his frustration get the better of him by kicking out at Town’s Polish debutant Safian Skupinski.
Town boss Barry Burns was playing down any talk of title in his after ,match assessment. “It’s always good to look at the table and see how it looks but it means nothing at this stage of the season. We’re only just over halfway and there’s plenty of football to play. It’s a cliché but its cliché for reason. We just have to play one game at a time. I was really pleased with Dean and Chris’s contribution today, they have certainly added some options to the squad and will freshen our approach. That’s not a criticism of our regular starters but if we are going to finish strongly we need to be able to change things now and again. “
Town’s reserves also kept their title challenge going with a 3 – 1 win away at Chepstow Town with Pontypridd transfer target Craig Lewis grabbing another two.
This Saturday sees a Sportsground double header as Town reserves take on table topping Cardiff University at 12 noon before Town’s first XI, sponsored by WyeMedia look to increase the pressure on the league leaders Taffs Well by beating second from bottom Goytre United.
Ford Fires Town To Fourth
Caerleon 0 Monmouth Town 1
A solitary 22nd minute goal from Monmouth Town flying winger Elliot Ford latching on to a superb through ball from Dan MacDonald was enough to take all three points for the Kingfishers and move them up to fourth place in the Welsh League. Ford had earlier passed up two similar opportunities and Caerleon’s Olly Beckett also spurned a chance in a game short on goal mouth action but longer on honest endeavour particularly from the home team who despite lacking any real creativity made the Kingfishers work hard for their third straight win. On a cold day at Cold Bath Road Town started the brighter and throughout Harrhy and MacDonald showed flashes of quality and invention but the defensive quarter of Guy, Evans, Ashley Ford and returning Davies deserved their plaudits for denying any real openings as Blackburn had a quiet day at the office. Some baffling refereeing kept it interesting for the travelling supporters but the second half was one to forget. So much so it already has been apart from the introduction on the hour of the lively Dean Lee the Town’s new signing from Cinderford Town. Lee joins two more additions to the Kingfishers squad along with former Middlesbrough and Hereford trainee Chris Hyde and Safian Skupinski who made some waves at FC Kalisz in Poland but is now settled in Newport.
On a remarkable weekend for the Town’s footballers the reserves also won 1 – 0 with a free kick goal from Dean Palmer to move to second in the league behind Cardiff Met University who visit in a fortnight in a top of the table clash , while the Under 19’s youth squad also kept a clean sheet – the second of the weekend for young Matthew Johns in a 5 – 0 win over Caldicot Town. George Ryley (2) James Lee, Ben Murphy and Dan Barnard with the goals.
On Saturday Town, sponsored by WyeMedia with match catering by Raduni Restaurant are at home in the first of three fixtures that could set up an April title challenge as Gwent rivals Cwmbran Celtic come to town in a 2.30 kick off. If anyone would like to sponsor any home matches please call Lee on 07967 479484
Kingfishers Scalp Welsh League Champs.
Monmouth Town 2 Cambrian & Clydach 1
A 77th minute penalty from Dan MacDonald sealed a vital win for Monmouth Town talking the important scalp of current Welsh league Champions Cambrian in a no nonsense game in the swamps of Chippenham and pout their league title campaign firmly back on track. The Kingfishers went into the game still trying to find the form that had made their debut season in Division One so exciting so far but the pitch, cutting up badly even in the warm up was always going to stunt both sides playing any form of attractive football to go with their shared status as top division high flyers. Indeed Cambrian arrived second in the table hoping to continue their own good form having recovered from a shaky start to the season as defending champions but missing some key players here while Town were at full strength. The early exchanges seemed to illustrate the point as the Kingfishers immediately took the game to visitors and causing real problems early on culminating in a goal for Nick Harrhy with just over five minutes on the clock. For the next 20 minute or so Cambrian struggled to get firm foot hold in the game although they looked more aggressive in the tackle as the Kingfishers tried too hard to play on a pitch that was more suited to the oval ball game. Sam Palmer did get through on goal but his weak shot was comfortably saved and Ford had a searing run ended by his own refusal to shoot with his weaker left foot and as the half wore on Cambrian steadied themselves and looked to have mastered the conditions better- or at least realised that short passing moves would prove to be folly.
That however didn’t stop ace striker Jason Bertorelli, for a few seasons the scourge of Welsh League defences as he picked up a pass thirty yards out , made ground to his left before striking a beauty with the outside of his right foot. The 70 or so spectators, 50 of whom had paid for the privilege, could only share admiration as the ball curled and dipped in the far corner of Blackburn’s goal. For the next five minutes or so it looked like th4 Champions would take some stopping as Bertorelli charged and barged and looked menacing. The momentum was however cut short as the Cambrian right back was red carded after hi send yellow card offence impeding Macdonald's forward run just five minutes after taking a lump or two out of Ford.
The red card put the game back in the balance. The second half was an entirely different affair with Cambrian looking to soak up pressure and hit on the break. Tactically correct but hard to execute as quick breaks would increasingly flounder on a resolute midfield of Laurie and Alderdice having a great game, and some much more composed defending by Guy and Evans.
The Kingfishers , sponsored by WyeMedia were showing a maturity in possession that has been hard to come by of late and continued to probe and show patience in their build ups. Cambrian kept their half of th bargain by not giving any quarter and looked very solid in th face of conceding possession. Ford did have a couple of attempts and his baby brother Ashley also went on marauding run which ended with tame shot high and wide but Town kept plugging away and eventually got their rewards as Ford the younger edged into the area and drew the rash tackle that was spelled 'penalty'. The referee waved away Cambrian protests allowing MacDonald to send the visiting stickman the wrong way with this spot kick.
The game still ebbed and flowed for the remaining time with Compton introduced for Sam Palmer and Chris Hyde making his home debut in a competent cameo and there was still time for a rush of blood from left back Dan Spence who bizarrely opted for a full blooded tackle in the away penalty area that earned him a straight red card for violent conduct and three Saturday afternoon shifts at Waitrose. Town however were able to comfortably see out the remainder of the game and claim the points.
The Town reserve team went down again in see saw game at Cwmbran Celitc. Jack Jones and Craig Lewis getting the goals in a 3 – 2 reverse while Town’s Under 19’s also went down 2 – 1 at Risca United.
This Saturday Town, who’s after match catering is supplied by Raduni Restaurant and match day away travel by Sam Hale are at Gwent rivals Caerleon kick off 2pm. The following Saturday (2nd March) they are back at home and are looking for match day and match ball sponsor. Anyone interested in helping the title campaign please call Lee on 07967 479484
Kingfishers Bounce Back With Win
Bridgend Town 2 Monmouth Town 3
Monmouth Town’s Kingfishers, prior to the enforced winter lay off were purring away taking Welsh Premier visitors to the wire , within striking distance of the top of the Welsh league and firing on all cylinders. It seemed normal service was resumed during last week’s first half as the Town surged to a 3 – 1 half time lead against Barry Town only to be pegged back and overtaken . The trend continued here. Against lowly opposition , albeit a team clearly strengthened since their 5 – 1 defeat in Monmouth back in November, town again spluttered and coughed like a packed Chippenham surgery on free flu jab Friday going behind in the 15th minute to a wonderful solo goal from former Barry favourite Josh Bell and throughout the game struggling to show any semblance of the more than competent performances of their early season.
True, Ben Evans finished with aplomb from a wonderful cross from his centre half partner Jacob Guy before Bell again cut through the Town defence and left Blackburn flat footed with a curling drive into the far corner. Then Evans’s long ball was gathered beautifully by Ford who rounded the home keeper and slotted in producing another good goal that belied a game big on effort but decidedly light on real quality from either side.
Bridgend kept the ball better than Town but did little with it of note, and although Monmouth did threaten to cut loose, too often the final ball was poor and the execution sub standard leaving a decent enough crowd with little to cheer on a cold night. Monmouth did have a couple of attempts disallowed for offside and a couple of feisty exchanges threatened to warm the night up before finally a real pearl among the pebbles as Ford, Harrhy and MacDonald linked up again to slice open the Bridgend defence that had been game all evening and Harrhy’s first time cushioned volley won the match for the Kingfishers. At the death Alderdice’s late surge n took him clear and although his pass set up sub Compton for an easy finish the youngster dithered and struck it straight at the prone defender who lay on the ball in the manner of a Swansea ball boy and stopped the scoreline looking possibly too flattering.
This Saturday Town are at home to current Welsh League champions Cambrian and Clydach looking to continue their own title challenge. Kick off 2pm
Meanwhile the Reserves title challenge also floundered as they were held 2 – 2 at home against Abertillery who scored with possibly their only attacks of the game. Chris Hyde and Craig Lewis were on target for the Town.
Monmouth Town 3 Barry Town 4
A first half hat trick from midfielder Rob Laurie wasn't enough to save Monmouth Town who despite going in at half time 3 - 1 to the good
succumbed to a second half onslaught from six times Welsh Champions
and former champions league reps Barry Town. Town got a to a bright
enough start despite only playing once since their brave display
against Bala Town back in December and Ford was looking threatening
down the right linking up well with MacDonald and Harrhy. On 12
minutes however in Barry's first real attack a corner flicked off the
Monmouth bar leaving Jenkins to head home from p[point blank range.
Cue Rob Laurie and an emphatic retort on 23 minutes drilling home as
the ball broke loose in the penalty area. He repeated his act just ten
minutes later again pouncing and firing home before sealing his first
ever senior hat trick with a glancing header just before half time. In
between times Ford managed a scuffed shot from six yards and Harry
inexplicably headed against the bar from a yard out. Barry Town were
competitive and showed small pockets if intent but barely troubled
Blackburn in the home goal.
Then the classic game of two halves. The vocal Barry Town support got
behind the team who had nothing to lose and bit by bit they clawed
their way to a famous victory. First Jones picked his way through the area before unleashing a terrific strike which cannoned of the post and in, then as Monmouth
conceded midfield and dropped deeper and deeper and as the game
reached the final ten minutes Jones equalised after great work from
substitute Cottrell. Town still threatened however with some decent
enough situations that fizzled out or bought good stops from the
visiting keeper but the momentum was all with Barry and with barely
minutes remaining a free kick was converted at the back post for what
proved the winner.
Harrhy still had a couple of chances that he couldn't convert, and
whereas the ball was dropping kindly through the first half now it
fell this was and what. You make your own luck in football and Barry's
determination had certainly made theirs.
Blackburn Spot On For Kingfishers
Gwent Senior Cup Semi Final
Aberbargoed Buds 3 Monmouth Town 4 (After Extra Time)
Two penalty saves by Keiron Blackburn, a brace of goals for Dan MacDonald and a debut goal for new signing Chris Hyde clinched Monmouth’s place in their first Gwent Senior Cup final since 1940 in a pulsating cup semi final packed full of endeavour and incident. The first ten minutes looked as if the Kingfishers sponsored by WyeMedia would stroll through the game keeping possession well and looking every bit a division above their hosts but against the run of play a long ball wasn’t cut out and Blackburn was exposed badly and suddenly Town had a game on their hands. Missing Alderdice Laurie and Ford through suspension Compton had been introduced to the fray and Smith and Fessey kept the midfield berths in which they had done so well against Welsh Premier Bala in the previous game in early December and they regrouped to take a 2 21 lead at half time with Compton scoring and Dan MacDonald curling in a beauty of a free kick. Early in the second half MacDonald was at it again latching on to a through ball and nonchalantly finishing with a first time hit beyond Kirkwood. It could and should have been more as MacDonald passed up the chance for his hat trick and other chances went begging and is so often the case the home side sniffed a lifeline.
Playing more direct and testing a back pedalling back four the game became a tighter affair and Buds harrying and chasing and dominating possession as Town continually gave the ball away. A penalty appeal was turned down for the home side and as the tackles continued to fly in they were eventually awarded a spot kick with Blackburn saved with ease. That could have knocked the wind from the sails of the Buds but they stuck to their game plan and grabbed a second with 25 minutes to play to put the game back in balance. Despite some more promising openings for Town a flurry of corner kicks again caused panic in the Kingfishers' penalty area and as the seconds ticked away in normal time the Town struggled to keep the ball and take off the pressure. Fessey attempted to keep the ball in the opposing corner to run down the clock but lost possession and within a few seconds a Hughes equalised for the home side with the last kick of the normal time.
The first period was strangely tepid as both sides looked to take a bit of a breather but the coned period was again frantic with Town just looking as though they might have a bit more quality in front of goal to knick the result. A goalmouth melee looked to have come to nothing but up popped diminutive debutant Chris Hyde to slide in the winner with just 8 minutes remaining. Buds carved possibly their only clear opening with just two minutes left but the home striker blazed over from point blank range and then as the time ran out and almost inevitably Guy conceded a harsh penalty for hand ball. With what proved to be the last kick of the match, and as the teams were contemplating a penalty shoot out for real the home striker placed his shot too near Blackburn who held on to send the Kingfishers through to the final.
In the final Monmouth will meet either Caldicot town or Cwmbran Celtic who play their game at the end of the month. |No date has been set for the final but it promises to be a memorable day (or evening ) out for the Town’s fans. Watch this space.
Hat Trick Hero Hunt Wins it For Bala
Monmouth Town 2 Bala Town 3
Welsh Cup 3rd Round.
A hat trick by Bala striker Lee Hunt, the third just a minute from full time broke Monmouth hearts in this pulsating Welsh Cup third round tie in front of a large crowd at the Blestium Street Sportsground. The so called minnows from the Monnow were however more than making up the numbers and could, maybe should have won the tie themselves had Nick Harrhy’s late attempt not rolled agonisingly wide and just a few minute later Hunt let fly with his match winning volley that screamed in at Blackburn’s far post.
The match was rightly billed as one of the most important in the Town's history with Bala arriving in fifth place in the Welsh Premier and there was a real sense of anticipation as the minutes counted down to kick off. Bala’s team was skippered by former Welsh International Mark Jones, with former Sheffield Wednesday and Hereford man Kenny Lunt on the bench and a liberal smattering of scouse accents the contrast with a Monmouth side containing mostly players born within an anglers cast of the Monnow couldn’t have been more stark but the intrigue to see whether this Monmouth side really is as good as any in recent years was real enough. Town were without suspended skipper Jack Alderdice, the raving Sam Palmer and defender Ben Evans who failed a late fitness test but 18 year olds Fessey and Compton came in to partner the ageless Andrew Smith who made his first start in four months in a completely remodelled midfield.
In a cagey opening it was hard to get real answers but soon enough Bala looked sharper in thought and deed and but for a couple of great stops by Blackburn and some profligacy in front of goal the Kingfishers might have been out of it before it had really begun. But they stuck at it and starting to find a bit more range with their passes. Elliot Ford again was blistering down the right hand side attacking the Monnow end and after a bit of pressure Town took the lead. A corner was cleared but only as far as Ford who headed back into the danger area and Guy stooped to flick his header into the bottom corner. The joy didn’t last long however as Hunt rose to glance his first from a corner and just three minutes later Collins was allowed the freedom of Monmouth to waltz into the danger area before being upended by a belated attempt to dent his ambition. Hunt beat Blackburn from the spot.
The Welsh Premier outfit now threatened to run away with it. Looking every bit the higher placed team and the half time whistle at least provided an opportunity for the Kingfisher to regroup. Within ten minutes of the restart however it looked like any remote chance had evaporated when Laurie was sent off for his second booking in the space of five minutes.
As so often with such things the ten man Kingfishers were galvanised and took the game to Bala creating one or two promising opportunities as Harrhy and MacDonald kept probing and prompting and Ford was a blur of endeavour and threat. And then Town equalised. A sweeping move accelerated in the final third and as Harrhy’s shot was well saved by Morris MacDonald pounced to calmly slot the rebound.
For the next twenty minutes the game swung this way and that with Spence immense as the make shift centre half, Davies hurling his creaking joints around the pitch and Smith rolling back the years winning tackles and headers. Guy was his usual unruffled self. Ford fizzed a shot inches over, then Harrhy was put clean through. The massed Monmouthians held their collective breath as the ball rolled inches the wrong side of the upright and the chance was gone. As the game was nearing full time and the crowd anticipated another half hour of breathless action Hunt struck his third.
Joint manager Barry Burns was left facing a mixed bag if emotions after the game “I’m really proud of the lads today. Magnificent every one of them. The crowd really lifted us and this was no fluke underdog performance. We’ve been building it for years now and we’ve got a proper team here playing decent stuff. Of course I’m also disappointed not to have won and to have made a bit more progress in the is cup. But we’ve given it a right old go!”
Town, sponsored by Wye Media return to league action sitting third in the Welsh League when they take on Bryntirion Athletic at the Sportsgorund this Saturday 2pm kick off.
Town Warm Up For Welsh Premier Clash
Monmouth Town 2 Risca United 3 (aet)
Monmouth’s 12 match unbeaten run stretching back to the 1st day of September was ended by a spirited Risca United who fully deserved their win against a lack lustre Monmouth side. Town perhaps with one eye on next week’s Welsh Cup 3rd round tie again Premier division Bala Town failed to capitalise on several good opportunities with their normally reliant strike force misfiring and despite plenty of possession the Kingfishers found it hard to break down the Risca defensive lines. Add in some questionable key decisions and it was day to forget for the Town.
It started brightly enough with Harrhy continuing his good form on 14 minutes finishing off a sweeping move after 16 year old Zimbabwean Kuwana had hit the cross bar for the visitors. Indeed the little African was looking very lively and his strike partner Davies also kept the ball well. Davies it was who went through in the 38 th minute looking for the equaliser but his run was halted by Blackburn who despite emerging with the ball (below) was adjudged to have fouled the Cuckoo’s striker and conceded a the hotly disputed penalty which was dispatched by Davies.
Just five minutes later Harrhy was glancing a fine header beyond the visiting keeper to put Town in the lead at half time.
The second half followed much the same pattern with Town wasteful of plenty of possession and finding it difficult to break down the Risca defensive lines. Palmer hit the bar with a header and too often shooting chances were turned down although the visiting keeper made some important blocks and catches. With just two minutes remaining Davies went through again and his shot sliced under Blackburn to send the game into extra time.
Again Town went on the attack. Harrhy hit the bar from close range MacDonald fired over on a number of occasions. With 104 minutes on the clock Davies again found himself bearing down on Blackburn’s goal and his shot was diverted up onto the bar but the diminutive Kawuna was on hand to head into an empty net.
The second period of extra time saw more incident as the Kingfishers tried to get the equaliser. MacDonald again had shots blocked and fired on over when well placed, Ford fizzed crosses across the box and Alderdice was shown the red card for protesting too strongly after he was upended in the penalty area. But the game and the day belonged to Risca whose defensive work and ability to capitalise on openings was the difference on the day.
Town, sponsored by WyeMedia and the Raduni Restaurant meanwhile will be looking to put their disappointment behind them when the welcome welsh permi9er Bala Town to the Sportsground this Saturday (8th) for 1.30 kick off. The Lakesiders are currently fifth in the Welsh premier Division and aiming for a Europa League spot but the Kingfishers are confident they are capable of causing an upset. Manger Barry Burns said after Saturday’s game “Although Bala have a team with lots of football league experience (including former Hereford United and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Kenny Lunt) and Welsh international in Mark Jones we’ve also got some good players who can cause them a few problems. If we have a good day with a big crowd behind us we can cause an upset that's for sure. We just have to take any chances that come our way and be really switched on. “
Match sponsorship is still available from Andrew of Best of Monmouth on 01600 729030
Laurie and Harrhy – a fine mess for Caerleon
Monmouth Town 3 Caerleon 1
Early goals by Rob Laurie and Nick Harrhy coupled with a super free kick strike from Dan MacDonald on the stroke of half time set up a relatively comfortable win for Pick and Burns’ Monmouth side who went second in the Welsh League and stretched their unbeaten run to twelve. Town also have game in hand over leaders Taff’s Well, are in the semi final of the Gwent Senior cup the last sixteen of the league cup and pulled a plum draw at home to Welsh Premier side Bala Town in the Welsh FA Cup on the 8th December.
Their form and class showed too in the early exchanges of this encounter with Caerleon struggling to cope with the movement and pace of the Monmouth attack. A number of corners were forced before Laurie leapt best to head in on 15 minutes and give the Town a deresertved lead. Harrhy was leading to the Caerleon defence a merry dance with his strong running and movement and with MacDonald pulling strings, Alderdice back to his best and Ford getting some joy on the flanks it seemed only a matter of time before the Kingfishers scored again.
On 30 minutes a good ball by MacDonald found Palmer on the right hand side and his shimmy shook off his man and he was able to pick out the simple but effective run of Harrhy who finished easily. Former Caerleon man Blackburn did have to be on his toes on a number of occasions but in reality Monmouth bossed the game in the key areas and as half time closed in MacDonald rasped a free kick 25 yards and into the far corner to put the game out of reach.
But Caerleon came out stronger as expected and as the pitch deteriorated so did the control in and of the game as tackles flew and tempers flared. A flurry of yellow cards 5 or six to Caerleon and a couple for Monmouth added to the temperature of the game and when Brown pulled one back with 25 minutes remaining the scene was set for a Caerleon fight back. But that would be the Kingfishers of yesteryear as time after time over the past few seasons the Kingfishers have shown that they no longer rely on pretty stuff to get them through games as they stood up well to the Caerleon attacks and always look likely to hit back with one of the their own.
As the game got more stretched it was breathless and end to end but goals remained at a premium but Blackburn and his defence were definitely the busier without really being troubled. This Saturday Monmouth, sponsored by Best of Monmouth, WyeMedia and Raduni Restaurant are in home action in the last sixteen of the Welsh League cup against Gwent rivals, third division Risca United managed by popular Monmouth Comprehensive PE teacher Paul Michaels, who will surely be looking for a higher division scalp. Town on the other hand will be looking to keep their impressive run going.
Ford Double Seals Cup Win
Welsh Cup 2nd Round
Newbridge on Wye 1 Monmouth Town 5
Two goals from Elliot Ford were the highlight of a comfortable Welsh Cup win for the Kingfishers who secured their place in the last 32 of the Welsh FA Cup where potentially they could be drawn against Welsh Premier teams who enter the competition at this stage.
On this form however they will fear no one as they stretched their unbeaten record to 11 games with all of their strike force getting goals in a below par performance but one which didn’t need to scale the heights of skill on a day that would be more rewarding of endeavour and ambition.
Nick Harrhy got the scoring underway on 14 minutes looping a soft shot toward goal which the home keeper made a hash of allowing it to drop inside the far post. It was a soft goal for Newbridge to concede especially as they had set out very defensively hoping to hit on the counter but it did at least make the game more open for the rest of the half particularly when against the run of play the
Kingfishers conceded a soft one of their own. A small amount of enterprise was enough to earn the goal as again a cross cum shot floated over Blackburn but clattered off the far post back onto the startled ‘keeper and in for the equaliser on 32 minutes. Newbridge were back in and with a little more composure might have made more of their undoubted abilities. As it was it MacDonald who once against showed his quality with a composed accurate finish just before half time to put Monmouth, sponsored by WyeMedia in the driving seat.
In the second half the tide began to turn inexorably Monmouth’s way as pressure mounted as they dominated possession and with Harrhy, MacDonald and Ford leading the home defence a merry dance. A sweeping move put in Ford who smashed home his first from close range on 63 minutes. Eight Minutes later it was Ford again who seized on a cross by Sam Palmer after a run that was silkier than a puppy's ears. With Smith now on for Laurie, and Ashley Ford on at right back Town kept the ball better and Smith particularly was relishing the conditions and the fact that he was playing against some former students. It was however the third substitute Liam Head, on for MacDonald, who completed the scoring with a crisp low drive in the final minute. Meanwhile a Craig Lewis hat trick his third in his last five games was enough to maintain the reserve team’s 100% league record as they beat Cwmbran Celtic 5 – 2 at the sports ground.
This Saturday the Kingfishers return to the Sportsground for the first of five consecutive home games looking to keep the pressure on the leaders with a clash with Gwent rivals Caerleon (2.00 kick off) who were promoted with the Town last season. It will be a particularly interesting clash as it pits Town ‘keeper Blackburn and centre half Evans against their old team mates with only bragging rights up for grabs at this stage of the season. Caerleon lie 12th in the division, Monmouth fifth.
On Saturday 24th November, The Kingfishers, with match day catering supplied by the Raduni Restaurant are fielding substitutes of a different kind hosting Mod covers band The Substitutes who recently supported Bruce Foxton’s From The Jam in Cardiff. The gig starts at 8pm tickets are only £5 with a free pint on entry and available from Les Car Care in Monnow Street or at the club itself.
Town Too Much For Bridgend on The River Wye
Monmouth Town 5 Bridgend Town 1
Sponsored by Monmouth Car Centre
Monmouth Town ‘s Kingfishers continued their unbeaten run with an emphatic win against league strugglers Bridgend Town to go joint second in the Welsh League – a point behind the leaders AFC Porth. A superb opening saw Jack Alderdice thumping home a fine header after only 5 minutes and when Nick Harrhy slalomed passed the visiting keeper after only 15 minutes it looked like the start of a landslide for the home team as they blitzed the former Welsh giants with a dizzying array of attacks and angles. Harrhy unfortunately put the ball the wrong side of an open goal and allowed the visitors a chance to regroup and claim an equaliser against the run of play with a fine low finish across Blackburn returning in the Town goal. Bridgend then proceeded to miss chances of their own as the Kingfishers attacked with an abandon missing in the previous weeks with Ford looking back to his flying self, MacDonald shaking off the effects of a hamstring strain to orchestrate sweeping moves and Harrhy making light of the muddy pitch to glide into channels and carry the ball with menace. The trio teamed up for the second with MacDonald sliding in Ford whose superb low cross was met by Harrhy who skilfully beat the keeper before prodding home.
If the previous week’s game against Ton Pentre was a lethargic encounter this was breathless and the third goal just before half time put Town firmly in command as Jacob Guy’s header back across goal set up Nick Harrhy for an emphatic header of his own for his second of the game. Bridgend to their credit weren’t lying down and rolling over as they had in previous games most notably a 7 – 0 reverse at Cambrian and actually had the better of the game for long passages. Most of that, however, was after another fantastic move had ended with Sam Palmer’s composed low strike making it 4 – 1 with just 50 minutes on the clock.
As they had shown in the past couple of the months, defensively, the Kingfishers are made of sterner stuff with Evans and Guy largely unruffled even by the excellence of the marauding and experienced player Manager Mattie Davies and Blackburn pulled off a number saves from distance and one low down smothering the ball at the attacker's feet. Alderdice was also having his best game since his return from injury, Laurie was just enjoying the muck and nettles of the battle as usual, while Davies seemed to have shaken off his many aches and pains and was enjoying his right back role as Spence contributed in a topsy turvy game for him. Monmouth, sponsored by WyeMedia were hoping to improve their goal difference but as it was the only other goal came from another fine move in the 85th minute which finally reached Ford and his early venomous finish capped his own fine performance and secured the 5 – 1 win in a match sponsored by Monmouth Car Centre.
Town, with match catering supplied by Raduni Restaurant are now top scorers in the division, unbeaten since the first day of September and travel with confidence (sponsored by by Auto Spares UK) into their second round Welsh Cup Tie away at Newbridge On Wye next Saturday. A win lines up a possible tie against Welsh Premier teams who enter the cup draw at the third round stage.
The club are arranging travel to the game for supporters at £10 (adults) and £5 for children with every member supporter receiving a free club scarf. The coach leaves at 10am and will be back in Monmouth at 10pm. If you’d like to go phone Lee on 07967 479484.
27th October 2012
Town Down Ton
Monmouth Town 2 Ton Pentre 0
Two goals from Nick Harrhy on his return to Monmouth Sportsground were enough to book the Kingfishers’ place in the last sixteen of the Nathaniel Car Sales Welsh league cup. The first came with Town’s first attack of the game as MacDonald played in Elliot Ford who rolled the ball along the six yard box and Harrhy was on hand to apply the finishing touch. For the rest of the half the Kingfishers sponsored by WyeMedia struggled to get into the game and find their passing rhythm but still looked a little more dangerous in advanced areas with MacDonald getting some strikes away and Ford occasionally finding room to take on his defenders.
Ton seemed to have the opposite problem as their neat possession and passing more often than not came to nothing although Lee Williams standing in for the injured Keiron Blackburn did have to make sharp stop low to his left. Jacob Guy and Rob Laurie standing in for the injured Evans dealt comfortably with much of that Ton created and Spence and Davies were barely troubled down the flanks. That said it was strangely subdued game with both sides lacking any real energy and the game as a whole played at a low tempo.
The introduction in the second half of Ashley Ford returning after a few weeks in the reserves allowed Town to keep the ball better while Compton added a bit of zip going forward but the second half followed pretty much the same format with Ton keeping the ball and looking for openings that weren't going to arrive. They did have the ball in the net after a back pass from Elliot Ford was superbly curled in early in the half but it was mysteriously chalked off as an adamant linesman insisted that there had been some infringement.
Compton stung the keeper’s hands with a rasping drive on the hour and Williams again was called into action to palm away an angled drive but it wasn’t until Harrhy got his second capitalising on a spill by the keeper and tapping home that Monmouth secured their passage.
Town’s midweek attempt to top the welsh league had fallen to a late Taffs Well equaliser but they remain unbeaten in nine games, still in contention in all three cups and lie sixth in Division One just three points off top spot.
The reserve team were also maintaining their 100% record in a cup match at Monmouthshire rivals Goytre with Matty Johns making his senior debut in goal, another brace from Craig Lewis, two from Liam Wilson and a free kick winner from club captain Andrew Smith the highlights in a 5 – 4 win.
The Town, whose match day catering is kindly provided by the Raduni restaurant are at home again this Saturday with a game against Bridgend Town (kick off 2pm) before continuing their Welsh Cup adventure with a 2nd round game away at Newbridge on Wye. The Club are arranging Supporters transport for the day out leaving at 10am and arriving back in Monmouth at 10pm. If you’re interested please contact Lee on 079674794848
Late Goal Denies Town Top Spot
23rd Ocober, 2012
Taffs Well 1 Monmouth Town 1
A late goal from Taffs Well denied the Kingfishers the chance to go top of the Welsh League on a pulsating evening in North Cardiff in a game that both sides will rue missed chances and bad luck. A serious injury to Town ‘keeper Keiron Blackburn after only ten minutes added fifteen minutes to the game but he stayed on and played hsi part with some vital second half saves which helped bring the precious point back to Monmouth.
The Wellmen started much the brighter with Williams and Prangley a cool mix of ice and fizz and the rest of the side seeming more up for it than they had been in a more prosaic performance on a recent visit to Goytre FC. Davies was struggling to contain his wing man but as often in past weeks Guy and Evans holding firm with Blackburn barley troubled despite the confident attacking. Indeed it was the Kingfishers who showed the first real threat with Harrhy and MacDonald combining to punch a hole through the middle of the Taffs defence but just failing to find Alderdice. It was Alderdice who did get on the end of a superb Spence overlap and cross but the home keeper did well saving low to his right.
Blackburn’s injury interrupted the hectic flow with Taffs initially feeling that he was feigning injury but the copious amounts of blood indicated a fairly hefty collision and Blackburn continued bravely with not much to trouble him. Not so the other end when Dan MacDonald latched onto a half cleared ball and rifled into the bottom corner on 28 minutes. As with Saturday ‘s Barry encounter Town had to concede possession and territory in exchange for threat and a point blank header from Evans was again well saved by the home keeper when with more power it would have seen the Kingfishers go in at half time 2 – 0 to the good. Taffs had a vociferous but despearate appeal for a penalty rightly turned down on one of their better raids.
The second half was a more one sided affair as Monmouth struggled to retain any decent possession and only seemed able to partially clear danger continually inviting pressure on themselves. But for all that Taffs day in front of goal was not turning out to be fruitful as crosses flashed across the face of goal on numerous occasions and other efforts petered out on determined defenders. Another passionate penalty appeal was again waved away by the much better placed referee. The storm appeared to be over as the game neared its end but Evans had to call it a day with calf strain meaning a slight reshuffle in the Kingfishers’ defence. A lame attempt in the 88th appeared to pose limited threat but slight indecision in the visitors defence allowed Jones to pounce and drill home for the equaliser. With barely two minutes to go it was a fair reward for Taffs’ endeavour and skill and they could have won the game but for another superb block by Blackburn. In a final twist a defensive howler let in MacDonald who squared to Head but the sub took too long over the chance and it disappeared into the Cardiff air.
Kingfishers Slay Dragons
20th October 2012
Welsh League Division One
Barry Town 1 Monmouth Town 2
Ten years ago Monmouth Town’s first team were struggling to a 1 – 1 draw with Burnt Barn in a dire October game in Gwent County Division Three. The same season last Saturday’s opponents were beating Portuguese champions Porto in the champions league. Fast forward to October 2012 and the Town’s footballers travelled to Jenner Park, Barry; home of the Welsh league leaders, seven times Welsh Premier champions, seven times welsh cup winners - and beat them. True they had to ride their luck in a frantic last quarter of an hour and were distinctly second best in an attacking sense for the majority of the second period but this was no fluke result. This was not the work of travelling underdogs having a good day while the thoroughbreds had an off day. It was well contested game of football by two evenly matched sides who had lots to offer all over the park. The Kingfishers’ ability to take the chances that were on offer was the deciding factor.
After a cagey and scrappy first twenty minutes Monmouth, sponsored by WyeMedia, had gained the upper hand and had started to string a few moves together with the returning Nick Harrhy at the heart of most of the decent work with his crisp passing and fluid movement and Dean Palmer’s deliveries causing some concern in the home defence. Blackburn at the other end had to deal smartly with a couple of good efforts as Doidge and Nagi the attacking pair for the Dragons showing flashes of real quality and directness.
A couple of corners for Monmouth were dealt with relatively comfortably by the Barry defence but on the half hour centre half Ben Evans got the better of everyone and headed in from six yards to give the travelling Kingfishers the lead, celebrating by breaking Monmouth ‘s long jump record in the sand pit behind the goal. Within five minutes it was two as Dan MacDonald got on the end of a great through ball and clipped in over the advancing Bradley in Barry’s goal. The home side seemed stung into action and launched a series of raids that came to nought until, on the stroke of half time, a lapse of concentration at a throw in allowed Barry plenty of room to work the ball to Josh Bell who let fly from 20 yards giving Blackburn no chance.
In the second half Rob Laurie replaced 18 year old Max Fessey to give a bit more muscle to the midfield but Barry were clearly intent on making up the deficit. Town stood firm with Spence, Evans and Guy outstanding and Blackburn cool and unflustered. Davies, on for Dean Palmer was also looking back to his old self with flying tackles and headers denying Barry attackers and corner after corner came and went with Monmouth standing firm. It was in open play that Barry looked more dangerous raiding left and right and through the middle and in one move Nagi beat the defence all ends up but delayed his shot too long and Blackburn smothered superbly. Doidge rolled a shot agonisingly wide and Nagi crashed a blistering drive against the post with Blackburn beaten.
The Kingfishers can always counter however and Palmer went close after good work by Harrhy, MacDonald tried his luck from distance and Ford rattled the crossbar as the game approached a tense end. An end that seemed an age to arrive as the referee added an extra ten minutes possibly to see if he could induce any heart attacks for the visiting supporters. The end when it came was a delight for Monmouth who moved up to fifth and could be sitting on top of the entire Welsh League come Tuesday evening with a win away at sixth placed Taffs Well , who intriguingly could also claim that spot with a win of their own.
It was left to Barry born Chairman Lee Robson to reflect on the game. “Although this is a real milestone for me and in terms of the development of the club as a whole, it’s just another three points really. I’m getting a bit boring saying we’ve come so far but although that’s true we’re here on merit not to make up the numbers. The guys put in a tremendous shift today and managers Robin (Pick ) and Barry (Burns) are showing we belong in this company. It’s too early to talk about winning this, that or the other but we’re certainly not scared of any team, anywhere, in any competition. “
The town’s reserve side, sponsored by the Raduni Restaurant meanwhile were busy thrashing Cardiff based Bridgend Street 10 -1 with five goals for Craig Lewis to keep their 100% record in the Welsh league reserve division while the Under 19’s sponsored by Auto Spares Uk progressed in the Welsh Youth Cup beating rivals Cwmbran Celtic 5 – 2.
Town Are at home this Saturday (27th) to play a rearranged League cup tie in a 2pm kick off against Ton Pentre who won five consecutive welsh League titles from 1997.
Kingfishers Hold Their Nerve To Clinch Penalty shoot out Welsh Cup win
AFC Porth 0 Monmouth Town 0 aet (Monmouth win 6 – 5 on pens)
Monmouth Town’s Kingfishers showed nerves of steel to clinch a dramatic shoot out at AFC Porth and secure their place in the 2nd round of the FAW Welsh up. Two hours of football couldn’t separate the two sides in a cagey goalless game with few chances unlike the league game at Monmouth which ended all square at 3 – 3 with an Elliot Ford second half trick retrieved a three goal deficit. If that game was open and thrilling this was a more tactical affair with Town matching the Rhondda side in midfield and cancelling each other out in creativity at least. As a result possession and chances were always likely to be at a premium but Dan MacDonald still looked the most likely player to break any deadlock but most of his best work was too far from goal and any crosses he did get in were tantalisingly out of reach of Head and Ford who themselves had to make do with scraps and small opening in a solid Porth defence. At the other end the Town back five were putting in a grudging performance and denying any real openings but Blackburn in the Town goal dealt with anything thrown his way particularly following a slip by Guy which led to a point blank block on the stroke of half time.
Fessey, Alderdice and Sam Palmer gave as good as they got and the Kingfishers probably shaded the first half . Not so the second as Porth came flying out of the blocks pushing full backs forward to join in more with attacks but in truth created very little of note as both sides kept tight as the game neared extra time . A rasping free kick from MacDonald which drew a good save was the last of the normal time action.
The extra half hour showed the same pattern as neither side risked opening up too much possibly out of mutual respect although Porth hit the woodwork and a few crosses caused a little panic in the Monmouth defence. But Town sponsored by WyeMedia are made of sterner stuff these days and saw out the game comfortably enough to secure the lottery of the penalty shoot out. And what a competition it was with all ten of the regular penalty takers scoring and giving neither keeper a chance to shine. As with these things there are always heroes and villains and the sixth Porth penalty flew high and wide leaving 18 years Max Fessey (pictured) to etch his name into the Monmouth history books which he did with aplomb to send the visiting supporters home happy.
Manager Barry Burns was full of praise for his team “We had a game plan which was a little alien to us and we stuck to it and executed it really well. The team showed great maturity in keeping their shape and discipline and hopefully we can get our rewards with a good run in this cup.”
Postponements elsewhere mean that Saturday's cup clash with Ton Pentre will have to rearranged but Town will be looking for good home draw to progress in the Wales’s premier competition.
Kingfishers Win it by a Head
Monmouth Town 2 Pontardawe Town 1
Liam Head’s first goal for the Kingfishers sent them on their way to their third straight win and up to seventh in Welsh League Division One just 5 points off top with two games in hand. A Dan MacDonald second half strike put the Town 2 – 0 up with half an hour to play but a Dan Spence own goal reduced the lead and made sure the final twenty minutes were less than comfortable against a tricky combative Pontardawe who has started the afternoon in sixth. The game itself was a scrappy affair with none of the openness that normally characterise any game involving the Kingfishers.
There were however plenty of individual battle breaking out with Ponty’s wide men having plenty of joy down the flanks and but little threat down the middle – or at least such that it was usually floundered on the centre pairing of Guy and Evans. Fessey was having a tough time in the middle and returning skipper Alderdice also struggled to get a grip on the game as Ponty’s midfield pressed quickly and in numbers to deny town time dn space. The Flying Ford had his wings clipped a number of times and Sam Palmer on the opposite side had plenty of the ball but could do little with it.
Town however did fashion the better chances of the half bringing a few smart saves from the impressive visiting keeper. Palmer especially saw his dipping strike smartly tipped over. But Head it was who opened the scoring latching onto a dropping ball and firing first time inside the near post. Head’s running and MacDonald’s prompting were to be applauded but they were getting little joy from the well drilled Pontardawe back four.
Ponty opened the second half much the brighter having to chase a goal. Blackburn saved smartly and the visiting striker should have done better when well placed but saw his shot roll wide and as Ponty pressed a lightening break saw MacDonald free and his finish was emphatic as he crashed hi shot against eh bar and in. Town were looking comfortable and in control but a lapse in concentration caught them out and a dangerous cross evaded everyone apart from Dan Spence who was helpless as the ball stuck his chest and cannoned in.
Suddenly the Town were rattled and looking edgy. Pontardawe did look the most likely team as they sensed they could get something from the game but Blackburn remained a calming influence, and the Kingfishers saw out the strangely long second half to secure all three points. The Club would like to thank main sponsors WyeMedia for their continuing support and Raduni restaurant for the match day catering.
Monmouth’s reserve team sponsored by Auto Spares Uk had their attempt to go top of the reserve league hampered by a game that was abandoned after 43 minutes following a severe injury to a Croesyceiliog player. Our best wishes for a speedy recovery to Alex Bull.
Monmouth Town 2 Dinas Powys 0
Nathaniel Car Sales League Cup Round One
(with thanks to Peter King of Dinas Powys)
Monmouth Town, sponsored by WyeMedia, eased into the second round of the League Cup with a comfortable win over a well below par Dinas Powis at the Sportsground last Saturday. With Dean Palmer replacing the crocked Aaron Davies and Liam Head making his first start up front for the Kingfishers made most of the early running with Steve Johnson the Dinas ‘keeper soon tested taking a high ball at full stretch and gathering a shot from Liam Head in the first 10 minutes.
Dinas were awarded a free kick just outside the area and Liam Jeremy stepped up but instead of his usual trademark curling shot he elected to hit it hard and low which went just the wrong side of the far post. With Dinas electing to use the long ball tactic a lot of the time the Monmouth back four were finding it easy to gain possession and they began to get well on top, passing the ball along the back four until an opening arose and they had several good chances which were off target, Liam Head latching onto a through ball to hit the side netting, Elliott Ford blazing over the bar when well placed and MacDonald finding Sam Palmer in space but his effort was also over the bar.
At the other end Dinas had a good chance to open the scoring when Joe Hinds found Richard Yarr but although his shot beat Keiron Blackburn it was just the wrong side of the upright, and midfielder Adam Raymond spun and hit a ball on target but it didn't have enough pace on it to trouble Blackburn and the half ended goalless but Monmouth having the lion's share of possession.
The second half continued in a similar pattern and Monmouth finally got the opener with nine minutes gone when Ford saw Johnson too far off his line and lobbed superbly over the Dinas keeper for 1-0.
Johnson made amends soon after with a fantastic double save parrying two shots from close range, the first by Rob Laurie and the second by Ford and the danger was finally cleared. Macdonald then cut in from the right wing and hit a rasping shot that cannoned off the post and was cleared but he was not to be denied and 20 minutes into the half he took a cross from the right in his stride to hit an unstoppable shot just inside the left post for 2-0.
Dinas were finding it difficult to get any attacks going and manager Mark Dunford rang the changes but to no avail as Town also replaced midfield pairing Fessey and Laurie with returning skipper Alderdice and also Ashley Ford who both did well. Dean Palmer was the pick of the bunch with an inventive display at right back. Many thanks to match caterers Raduni Restaurant.
Town are away at bottom of the table Tata Steel next week with transport sponsored by Auto Spares (UK)
Monmouth Town 3 AFC Porth 3
A second half Elliot Ford hat trick, the third goal just two minutes from time secured a point for the Kingfishers in their first home game of the season against early Welsh League pace setters AFC Porth in a dramatic, pulsating high quality game at the Sportsground last Saturday as the Kingfishers came back from 3 – 0 in a stunning fightback. Starting a home game in the second tier of Welsh Football for the first time in their 136 year history after a decent enough start to the season on the road the high scoring Kingfishers were looking to pierce a miserly Porth defence who had yet to concede in their first five games. The Kingfishers number 9 shirt had looked difficult to fill of late but Craig Lewis’s midweek hat trick in a 5 – 1 win at Croesyceiliog which had secured the Town’s passage to the semi final of the Gwent Senior Cup had earned him the right to have the latest attempt.
The back four was also reshuffled in the continued search for some defensive solidity with the unlucky Dean Palmer replaced at right back by Aaron Davies as last season’s supporters’ player of the season Jacob Guy reclaimed his place in the centre of defence alongside Ben Evans.
That strategy lay in tatters after just 12 minutes as a raid down Porth’s right resulted in an unchallenged cross which was easily turned home by Williams. Just 5 minutes later Wright was left to meander unmarked into the Town’s six yard box from a simple free kick to head down and past Blackburn. The simplicity of the two goals barely reflected the complexity of the Porth’s play until then as although in open play the Town had defended reasonably well they did have to cope with a top of the table team brimming with energy, ideas and movement which made the Kingfishers look distinctly second rate. Indeed for most of the first half the Kingfisher were simply outclassed and out passed and struggling to get any ball or rhythm into their play. When Edwards scored the Porth third within a minute of the restart it really should have been all over other than a case of damage limitation for the home team. But the shoots of a recovery has been evident in the latter stage of the first half as Porth looked to tire after their blistering start.
Elliot Ford got one back after 48 minutes with a header from a corner which looped in and from there the Town grew in confidence and self belief. The tempo increased, debutant Liam Head who had replaced the hapless Lewis at half time was running the channels to greater effect, Dan MacDonald starting springing up in places and spaces, Laurie was now winning tackles and headers, Porth were becoming predictable and struggling to find their players with passes that had unerring accuracy in the first half. Town were rising Porth flagging. On 68 minutes Laurie wins a tackle plays in Fessey who feeds MacDonald in space bearing down on goal,. His square ball across the face of goal left Ford with an easy chance to make 3 – 2 and suddenly everyone of 150 in attendance including the 50 paying customizers sensed that Monmouth, could get something from the game – couldn't they? For the last 20 minutes it was Monmouth, overlapping, chasing, tackling and driving to get the equaliser. Head missed the chance to be a hero with a header, Laurie just missed, MacDonald blazed one over, Palmer just failed to connect to a cross from Macca and then from a corner Ford headed home the equaliser for his hat trick and grabbed a point for Monmouth.
A breathless Robin Pick explained afterwards “it was such a terrible start and we weren't at the races but our character, resilience and Elliot have hauled us back and earned us a point. Credit to Porth they are a good team and it was great advert for Welsh League football. I’m sure the people who have supported us today will have enjoyed the experience. I hope they tell others how good the football is and we get a bumper crowd next week. It really does help us.” The Kingfishers, sponsored by WyeMedia and match day caterers Raduni Restaurant, are at home this Saturday (15th) in League Cup action against second division Dinas Powis (2.00ko)
Four Four Chew puts paid to Croesy.
Gwent Cup Quarter Final
Croesyceiliog 1 Monmouth Town 5
A hat trick by Craig Lewis on a rare start booked a semi final place for Monmouth’s marauding Kingfishers in this Gwent Senior Cup quarter final tie. Despite dominating proceedings Town fell behind when Palmer pulled back a Croesy attacker and conceded the penalty but no feathers were unduly ruffled and Town got back on with the job in hand and did what they do best. Score goals. Ford got the visitors off the mark before Lewis got a deserved goal with his knee to seal a half time lead.
The game was played in a very good spirit with a young Croesy side getting behind the Town on a number of occasions without troubling Blackburn too much. A second half penalty miss by MacDonald was greeted with some derision relating to his remuneration but as so often such jibes were made to look silly as MacDonald dumped three defenders on their backsides with the slightest of shimmies before slotting his toe poke home. That was after Lewis had grabbed his second with his other knee. In a final flurry ‘Chewy’s reward for seasons of graft and application was a third goal gleefully dispatched with a part of his anatomy more usually associated with football.
Chairman Lee Robson was full of praise for Craig’s efforts. “I think I speak for everyone at the club by saying how delighted I am for my former strike partner Craig. He’d be the first to admit that he’s not the most gifted footballer but he does represent a triumph of hard work, commitment and a willingness to learn. Football’s littered with people who ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’ been. They waste what talent they have. Craig can be proud he’s making the most of his. He really is an example to many of our younger players. “
Town downed at the Bryn
Bryntrion Athletic 2 Monmouth Town 1
If the victory over Haverfordwest was a high water mark for Town and evidence of their attacking prowess this was a low point in the art of finishing as chance after chance was spurned and that, coupled with an inability to deal with relatively benign attacking from former Champions Bryntirion added to an inspired performance by Athletic stickman Walters were the ingredients for a frustrating defeat for the Kingfishers.
The early play was dominated by a composed Monmouth Team revelling in their new found confidence. Comfortable in possession and with Rob Laurie restored to the midfield the early play picked at the seams of a young Bryn outfit rebuilding after losing several key players during the summer. On 8 minutes Maxted replacing the unlucky Burns at centre forward was put clean though on gola but lifted his attempt over. Minutes later Ford emulated his strike partner and before twenty minutes were out Dan MacDonald had a strike saved superbly from point blank range. It seemed just a matter of time before the flood gates opened and a superb through ball from MacDonald set Ford free to beat the keeper in a foot race and with still a lot do lift his shot into the far corner of the net.
From there it should have been plain sailing but a stubborn Bryn had other ideas. Attacking in the channels and causing some flutters of excitement Town failed to deal properly with one such raid leaving Rob Joules to go unnoticed and fire low past Blackburn to equalize after 32 minutes. Panic ensued, the early composure disappeared and Bryntirion suddenly looked like they could get something from the game. Just 6 minutes later another poor clearance put the exposed back line in trouble and from a deep cross a looping header floated over Blackburn to drop in at the far post.
More chances went begging in the final flurries of the half as Ford inexplicably missed after a sublime pass from MacDonald, a Maxted effort was smothered and other pot shots went high and wide. But still Town looked the team most likely.
It was perhaps predictable that Bryn would sit back in the second half and let the Kingfishers do al of the searching and so it proved. Even so Maxted should have done better when clean through, a drive by Ford was well saved by Walters and toward the end a belter from MacDonald was tipped over. In between times Bryn almost caught Monmouth out with a couple of rare breaks with Blackburn making one smart save. The introduction Compton added a little bit more spice but for all their huffing and puffing it was Bryntirion’s day with a laudable defensive display by a team that will get better as the season progresses. Town for their part have the consolation that in other games they will play badly and win.
Kingfishers Down Bluebirds
Haverfordwest County 3 Monmouth Town 4
A superb performance from a severely depleted Monmouth Town secured all three points against Welsh League favourites and former Welsh Premier side Haverfordwest County. The Kingfishers, sponsored by WyeMedia, travelled for their clash with the Bluebirds with only eleven fit players as first team regulars Guy, Alderdice, Elliot Ford and Rob Laurie all had other engagements while Kennedy Smith and Ashley Ford failed to recover from injury. With Bowen having decided to hang up his boots for the interim and a raft of reserve team players also not available Mangers Burns and Pick reshaped the side handing rare starts to 18 year olds Burns and Cleaves, a debut to new signing from Caerleon Ben Evans and a first outing in central midfield form Sam Palmer. Just turned 18 Max Fessey made his first start as his partner.
Conversely Haverfordwest handed a start to recent signing from Llanelli and former Kilmarnock star player Scott Evans and the rest of the side contained a large smattering of players with football league experience, although they lost former Norwich city player Deryn Brace after only a minute. Given the circumstances the Kingfishers could have been forgiven for attempting a bit of damage limitation. Not a bit of it! After the long trek in Sam Hale’s mini bus Monmouth weathered an early storm as a succession of County corners came to nought and as the defence held firm started to get a foothold in the game with Fessey playing like a veteran in his man of the mach performance, Maxted’s pace sounding warning s and the ever inventive MacDonald getting some shots on target. Burns led the line well against the veteran Elliot and gave as good as he got in some early scraps. On the half hour it was one scrap too many for the home defender as he lashed out at Burns off the ball giving the referee no option but to wave a red card and point to the penalty spot. MacDonald’s boot did the rest from 12 yards to give the visitors an unlikely lead.
Town were enjoying the superb surface which suited their passing game and defended well in numbers against dangerous play from former Carmarthen winger Stefan Williams who caused problems down the Town left. MacDonald however was in his element receiving and moving and looking a class apart with Evans growing into the game, Davies winning the majority of challenges and Palmer having an enjoyable time in the middle of things for a change.
Things got better as the second half got underway as another searing break caught Haverfordwest at sixes and sevens and Maxted's low cross was waiting for the inevitable finish from MacDonald but a home defender pulled him back to concede penalty number two and count himself lucky not have been dismissed as a consequence. MacDonald spot kick made it six for the season and 2 - 0 to the Town.
Haverfordwest then had no choice but to push on to try and fashion a decent end product which for all their possession was sorely lacking. And as is so often the case they left the back doors open as Maxted set off on a wonderful run on 67 minutes eluding two defenders before rounding the goalkeeper with ease and smashing the ball gleefully into the unguarded net for 3 - 0. And that really should have been that. But this Monmouth Town. Scorers of hatfuls of goals but always with a propensity to give something away cheaply and so it proved as a loose back pass from MacDonald left Evans in two minds and Blackburn was beaten the ball by Williams and conceded the penalty. The home crowd woke up. With Blackburn already booked for time wasting an early bath seemed inevitable but a charitable referee let Blackburn pay for his transgression by picking the ball out of the net. 3 - 1 and still 20 minutes to play. Haverfordwest continued to press the game and were pulling at Monmouth’s increasingly fragile nerves but again a break by MacDonald found Burn free on goal. The youngster kept his composure but scuffed his execution and in doing so wrong footed the keeper who as he fell could only watch helplessly as the ball rolled into the opposite corner of the net for 4 - 1.
Back came the Bluebirds and with 8 minutes remaining Walters made it 4 -2 capitalising on a diagonal ball and some indecision before lively substitute Rob Morgan made it 4 - 3 with just three minutes left on the clock. The Kingfishers however kept their cool and, more importantly, the ball to see out a thrilling encounter and ensure the long journey home was a happy one.
Manager Barry Burns was delighted with the performance “to be honest before the game I was worried that wouldn’t cope. We played people out of position, brought in some lads who haven’t featured before and called up Tom Phillips who made his way here from Tredegar to help us out. It could have been real backs to the wall stuff. But we took the game to them, had the rub of the green at times but thoroughly deserved our win and played some great football at times. We said if we worked hard and played the right way we’d score. We just figured we’d have to stop them scoring more than us. Mission accomplished.”
Town have now moved to sixth in Division One of the Welsh League and travel to 2012 champions Bryntrion Athletic this Saturday (1st September) and return to Monmouth for their first home game of the season on Saturday 8th against current leaders AFC Porth managed by former Swansea City defender Adrian Needs. (Kick of 2.30 pm) If you would like to sponsor the match please call Lee Robson on 07967 479484
Saturday 18th August
Kingfishers put on a West End show
West End 2 Monmouth Town 4
Monmouth Town secured their first win of their Welsh League Division One campaign with an improved display at Swansea based West End FC last Saturday. Although the Kingfishers were still not at their most fluent, there was far more fight and desire applied to the performance after the disappointing loss in midweek to Cwmbran Celtic.
Barry Burns made a number of changes to the side that lost by replacing striker Matthew Bowen with Tom Maxted and reshuffling his back four by bringing in Dean Palmer for the injured Ashley Ford and swapping Aaron Davies and Dan Spence from their usual centre back and full back roles in order to give the defence a more natural balance.
The Town started off with a plan to press higher up the pitch when not in possession and look to push full backs on at every opportunity when the ball was theirs. West End were out of the blocks quicker and put the Town on the back foot without really creating any clear cut chances, resulting in a few long range shots that failed to trouble Blackburn in the town goal. The Kingfishers, in their new kit chosen by their member in the five pound football club and sponsored by WyeMedia, struggled to maintain possession and put themselves in needless trouble at times as the hosts, who beat former champions Goytre United 4-1 in the week, looked for the opening goal.
On twenty minutes, the Kingfishers lost skipper Smith due to a thigh strain and he was replaced by 18 year old Max Fessey in the centre of the park. The break through came slightly against the run of play when a Blackburn kick down field evaded everyone apart from Dan Macdonald and the former Aston Villa forward finished with aplomb into the top corner. This stunned the hosts and the Town started to look more assured in possession and were able to get the dangerous Macdonald more into the game. Tom Maxted worked tirelessly closing and pressurising defenders and he was nearly rewarded but blazed over from six yards.
On 41 minutes, the Town doubled their lead from an unlikely source. Left back Dan Spence delivered a dangerous looking cross that Tom Maxted just failed to get on the end of but the ball bounced and found its way into the far corner of the goal. It was essential that the Kingfishers saw the half out and went into the break with their clean sheet in tact and the side, as a whole, did that effectively.
The start of the second period started slowly as the Town ensured that they played effective football on order to protect their lead. Elliot Ford and Sam Palmer were both looking dangerous when the Kingfishers broke from any home attack. The whole shape and game plan looked more assured and Blackburn was rarely called upon to make any saves of note. Jacob Guy crashed a header against the bar and Ford missed a golden opportunity from a Maxted cross before the Town thought they had made the game safe when Rob Laurie ghosted into the box to head home unmarked from a Maxted long throw with just 17 minutes remaining.
The Town, however, never seem to do things the easy way and allowed the home side back into the game, albeit from a generous looking penalty kick given for a Laurie handball. Just four minutes later the home side scored again. A long ball from the back caught Guy off guard to allow the centre forward in on goal and fire past Blackburn with 12 minutes remaining. The panic, luckily didn’t settle in for long as Macdonald settled the visiting supporters nerves with his second goal of the game, as he fired into the far corner.
West End’s head dropped and frustration started to grow as numerous tackles were punished with yellow cards. The Town kept their heads to hold on for their first win of the campaign and give them a total of four point from three away games at their new level.
Captain Smith was delighted for his teammates at the full time whistle and commented. “The boys were all superb today and we’ve proved that we can compete at this level. Certain people had written us off after Tuesday’s result which is unbelievable after just one defeat. We know we underperformed on Tuesday and we all wanted to prove a point today. It’s going to take time for us to adapt to this higher level and we know we are in for a tough season. But I back us all the way. As long as we show the fight and desire like today we’ll be fine.
Monmouth face their toughest test yet next Saturday when they make the long trip West to former Welsh Premier League side Haverfordwest County, kick off 2.30pm
Tuesday 14th August 2012
Cwmbran Celtic 3 (Dominic Connor, 2; Shane Williamson)
Monmouth Town 1 (Elliott Ford)
SKIPPER Craig Cheedy celebrated his 200th club appearance in style as substitute Dominic Connor's late double earned Celtic their first win of the new season writes Terry Daly.
Elliott Ford had given the visitors and early lead with home striker Shane Williamson equalising matter just after the half-hour mark.Both sides missed good opportunities to add to their total while the respective goalkeepers, Celtic debutant Gareth Williams and Monmouth's Keiron Blackburn, also pulled off fine stops.But just as the game was drifted towards a 1-1 draw, Connor first popped up to head home at a Luke Jones corner before he side-footed home from close range to complete a dramatic success.
Celtic had began on the back of Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Barry Town, where they had led 2-0, while Monmouth started following the same-day 3-3 draw at Aberdare Town – where they, too, had been 2-0 ahead.Ford's goal came after Williams had initially done well to save an effort from Dan Spence, but the stopper then fumbled the resulting cross to present Ford with the opportunity which he took.
Williamson got a good enough touch on the ball to deflect it pass Blackburn at a corner taken by Jones and the two later combined to set up Connor with his first goal.The third, and clinching goal, came with just four minutes remaining and gave precious little time for the Kingfishers to strike back.
Celtic now have the chance of a quick-fire home win double on Saturday, when Bridgend Town visit, while Monmouth are again on their travels – this time at West End.
Cwmbran Celtic: Gareth Williams; Lee Challenger; Richard Cress; Luke Jones; Ben Luck; Chris Ham; Rakesh Patel; Craig Cheedy (capt); Shane Williamson; Owen Llewellyn; Josh Bull (Dominic Connor, 62). Subs not used: Liam Palmer; Steven Peel; Adrian Maguire; Lewis Watkins (g/k). Booked: Cress (55). Goals: Connor (81 and 86); Williamson (32).
Monmouth Town: Keiron Blackburn; Aaron Davies; Ashley Ford (Dean Palmer, 24); Andrew Smith; Jacob Guy; Dan Spence; Sam Palmer (Dan Compton, 80); Rob Laurie; Mathew Bowen (Craig Lewis, 80); Dan MacDonald; Elliott Ford. Subs not used: Max Feesey; Rod Lewis. Goal: Ford (7).
Referee: Kris Hames
Assistants: Tony Maher and Mike Martin
Kingfishers Make A Point
Aberdare Town 3 Monmouth Town 3
Saturday 11th August 2012
Monmouth Town kicked off their first season in the top flight of the Welsh League with an entertaining, hard fought three all draw at Aberdare Town last Saturday. Sporting their new maroon away strip, the Kingfishers raced into a two goal lead via last season’s top scorer Dan Macdonald but were then pegged back and equalised through Aaron Davies with seventeen minutes to go.
Aberdare were playing their first game under their new name, having changed it during the close season from Aberaman Athletic, who themselves had won the Welsh league title as recent as 2010.
The Town, sponsored by WyeMedia, made a couple of changes from the side that beat Newport Civil Service seven days previously with Smith replacing the injured Alderdice in midfield and Davies coming in for the unfortunate Dean Palmer at left back to try and add more aerial presence at set pieces.
It was a case of more of the same as the Town broke down the right flank with the pace of Elliot Ford to force corner as early as the second minute. From the resulting corner, a headed clearance found Macdonald just outside the box. Macdonald settled himself and struck a sweet shot into the bottom corner to give the league debutants a dream start. Aberdare, although stunned, then started to enjoy large spells of possession as Monmouth sat back. Despite looking extremely comfortable with the ball at their feet, it was the longer, direct style from former Cardiff City defender Lee Jarman that caused the most problems for the Kingfishers back four. On the quarter of an hour mark, spectators were left breathless as they witnessed a sensational strike from Macdonald to double the Towns lead. Blackburns scuffed clearance found the number 10 just inside the oppositions half an three seconds later and the ball had sailed over the home keepers head and under the crossbar into the net as Macdonald reciprocated the infamous David Beckham goal from the half way line.
In truth, the home side then dominated the rest of the half and caused numerous chances of their own. Aberdare thought they had pulled a goal back when the centre forward raced through and slotted past Blackburn but the assistants flag for offside kept the Town two goals in front. Warning signs were creeping in and Blackburn made a fantastic point blank save from a header three yards out. On the few occasions the Kingfishers did attack, they certainly looked threatening. Fords pace and Macdonald’s precise passing showed why the Town amassed over 100 goals last year and certainly gave evidence that they can still score goals at their new level. Full back Ashley Ford fired narrowly wide after good build up play from Bowen and the elder Ford brother and Macdonald weaved himself into the area only to find is shot saved by the legs of the home stopper.
The lead was halved however just five minutes before the break. A carbon copy of the move that resulted in Blackburn’s point blank save this time was finished with a crisp volley from five yards as the centre forward ghosted in unmarked. The hosts must have gone in wondering how they were trailing after enjoying most of the possession.
The start of the second period started in the same manner with the home side enjoying large periods of possession and the visitors sitting back absorbing pressure. The long diagonal ball in behind however, was still the main cause of concern for the Town as they found their back four being turned on numerous occasions. With seven minutes of the half gone, the scores were level. Davies tried keeping a pass from Jacob Guy but was dispossessed and the cross into the box found the centre forward to stab home from a tight angle.
The large home crowd sensed that the tide had turned and it certainly looked as if the home side would go onto win the game. Just six minutes later and the home side were in front. A free kick out wide was delivered to the far post where a home defender headed home into the far corner of the net.
The Kingfishers then had to change from their defensive set up in order to get anything from the game and they started to play some of their trademark football themselves. Although the home side still had more share of the ball, the Town again looked dangerous going forward. Ford forced a corner on the right and as Laurie challenged the keeper, he misjudged the flight of the ball and it hit Davies at the far post to level the scores at three all.
Both sides then created half chances to win the game which was being played at a far greater pace than any of last season’s fixtures. The Town defended a number of corners and Guy swept up well when called upon. Bowen couldn’t quite connect fully with a shot when well placed and Dean Palmer, who had replaced Ashley Ford, struck a shot from twenty yards which was also well saved. Macdonald nearly won it late on with a left foot dipping volley that produced an outstanding save from the home keeper. 18 year old Max Feesey cam on late for Dan Spence for his Kingfishers’ debut.
The full time whistle sounded and the Town, despite having a two goal lead, can be more than happy with a point from their first game in Division One.
Manager Barry Burns was satisfied with the performance and commented after the game. “That was a real test for our boys and a real eye opener for some of the lads. We didn’t really keep the ball as well as we can but you have to give full credit to Aberdare for the way they kept possession. Macca gave us a dream start and we probably went a little too negative after that but we’ll certainly learn from it. One thing for certain is that our lads have realised that you have to be fully concentrated and fully focussed for the whole game because there are some excellent footballers in this league who will punish you with one lapse of concentration. Having said that, I can’t fault any of our lads for their hard work and endeavour. We probably need to believe in ourselves a little more because we certainly have the fore power to be a real threat when we get at teams”.
The Town now travel to County rivals Cwmbran Celtic on Tuesday and head to Swansea based West End next Saturday. If you are interested in sponsoring the Town’s new away kit please contact the club.
Town: Blackburn; A.Ford (D.Palmer), Guy, Spence( Feesey), Davies; Smith, Laurie; S.Palmer, Macdonald, E.Ford; Bowen(Lewis)
Goals: Macdonald 2, 16, Davies 73
Booked: Smith 18, Lewis 81.
Ford Gives Newport the Full Service
Newport Civil Service 0 Monmouth Town 5
Saturday 4th August 2012 Gwent Senior Cup Rd1
Elliot Ford smashed a hat trick as Monmouth Town kicked off their competitive season with a five nil win over rivals Newport Civil Service in the Gwent Senior Cup last Saturday. Strangely the season opened with a cup fixture rather than a the traditional league curtain raiser but the Kingfishers were happy to finalise their preparations for the first division of the Welsh League with a visit to the third division side in Bettws, Newport.
The two sides have been arch rivals since their Gwent County days and Monmouth have always enjoyed the rivalry, although wins at the Shannon Close ground have often been very tight encounters.
The town travelled without Aaron Davies, Tom Maxted, Ross Kennedy and James Hughes and Smith returned from his vacation but had to settle for a place on the bench as the squad now looks to have options both in defence and attack. Former Newport County ‘keeper Keiron Blackburn made his competitive debut in the Town goal as Ashley Ford, Jacob Guy, Dan Spence and Dean Palmer made up the back four. The two centre midfield berths were handed to Alderdice and Rob Laurie whilst the attacking positions went to Sam Palmer and Elliot Ford on the Flanks, Macdonald in the hole and Bowen given the number 9 shirt.
New assisitant Manager Gareth Blackbrun took his place in the dugout and made his presence known throughout.
The Kingfishers expected a tough, physical start, typical of their previous encounters but the Town were somewhat surprised as the Bettws based side seemed happy to drop off and allow the Town possession. The visiting side seemed happy with the ball at their feet as they knocked it around the park but too often tried forcing a final ball rather than waiting for openings. Despite the Town looking by far the most comfortable, it was Civil who had a couple of chances to take the lead. Numerous and often needless free kicks were conceded and dangerous deliveries caused the Town a headache at times. The best chance fell to former Kingfisher Phil Tranter who, after Alderdice had lost possession, beat the offside trap to find himself one on one with Blackburn. Fortunately, Tranter delayed slightly and Dan Spence was able to retreat and make a last ditch tackle.
As the half progressed, the Town still looked somewhat bemused with the time and space available to them and passes went astray as the Kingfishers still tried to force balls through impossible holes. Dean Palmer struck a shot superbly from the edge of the box, but Jones in the home goal was relieved as it flew straight at him. As the half hour mark approached, the Town got their noses in front. A surging run from Palmer at left back ended with Ford getting on the end of a cross which Jones did well to keep out. Bowen struck the loose ball against a defender but the ball finally fell to Macdonald and he did what he does best and fired home. The game continued in the same manner until half time with the score remaining one nil to the visitors.
The second period saw the Kingfishers come out with more intent and it took just six minutes for them to double their lead. Following a swift counter attack, the Town took a short corner to Dean Palmer and his intended cross caught the head of the home defender causing it to loop over Jones into the far corner. With the two goal lead and the visiting team dominating possession, the game looked safe and, as home player’s heads dropped, the Kingfishers went for the kill.
As the game opened up, Macdonald found more space and started to thread precise balls through to his attacking peers Bowen, Palmer and Ford. Ford then took in on himself to fire in three goals, all neat finishes to give the score line a true reflection of the dominance the Kingfishers enjoyed. The back four seemed dominant as Blackburn was a mere spectator throughout the second period.
Bowen, Palmer, Macdonald and Craig Lewis all had chances to make the score line more emphatic and good contributions were made by Rod Lewis and youngster Max Freesey. The game highlighted how far this Monmouth side have come in the past three years since thses two sides last met.
Tata pay the penalty as they say Tara to Two
Monmouth Town returned to winning ways with a 4-0 victory over their nearest rivals Tata Steel in an incident packed showdown at the Sports Ground. The four nil score line is somewhat flattering as the visitors were reduced to nine men before half time, three of the goals came from the penalty spot and an Elliot Ford stoppage time winner completed the win as the Kingfishers again struggled to find their true rhythm in the Spring sunshine.
The visitors arrived on the back of a fine run of their own, cutting the
Kingfishers 15 point lead down to 7 over recent weeks. It was, in fact, the
Steelmen who inflicted the Kingfishers first defeat of the season with a
four nil win of their own back in November.
The Town made numerous changes to the side that lost the previous week to Newport YMCA. Ross Kennedy failed a late fitness test with his fractured
nose resulted in a start for Dan Spence at Centre half, Aaron Davies
returned to the right back spot leaving Dean Palmer to slot in at left back.
There was a full league debut to Rob Laurie who replaced James Hughes in the centre of the park and Matthew Bowen returned up front leaving Burns, Lewis, Ford and Luke Cleaves on the substitutes bench.
The Town started brightly and their shape looked much more solid than in
previous weeks. The visitors looked to play the ball through the middle of
the park early on but the Town rear guard coped with any flourish near the
After seven minutes, Alderdice was clattered from behind in the box and
Smith stepped up to coolly slot home for his second goal in as many games. This seemed to rattle the visitors who started niggling and getting involved in off the ball incidents, which would be costly as the half wore on. On twenty minutes, Bowen chased down a lost cause and, as the ball was cleared, ended up in an altercation that resulted in both Bowen and the centre half rolling on the floor. The assistant referee consulted with the man in the middle and confirmed that the centre half was the instigator by kicking the Town centre forward. Bowen was booked for his retaliation whilst the visiting defender saw red. This made the game even more scrappy and needless confrontations appeared all over the park. On Thirty eight minutes, Elliot Ford was chased a through ball into the penalty area. As the onrushing goalkeeper out, he did so feet first, clattering the Kingfisher wing man in the process. Despite collecting the ball in both hands, the official deemed this to be a reckless challenge and brandished a second red card and another penalty kick.
Sam Palmer stepped up and stroked the ball past the replacement keeper to give the Town a two goal and two man advantage. The Town then , for the remaining five minutes or so, played the ball around due to the improvement of space and could have increased their lead but the make shift 'keeper made a fine save, tipping Fords drive onto the post.
The second half should have been a walk in the park, but to their credit,
the Steelmen gave as good as they got and refused to lie down. With just
three minutes on the clock, they themselves earned a penalty after Jacob Guy was adjudged to have pushed an opponent in the box. Pass guessed the right way and made a fantastic save to his right, tipping the ball past the post. The Town continued to struggle to make their superior numbers count and too much time on the ball along with poor decision making meant possession was given away cheaply. Chances were at a minimum at both ends but the Town were awarded yet another penalty when Ford was brought down in the box. Smith reclaimed spot kicks duty to claim his second goal of the game and make the result safe. Lewis replaced Bowen and Luke Cleaves came on for Smith in the latter stages and both can be pleased with their contribution. Lewis worked well with Ford and, if it wasn't for a combination of poor finishing and good goal keeping, the Town could have had more. Ford made it four with a strike into the far corner and the Town opened up a ten point lead at the top of the table with seven games remaining.
Manager Burns was delighted with the win but honest with the performance of
his charges. "If you'd have offered as any win at the start of the game,
we'd have taken it so we're very happy for the three points. Having said
that, we did make hard work of it again. Against nine men we should have
kept the ball better but we seem a little on confidence for some reason.
We've lost three games in 23 and have a comfortable lead at the top, so
there's no real reason for it. Still, this time of the year, results are more
important than performances so we can't complain."
The Kingfishers are away next week when they travel to Gwent rivals
Aberbargoed Buds, who will be in desperate need of the points as they fight to survive in Division Two.
Reserves Run Riot As First team kick its heels.
Monmouth Town Res 12 Newport Civil Service 1
The Kingfishers march to the Welsh League first division was interrupted by a waterlogged pitch in Wenvoe which brought a first postponement of the season much to the disappointment and bemusement of travelling fans including new President of Monmouth Town Ms Lisa Rogers (pictured) who had cleared her busy diary to make her way to East Barry.
Whilst the let down supporters were forced to kick their heels traipsing the aisles of B&Q the Town management decided to give run outs to rusty and returning heroes in a riotous affiar that the Kingifishers won at a canter with hat tricks from Alderdice, Hughes, two from 'Air Shot' Lewis, a peach from Dean Palmer and a sneaky claim from first team 'keeper Tom Pass making an appearance in the yellow outfield jersey for the first time. Rob Laurie and Michael Cleaves also found the score sheet after Town had surprisingly gone 1 - 0 down.
Shrugging off criticism that it was unfair to field so many first team regulars Town co-boss Barry Burns stressed the huge improvements made in the mentality of the club management team which include Keane and Philpotts reserve team coaches and the players themsleves. "Unfair to whom exactly? Newport Civil? Don't be silly. We've made huge strides to get rid of the idea that there is a second team and a first team. We have a squad, and a very good one. Certainly some players are first team regulars - for now; but look at Elliot Ford out for six weeks, Aaron Davies out for six weeks, Dan MacDonald off to West Wales. It creates opportunities and the squad players have to show they have the mentaltiy and ability to step up and take the shirt".
Perhaps the best results of the day however were happening elsewere as the Kingfishers nearest challengers Newport YMCFA were being beaten by bottom of the table Treharris 3 - 2 and promotion rivals Caerleon and Tata Steel played out a 0 -0 draw leaving the Town 18 points clear at the top of teh table. Next week they travel to Dinas Powis.
Kingfishers Pay Penalty In Senior Cup
Aberbargoed Buds 2 Monmouth Town 2 (aet)
(Buds win 4 - 2 on penalites)
With Terry Daly
Monmouth Town’s Kingfishers travelled to the Cynon Valley hoping to reach the final of the Gwent Senior cup for the first time in 72 years but the Buds held their nerves in the Recreation Ground mud to turn the form book upside down and reach the Gwent Senior Cup final.
After an highly-entertaining and incident-packed 2-2 draw, in which referee Clark Campbell saw fit to book eight players and send off Town’s substitute Ryan Holder, the home side had much the better of the penalty shoot-out.
Goalkeeper Asa Kirkwood made saves from the spot kicks of both Daniel MacDonald and Elliott Ford before Wayne Antoniazzi fired home to earn the Buds a final place against either Cwmbran Celtic or holders Newport County.MacDonald had earlier successfully scored a penalty in normal time, his 38th league and cup goal of the season.
The home side started as massive underdogs, they are bottom of the MacWhirter Welsh League Division Two table while the free-scoring visitors are runaway leaders. However the Buds matched the Kingfishers throughout the 120 minutes, during which both sides missed several guilt-edged chances for have added to their totals.
MacDonald, the league’s top scorer, and Antoniazzi went closest to grabbing the opening goal and it wasn’t until three minutes from the end of the first period that the Buds got their nose in front.
Stephen Edwards fired in a shot which took a deflection and when Monmouth goalkeeper Tom Pass could only push the ball away, Andrew Hughes was on hand to lash home from close range. Soon after the resumption Buds left back Matthew Jones cleared a Macdonald effort off line, but when the ball was played back in Matthew Bowen was on hand to equalise.
The visitors were on top at this stage and soon scored again when MacDonald made it 2-1 from the spot, but just 11 minutes later Jones flung himself full length to head home a Matthew O’Keefe right-wing cross. MacDonald hit a post when shooting from an acute angle and with both teams unable to break the dead-lock, the tie went into extra time.
Ben Williams for the Buds and Ford were both guilty of squandering easy-looking opportunities to have settled matters, but the truth is parity on the day was just about the correct outcome. Credit must be paid to both sides for producing a good, old-fashion type of cup tie on a tricky playing surface.
Aberbargoed Buds: A. Kirkwood, M. O'Keefe (Williams, 82), M. Jones (Elias, 63), A. Hughes, D. Randall, I. Ahearne, A. Jones, S. Edwards, W. Antoniazzi, C. Jones, R. Mazurczak (Evans, 60). Subs not used: G. Jones, N. Morgan.
Booked: A. Jones (34), Mazurczak (55), O'Keefe (64), Hughes (75), Elias (79), Antoniazzi (89), Ahearne (110)
Goals: A. Hughes (24), M. Jones (62)
Monmouth Town: T. Pass; D. Palmer, L. Cleaves (R. Holder, 52), R. Laurie (A. Davies, 52), D. Spence, R. Kennedy, S. Palmer, J. Hughes, M. Bowen (C. Lewis, 66), E. Ford. Subs not used: A. Smith.
Booked: Pass 85
Sent off: Holder (72)
Goals: Bowen (51), MacDonald (57, penalty)
Referee: C. Campbell (Blackwood).
I wouldn’t rather be Emlyn
Monmouth Town 4 Newcastle Emlyn 0
Monmouth Town stretched their lead at the top of the Welsh League Division Two with a 4-0 win over Newcastle Emlyn at the Sportsground last Saturday. The visitors started the game with just three wins out of their fifteen league games, but could return home with pride after making the league leaders work very hard for their three points. In fact, it wasn’t until the final ten minutes until the game was made safe as the strugglers penned the Town back for large periods of the second half.
The Kingfishers, sponsored by Wye Media, kicked off on a sticky, but perfectly playable pitch, looking to get at the young visiting side from the start. For once, the Town settled early and were keen to show why they started the game thirteen points clear at the top of the league with some flowing attacking football.
Going forward, full backs Ashley Ford and Aaron Davies looked to attack and join in with many of the flowing moves the Town produced. Good goalkeeping and poor final passes resulted in the league leaders just failing to create goal scoring opportunities. The first real threat at goal came from an unlikely source. Smith frayed up field and after controlling the ball on his chest, fired his twenty yarder onto the outside of the post.
Matthew Bowen looked to have earned a penalty after being played through by Smith, but the official, who had a very good game, judged for the keeper to get the ball first and award one of many corners. As the Town toiled in the cold December air, the breakthrough came in controversial fashion just after the half hour mark. Bowen slowly returned from an offside position and as the ball fell to Ford inside the box, the ricochet off Bowen fell back into Fords path for him to slide home. Ten years ago, the goal certainly would have been flagged for offside, but nowadays, phases of play and interfering make the rule even harder to explain to other halves who take an interest in the beautiful game.
The Town continued to dominate possession despite the pressing and hard work of the visitors. Bowen nearly doubled the lead just before half time, but shot on the turn just fired past the wrong side of the post.
The second period saw the visitors come out with more purpose and they put the Kingfishers under real pressure. Luckily, when the Town back four was beaten, keeper Pass was up to anything thrown at him. The one time he was beaten, the upright came to the rescue to see Monmouth hold on to their lead. As the clocked ticked towards the final ten minutes, it seemed the Town would have to hold on and graft out a hard fought one nil win. Kennedy headed home MacDonald’s free kick on 81 to seal the points before Bowen fired home on the second attempt after a great save from the Newcastle Emlyn keeper.
In the third minute of injury time, Macdonald came to life when, from a visiting corner that was cleared from Smith, he controlled the ball ten yards in his own half and showed blistering pace to find himself one on one with the keeper and coolly slot home. The score line was harsh on the visitors who certainly didn’t look like a side scrapping in the relegation zone and they can certainly take heart from this performance. Town: 1. Pass 2. Davies (12. Barnard) 3. A.Ford 4. Smith 5. Kennedy, 6. Guy 7. S.Palmer 8. Hughes (15. Holder), 9. Bowen (16.Burns) 10. Macdonald,11. E.Ford; Subs not used 14. Spence 17. Alderedice
Caerleon Reserves 1 Monmouth Town res. 2
Reserve team skipper Steve Hollingsbee reports: Town’s reserves won at Carleon on Saturday after they come back from 1-0 down at half time! With a strong squad which included Craig Lewis, Dean Palmer & Jack Slocombe, plus welcoming back Rob Laurie after some time away with the 1st team.
Town were playing some lovely football despite the state of the pitch and had some chances early on to put the game away but couldn’t put it in the net. After some good play down the left hand side with Craig Lewis putting a ball through to Laurie who rounded the keeper but somehow put the ball wide of the net despite being only a yard out! Carleon then managed to grab the 1st goal due to a dodgy referee decision and a long ball over the top. The striker put the ball over Lee Williams, which came off the post but managed to tap the ball in. 1-0 at half time and making hard work of it but some decent defending with make shift Centre Backs Palmer and Hollingsbee. In the second half Shaun Keane decided to take Hunt off and put on Cleaves!
Again in the second half this is where we started to press, some nice balls down to Slocombe on the left wing left their right back for dead. A few balls like that slowly tore them apart with Lewis going through on goal and calmly slotting the ball past their keeper! 1-1! 20 minutes from the end where some neat one twos between Ryley, Lewis and Laurie and Laurie managed to slot the ball in the corner! All in all a good result from coming behind from 1-0 again winning 2-1 takes us up to 3rd in the league! A Huge thanks to Benny and Sean for supporting all season and helping out.
Kingfishers Plough On
Monmouth Town 4 Garden Village 1
Monmouth Town’s Kingfishers, sponsored by WyeMedia, extended their lead at the top of Welsh League Division Two to a massive 13 points with a comfortable victory over third-placed Swansea side Garden Village, who had travelled looking to gain revenge for a five-nil opening day defeat.
Prior to kick off, the teams and supporters had observed a minute’s silence in tribute to Wales team manager Gary Speed but once the game was underway it was hard to keep up with the opening 15 minutes.
Garden Village took the lead after four minutes, breaking up a soporific move by Town and galloping through relatively unopposed to round Pass and slot into an empty net.
The joy was short lived as Elliot Ford went through less than minute later to fire home, before MacDonald scored his 34th of the season then Ford posted a three-one lead by the time the 15 were up.
Bowen completed the scoring on 43 minutes after Palmer had contrived to miss from two inches, fired straight at the keeper barely two minutes later and seen a number of other efforts spurned.
Kingfishers Bounce Back to Beat The Buds
Monmouth Town 4 Aberbargoed Buds 1
Monmouth Town’s Kingfishers bounced back from their first defeat of the season despite not being at their best and going behind for only the second time this season as the Buds provided an early scare. Indeed in the opening exchanges the Buds managed by former Cardiff City and Abergavenny Thursday’s legend John Lewis looked the brighter team as the Kingfishers struggled to find their passing range. Bowen was passed fit to play for the first time and Alderdice dropped back leaving Hughes on the bench. It looked like Town were coming back to full strength but they were rocked by a simple move as a cross was swept in from the left, and Ford played his man onside to allow a stopping header to be planted beyond Pass. Ford departed the action soon after still feeling the strain of his injury sustained at Port Talbot. Kennedy joining the fray as his replacement but the reshuffled back four struggled to clear their lines in the strong wind.
A couple of promising moves later however and Town were level as Elliot Ford capitalised on the disarray in the Buds defence to smash home a loose ball. Town then survived a scare as the dangerous left winger clipped the cross bar and a few free kicks tested Pass in the home goal.
With the wind in the second half Town always looked the more likely succeed and keeping the ball on the floor grew in stature with Davies marauding again, MacDonald finding hios feet and Smith doing the hard yards allowing Guy to look composed in possession. On 75 minutes the Kingfishers were in front Bowen crashing home a great finish to seal a good comeback. Laurie came on for Smith and looked comfortable, neat and tidy showing some others what efficiency means with a football. Lewis also came on for a solid came and as Macdonald started to dominate in the growing spaces hit a sublime finish on 80 minutes and took his league tally to 26 in 14 games as the game neared its close. Match Sponsors Tynan and Ricketts Plastering Man of the match award went inexplicably to Andrew Smith but Team co boss Robin Pick was keen to talk up a better team performance “We had to get back to winning ways and we did today. It wasn’t a great performance but we’ve still beaten a team we’ve only ever beaten once before very comfortably“
Town are at home again next week taking on third placed Garden Village from Swansea looking to emulate the 5 – 0 defeat Town handed to the visitors on their first game back in August. (ko2pm)
Monmouth Town avoided a banana skin and secured their tenth win of the season with an emphatic 8-1 win at basement club Treharris Athletic last Saturday. The Town have now recorded an incredible 31 points out of a possible 33 with ten wins and one draw from eleven outings.
The Kingfishers arrived at Treharris with all the signs of a difficult encounter in front of them. The small pitch was blessed with grass that would have not been out of place in the deepest rough at the Celtic Manor golf resort. The table toppers have grown in maturity over recent seasons and all were aware that the performance was not going to be one of the classiest displays, but one of grit and determination.
Town made a couple of changes with Craig Lewis replacing the injured Bowen up front and Lee Williams returning in goal for the absent Pass, who was supporting his girlfriend, taken into labour the night before.
Treharris knew that their only real way to stop the Kingfisher juggernaut was to intimidate and try to ruffle the Kingfishers’ feathers with some hard, robust and, at times, x-rated challenges. Fortunately the Town were prepared for this and, with just quarter of an hour played, the home side had seen no fewer than four players booked. The game itself was scrappy and it certainly didn’t look like top versus bottom due to the physicality of the play. The Town did create a number of chances but were somewhat wasteful in front of goal. The first and only goal of the game came from Elliot Ford after good work from Macdonald had put him clear. Lewis found himself through on goal, only to be brought down via a challenge that would end his game at half time.
The start of the second period saw Alderdice move up front and Dan Spence returning from injury to slot in at centre half. Two minutes after the restart, Macdonald doubled the Towns lead with another sublime free kick after Smith was fouled on the edge of the box. The home side’s eagerness drained after this blow and the floodgates opened with Alderdice bagging a brace, Macdonald completing his hat trick, Dan Spence and an own goal making it eight in total. The home side did pull one back with a penalty but their frustrations grew and they were reduced to nine men in the final few minutes.
The win increases the Town’s lead at the top of the table to nine points
Manager Burns complemented his troops after securing another three points. “The lads came here and were fully aware of the job in hand. We have played some fantastic, flowing, open football this year but had to slightly change our game plan today due to the conditions and they’ve adapted well. The first half was scrappy but as soon as we got our second it was game over to be fair. We’ve picked up a few knocks today so we’ll have a look who will be fit for next week’s massive game against Newport YMCA.”
Ten Men Town Share Spoils in County Derby
Monmouth Town continued their unbeaten start to life in Division Two but with, lost their one hundred per cent record after being held to a 2-2 draw with fourth placed Caerleon at the Sportsground on Saturday.
The visitors arrived having only lost once in seven outings and conceding a miserly two goals in the process, whilst the Kingfishers had amassed 42 goals themselves so this was billed as an intriguing contest.
The game started slowly as both sides looked to eye up their opponents before grabbing a foothold in the game. It was the home side that started to gain momentum with numerous corners and free kicks probing the home goal. The Town suffered a set back after 15 minutes when last seasons top scorer Matthew Bowen landed awkwardly and had to leave the field of play with an ankle injury, which could force him out for a few weeks.
This resulted in skipper Alderdice moving to the centre forward position and Kennedy to come into the centre of defence. The Town continued to grab a foothold in the game and started putting the visiting defence under more pressure. Elliot Ford had a chance to open the scoring but his first touch took him away from goal and made the angle easier for Blackburn in the Caerleon goal to pull off a good save to his right, before having another good effort saved off the line.
The speedy winger made amends just three minutes later. Macdonald received the ball on the edge of the area and, after beating one defender, another tackle poked the ball to Ford who smashed home from twelve yards. Five minutes later and the Town had doubled their lead. Full back Davies marauded into the visiting box with a direct run and was eventually upended, leaving Dan Macdonald to tuck away the penalty.
Ford had another chance but headed over as the game became very stop- start due to some very picky officiating. In the final few minutes, the Town escaped when, after a superb delivery into the box, Pass was brave to block right on his goal line to keep the score two nil going into the break.
The Town, familiar this year with going into the second period with their lead in tack, were confident of seeing the game out and even looked to improve on their advantage. Ford and Macdonald were linking up well and Smith fired a twenty yarder inches past the post.
Seven minutes into the half and a refereeing decision changed the game. Young Ashley ford misjudged a long ball which dropped on the edge of the box where Kennedy collided with the visiting centre forward. Despite Jacob Guy and another Kingfisher defender covering, the man in the middle brandished a red card for Kennedy resulting in the Town having to play 40 minutes whith ten men.
The visitors sensed blood and played direct balls forward at every opportunity in order to get back into the game. On the hour, the visitors pulled one back when a shot from the edge of the box crept into the far corner of the greasy surface. To their credit the town rallied and showed an excellent workmanlike attitude, closing and harassing the visitors despite being a man down. As the clock entered the final four minutes the home side sensed they had done enough to earn a hard fought win.
Disaster struck however when another long ball was played into far post, and after a slight scramble, the ball was smashed home to bring the scores level.
The result leaves the Town top of the table with 28 points from a possible 30 having won nine and drew one of their first ten league fixtures. They next travel to bottom of the league Treharris where they will be without Bowen and the suspended Smith and Kennedy.
Manager Barry Burns was proud of the display from his charges but disappointed that they couldn’t see the game out. “At the end of the day, the sending off has changed the game. Two nil up and growing in confidence there was only one team that was going to win it. To be fair he’s got it wrong, the two assistants have told us that as well as his assessor who was there today. But we’ll take it on the chin. To lose Boucher and go down to ten, and then to get a point against one of the best teams in this league has to be a positive. We are still unbeaten and a few boys who have been left out will now get a chance next week to stake their claim for a shirt”.
Match highlights are available on
Five Star MacDonald Leads the Charge
Bettws 1 Monmouth Town 6
A windy Welsh hillside covered in long grass at the tail end of October home to former Welsh league winners seemed a likely setting for an unlikely end to the Kingfishers remarkable 100% start to life in the second division. These days though Town are made of sterner stuff and after weathering a hail of high balls lobbed continuously into the Town half for runners to chase and ending affairs half 2 - 1 to the good. The runaway leaders were able to put on a super second half show which simply blew away the Bridgend based home side. Dan MacDonald's five goals took his tally to 26 from 13 games which at any competitive level is simply phenomenal. MacDonald put Town ahead on 25 minutes converting after Ford had been clattered by the charitably described burly 'keeper. Fifteen minutes later however the home side were level finally capitalising on their one dimensional ploy of hitting long balls for their admittedly mobile strikers to latch onto. The linesman' arm had need up and down like a storm trooper's at Nuremberg catching the runners the centre forward beat the trap and volleyed on the first bounce across Tom Pass for the equaliser. They went close minutes later as Town wobbled under the high ball and cried out for a Lee Halfpenny to win the battle of the sky.
As half time approached home joy at being level was ended as the five foot nothing MacDonald out jumped the chunky net minder to head the Kingfishers into the lead. The second half always promised to be a different affair as the wind died down and Bettws were forced to play the ball on the floor and pass to players in blue. This was beyond them on most occasions as a blizzard of yellow shirts chopped and chivvied and passed their way around the home midfield with Hughes defiant and MacDonald simply unplayable at times. One stunning move ended with Ford putting clear day light between the teams on the hour with a lovely finish. Bettws were the competitive but mostly ineffective and when MacDonald went clean through and finished with a cheeky chip to make it 4 - 1 even that completive edge was blunted. MacDonald made it five after a number of attempts. Debutant Rob Laurie entered the fray and even had a long range strike before McDonald wrapped up proceedings with a simple tap in after the home defence had made a complete hash of ...well pretty much everything.. In numbers Town have now won 14 consecutive league games 11 of them away from home have scored 53 times in 13 games and have a 100% league record.
This Saturday they play Caerleon at home at 2.30 in what may well be the biggest league game ever played in Blestium Street as top play fourth. It’s a battle between the irresistible force that is Monmouth Town with 46 league goals against eh immoveable object that is Caerleon defence who have conceded a miserly 2. Something’s got to give. Come to the sports ground and find out what.
Town Hand Out Six Of The Best
Monmouth Town 6 Caerau 0
Two goals apiece from sharp shooters Danny MacDonald, Matthew Bowen and Elliot Ford fired Monmouth Town to a widening lead at the top of Welsh League Division Town as their remarkable 100% start to the season continued last Saturday with a 6 - 0 win against 4th placed Caerau. The goals backed up by a super display at centre half by new signing Jacob Guy and some great midfield displays takes the Kingfishers tally to 36 from 8 games with a style of play which is getting rave notices from the Welsh football fraternity.
Ford opened the scoring tapping in after a MacDonald drive following a sweeping move had been fumbled on 28 minutes then Macdonald scored himself, passing a free kick around the weak defensive wall to make it 2 - 0 at half time.
A great run and pass by the same duo saw Ford slip a great finish under the keeper before Bowen got a brace of taps ins and Macdonald wrapped up the proceedings with a last minute finish from a pass again supplied by Ford.
Town Chairman Lee Robson was delighted with the showing "we were very clinical today and I' m glad that the highlights of the games are now on You Tube so I can watch then over and over again!
Seventh Heaven as Kingfishers Extend League Run
Monmouth Town opened up an eight point lead at the top of the Macwhirter Welsh League Division Two with their seventh consecutive league win of the season. The three one score line over visiting Ely Rangers was somewhat flattering as the Kingfishers struggled to gain any fluency all afternoon.
The Town had made one change from the emphatic five nil win at Croesyceiliog. Dan Spence failed to shake off an ankle injury, handing a home debut to recent signing Jacob Guy who slotted in at right back. Aaron Davies shifted from the right and played at left back.
Ely, who started the game in sixth place, dominated possession in the early stages and pressed the
Town high up the pitch to prevent them playing their attacking , passing play. Even when the town did gain possession, passes went astray and first touches were often neglected, resulting in the home side continually being on the back foot.
Despite the visiting side enjoying spells of possession, they were only really tested via a number of corners and long throws that the back four dealt with, resulting in little to do for the Town stopper Tom Pass. After twenty minutes, the Town had their only real spell of continued pressure, resulting in two quick goals to give the side in yellow a flattering two goal lead. The first came from an unlikely source in full back Aaron Davies. A Macdonald free kick was headed towards goal, and after one block the ball fell to Davies to stab home from five yards. Just five minutes later, as the town started to press, Smith was tripped, Macdonald fed a quick free kick to Bowen who cut inside and finished with aplomb into the top right corner.
The two goal cushion didn’t last long however, as Ely struck back with a superb volley from their centre half who had ghosted all the way up-field without being tracked. The score remained two one at the interval with the Town knowing that they hadn’t played anywhere near their capabilities.
The second period started in very much the same manner, with the visiting side in the ascendancy. Despite the possession and territory advantage, in truth Ely didn’t create many clear cut chances and when asked upon, Pass’ handling was faultless. Still the town struggled to pass to yellow shirts, but nearly regained their two goal cushion when Macdonald hit the post after a quick counter attack.
As the Town looked to see the game out, they eventually killed the game off when Macdonald was brought down in the box with four minutes remaining. He stepped up and stroked the penalty home to finish the game and leave the Town with seven wins from seven, despite being far from their best.
Manager Burns was obviously happy with the result but concerned about the performance. “Too many of our lads have off days today. We have to give credit to Ely, who certainly were the better side out there. We struggled to keep the ball and lacked composure when in possession today. Having said that, to play poorly and win has to be seen as a positive. We’ll put this one to bed, work hard in training and look forward to taking on Cambrian next week. We can’t play well every week but we need to be at our best next week, that’s for certain.”
The Town travel to The Welsh league Division One leaders Cambrian and Clydach, who also remain unbeaten this year, in the Welsh Cup first round proper.
Everyone at Monmouth Town would like to wish the Ely player who suffered a suspected broken leg last Saturday a speedy recovery.
Tuesday 6th September, 2011
Gwent Senior Cup Quarter Final
Caerleon 2 Monmouth Town 2 (Monmouth win 4 - 2 on penalties)
Monmouth Town's Kingfishers scraped through to the semi finals of the Gwent Senior cup in a penalty shoot out conducted in the pitch black of Caerleon after an intriguing game between two of the front runners in Division Two. This was Town's first apperance in this cup since they beat Newport County in another quarter final in 2009 only to fail to secure an invitation to last year's competition. Clearly the Gwent FA's decision to cancel the competition showed how much they value it and both teams felt obliged to use the competition to give run outs to players returning from injury or needing game time.
For the record Caerleon took the lead before MacDonald grabbed his 15th of the season Ford got another before half time. Caerleon equalised just after sunset to send the game into extra time.
During the penalty shot out Tom Pass made two superb blocks, Sam Palmer rattled the bar, MacDonald Ford, Tyler and Holder slotted and the Kingfishers are back where they were in 2009. Into the semi final. 16 year old George Ryley was told off for staying out after dark!
Monmouth Town 8 Tredegar Town 2
Saturday 3 September 2010
Monmouth Town took a rest from league action on Saturday but continued in their goal scoring fashion to progress to the first round proper of the Welsh Cup. The 6-2 scoreline suggests that it was another display of champagne football at the Sports Ground but, in all honesty, Town were never at their most fluent throughout the 90 minutes. It shows how far the young town side have progressed when, in the past two games, management from various Welsh Premier League sides have been present to run the rule over the reasons why the Town have progressed up the pyramid so quickly.
Tredegar Town arrived with optimism. Despite plying their trade in the league below the Kingfishers, they were one of the only sides that Monmouth failed to beat last term, drawing both games; 1-1 and 0-0. Davies failed a late fitness test, which meant a slight reshuffle. Skipper Alderdice reverted back to centre half, leaving the space in midfield to be filled by James Hughes. Town started slowly and misplaced passes and poor control resulted in a stop-start performance. The Kingfishers failed to gain any momentum, but broke the deadlock when a Macdonald free kick took a deflection to make it 1-0 after seven minutes.
This lead to a goal spree. Town pressed and the visitors struggled to keep possession resulting in numerous chances. One criticism of last year’s title winning side was the number of chances wasted. Despite scoring 96 goals in their league campaign, the tally really should have been much more than that. This year, however, Town have been clinical in front of goal. Bowen grabbed a brace, Ford and Palmer both found the net and Macdonald scored his second from the spot in a ten-minute spell that ended the game as a contest.
To be fair to the visitors, they didn't give up and roll over, Tredegar showed grit and determination to pull two goals back before half-time. The second half fizzled out as Tredegar defended stubbornly and Town were happy to take their foot off the gas and see the game out. Manager Barry Burns commented on the performance and looked forward to the next round: “We certainly were not at our best today and made the boys aware of that. Having said that, to win 6-2 and not play well is an achievement in itself! Tredegar are, and always have been, a battling team and we struggled against them last year, so I suppose it shows how far we have come. There really is no reason why we can't progress in this competition and draw one of the big guns. Two sides in division 3 last year got to the quarter finals and played Premier league sides, so we need to be aiming to do that this year
The Boys are back In Town – with a bang
Monmouth Town 8 Caldicot Town 2
Wednesday 31st August 2011
If everyone purred at Manchester United 8 – 2 demolition of Arsenal last Sunday then they would have been rolling over to have their bellies tickled if they had witnessed this super show by Monmouth ‘s table topping Kingfishers. The largest crowd at Blestium Street for a number of years created an air of excitement and the confidence was palpable in the pre game warm up as Caldicot Town came to town for a first ever first team game in Monmouth and for the second leg of the Monmouthshire derby. That they arrived as overwhelming underdogs says more about the Kingfishers progress than the temporary problems facing the men from Jubilee way and so it proved within 4 minutes as Bowen attempt was saved and MacDonald snaffled his eighth of the season. Pass, returning in goal, made a smart save to his right to deny the only attack from Caldicot in a one sided first half.
Within 14 minutes that pre game belief has turned to a swagger as Ford made it two and MacDonald made it three with a volley from pass which dropped over his shoulder on 27 before a bewildering sequence of one touch passes on 38 minutes had the Caldicot defence chasing more shadows than girl groupies at a Hank Marvin convention and MacDonald received the congratulations for his hat trick. Bowen got a deserved fifth just as everyone was sloping off for a half time cuppa, breathless from a whirlwind first half display.
The second half continued in much the same vein with Monmouth playing keep ball and showing remarkable patience as they continued to probe for more goals. Six and seven soon arrived as Ford by now had the freedom of eth right hand side and his crosses had the Caldicot back line at constant sixes and sevens. If the through ball for Bowen was sublime the finish with his first touch under the keeper was silkier than a puppy’s ears. A MacDonald penalty after Ford was floored made it seven before two quick goals from the visitors, the first an emphatic finish from Thompson before MacDonald capped a simply superb personal performance and consummate team effort with a cool finish at the second attempt. Without being unkind to Caldicot the Kingfishers also passed up numerous other opportunities but to Caldicot's credit they kept going and troubled the superb Tom Pass's new cross bar with a free kick late on.
In numbers: played 5, won 5 scored 22, ten consecutive wins and 14 from the last 16 but the real story is one of a team playing for each other, enjoying themselves and, dare we say, even with a little bit to spare. Three cup games on the bounce will provide a little bit of respite from the tough league programme and perhaps give a chance to other players to stake a claim. This is Welsh football at a good standard and its most enjoyable. Come and have a look!
The visitors took an early lead when a routine corner was routinely avoided by the Kingfisher rearguard and routinely finshed by a striker who probably hadn't received a better wrapped gift all Yuletide. At that point the home support was anticipating another roller coaster ride against lower ranked opposition but goals from Palmer, Ford and Bowen put Town in command going into the break. Further goals from Ford to complete his hat trick, another from Bowen and one from Smith completed the scoring for Monmouth but they still contrived to concede two more; one from a goal mouth melee and another from an inexplicable sliced own goal from Lewis who will never score a better 'oggy' if he plays until Liverpool regain the title. And on the hour that was that!
The final half hour was played out in tepid fashion with Town trying hard not to score and it would be churlish to complain about the lack of any serious endeavour by the visitors. Monmouth's sparse football following has now enjoyed 35 goals in five games at the sportsground this season with arguably higher scoring than their rugby cousins. Both are at home next Saturday at the same time. 2pm. Monmouth Sportsground. £1.50 a pint. Enjoy!
Top Draw Monmouthshire Derby as leaders share spoils.
Monmouth Town 2 Goytre 2
Saturday 27th November, 2010
It was first v third. A Monmouthshire derby. Goytre beaten only once and with Pedigree in their team and in the managerial hot seats. Monmouth Town - a bunch of chums. Goytre prolific in attack and Town's defence lately putting up as much resistance as a doormat. Expect the visitors to wipe their feet and fill their boots. But a strange thing happened. A normal football match broke out and was enjoyed by all who saw it. No silly score lines, no sendings off , managerial walk outs, no spectators sent to Chippenham or outbreaks of poisoning. Just a good old fashioned blood and guts football match, one of only three in the Welsh League to survive the cold snap, played by two teams looking to keep the round thing on the deck and compete for it when they lost it. No dramas just players.
The Kingfishers were expected to ring the changes following the previous weeks shipping of six to Treowen and although they were some they weren't wholesale and on the face of it cosmetic with Smith restored to defence and Lewis earning his call up with his attitude full 15 minutes in the Treowen debacle. McCoy in for the injured Palmer and Davies returning from taking the Malvern waters. Would it be a case of rearranging the Titanic deckchairs? The opening exchanges proved only that Town would still look to attack and Ford again got some joy down the right before his suspension next week, Bowen looked full of running and Lewis was keen to enjoy his first start for ...oooh...ages. Goytre for their part as table toppers looked sound rather than spectacular, with Williams looking safe in the visitors goals pulling off a couple of smart saves early in the game. In attack former Welsh premier striker Prosser was also showing flashes of dangerous intent bringing a couple of sharp saves from Town man of the match Lee williams. And so it proved with a swift break on 27th minutes as Smith was beaten, Davies blocked a shot but the rebound found it was from Prossers boot into the far corner beyond williams in the home goal. Barely five minutes later and an almost carbon copy finish in the opposite corner to beat Williams again. At this point Town could have crumbled as they had on previous occasions. It was now a test of character as much as anything and Smith just escaped his marching orders after his five foot four frame and 42 centimetre chest had floored the six foot Prosser who collapsed in a heap; shot from the grassy knoll. He was felled again in similar fashion in the second half this time by the six stone Rhodri Lewis from the nearby book depository. Ref Curtis saw conspiracy both times.
It was inevitable then that half time had to see changes as Smith was getting bullied and outnumbered by Goytre strikers. Luckily Town did get to half time with no further damage inflicted but it looked a long way back against the leaders. Smith was duly moved to midfield, with the Town reverted to a back four and suddenly the Kingfishers looked more solid and fluid with Alderdice, anonymous in the first half showing his true form. Bowen was denied a clear penalty and raids down right and left exposed the usual reluctance of Town strikers to shoot but at least they were giving it a go. Nobody was laying down on this job. Another raid by Ford was ended by a left back's boot in the area and Smith scored from the spot. Minutes later he warmed the keeper's hands with a rasping drive from distance and Dean Palmer bounced corner off the top of the crossbar. With Town clearly in the ascendency everyone waited for the investable. Yep. The unforced error at the back. It never came. Instead the defence held firm, Williams was inspired; jumping and catching, diving and holding, tipping and blocking. Then Smith rattled another one in from the edge of the box, Bowen put his back side in the way and Gwent's top scorer was in raptures as his bum flick sent the 'keeper the wrong way. From there the Kingfishers could have won it. They should have lost it when Prosser missed a clear header. It ended all square and a fair result from a good quality Welsh league game.
It's Two X Tre-Owen as Kingfishers see Stars
Monmouth Town 3 Treowen Stars 6
For the second home game in succession Monmouth Town's Kingfishers were hit for six as newly promoted Treowen Stars doubled their goal tally for the season with a super show at the Sportsground. As good all over the park as Treowen were Town were as bad and although they were good value for their victory they will probably not have so many gift wrapped goals in the rest of the season put together.
In a fairly scrappy tight first half Town looked nervous and rushed possession failing time and again to find a colleague with simple passes. Treowen looked more aggressive with and without possession and quicker to look for opportunities. On a lumpy pitch carrying a lot of grass and wet underfoot a long back pass was always going to be the worst idea since Abraham Lincoln said "Let's go to the Theatre Dear" but that wasn't going to stop Dean Palmer attempting it. He failed. One nil.
Remarkably that was it for the first half, Ford ha shown glimpses off his pace as usual, Sam Palmer pinged his hamstring and lasted ten minutes, Ashley Palmer played three positions and Rhodri Lewis possibly two more than that as Town sought to adjust whilst missing Davies and McCoy who would have been the natural replacement for Palmer.
Now, unlike other sports, it's not the abundance of scoring that makes football so compelling. Rather its their rarity which is why Monmouth games, containing a total of 77 so far this season at an average of five per game may be called entertaining to neutrals and Americans but would more likely qualify as laughable to purists. The second forty five minutes contained no fewer than eight and the purists had pissed their pants.
First, a long punt forward evaded all but the Treowen right winger who crossed unimpeded for an unmarked header, then Smith lost the ball on half way and could only watch as Treowen made easy work of the final sixty yards to make it three-nil. Ford was clearly fouled in the penalty area denied by the referee, booked for diving and misses next week's clash as top of the table Goytre and former Welsh International Nathan Blake come to town, then scored five minutes later to make it 3 - 1. A the Kingfishers to make to 3 -2 would have set up a nice finale but instead Williams spilled a free kick and the rebound was gobbled up to make to 4 - 1 and game over. A lovely counter made it five before Craig Lewis got one back with a fine strike showing terrific attitude and appetite again with a performance that was the only bright spot for Town. Bowen had one disallowed then scored before a peach of a goal for Treowen finished the scoring.
Town Boss Barry Burns was disappointed but admitted to being beaten by a better side "Defensively we were very poor today but Treowen played very well and were just better than us on the day. I'll have to have a long hard look at what we doing well and what we need to improve but we're still third and there's no need to panic. We regroup and move on."
UWIC 3 Monmouth Town 2
A super first half strike and first class second half performance by Ashley Ford earned no honours for the Kingfishers in this top of th table clash at Cyncoed as they were undone by a last minute goal after looking good to earn at least a point.
In the first half Town looked like being outplayed by the slick passing students fresh from a moral boosting Welsh cup win earned them a tie against Welsh Premier Bala. For all their possession and movement however chances were at a premium as Town worked hard enough to get a foothold in the game. After soaking up all of the pressure it was the Kingfishers who started to look most likely to score and so it was in the 36th minute as Ford found himself free on the edge of the box with space to steady himself and drill and excellent strike beyond Edmonds to put Town ahead. They could have increased their lead as Elliot Ford struck the bar and some chances went begging.
In the 43rd minute however Williams took a free kick when he would have been better advised to take his time and compose the team and himself, Kennedy compounded the wrong choice by trying to waltz out of defence and conceded possession and the lead as the students equalised. Honours even at half time.
The second half was an entirely different affair and seemed as if the students had decided to have a duvet day after a long night on the snakebite and blacks. As slick as they were in the first half was how sluggish they were in the second allowing Town to make all of the play and create a host of chances that they failed to convert admittedly because of some superb keeping by Edmonds who denied Bowen twice and McCoy who did nothing wrong latching onto a sublime pass by Ashley Ford. Typically Monmouth and even more to type as Alderdice slalomed though the entire UWIC team before forgetting to shoot and standing on the ball as an encore. Cue UWIC's first real attack of the second half on 75 minutes as a long free kick was wafted to the back post headed back across to allow any one of four attackers the chance to pike gleefully passed Williams. Town almost immediately send three up front and took ten minutes to equalise as Bowen glanced home a free kick from Dean palmer. And that should have been that. Shutters up, bal up the jumper. One point and retain second place. Instead with two minutes to go a pin ball period of play saw a long punt by Davies returned with interest, an attacker running back form a clearly offside position gathering the ball, flicking it over Lewis and lobbing Williams for the winner in one admittedly impressive moment. No amount of complaining was going to change the referee's mind but again Town had wasted more than enough chances to make any poor decisions irrelevant.
This Saturday Town return to the Sportsground form a Gwent derby against newly promoted Treowen (kick off 2pm)
The Kingfishers Under 19 team travelled to Briton Ferry last Sunday for a Welsh Cup tie and thumped the hosts 8 - 1 with James Lee netting five. Town boss Barry Burns was delighted saying "These lads have worked really hard playing twice nearly every weekend and training really well. They haven't had the rewards that they deserve but today it clicked. What is good is that it gives me something to think about with first team selection and although Jimmy (Lee) is only sixteen if you can bang in five in a game then its worth thinking about and some of the other lads have shown great attitude."
Kingfishers Evict Cuckoos
Risca United 0 Monmouth Town 1
A second clean sheet in succession, a fifth win on the road and Monmouth Town's Kingfishers saw off a concerted challenge by Risca United's Cuckoos to take second place in the Division.
Elliot Ford's second half goal slotted perfectly into the far corner following a ricocheted free kick was enough to take all three points in a deserved but hard fought victory.
Once again Town came out of the blocks faster and keener than their opponents getting behind the hosts on a number of occassions but failing to make the most of promising situations and failing to take a number of chances. Gay, Risca's top scorer also had to rue wasting a couple of opportunities when his experience should have given him better composure. Matthew Bowen, Gwent's top scorer was well marshalled but stil got involved and tried to set up chances and play in his colleagues but it all came to nought as the first half fizzled out goaless with Williams doing well on a couple of occassion to snuff out danger.
The hosts upped the pace in the second half and started to get on top but Town still looked the team more likely on the break with Ashley Ford crashing a shot against the bar and other good openings going begging. On 70 minutes they got the deserved breakthrough as Palmer's free kick hit the wall but broke to Ford who rifled his shot beyond Long in the Cuckoos nets.
Then the game opened up with Risca throwing everything at the Kingfishers to try and get a point but Davies was up to the task and birthday boy Kennedy stayed strong ably assisted by Hughes and Lewis. The two sides also traded glaring missed chances with Davies blocking superbly to save a certain equaliser then McCoy setting up Ford for a tap in that hit the post. That the game finished only 1 - 0 was something of a mystery but a clean sheet was a just reward for a backs to the wall last ten minutes.
Town boss Barry Burns was delighted with the win "It's a difficult place to come as the home crowd get on your backs and give the referee a hard time but we more than stood up to it and I'm delighted we remain unbeaten away from home and delighted that our squad is holding firm. "
Next week Town are at third placed students UWIC. Town's reserve team gave a much improved performance but narrowly went down 4 - 3 to Aberbargoed.
Town Back On Track
Pontyclun 0 Monmouth Town 4
Goals from Matthew Bowen, Craig Lewis and one a piece from the Fords Ashley and Elliot helped ease the Kingfishers back to winning ways and atone for the hammering at the hands of Corus Steel the previous week.
As bad as the Town were in that game they were proficient in this as they took a two goal first half lead, missing a host of chances in the process before Ashley Ford's penalty rebound conversion and another goal from substitute Craig Lewis made sure of the points. Lee Williams will also be glad of a clean sheet as Town embark on a number of games which will give a good indication of their promotion credentials. Next up is Risca United under new manager Paul Michaels a teacher at Monmouth Comprehensive then games away at second placed UWIC before returning home to host Treowen then top of the table Goytre.
Town reserves continue to endure a difficult season losing 6 - 1 at home to Newport YMCA but manager Sean Keane thinks it would be wrong to be too dissapointed "These lads are very young and yet with ten minutes to go we were 3 - 1 down and still competitive and giving it a real go. Its inevitable that they lack experience and are sometimes a bit naive bit I can't fault the attitude and some of the ability is great. We just need to put it all together and results will come. The important thing is that we continue to learn "
Steelmen Put Town To The Sword
Monmouth Town 1 Corus Steel 6
When Matthew Bowen won the ball on the edge of the penalty area on the hour he curled in his cross which Sam Palmer failed to connect properly with but in the process wrong footed the goalkeeper to leave Ashley Ford a yard from an open goal under no pressure and a chance to put Monmouth Town back in the game at 3 -2. That the ball sailed perilously close to the Monnow river and a minute later sailed over Williams to make it 4 - 1 tells a small part of this story.
The big picture is that Town were thrashed. Beaten very badly for their worst defeat at home since the dark days of the Gwent County Third division all those centuries ago when Andrew Lloyd donated his TV shelf to the club so that they could enjoy their new Clubhouse. And yet people had come to praise the Kingfishers not bury them. They'd heard tales of derring do on ther travels and welcomed them back to Town for only the second time this season hoping that the returning warriors were bearing gifts from conquered lands. They hoped for goals aplenty from Bowen, celebrating his eleven in ten stats. The looked for skill and speed from Ford having heard how he laid waste to left back after left back abd left thenm with twisted blood, such was his guile.
Needless to say Town were 2 down inside 20 minutes and three down within a half hour. The emperors had new kits and striped nets but no clothes. The defence undone not by Trojan Horses but by straight froward sling shots of simple set peices that were poorlay defended and a penalty that may have seen Davies given his marching orders.
Ford did get some joy down the right and pulled one back bfore hafl time. Bowen worked hard as ususal but other than that this was a throroughly depressing day out perhaps summed up by Ford's miss which according to the visiting goalkeeper "was one for the Christmas DVD". Town were probably not as good as some people had been saying and, after this defeat, are not as bad as people will be saying today. The truth as always lies somewhere in between but if any of the players had thoughts that they just need turn up to win games then this shocker will make them think again. Andrew Lloyd has reclaimed his TV shelf.
Bowen Hat Trick Downs Crows
Cwmbran Town 1 Monmouth Town 3
October 9th 2010
Monmouth Town striker Matthew Bowen claimed his second hat trick of the season to claim the scalp of former League of Wales champions Cwmbran Town. 2 - 0 up after just 8 minutes and cruising 3 - 0 at half time the Kingfishers had comprehensively outgunned their more illustrious opponents with a display that brought more than a hint of the déjà vu from the win at Spytty park the previous Saturday. Once again Elliot Ford was to the fore taunting the Crows back line and putting in a number of superb crosses that the home defence had no answer for.
Bowen had turned two of those crosses in when Ford and Bowen went hunting down a hesitant back line after 32 minutes harried them into a mistake that Bowen calmly slotted home. And that was pretty much that. Cwmbran did pull a goal back when bizarrely Williams saved then lay in the way of a goal bound shot that only the referee thought had crossed the line and in fairness the home side were better after the interval. The result means that the Kingfishers hold on to joint top spot despite playing all bar one of their games away this season.
They are not in action this Saturday but visit Leckwith Stadium, Cardiff on Tuesday 19th to take on a resurgent Grange Harlequins. Town's reserves went down 4 - 1 at the Sports ground and in another dramatic game the Under `19's were held 5 - 5 at Croesyceilog despite being 5 - 1 up at half time.
Easy Ryder for Kingfishers
Llanwern 1 Monmouth Town 3
A trek to Spytty Park via Ryder Cup country saw a sparkling first half performance rewarded with a win that earned the Kingfishers a share of the top of the table. In a ferocious first twenty minutes Town could have been five or six in the lead as they ripped the Llanwern defence to shreds, Elliot Ford leading the charge and setting up chance after chance with a showing that led to his beleaguered left back being substituted after only 25 minutes. In that time Alderdice had hit the bar, Sam Palmer had blasted over using a nine iron for a foot, had found his driver to put the Town in the lead and witnessed Alderdice doubling the lead with a fine header from a superb free kick by Dean Palmer. Two up with one to play you could say but a goal of the season contender from the irrepressible ford made it three with still an hour on the clock as he swivelled and drove a firm low shot into the bottom corner.
It was only then that the shell shocked Llanwern who had by now made two substitutions could steady the ship and take the game to the visitors. Sadly for then they looked woefully short of confidence and in some cases ability to haul themselves back into this game no matter how gamely they tried. Power always looked like he might offer something but too often he was isolated and too far from goal and a couple of Llanwern chances went begging and or were stopped by an in form Williams in the Kingfishers goal.
The second half was a rather tepid affair with the Town knowing the game was won and not taking any unnecessary risks with either their defending nor the fact that eight of the line up seemed to be carrying knocks of varying degrees of severity. An injury to Milos Funbus had also shorn the Kingfishers of one their major on the road assets. Power did get a consolation late in the half much to the chagrin of Williams who had had a fine game and looked on course for a clean sheet but a much bigger win would not halve flattered the Town. Next up its Cwmbran Town at Cwmbran Stadium as the Kingfishers look to consolidate their promotion credentials but Barry Burns was warning of getting carried away too early in the season "A lot of the lads are carrying injuries so we have to try and make sure we don't risk too much this early, it'll be a long hard season and we only have three home games this side of Christmas so most of it is on the road. But today we've done very well. We hit them hard and early and then shut the game down. Job done."
The Town reserves were beaten by a rampant Croesyceiliog 6 - 1 at the Sportsground but once again Shaune Keane's team didn't let the club down. "It's very difficult. The team is seriously young but have great attitude and they're not too down. They know this is all about their education and experience and they will get better and better. A couple of older heads wouldn't go amiss though".
Town Dumped By Leaders
Cambrian and Clydach 3 Monmouth Town 1
Welsh League Division One leaders were too good for Monmouth Town's Kingfishers on a fine day in the Rhondda as any thought of a giant killing were ended for another season. Cambrian themsleves were on the back of a 17 game unbeaten run stretching back to Feburary and it may have been a different story if the Town could have kept home advantage, having to switch the fixture because of a clash with Rugby. A below first half performance by the Kingfishers made it simple for the surprise hosts as Lewis conceded a 12th minute penalty and a breakaway goal on 31 gave the table toppers a 2 - 0 half time lead who looked every inch two divisions above the Kingfishers with stronger players and quicker, more decisive movement.
To their credit however Town came out in the second half looking much improved and were much more competitive around the pitch with Hughes to the fore and Smith trying to inject more urgency. Town actually forced a number of smart saves from the Cambrian keeper and in contrast Williams in the town goal had very little to do. Indeed on the hour a Monmouth goal might have changed the complexion of the game as they pressed for a way back in to the cup tie. A fine break by Bertorelli ended any such hopes and showed the difference in standard with a quick clinical break and finish.
Town stuck at it and kept competing and deserved a consolation with a fine header by substitute Lewis who had replaced the hard working Bowen.
Next up for the Kingfishers are away trips to Spytty Park, Cwmbran Stadium and Leckwith Stadium as they return to league action seeking to consolidate a title challenge themsleves. Boss Barry Burns was upbeat about the future challenges "They were too good for us today but we gave it a go in the second half which I was pleased about. we 've got some nice games coming up at great venues and we have to believe we can get a good haul of points before we return to Town in late October".
The Town reserves picked up another point on the orad with a 1 - 1 draw at Risca with James Lee gettign his fourth goal of the season. Perhaps the most noteworthy game of the weekend however was the trip to Welsh Premier League Cub Haverfordwest County where a young Kingfishers side were beaten 5 - 0 but not embarassed by the strong West Wales outfit
The Boys Are Back InTown
Monmouth Town 3 Pontypridd Town 1
Monmouth Town's Kingfishers returned to Town after a five month absence and treated the home crowd to some blistering football that simply blew away Welsh League pundits' favourites Pontypridd. Elliot Ford in particular was in rampant form scoring a superb late winner and opening his account with a towering header that bookended a super second half showing for him personally and also for the Town.
The men in black started the better; fresh from their own Welsh Cup heroics and took a fifth minute lead from a simple finish after the ball had fallen nicely for Trotman and for next ten minutes it looked as if the Pontypridd outfit were going to justify their tip for the top tag. Looking all round bigger and stronger they applied good pressure but Lewis coming in for the injured Barker and Davies were up the job.
Slowly then things began to wind their way towards the Kingfishers as Ford started to get some joy down the right flank, snake hips Sam Palmer began to bamboozle down the left and Bowen was winning challenges and looking a threat. Alderdice too was growing in influence and Hughes shook off a shakly start to boss things in the middle with the superb Smith. Ford broke free a number of tiems but poor finishing let down his good work but Monmouth should still have gone in at half time in front.
The first five minutes of the second righted those wrongs with a fantastic goal from Alderdice who played a wall pass with Bowen, turned the cenrtre half inside out before unleashing a drive that gave the 'keeper no chance. Next up was Ford getting a free header in the middle of goal that gave the Town the lead. A cracking game ebbed and flowed but Ponty posed only intermittent threats as opossed to the Kingfishers' attacks which always looked more likely to delvier an end product. It was however left to Ford to apply the coup de grace with a jet heeled attack which left a number of bodies in his slip stream before ramming home from an acute angle to wrap up the points and send Monmouth to third in the table. Co boss Barry Burns was delighted with the result and the performance "I think the difference today was that we worked harder than they did. We are looking more and more like a solid unit with some real flair in the team. It was a great team performance. "
Town must use the win as a spring board for next weeks' trip to Welsh League First Division Leaders Cambrian and Clydach; a fixture that had to be switched bacaue of a clash with Rugby. Town Chairman Lee Robson rued the missed opportunity of a home game "It's a shame we had to switch as it is another big draw and big game for us but unless I win the lottery and become a rich benefactor or Rugby is abolished throughout the land I suspect we just have to try and get on with it. The Rugby club are in the same boat and had to swicth a big cup game last year. We just have to try and work together. "
The young Kingfisher's reserve team chalked up a fine away dfraw at Cwmbran Stadium with James Lee grabbing a hat trick in a 4 - 4 draw for Sean Keanes' side.
Kingfishers Take It To The Wire
Welsh Cup Round One
Bridgend Town 5 Monmouth Town 3 (After Extra Time)
When Jack Alderdice’s prematurely balding pate thumped Monmouth’s Kingfishers into a 89th minute 3 – 2 lead against Welsh Premier hopefuls Bridgend Town from another sumptuous delivery from Dean Palmer the fat lady reached for her glass of water and started stretching her vocal chords. Monmouth’s footballers had done what their Rugby counterparts could only dream of doing and come to the Brewery Field, home of the famous Bridgend Rugby Club and erstwhile stage for greats like JPR Williams and Gareth Thomas and gone toe to toe with their much vaunted opponents in an enthralling cup tie on a calm Friday night.
It had started ominously for the Kingfishers as they spent the first half an hour finding out what it means to be playing at a higher level despite their steady progress over the past five years. As Bridgend moved the ball quickly, to feet and moved their markers around at will Town were chasing more shadows than a group of teenage groupies at a Hank Marvin Convention. And yet strangely the home team were toothless despite boasting an array of proven attacking talent. Williams in the Town goal was tested a few times but nothing too difficult as some of Bridgend’s simpler efforst lacked power or direction; sometimes both.
Williams however clearly felt a little sympathy for them as unchallenged from a corner he failed to gather, toppled backwards and let the ball roll over the line to get a grateful Bridgend off the mark. Monmouth to their credit then hit back with Dean Palmer causing problems with his free kicks and corners, Ford threatening to get behind and Bowen his usual tireless self. Smith, Ford and Alderdice were struggling to contain the Bridgend midfield but hanging on gamely as Davies thought he had equalised but was pulled up for a push that the assistant had spotted. It did give the Kingfishers hope and just before half time a good move ended with Ashley Ford planting a superb knock down at the feet of Bowen who calmly finished for his fifth goal of the campaign and sent Monmouth into the changing rooms level pegging.
Bridgend came out for the second half looking far more lively using the rockets they had been given by their manager as much needed motivation but again shots and chances fired high and wide until some great forward movement created a gap that Walters waltzed through to restore Bridgend’s lead. It was hard to see a way back for Town from there but that had reckoned without the introduction of James Hughes. Two days previously Hughes had sported a plaster-cast on his right foot and had last seen a football in a competitive context three years ago but his impact was immediate in releasing an otherwise overrun Alderdice to do what he does best and take the game to his opponents. He did it with great effect with just 15 minutes to go and slalomed the length of the half before putting Ford into space, the speedster's shot was well saved but Bowen was on hand to put the Kingfishers level. From there until the end of the ninety it was a real rollicking rollercoaster ride of a cup tie as players saw yellow, were saved from red by charitable refereeing, succumbed to cramp and chances came and went. Williams was a having whale of a time in the town goal stopping with his feet, diving bravely, and also doing his best to hand out heart attacks with the occasional fumble. A great save at the other end denied Davies certain glory and then Alderdice popped up to thump Town into the lead.
Then it was the Kingfishers against the clock for a place in the second round, a scalp of the highest order and a place in the conversation of any Welsh football fan over the whole cup weekend. All they had to do was run the clock down and keep Bridgend in their half. As the game ticked into 93 minutes, Ford couldn't quite kick the ball into far corner, the Bridgend left back stole some yards from the throw in, a couple of missed tackles and a sliced clearance later and with the game entering the final seconds Bridgend grabbed the lifeline of a corner kick. As the ball swung in dangerously under the bar it was perhaps inevitable that it would result in a last gasp equaliser and send the game into extra time.
At this point it was Monmouth who felt disappointed and struggled to pick themselves up for the extra half hour. The first fifteen of which passed with little incident but in the 107th minute of this incredible game Bridgend finally broke free and regained the lead at 4 – 3. The fifth and final goal coming as the Kingfishers pushed forward to take the game to penalties. That the Kingfishers were disappointed with their efforst summed up a terrific game and one that Monmouth could and perhaps should have won.
Bowen Hat Trick Not Enough But Town Stay Unbeaten
Caerau 4 Monmouth Town 4
Saturday 4th September
A hat trick by Matthew Bowen was not enough to claim a fourth successive victory for the Kingfishers at newly promoted Caerau. Hoping to build on an opening league victory at old rivals Newport Civil Service when a late Elliot Ford goal claimed all three points Town got off to a flyer as Sam Palmer netted after only two minutes. Bowen grabbed his first of the game late in the half to give Town a decent cushion and looked to set up a good platform for the Welsh Cup clash at first divsion Bridgend Town on Friday.
A quick response was what was needed by Caerau and they duly got it with barely two minutes of the second half played and again Bowen restored the lead only to be pegged back to 3-2 before Bowen completed his hat trick with just 15 minutes remaining. As the home side pressed the Kingfishers ended up going deeper and deeper to defend the lead before Smith put through his own goal trying desperately to keep out a good counter attack. In the final minute Ford had a shot glance the post which would have ended it as a contest but then was the guilty party trying to play a pass when an agricultural hoof would have been a wiser policy. The interception and counter attack ended with a header at Williams which squirmed under his body and took two points with it.
Town's reserves were also in action on Saturday for the first time this season as a very young side fought gamely and just slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Cwmbran Town. Sean Keane was in charge of the team which went behind after a mere thirty seconds but then fought back to be the better team at times in a fairly frantic game. Town conceded a second early in the second half but an Alex Hunt penalty after James Lee had been upended set up a competitive final quarter.Keane was delighted with his young charges after the game "That was probably the youngest senior team Monmouth Town have ever sent out and they can all be proud of themselves"
Nelson Victory Makes Monmouth History.
Nelson Cavaliers 2 Monmouth Town 4
Saturday 28th August 2010
If Lord Admiral and Henry V of Monmouth had been as effective in attack as the football teams named after them then we'd all be waking up this morning and greeting each other with a hearty hybrid of 'buenos dias' and 'bonjour'.
Luckily they had a little bit more about them but in fairness there was enough rapier finishing on show to put the Kingfishers into the Welsh Cup first round for the first time in living memory. That they made the usual hard work of it made for a more interesting game which should have been all over after six minutes as Town converted a chance through Barker and contrived to miss three simple opportunties that set the scene for a further 84 minutes of attempting to bankrupt Nelson by losing as many footballs as they could in the undergrowth that surrounded the pitch.
However there was enough superb football from the Kingfishers particularly from Bowen, Elliot Ford, Andrew Smith fresh from his honeymoon and Will Barker to provide hope for the season and if any of the front six get their shooting boots on and their eye to foot coordination right then we'll be in for another treat in 2010/11. Nelson pulled one on the half hour as tried to make a game of it by fair means or foul capitalising on some Monmouth complacency but two goals either side of half time by the marauding Jack Alderdice settled any nerves that were beginning to fray in the Caerphilly sunshine. A further strike by Ashley Ford made it four before a comedy of errors gifted Nelson a lifeline when really a comeback of Lazarus proportions was what should have been required.
So Town march ino the next round and commence their league programme at Newport Civil Servce on Wednesday taking good pre season form and a cup run with them. This Saturday Town's reserves are at home with a first game against Cwmbran Town (2.30).
Kingfishers Off To Flyer in Welsh Cup
Brecon Corries 0 Monmouth Town 5
Saturday 14th August 2010
A five star showing for a new look Kingfishers secured progress in the Welsh Cup and a tie against Rhondda based Nelson Cavaliers in a fortnight's time. Corries on the other hand were decidedly more in the Roundhead camp perhaps over enthused by a game against a team two divisions higher and still smarting from a disastrous season last time out.
In front of good crowd at the Brecon recreation ground the home side were quick to lay down a physical marker but could do nothing to stop Kingfishers player of the year Elliot Ford from outpacing a flat footed defence to rifle home on 8 minutes. In the next ten minutes however it could all have been so different as a deliberate handball outside the area should rightly have resulted in a red card from the home 'keeper but inexplicably the referee dished out yellow. Minutes later and a terrible challenge on the Town's net minder Lee Williams resulted in a hospital stay, damaged kidneys and ..yes..another yellow for the Brecon striker making a reasonable bid to be awarded headless chicken of the day. A red card did follow later in the half following another lunge this time at Sam McCoy.
Both keepers stayed the course amazingly and both could be proud of the shift they put in. Williams claiming a clean sheet and the home keeper denying Bowen and others with a string of superlaitve saves through the game.
Corries for their part despite their irritating fouls weren't that bad. Indeed if they had capitalised on some chances in the first half they might have made a game of it. Town were however better all over the park with Alderdice pulling the strings, Barker composed at the back and 16 year old Barnard continuing his remarkable improvement and form of pre season.
The Kingfishers had to wait until the final half hour to finally make it tell when Ashley Ford slotted home following good pressure, Bowen was upended for Palmer to ram home the spot kick and substitute Lewis to grab a late brace taking the scraps that fell to him.
Town finished with three 16 year olds in their ranks and with Smith, Davies, Spence and Palmer to come back look in good shape for the challenges of this season when once again the Town will be looking to challenge for honours. Town Chairman Lee Robson explained "It's been a difficult pre season with all the uncertainty with the league and we don't start our league campaign unitl September. But things are falling into place nicely on and off the pitch and although we lost some older players we are excited about some of the youngsters that we have brought through the ranks. We are also looking for a sponsor for our first team to replace Waitrose who were great for two years and if we can get a couple more palyers to challenge for places it promises to be a very progressive season for the club".
If you are interested in sponsoring Monmouth Town first team or helping out on match days then you can contact Lee on 07967 479484.
Four For Bowen As Palmer Sees Red Again
Garw SBGC 2 Monmouth Town 5
Saturday 1st May 2010
A hat trick inside the first half hour for the superb Matthew Bowen added to a hat trick of a different kind for the hapless Dean Palmer were the highlights of a game which saw Town retain their Welsh League status and become the top scorers in the entire Welsh league.
Bowen struck his first after just seven minutes finsihing off a sweeping move and then Nick Harrhy continued his goal scoring with a another fine effort before Bowen got two more the first a great volleyed finish and his hat trick goal was trade mark 'Boucher' as he disposessed the goalkeeper and rolled into an empty net. Half hour gone; 4 - 0; game over. Or so you would think. But the Kingfishers do not do things the easy way. After murdering Risca in the preceeding game but somehow managing to scrape a draw with a final kick goal Town decided to continue that thread opting to place the ball in any part of the Ogwr Valley other than the between and under the white sticks that for some reason occupy each end of the pitch. Harrhy hit the one that sits horizontally as did Ford and Bowen and other attempts kept the riverboat man busier than he has been for many a long day. My he even brought out a salmon at one stage. Garw clearly didn't want to be left out of this particular game and contrived to pass up oportunties at the other end.
Early in the second half Garw scored. The Town staretd to panic for some reason then Garw scored again with a penalty and the Town panicked some more. Garw could, perhaop shiould have scored again and then it would have been the capitulation to end all capitulations.
All momentum was taken from Garw as their lively winger was sent of for kicking Dean Palmer who was dismissed in the same incident presumably for biting his assialants boot. It was the third time that Palmer had seen red since Christmas.
Soon after Harrhy was denied a clear penalty, Lewis spurned a good opportunity seconds after coming on to replace him but Bowen ended the comedy with his fourth.
Town now have three games left and after securing thier highest ever points total will look for a top six finish to a season that has long passed its sell by date.
Monmouth Town 4 Llantwit Fardre 0
Monmouth Town 3 Briton Ferry 0
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy
Monmouth Town 4 Newport Civil Servce 0
Tuesday 13th April 2010
At last! A boring routine home win for the Kingfishers with no drama just a confident comfortable second half performance against a Newport Civil Service team who as usual at Monmouth turned up in body but not in spirit. The aggregate scores between these two teams whose paths have been intertwined for five seasons now stands at 14 - 1 to the Kingfishers.
And it could have been double that score as Town were the better team throughout and were rarely threatened by Civil who huffed and puffed to no real effect for most of a first half that saw Town hit the woodwork three times but end the half goalless.
It was such a pleasant change from recent games where anytihng could happen and usually did but even on this pitch which, once again was an embarassment to the town, the match progressed with little tempo and fair to middling passages of play.
Civil could have taken the lead on the hour but a great save by a Campbell-Kenndy combination repelled a goal bound effort and Town immediately counter attacked as Harrhy supplied a cross for Bowen to drill home for the lead.
Barely three minmutes later the favours were returned as Bowen set up Harrhy for his fourth goal in Town colours. Fast forward another ten minutes and man of the match Bowen harrassed the visiting defence into another mistake and a handball allowing Harrhy to smash home the penalty. With ten minutes to go a superb through ball by Dean Palmer set up brother Sam for a rasping finish to make it 4 - 0.
Civil had conceeded five on each of their last two visits and now the crowd were inwardly chanting "we want Five" but although Town went close on another couple of occasions and troubled the woodwork again the Kingfishers let Civil off with a hammering rather than a humiliation. And a clean sheet too which in Town circles is rarer than a lawn mower on the Town pitch!
It's Mental Garw for Town
Monmouth Town 5 Garw SBGC 4
It's fair to say that, talented footballer though he is, Dean Palmer has not had the best of 2010 so far. Sent off twice for dissent, played in a myraid of different postions as needs must and here having a torrid time in defence agaisnt a rejuvenated rock bottom Garw Palmer rose superbly in the 85th minute to clinch the winner of an error strewn game that ought to be quickly forgotten but will be recalled as one of the wackiest games to have been played at the Sportsgound for a long, long time.
Town were forced to shuffle the pack once more having been reduced to 13 fit players due to a work place injury to skipper Jack Alderdice. The change was Andrew Smith reacquainted with midfield duties he gave up 18 months ago. Simultaneously of course the defence was stripped of experience and as early as the first minute Town were ripped apart down the right by a neat combination between the Misbah brothers who were to prove hotter than the famed Monmouth curry house of the same name (cheque please!).
That was a portent of things to come and exprienced observers were already predicting a day for defences to forget. Except of course if they're scoring a the right end and sure enough confusion in the Town defence led to a throw in the final third and fromt the ensuing melee the Garw centre half poked home a loose ball to put Garw into the lead.
It didn't last long as the Garw defence evaporated before Elliot Ford who slammed home an equaliser but just before half time another set piece was headed emphatically home by the Garw centre half for his second of the game.
Town at least came out for the second half looking to play in the dangerous Nick Harrhy but once again the Monmouth pitches proved so poor that any attempt at stringing a series of passes together would have been harder than predicting the outcome of the Grand National being run later that day - probably on a smoother patch of grass.
In between times Ford equalised again with a super lobbed finish but immediately Town shipped a goal as Palmer needlessly conceeded a free kcik, was booked again and Smith deflected a cross past Campbell.
A soft penalty award for a pull on Bowen was cliniclaly converted by Harrhy before Davies scored the second own goal of the game trying in vain to keep out a drilled cross. Kennedy, another who was 'aving a 'mare in common parlance inexplicably turned hero with a swish of his left foot which confounded a floundering Garw 'keeper to make it four all. The keeper redeemed himself moments later keeping out a great effort by Palmer.
The a classic 'You are the Ref' moment as a drop ball was not contested by Lewis allowing the Garw stiker to smash thirty yards into the Town goal. The ref disallowed the 'goal' booked the Garw player for unsporting behaviour and sparked a hundred debates up and down the touch lines. Monmouth Chairman Lee Robson concluded that if it had been Monmouth and if it had been allowed he would have ordered the team to allow a goal by Garw. Because we're like that here in Monmouth. Yes Sirree!
Then Palmer scored to make it all a bit academic and push Town into sixth place. Town co bosses Barry Burns and Robin Pick were too busy contemplating the many ways that they could commit suicide to make any comment.
No Buddy Good For Muddy Monmouth
Aberbargoed Buds 2 Monmouth Town 0
Title favourites Aberbargoed were simply too good for Monmouth in the goo of The Buds' Recreation Ground, one of the few grounds to survive the early spring deluge that piled more misery on the fixture makers of the Welsh League.
In a surprisingly good game given the conditions both sides looked to pass the ball and create openings that although not rare were seldom enough to ensure that both teams' strikers had to be on top form to make their mark. Town had let Gwent top marksman Fowler through early on and he failed to capitalise and Town's rookie Craig Lewis the hero of Risca should have done better when through one on one and shooting straight at the 'keeper. Other chances flew high and and wide in a first half that neither side dominated having to work especially hard to compete as the surface deteriorated. The second half opened brightly enough for the Kingfishers with Harrhy released several times in the opening 10 minutes to unleash terrific balls into the box that Buds cleared competenetly but Town at this stage threatenedn to upset the table standing and recent form by taking a deserved lead; Palmer going closest diverting deft header against the post.
Such fanciful feelings were disavowed on the hour when a punt downfield by the Buds keeper was touched out for a corner and for the umpteenth time this season Town failed to defend the set piece and Fowler gobbled up the loose ball with more relish than a five year old wolfing a Creme Egg.
The Kingfishers did battle back well adn never looked out of it unitl again failing to clear their lines from a free kick and the ball ricoched off a town face to fly past Campbell for the killer secnd goal. Credit to Town though as they kept pressing to get back into the game none more so than with a series of Harrhy corners which threatened to breach the Buds back line but the clean sheet specialists were in no mood to share any Easter gifts and saw the game out comfortably enough.
Town boss Barry Burns was disappointed but not down hearted "Buds will probably go on and win the Division from here and you can see why. Very experienced and very well organised. For our part we're still carrying knocks and suspensions but I thought we played really well in parts and took the game to them. We've got lots of game cokming up which will be a real test of our strength adn depth of squad"
Town are at home this Saturday to bottom of the table Garw Athetic kick off 2.30pm
Harrhy Can't Carry Hari Kari Kingfishers
Monmouth Town 1 Abertillery Bluebirds 5
An outstanding individual goal by Nick Harrhy proved the only bright spot on a miserable afternoon for Monmouth's Kingfishers who crashed to their heaviest home defeat for at least five seasons - courtesy of some suicidal defending.
The game was progressing nicely with Town looking the more accomplished side without really threatening when a mix up between Smith and Kennedy let the ball squirm out to Morgan and the Bluebird finished sweetly into Roberts' right hand corner.
Roberts then saved superbly from Bishop and inexplicably moments later had a rush of blood to the head and misjudged a simple punch to allow Tom Heard to poke home. From the restart a Smith slip nudged the ball passed Davies and a gleeful Owen Goodenough wandered though unchallenged to finish well and effectively put the game out of the Kingfishers reach.
The second half was pretty much as expected as Town pushed on missed some good chances but were always susceptible to they counter and sure enough Heard led the breakaway charge to finish with something to spare on 78 minutes.
Harrhy's super strike on 82 was always going to be too little too late and Goodenough who on this day need only be Barelyadequate rounded Roberts late on to make it five.
Town joint boss Barry Burns was dumb struck "Congratulations to the Bluebirds on a fine win but it was gift wrapped. No point dwelling on it as it was such an aberration. We move on!"
Super Sub Lewis Wins It For Town
Risca United 1 Monmouth Town 2
Saturday March 20th 2010
A last gasp super strike from super sub Craig Lewis claimed all three points for the Kingfishers for the first time on their travels since October and extended their unbeaten run to five games. Lewis, and seventeen year old fellow sub Greg Harris, showed terrific commitment to the cause as Town travelled again with walking wounded, and were still missing key players compounded by the suspension of Ford and Palmer and loss of top scorer Phil Tranter to second Divsion Newport YMCA.
Introduced on 75 minutes with the game heading for stalemate despite the Kingfishers dominating territory and possession but coming up against a soild Risca defence Lewis latched onto a fine through ball by Bowen to finish calmly beyond Matthew Long in the home goal who had performed heroics throughout the game.
It was no less than Town deserved as they played some fine football on a deteriorating pitch and under the control of some esoteric refereeing. Risca played their full part in a strangely entertaining affair but seemed to lack any real cutting edge when it really mattered.
The Kingfishers were presented with an early chance to take the lead winning a penalty that was superbly saved by Long from Palmer's half decent spot kick and still had the better of the openming exchanges with Palmer missing a decent chance and Bowen scuffing a shot wide. On 32 minutes an intricate move saw the ball finally drop to Ford whose excellent strike brought another top drawer save by Long down low to his right and he would be within his rights to have spent the rest of Saturday berating his defence form being awe struck rather than clearing the loose ball which was dispatched emphatically from an acute angle by Nick Harrhy for his first for the club since his retrun form Australia.
Roberts had been in action earlier making his only real save of the game from a cross cum shot which looked to be creeping in at the near post. He could nothing about the penalty awarded on 42 minutes which levelled the game and send both teams into the break with some thinking and tinkering to do.
Town played more directly in the second half looking to move the ball forward more quickly and try and exploit space down the flanks and bring Harrhy onto the game. If the plan made the game easier on the eye it was countered by incessant mysterious infringements or just plain daft decisions. As the half wore on Town increasingly looked like taking the lead only to be denied by Long again saving well from a superb turn and strike by Harrhy and some resolute defending. Risca looked blunt in comparison but more dangerous at set pieces and Smith was outstanding coming back from injury and mopping up most of the danger.
Kennedy had a superb chance to put the Kingfishers in the lead on 70 minutes with Long astraned adn the Risca defence at sixes and sevens but although he had time to compose himself and pick his spot his effort was more Nigel than Ross who would have done better had he hit the ball with a violin.
At this point it needed just that little but extra to finally bash down the Risca door and the bold introduction of Lewis provided it earning himself a proper football mobbing following his goal and no doubt a few drinks on the way home. Lewis himself was over the moon "Tio be honest I'm enjoying my football at the moment and have been playing well for the reserves. They had a big game so I would have been happier staying in Monmouth and getting ninety minutes but I got the call and if I get my chance I'll try and take it. It was great to win it like that. A real buzz!"
Nine Men Four Goal Town Denied
Monmouth Town 1 Cwmaman Institute 1
Monmouth Town's Kingfishers starting without the inured Dan Spence, the influential Andrew Smith and the AWOL top scorer Phil Tranter were denied three perfectly good goals forced to play the last quarter of the match with nine men and still should have won comfortably against promotion hopeful Cwmaman Institute who were on a nine match unbeaten run.
As early as the fifth minute Town had forced the ball a good two foot over the line through Matthew Bowen but inexplicably the referee waved play on as Cwmaman cleared their lines. Town then spent the rest of the first half raiding down either flank and giving the Cwmaman based back line a good work out for the first half.
It wasn't all one way traffic however as the more direct Institute looked to counter quickly and use the pace and strength of the front two drawing a superb save from Roberts and going close from a number of set pieces. It was somewhat of a surprise that the half ended goalless and with no indication for the explosive forty five that was to follow.
The blue touch paper was lit when again the referee inexplicably waved play on after Bowen had met Ford's superb cross with a deft header that beat the keeper all ends up and cannoned in off the far post. Spurred on with the mounting injustice Town took the lead when Palmer's pin point free kick was met emphatically by Captain Alderdice and from there the smart money was on the Kingfishers going on to win with something to spare.
The game however started to unravel as first the referee failed to deal adequately with a foul on Sam Palmer and followed it with a yellow for brother Dean for a more innocuous challenge two minutes later. A mere five minutes later and with an hour gone a deliberate hand ball was punished with yellow for the Valleys offender and a second yellow for the appeal by Palmer who received his marching orders for the second time this season.
five minutes later Bowen had another goal disallowed following a fumble by the keeper who was adjudged to have been fouled and to compound matters at the other end Ford was dismissed for an elbow thrown into the chest of his opponent leaving the Town to defend for the final 20 plus minutes with nine men.
Inevitably with fifteen minutes remaining Institute equalised from a corner and although it would have been wise for Town to have packed their area and defend like demons they carved out a number of further chances and Alderdice and Harrhy were denied by good saves as the game became embroiled in petty fouls and excusable attempts to run down the clock in front of a referee visibly rattled by the reactions to a game that had spiralled out of his control. At then end it was difficult to decide whether to feel relief for not losing a game or anger at having been denied a well earned three points. Town joint boss Barry Burns was in no mood for compromise on this moot point "I'm struggling to understand how we can score four good goals and end up with just a point. With our injuries the red cards could also derail us for next week so the refs done us no favours not just for this game but perhaps for the next two. I'm truly fed up. That said we have to be proud of the way we stuck at it and we could still have won it with nine! Cwmaman know they've been in a hell of a game*
Azzy Azzy Azzy...Oi Oi Oi
Monmouth Town 2 Pontyclun 1
6th March 2010
A regulation first goal of the season from defender Aaron Davies sealed a vital win for the Kingfishers as they fought back in the second half from a goal down to climb to seventh place and keep one eye on the promotion spots. Bizarrely with eight for the drop this season it also soothed relegation fears as Pontyclun were immediately below the Town before the weekend fixtures. Unlike the 'goalfests' of previous weeks the first half however was a seriously dull affair with neither side looking capable of creating enough chances to break the stale mate.
Playing on the narrower Pavilion pitch because of a fixture clash with Rugby Town found it harder to get their game going and in form striker Phil Tranter found himself well shackled and new boy Nick Harrhy looked neat and tidy but also found space at a premium as he looked to adjust to a six month lay off. Town had also been forced to reshape at the back as Andrew Smith collected an ankle injury in training and Dan Spence's season had been ended with his broklen ankle from the previous week. It meant a first start fot sixteen year old Tom Wareham and a centre half berth for influential midfielder Ross Kennedy.
For the last fifteen it was all Town and credit to Ponty for holding out and even going close a couple of times as Town yet again kept it interesting for the supporters. It's now 7 points from ten for Town and Town boss Barry Burns was pleased with the result "We were quiet in the first half and struggled to find any openings. It was obvious we had to change something once we'd conceded and it was great to have options from the bench. Elliot's attitude was first class and altough he was very dissapointed not to start he reacted superbly for the team and won us the game!"
Town Give It The Full Ponty
Monmouth Town 3 Pontypridd Town 3
27th February 2010
After a week ensconsed in a West African Hotel where the most exciting thing on the menu was ..well what was on the menu...this was a juddering return to Blighty for this correspondent and a Welsh League encounter pitting table topping experienced campaigners of Pontypridd Town against the Division's top scorers.
The result was a rip roaring, fiull blooded affair that was probably not for the purist but was certainly one to remember as Town ripped into Ponrty from the off and never let up. Ponty played their full part in the spectacle and at the end the two teams were trading blows like two drunks in a car park at closing time as the game could have gone one way or the other but like the drunks ended in a crumpled heap of blood, sweat and beers.
Town started by the far the brighter and as early as the second minute Bowen had a shot cleared off the line but Sam Palmer made no mistake with just six minutes gone converting a fine move down the right for his fourth in five games. Pontypridd responded positively and put togerther some moves that showed why they are title favourites but for all the slickness didn't really penetrate a resolute back four marshalled superbly by Kennedy.
On the half hour however, a free kick was conceded cheaply and received much more expensively as a Pontypridd defender moved up to head unopposed beyond Roberts and into the far corner.
As the pitch deteriorated the shape of the game and the referees grasp of it went with it and what had begun as a grown up quarrel started to resemble a series of school yard spats. Some semblance of order was restored as Tranter converted from close range in a carbon copy of Town's first goal. Roberts also did well with a few saves to send Town in 2 - 1 at the break.
Town may be the Divsion's top scorers but they also have the divisions' third worst defensive record so the home supporters never really beklive that a one gaol lead will be enough and 20 minutes of frazzled nerves were finally ened when the equaliser came as expected from aanothe set peivece. This time a corner thudded home from close range.
Then it looked much more likely that Ponty would prove too strong. Credit the Town's youngsters who were driven on by Alderdice not shirking any of the tough tackling that was necessary as both sides went toe to toe on a pudding of a pitch. Bowen was taken out by a scything blow and for once the referee applied common sense and allowed Ford to stride on and strike an upright when he should really have converted. No matter as Ford's good work generally was rewarded with just two minutes of normal time remaining crossing for Tranter to score with a rare header for his 22nd goal in 22 games this campaign and his 36th in 40 games for the Town. Some record.
Like a large umbrella in a heavy wind a Monmouth lead is difficult to hold onto and into injury time Pontypridd were allowed time to play around with the ball on the Town's flanks find space to cross, lose makers and score their third headed goal of the game. In th cold light of day a draw against such an experienced and competent side wh9o had gioven the Kingfishers such a lesson back in October could be taken as a good result but Town's players and supporters will know that they were there for the taking.
Ten Man Town Struggle In the Mud
Monmouth Town 1 South Gower 1
6th February 2010
Monmouth Town's Kingfishers returned to home action for the first time since early December but failed to grab a victory against bottom but one Welsh League newcomers South Gower.
Forced to change formation to cater for the absence of influential sweeper Andrew Smith and speedster Elliot Ford Town's attempt to secure a vital win was further hampered by the dismissal on 38 minutes of Dean Palmer for using foul and abusive language - a red card that meant the withdrawal of top scorer Phil Tranter as Manager Burns and Pick looked to shore up what had already looked a shaky defence. At a stroke however the Town's attacking strength was undermined and on a pitch that would make a watering hole in the Serengetti look like a bowls green any attempt at passing the ball quickly and with certainty was rendered impossible. Goals were always going to be at a premium.
True, Tranter and Bowen had gone close in the the first half denied by good saves by Honey-Jones and a mazy run by Sam Palmer had ended with a powder puff finish and the Gower men had let the Kingfishers off the hook with wayward finishing but both teams looked woefully out of sorts as the game lacked any real shape or discipline.
With only three minutes of the second half gone Alderidce was adjudged to have been pushed in the area and Sam Palmer's spot kick was emphatic. The game ebbed and flowed as the ball bobbled and jigged its merry dance and it was always likely that Town would need two goals to get all three points. And so it proved as the defence was undone by a neat through ball and Roberts was beated by a toe poke.
A coupe of other chances were passed up by both sides as the tireless Bowen ploughed a lone furrow and tried his best to grab a foothold that could lift Town back into the game but it was all to no avail as both sides settled for a scrappy point apeice.
Town co boss Robin Pick summed it up "Ten men. 50 minutes. Hard work." Not that easy on the eye either Robin.
Kingfishers Crash To Late Corus Harmony
Corus Steel 2 Monmouth Town 1
30th January 2010
Monmouth Town's Kingfishers were in action for the first time in 2010 and the first time for seven weeks but found the steel of Corus too hot to handle in the shadow of the rolling mills of Port Talbot.
The early exchanges were scrappier than Steptoe's yard however with both teams looking even more rusty after the long snow enforced lay off as passes went astray and no one managing to get a grip of proceedings. A cheap free kick on 17 minutes was floated over a curious Town defence a Steel head did the rest to put Corus in the lead.
Unfortunately for the supporters of both sides this didn't signal an improvement in the football and apart from a half decent shout for a Monmouth penalty, a bit of off the ball argy bargy and a missed sitter for Corus the most interesting thing on offer was calculating the effect on the climate of whatever it is that is spewed out of the giant chimneys that nudge the compact setting of Corus's ground.
On a freezing day a bit of global warming would have been nice but Monmouth started the second half a team transformed and pummelled a visibly wilting Corus side who probably thought that on the first half showing the game was in the bag. But for all the possession chances were still at a premium and the home keeper was having a fine game denying Ford and generally handling danger confidently and competently.
Sam Palmer left footed volley from the edge of the area on 68 minutes levelled the scores and if anything at that time the Kingfishers looked well placed to take all three points. Inexplicably from then till the end of the game it was all Corus as Town failed to capitalise on the momentum they had built and at times were lucky not have conceded a number of times as Smith and co defended superbly.
With barely three minutes remaining and a point looked a safely tucked away Alderdice gambled with a challenge and lost and the Corus substitute used the time he had bought, composed himself, took aim and drilled a 25 yard strike in off an upright for the winner.
You Wareham Well
Saturday 12th December 2009
Monmouth Town 5 Goytre 2
A late goal from 16 year old substitute Tom Wareham sealed an emphatic win for the Kingfishers in a pulsating game at the Sportsground which also meant they completed a season double over their Monmouthshire rivals and went above them in the table. The game was also notable for Town missing two penalties; the first after 3 minutes when Tranter was upended in the box and the usually reliable Smith hit his spot kick too near the keeper and the second as Tranter stepped up late on to complete his hat trick only to see his effort superbly saved.
In between times the two sides had gone at each other knowing that promotion spots are on offer and County bragging rights were up for grabs. For long periods Goytre were the better side with better movement and more ability to keep possession and find their team mates with shorter, crisper passes. As so often the game is capable of turning such unimportant positives on their head and it was the returning Alderdice's head which did the damage converting a simple chance from a free kick after Ford had resumed his torment of the Goytre left back which had ended in a red card for the hapless defender back in August. It took a further four fouls from the putative stopper harassing Ford like a dog chasing a postman with bacon trousers before he earned his yellow card.
By that time Goytre were undeservedly level but coming back into the game and looking to go in at half time on the ascendency when Tranter struck just before half time finishing a great move and pass by Bowen before Roberts tipped superbly over from a free kick.
The second half again saw too many Monmouth passes go astray and Goytre failing to make the most of their know how and possession but Ford showed what direct running could do ripping through the Goytre defence to draw a save from the keeper but bundling in the rebound. Tranter was more rumbustuous with his second blasting past the keeper from a tight angle to end the game as a contest. Ford was then brought down in the box and up stepped Tranter to fail from the spot before Tom Wareham announced his entry onto the Monmouth scene refusing to let a ball go out in the corner, gathering and driving a shot which went in at the near post.
The Goytre substitute showed Monmouthians how to take penalties by slotting the third spot kick of the game to give the final scoreline a veneer of respectabliity for Goytre and accuracy for the rest of us.
Town co-boss Robin Pick was left to comment "We weren't at our best today but at other times we've dominated and got nothing. I know which I'd prefer. We're a bit short on confidence in some areas and our decision making is a bit off but we've got talent thoughout the team and were derfeidng better although it would have been nice to shut up shop at 5 - 1. So long as we keep working for each other we'll be there or thereabouts at the end. "
Next Saturday Town entertain Seven Sisters at the Sportsgound Kick off 2pm.
No Buddy Good
Saturday 5th December 2009
Monmouth Town 1 Aberbargoed Buds 2
Two goals from Dean Randall in two silly minutes just before half time secured the points for Aberbargeod as once again a host of missed chances and a lack of match sharpness cost Monmouth Town dear and condemned them to another home defeat.
Back in action for the first time in four weeks on a soft pitch both teams looked like they were going to need time to settle back into the sport let alone the game itself as passes went astray and composure was a stranger to most players. The ealry exchanges were largely forgettable but Ford should have done better with a free header and both sides seemed hurried when given sight of goal. Not so Tranter on the half hour who capitalised on good work by Bowen to drive his finish high into the net.
As the half neared its end Town could have been forgiven for thinking they had withstood most of what the Buds could throw at them; as they did they were hit with a two goal salvo as they dithered and slithered in their own goal mouth seemingly unable to decide what to do with the round thing in front of them. The answer they didn't find was "kick the bloody thing!" Randall had that one!
The second ninety was largely dominated by the Kingfishers with dangerous direct Buds breakaways that fashioned good openings but lacked a finish. Town for their part approached well but lacked the calmness in front of goal that could and should have at least earned a point as a number of shots sailed high and wide and worried the woodwork. Neville Harris's introduction added a bit of guile and although Tranter and Bowen huffed and puffed Town's attacking play was too predictable for the Division's meanest defence.
Town End Cup Run
Nathaniel League Cup Round 2
Saturday 7th November 2009
Monmouth Town 2 AFC Llwydcoed 3
Monnmouth Town's fleeting interest in the Nathaniel League Cup was doused as they came out second best in a 5 goal, 120 minute end to end game at the Sportsground.
Welcoming last year's third division champions who had comprehensively beaten them back in April Town could have been forgiven for feeling a little nervous especially as inspirational defender Aaron Davies failed a late fitness test. They needn't have however as the early exchanges proved Lewis a more than able deputy returning from his own back injury and Tranter and Bowen going close before Tranter finally converted on 14 minutes. A few more chances went begging in the rest of the half and 'Coed were working therir way back into the game but the Kingfishers were good value for their half time lead, but in modern football parlance you were left with the impression that Town had only "equalised first!
And so it proved following an early second half exchange which saw Roberts handling outside of his area trying to deal with a seriously uneven bounce. From the free kick Williams scored with a thumping header.
The Kingfishers however kept plugging away with Alderdice growing in stature and Ford starting to stretch his legs but they were undone by a great piece of skill and a sumptuous finish by Chris Vardon capitalising on some missed tackles.
One sensed that extra time was in the offing as Town continued to make good combinations and Ford finally made the most of a defensive blunder to head home. 'Coed then had a man sent off for the third time in three visits but Monmouth couldn't press home the advantage.
It was similar story through extra time as Monmouth failed to finish off great moves and good possession. Tranter had a goal chalked off for offside, Harris and Alderidce hit the woodwork before Tricky Dicky Dennis turned and spanked one over a bemused Roberts for what proved the winner.
Town had however got over the performance from the previous week and Barry Burns was a more upbeat manager "A good performance which again if we took our chances we could and should have won. But I'm happy that we more than matched a good 'Coed outfit. We've got a week off now but I'll be looking to build on the great attitude of the lads and return in a fortnight firing on all cylinders"
All Trick and No Treat In Hallowe'en Horror Show
Saturday 31st October 2009
Pontypridd Town 4 Monmouth Town 1
Monmouth Town's Kingfishers were handed a rare footballing lesson as a resurgent Pontypridd Town bettered them at every aspect of play in a Halloween horror show for Town.
Starting the day in third place with ambitions to claim top spot Town's trip to Ponty was a bridge too far in any language as too many players had off days and Pontypridd's experience, nous and desire simply blew the Kingfishers away.The first half was a horribly one sided affair and to go in at half time only 2 - 0 down could be considered a blessing of sorts as Town could not possibly have done any worse. For their part Pontypridd carved the Town defence open at will, aided by basics errors and an inability to keep possession under any sort of pressure and should have done better with the chances that fell their way.
The second half was a more even contest; not even, just more so as Monmouth mustered some attacking threat but continued to be guilty of giving the ball away and ball watching as they were undone by the superior movement and passing of the men in black. On the hour a promising attack down the Town's right eneded with a swift counter attack and at 3 - 0 it was game over. Ford did get one back and Dan Spence missed a glaring opportunity before Pontyridd wrapped up the nightmare, stealing the ball in the Town half and finishing confidently.
Town Co-boss Barry Burns was down but not out after the game "We've been beaten by a much better side today and had a bad day ourselves. Its hard to take any positives out of the game except to say that we don't become a bad team overnight and we have to see what character we have to bounce back!"
Fords Deliver Dynamo Scrappage Scheme
Saturday 24th October 2009
Pentwyn Dynamo 3 Monmouth Town 6
A wonderful, thunderful left foot volley from Elliot Ford and a sumptuous finish by younger brother Ashley from a great move consigned struggling Pentgwyn Dynamos to the scrapheap and launched Monmouth's Kingfishers into third place in the table.
Travelling without skipper Alderdice and the injured Dean Palmer Town were still looking for their fifth win on the road but started badly as a remodelled midfield struggled to get to grips with a lumpy pitch and unfamiliar surroundings. Indeed Town went behind to a penalty in the 12th minute awarded for handball against Smith by a clearly unsighted referee who refused to be handicapped by this minor disadvantage and showed initiative by using his ears to make the decision.
It did however sting the Kingfishers into some sort of action and Harris, making his first start of the season, started to remember his clear talent for the game by ghosting in and around the middle areas linking play with Kennedy, Smith and Ford also finding their feet and more importantly those of their team mates. Palmer finished off a great move getting on the end of an Elliot Ford cross to equalise on 17 minutes.
Another patchy period followed but the final twenty minutes of the half Town played possibly some of their best football of the season keeping the bal extremely well and dragging Pentwyn around the park to find openings at will. That the only goal they had to show for it was another great efforts by Tranter owed a lot to profligacy and even more to some great stops by the home 'keeper who was turning in a man of the match perfomance, such was the Kingfishers dominance.
The second half started in the same manner with Town rampant. Harris finished a passing move with a sweeping strike over the keeper before Elliot Ford's thunderbolt made it four crashing in off the bar passed a shell shocked keeper. Town responed by replacing Tranter with the popular 'Chewy' Lewy to earn his reward for good work in the reserves and he responded well with a very lively cameo starting the move that led to the fifth from Ashley Ford and having a hand in the sixth scored by Bowen after a great piece of play by fellow debutant 16 year old Tom Wareham. Wareham was a revelation in his first game looking to the manor born and providing some great inspriation for the rest of Town's youth teams and making his mark with some great defending headers strong runs down the right flanks and fearless tackling.
In between times Pentwyn got a goal back with a cool finish from the edge of the box and frustratingly for the second week running Town lost concentration and allowed a full pitch length run to go unchecked and rewarded with a well placed finish beyond Roberts returning to the Town goal for the rested Campbell.
Town are now up to third and in the promotion spots but joint Barry Burns insisted it was too early to be indulging in such talk "It was another good win and performance for the middle part of the game and good to see that we can cope with leading players missing. There were some big pluses for us today not least Neville Harris returning and Robbo did well in goal, Chewy and Tom have also done themelves no harm at all with their attitudes and performances. But we must keep working hard in training and on Saturdays to get our rewards. No-one in this league is going to lie down for us."
Baby Faced Tranter Seals the Points
Saturday 17th October 2009
Monmouth Town 5 Cwmamman United 2
Phil Tranter's second hat trick of the season perfectly illustrated the strikers' art coming as it did with a left foot, right foot, mid drift combiantion which ended a perfect week for the new dad and the Kingfishers who secured thier first home points of the season.
Monmouth Town have now won six of their last seven games and have moved to joint third in the league and priming themselves to be serious challengers as the season progresses.
This was by far the most comfortable of recent victories against a strangely subdued fourth placed Cwmamman side enjoying plenty of possession but showing little creativity in the final third.
Town went ahead on 11th minutes as Tranter latched onto a long ball and took the advancing 'keeper by surprise by letting his shot go early and it arched into the far corner. Town then gained a real grip ,of the game and although Cwmamman were still competitive at this point didn't seem likely to find a way through with Smith, Davies and Spence once again competent and confident and looking to spring Ford and Alderdice at every opprortunity.
On 32 minutes however an innocuous attack was running its course when the ball was turned toward the far post and an umnmarked striker poked the ball beyond Campbell for a easy equaliser. Just before half time however Sam Palmer blasted in from 18 yards to restore the deserved lead for the Kingfishers.
The second half promised more of the same as Kennedy came into his own and the tireless Bowen began to make inroads and Ford was once again a threat down the right flank. The third goal came in surprising manner as the Cwmamman play maker tried a cross field pass which was expertly cut out by Tranter and his attempted lob ended up in the bottom corner. Smith converted a penalty soon after but Cwmamman responded with a simple attack down the right as a midfiled player was allowed to run the whole length of the pitch unchallneged, fall over and still get his shot in at Campbell's near post. Tranter however was not finshed and completed a his perfect week guiding a Bowen effort in with his stomach. There was still time for Cwmamman to have a headed goal disallowed and to miss a penalty but this was thoroughly deserved win for the Town.
The reserves kept up theri imopresive start to the season with a point away at top of the table Caldicot Town. A solitary strike by Craig Leiws seemed enough to get all three points but Caldicot levelled in injury time to stay at the top with the Kingfishers breathing down their necks in second with a game in hand.
Kingfishers Up For The County
Gwent Senior Cup
Monday 12th October 2009
Newport County 0 Monmouth Town 2
An Andrew Smith penalty and a superb Matthew Bowen goal were enough to seal a famous win for Monmouth Town against Newport County and clinch a semi final place in the Gwent Senior Cup.
This was the first ever competitive meeting of the two sides in any competition which is historically significant given 'the Exiles' birth as the Newport and Monmouth County AFC and some shared history with former Newport players being loaned out to Monmouth Town in the 50's and 60's, helping Town to dominate Monmouthshire competitions in their heyday.
The progress of Town over the past five years from underachieving Gwent County Division Three side to a solid and competitive Welsh league club was underlined by the tie itself and the scoreline which, despite the Exiles fielding a virtual youth side, was achieved with much to spare.
Town were happy to concede possession for much of the game knowing that to do otherwise on a big pitch against mobile, technically adept opponents was asking for trouble and so the early exchanges were cagey.
'Tricky' Tranter who became a father for the second time later in the evening, (though not, it must be stressed, as a result of any slap dash defending), got clear three times but had too much to do and saw his long range efforts easily dealt with. Ford showed glimpses of the pace that was to be used to more devastating effect in the second half and Alderdice and Kennedy were once more providing a semblance of a platform to launch some forays into the Exile territory.
Tranter it was however who wriggled free again on 23 minutes and was adjudged to have been pulled back in the area. Smith did the rest from the spot for his first of the season.
The rest of the half was significant only for a couple of bookings and the fact that County for all their youthful endeavour seemed less likely to equalise unless as a result of stupidity from Town….something that hasn’t been entirely eradicated from their play.
The second half settled into much the same pattern although Ford had begun to show some signs that he could do some real damage if given more freedom to attack. The case for the attack was proven in the 70th minute as he picked up the ball on the half way line, burnt past four defenders and rolled a pass into the path of Bowen who scooped his finish into the roof of the net and sent the travelling support if not into rapture then at least to some place where enthusiastic clapping and whooping and hollering is positively encouraged. Why, there was even a chant of 'Top of the league? You’re having a laugh" which is about as raucous as a Monmouth football crowd gets.
County again applied plenty of pressure but had little in the way of creativity to break down the older and wiser Town defence again well marshalled by former County player Smith and with super displays by Spence, Davies and another clean sheet for Campbell.
It was left to Town Chairman Lee Robson to sum up the mood in the Monmouth camp "I'm immensely proud of everything associated with Monmouth Town Football Club tonight. It's taken a lot of hard work on and off the pitch to even get in a position where we can be in the same competition as Newport County and, yes, it is a very special occasion for us and I make no apologies for that. We’re at home on Saturday and if we can keep up our good form then we can kick from here and start to challenge on a number of fronts. There’s plenty more where this came from."
Fun Bus No Bogeyman As Town Win Away Again
Saturday 10th October
South Gower 0 Monmouth Town 1
At about 11.30 every other Saturday a red mini bus disappears over the Monnow bridge into deepest darkest Wales carrying Monmouth's footballing finest on their latest Welsh League adventure. It returns 10 hours later carrying the same dozen people, most much worse for wear, but with the added cargo of three points plundered on the road which will stand the Kingfishers in good stead for the winter travails ahead. The 'Fun Bus' as it has been coined has become the lucky omen for the Town, so much so, that it is seriously being considered as transport for home games where the Town have so far failed to pick up a single point.
This, however, was a relatively comfortable victory, Tranter's solitary effort being enough to win a game that should have been signed and sealed before half time but which again provided enough scary moments to receed the finger nails of the travelling support and management.
South Gower started much the brighter, hardly surprising given the two and half hour schlepp, causing some problems down the Town right flank. Having weathered that early flurry Tranter and Bowen started to create a few openings and Alderdice, Kennedy and Palmer got a grip in midfield. Town went close a number of times before Tranter's run and strike gave the Town the lead on 23 minutes. Davies and Bowen had good efforts blocked and Dean Palmer struck from distance but a second goal looked further away than ever as the half ended.
The second half was punctuated with petty fouls, injuries which stemmed any flow that the game could mustyer. South Gower did at least try to be positive with substituions and formation but it is doubtful whether the whole of this beautiful penninsula could have mustered more meaningful attempts as the game started to fizzle out in a ping pong of toothless attacks and hopeful counters.
At the death Ford went close, Lewis was ludicrously given offside when clean through and Campbell celebrated a first clean sheet of the season and the accusation that he was part of some English genatalia with loud Scottish ramblings. Deserved.
Town Put To the Sword by Steelmen
Saturday 3rd October 2009
Monmouth Town 2 Corus Steel 3
Table topping Corus Steel took all three points in a pulsating game at The Sportsground when, again, missed opportunities and basic errors cost the Kingfishers dear. After Corus took the lead on five minutes with the Town defence failing to deal with an innocuous attack and guilty of ball watching as a loose ball was turned across goal for an unmarked Port Talbot attacker to roll home, the Kingfishers settled and took the game to the league leaders. Skipper Alderdice was in rampant form cutting through the visiting defence at will and Tranter Bowen and Ford were getting a lot of joy down the flanks and through the middle with Smith and co solid at the back.
In fact it was one way traffic for almost the entire half with Corus looking to hit on the break. Dean Palmer smacked a long distance strike and Ford almost finished a superb move that took in the length and breadth of the pitch before Palmer restored parity on the half hour with a super strike which cannoned in off the bar. Five minutes later Bowen turned in a shot after good work by Alderdice and as the half came to a close Tranter’s effort was well kept out and a goal mouth melee which would have racked up 1000 points in bagatelle failed to register a single score for the Kingfishers.
The second half was a much more ragged affair and although neither side were playing particularly well it was Monmouth who still looked most likely. Cue long range shot which beat Campbell all ends up and a free kick from wide on the right which was flat and straight, caught a flick and Campbell’s decision to punch proved the wrong one as the ball crashed against the inside netting.
The Kingfishers huffed and puffed manfully after that, coming close on a number of occasions with Bowen hitting the post. The disappointment was palpable and the game became more fractious as a result ending as it did in a fit of handbags and a flurry of yellow cards. Once again Town had dominated possession, territory, had by far the more promising movement and passages of play looking the more accomplished outfit. The only thing however that ultimately matters is the goals column. Town remain deficient.
Tranter’s Treble Trouble Trumps Bowen’s Brace (and other such alliterations)
Briton Ferry Llansawel 3 Monmouth Town 5
A blistering hat trick by Phil Tranter and two goals from the unplayable Matthew Bowen secured all three points at second placed Briton Ferry as Town came back from 2- 0 down to win at a canter. And yet after twenty minutes it looked like being a long old journey home as a free kick sailed though a rice paper wall to make it 2 -0 to the hosts after going in front in the fifth minute with another free kick taking a wicked deflection passed Campbell.
For the rest of the game it was a rampant Kingfishers’ comeback with Alderdice and Kennedy once again dominating proceedings in midfield and Tranter and Bowen looking as threatening this week as they were toothless the previous week at Pontyclun. Indeed a great run and strike by Bowen was parried onto the post in thirty minutes and Tranter pounced on the rebound to claim his sixth of the season. His seventh soon followed latching on to a superb through ball by Lewis and stroking in at the near post. Bowen put Town in front on the stroke of half time.
It was more of the same for the second half although the game was getting increasingly fractious with Smith in the wars and Davies often called into last gasp action. Campbell also had to save smartly from another decent free kick before Tranter got his hat trick with another trade mark run and finish. The referee sought to make more of a game of it harshly awarding Davies his first ever red card and Ferry responded by sending on taller and taller substitutes to capitalise on higher and higher balls pumped 'into the mixer'. Bowen however had other ideas and applied the coup de grace outpacing three defenders before making it five for Monmouth.
Briton Ferry do get a nicely taken third goal but in truth it was too little too late for the West Glamorgan side.
Town boss Barry Burns was delighted with the team performance “What a game! I was really proud of everyone out there today. At 2 – 0 down we could have folded but we not only fought back well we took the game to them in every sense. At times we were unplayable but we’ve played well all season and got 10 points from five away games”.
Town’s reserves kept their 100% start to life in the Welsh Leagues ending Caldicot Town’s unblemished start with a 3 -2 home win. Neville Harris, Eddie Murphy and Matthew Tabb got the goals.
This week Town are back home to table topping Corus Steel 2pm kick off while the Under 19’s make their home Welsh League debut against Cwmbran Celtic on Sunday (kick off 2pm) .
Last Roll of Alderdice Wins It for Town
Saturday 19th Septmber
Pontyclun 1 Monmouth Town 2
Jack Alderidce's last gasp header gave all three points to Monmouth in what, on the face of it would seem, a smash and grab raid. That would be far from the truth as the Kingfishers ambled around in the Pontyclun sunshine passing up all gifts on offer and somehow contriving to leave it so late to put a smile on the faces of their travelling support. Indeed for the last fifteen minutes Pontyclun were the better side and could, and possibly should, have won it, guilty themsleves of poor finishing - that particular prize having been won hands down by misfiring Town strikers - none of whom could hit a bull's bum with a bedpan on an afternoon to forget in front of goal.
And yet the approach play was bright enough all through the first half with Pontyclun lively on the counter having added a bit of pace and trickery with younger, more adventurous forwards but Town creating much the better openings.
Predictably Town fell behind when a counter attack stretched the defence and left Campbell exposed as Woodington slotted home on 29 minutes. Smith also cleared off the line soon after but with the last touch of the half Sam Palmer took advantage finally rolling home following a smart move.
The second half proved much the same story with Tranter persistent and getting in great positions and Town guilty of giving the ball away too cheaply.
Toward the end Bowen went close, Palmer's free kick was well kept out, Ford blasted wide, Tranter had one saved and with the very last touch Alderdice made it all seem like they were just kidding and they did want to win after all. Nearly had me going there they did!
Town boss Barry Burns visibly ageing as the game wore on said "You can't really analyse that. We've had about ten great chances in the first half alone, and the same number in the second half so we're doing something right! What I do know is that we can't keep dominating games and failing in the only thing that matters - scoring goals. Luckily Pontyclun also missed some good chances. On another day we're going home with nothing so we're happy with the three points."
Tranter Scares off Crows
Tuesday September 8th
Gwent Senior Cup
Monmouth Town 3 Cwmbran Town 1
Two late goals from Phil Tranter and a wonder strike by Hollywood Palmer gave Monmouth Town's Kingfishers a comfortable win against a Cwmbran side on their first ever visit to Monmouth. The win pits Town against Newport County in the first round at Spytty Park and adds another chapter to the remarkable story of Monmouth's progrees over the past five years.
The game began very cagily as both teams tried to settle and find a rythmn; Cwmbran very tidy Monmouth more direct and more effective as a number of chances and opportunties opened with Bartholomew saving well on a couple of occassions from Tranter and Ford.
Dean Palmer however was not to be denied on 32 minutes cutting inside and curling an outstanding strike from 25 yards beyond the outstretched Crows' 'keeper.
The second half was plyeed out in similar fashion as again Cwmbran looked the neater side but lacked any real pubnch, whereas Monmouth had more purpose and for once looked the more aggresive side. Again, Bartholomew was called into action a number of times notably making a treble stop from Tranter who with his strike partenrs Bowen created problems all evening for an increasingly beleaguered Cwmbran back line which inevitably succumbed with just 8 minutes remaining. This time Tranter would not be denied lifting a difficult chance over the advancing 'keeper.
The Kingfishers should have spun the closed sign there and then but instead looked to apply a llttle more sheen to the result and were made to suffer a nervous final five minutes when Chris Wilson crashed a great strike in off the underside of the bar.
There was still time for Tranter to don his stripey jumper, mask and grab his bag marked 'Swag' as he chased a no hope ball, coshed the covering Cwmbran defender, bamboozled the keeper with a shuffle and stroked the ball into an empty net. Cue celebrations.
Kingfishers Flop On Home Return
Saturday 5th September 2009
Monmouth Town 3 Troedyrhiw 4
Monmouth Town's wandering Kingfishers finally retuned home on Saturday after five and half months looking to continue a solid start to their season and finally hand out a defeat to their third division opponents who had beaten them twice last term.
I what any neutral observer would have enjoyed as a seven goal thriller any home supporter would have viewed as another three points tantalisingly served up with some great approach play but ultimately turned away in favour of the now familiar diet of poor finishing and even worse defending.
Despite playing poorly for the first half Town again created the best, if not the only openings but were kept at arms length by some solid defending and picked off with an early breakaway goal and a thumping header from a needlessly conceded corner in the final minute of the half as again possession and terrioty counted for nothing.
A change at half time saw Smith enter the fray and Alderdice pushed forward and suddenly it was all the visitors could do to stem wave after wave of attacks as the Kingfishers sought to restore parity. Indeed it seemed only a matter of time before the inevitable came and depsite missing another raft of clear cut chances Dean Palmer finally pulled one back after a flowing move down the Town left started by Lewis and aided and abbetted by Tranter and Bowen.
Moments later Ford's superb run and cross from the right was headed home by Bowen and Town looked forward to pushing on and winning in some style.
Perhaps soothed by the figthback the Kingfishers midfield passed up the opportunity of tackling the visting central midfielder as he slalomed past four players before clipping an easy shot over and passed an out of position Campbell.
Town dusted themsleves down and Alderdice made it 3 - 3 with just five minutes remaining. Cue another horror show at a corner and the spoils went back to Merthyr.
Town joint boss Barry Burns was disappointed with the result "Once again we've played reasonably well in open play and dominated at times but come away empty handed. We don't need wholesale radical shake ups but there will have to be some changes if we are to stop making silly mistakes and throwing goals and points away."
Town Drop Points to Complete 'Average' Start
Saturday 29th August 2009
Llantwit Fardre 2 Monmouth Town 2
Goals from Elliot Ford and Phil Tranter were the least that Monmouth Town's Kingfishers deserved from another dominant display against a Llantwit side who finished fourth last time out but who were distinctly second best for most of this encounter. Although Town now have more points than they could muster until late October last time out and until Novemebr the year before it is still a poor return for three away games from which a nine point haul would not have flattered them.
Footbal has a nasty habit of punishing teams who do not make possesion and territory count and so it proved when Llantwit equalised from a corner that was poorly awarded in the final minute of the first half and defended no better.
Elliot Ford's superb run and shot had given Town a warranted lead on 23 minutes and then a succession of chances were passed up and two super saves kept Llantwit in the game.
The home side emerged better prepared for the second half but still struggled for a foothold in the game until another badly defened corner saw an unmarked Llantwit player held stoop to conquer.
Tranter pogo'd an equalising header at the near post and Ashley Ford inexplicably chose not to shoot when presented with a gift wrapped opportunity as Town huffed and puffed for the winner and Llantwit relied on counter attacks that were fewer and further between as the game petered out.
This Saturday Town are back home for the first time since April with a game against Troedyrhiw (2.30) followed by a cup tie against former League of Wales Champs Cwmbran Town on Wednesday 9th (6.15) with the winners earning the right to play Newport County in the following round.
Ford Wins The Derby
Saturday 22nd August 2009
Goytre 1 Monmouth Town 2
A late winner by man of the match Elliot Ford gave all three points to a dominant Kingfishers side who despite again creating a host of chances and playing against ten men for the whole of the second half still did their best to jangle of the nerves of their travelling support for the entire game.
In an embarrasingly one sided first half Town contrived to miss numerous chances for the third game running, had a stonewall penalty appeal mysteriously denied and were victims of numerous petty fouls that finally led to the main culprit being sent from the field. They finally broke through in the 43rd minute as Tranter's firm finish provided scant reward for passing and movement that was far too much for the hosts to contain.
It was too much to hope for more of the same in the second half as Goytre reshaped their defence and looked to at least limit the damage. The niggling fouls continued however and disrupted any real flow that the game could muster, as cautioned players continued to receive chastening words rather than early baths from an amazingly charitable referee.
Goytrer however worked their way back into the game and looked likley to equalise and so it proved as the defensive wall failed to stand up to a firm strike by the hosts' skipper.
Town attacks then grew increasingly desperate as Dean Palmer struck the bar with a superb strike from distance and quality crosses failed to connect with attacking headers. Cue Ford, replacing Tranter in attack and latching onto a through balll from Bowen and finshing superbly in the bottom corner with just two minutes remaining. Town co-boss Barry Burns was delighted to get off the mark with a win "Elliot has been doing that for fun in pre season and we took a bit of gamble to put him up front to get us a winner. He'd been terrorising them down the flanks all afternoon and did brilliantly. I was pleased with the first half performance, but the second half we stopped passing and allowed them back into it. We just need to keep our confidence high and finish of even 50% of our chances and someone's on the end of a real hammering."
No Way Back For Town In Season Opener.
Wednesday 18th August 2009
Newport Civil Service 1 Monmouth Town 0
A dubious penalty late in the first half on a rare Newport attack provided the only goal of a surprisingly one sided affair as the Kingfishers failed to break down their old rival's packed defence depsite having almost total control of the final 45 minutes - and pretty much most of the first 45.
Both teams had started their season's with trips to mid Wales on Welsh Cup duty but it was hardly the travelling that could explain a scrappy and fitful opening quarter of an hour as both sides struggled to cope with the hard ground and high bounce although as the half wore on it was Monmouth who adapted better and took control of the key midfield areas and were rarely troubled by Civil direct attacks.
The well drilled Civil back line however kept Tranter and Bowen under close wraps and managed to keep most of the real danger at bay. It was a similar story at the other end until the half hour mark when a sloppy passage of defensive play saw Town fail to clear their lines, get caught in possession and get punished as Martyn New the referee, awarded a penalty for a tumble that, on another day, could as easily have been awarded a BAGA stage one.
A rattled Town although retaining control of the game couldn't quite manage any serious threats to the Civil goal for the remainder of the half.
The second half was more huff and puff for Town with increasing desparation as attack after attack was repelled on the rock formed by Civil's hefty back line, eagerly helped out by a midfield for whom the creative delights of the game proved elusive for the duration of this one. Indeed as the game reached its climax Civil were forced to retreat in the manner of a grocer packing his shop front boxes away as closing time approached, but a mixture of poor finishing, good goalkeeping and defending kept out a succession of attacks and attempts, the best from Bowen which struck and upright and Sam Palmer just failing to finish the rebound.
Despite the losing start Town co-boss Barry Burns was upbeat about the performance "Credit to Civil, they are a strong side and will not concede many this season as they are hard to break down. We've haven't done a lot wrong and in other games we'll play a lot worse and win. A poor decision has cost us but I was pleased with the way we didn't panic and kept trying to do the right things. We'll be fine"
Town Concentrate On The League!!
Friday 14th August 2009
Welsh Cup Preliminary Round
Hay St Mary's 1 Monmouth Town 1
(Hay St Mary's win 5 - 3 on penalties)
There are probably a millon and one worse ways to spend a muggy Friday night in August than to spend it watching a good quality cup tie in the tranquil setting of the lovely border town of Hay on Wye. Throw in a bag full of chances, extra time, a penalty shoot out and a couple of pints in the company (well maybe vicinity) of some of Hay on Wye's finest eye candy and you can push that to two million and one. If you're a neutral!
For the more myopic among us Town probably blew this one on the balance of play creating better and more chances and shading it on the more creative passages of play. Credit however to a well drilled, disciplined Hay St Mary's side who simply stuck at it, changed it with good effect midway through the second half to nick an equaliser and came out on top in the lottery that is a penalty shoot out.
The game took a while to settle down as Hay looked to keep the ball and probe for an opening in dojg so inviting the Kingfsihers to press individually and as a team with more and more success as Hay passes were cut out allowing Ford and Palmer to try their luck from distance and Bowen and Tranter to worry the home defence.
The pressure finally told when Tranter latched on to a through ball on the half hour, held off his defender to finish superbly at the far post. The remainder of the half saw Town come close on a few more occasions but kept supporrters on their toes by failing to deal effectively with some hopeful through balls and being let off when the otherwise excellent St Mary's striker fluffed a one on one.
It was more of the same in the second half with Town pressing well and Hay keeping the ball but failing to make any real inroads. A change of formation suddenly changed the balance of the game and as passes switched play and Town looked to adapt a superb hanging cross was finished well to bring the game back to parity.
The game opened up further as both sides looked to grab a winner. Bowen, Tranter, Alderdice, Ford and Palmer all possibly should have done better with decent chances and Bowen's penalty appeal was waved away as the game grew more frantic. Hay, too, squandered a couple of opportunties, Campbell saved well and Dan Spence performed some heroics to block a goalbound effort.
The huff and puff however came to nothing as extra time came and went with a few more efforts whistling high and wide. Then Hay scored all their penalties and Monmouth .....didn;t leaving them to take the many positives from the game and look forward to their first taste of league action in Wednesday's clash with Gwent rivals Newport Civil Service.
So Far So Good For Pre Season
Monmouth Town's pre season preparations continued to develop nicely with a comfortable run out against a young Cwmbran Celtic team on an Autumnal pitch at Chippie. Hard on the heels of a solid canter against Morriston Olympic and the usual run around by Dereham Town, The Kingfishers slammed in another eight goals and can feel that the progress with just three weeks to go has been good. Elliot Ford continues to be the brightest spot banging in another hat trick, while eye brows have also been raised at appearances by 'young Clarkie' who punctuated his second half performance with some delicious passes and an exellent first touch.
Ashely Ford has also shown well and Rhodri Lewis has been outstanding. Add this to a confident debut by Chris Campbell in goal and more to come from possible new signing Mattie Sherman and the Kingfishers can look forward to their best ever start to a Welsh League campaign. (admittedly that won't be difficult).
With skipper jack Alderdice recuperating well from a groin injury and the stalwarts of Davies, Kennedy, Smith, Bowen and the Palmers also returning looking sharp it could be a good season! Bring it on.
Town End Season on a High
Saturday 16th May 2009
Seven Sisters 2 Monmouth Town 3
Monmouth Town's second season in Welsh League football ended on a positive note with a well deserved 3 - 2 win at Seven Sisters. Goals from the excellent Phil Tranter and Matthew Bowen and a winner from Sam Palmer were enough to end a winless run of four games and possibly secure a top half finish for the Kingfishers.
Town took the lead after 25 minutes with a scooped finish by Tranter and quickly conceded the advantage, failing to deal with swirling free kick and the ensuing scramble which presented a simple opportunity for the home striker.
With Lewis making his first start for many months and doing a great job down the town right the defnce looked more solid than of late allowing Alderdice to get forward and superbly set up Bowen's simple finish for his 22nd of the season.
Midway through the second half Town may have been forced to rue a succession of missed chances and fluffed situations when Kennedy, otherwise ending his own season on a high note, inexplicably neglected to clear his lines, was robbed and punished as a home striker gleefully lobbed Williams. Luckily, Town were not finished and depsite missing more chances Palmer finshed off great work by Bowen with a smart strike into the roof of the net.
It was left to Town Chairman Lee Robson to reflect on a long hard season "Hopefully today's result means we'll finish in the top half which not so long ago looked highly unlikely, so I'm proud of the way people have stuck at it, played some good football, had some great results and made sure we consolidate in this division".
Town will look to celebrate the success of all of the their teams at an awards evening at the Club House on Friday 19th June.
Town Travel Woes Continue
Saturday 9th May 2009
Cwmamman Institute 4 Monmouth Town 3
Town Share the Spoils In Mon Derby
Goytre 1 Monmouth Town 1
Thursday 30th April 2009
Monmouth Town went back to basics on their visit to Monmouthshire rivals Goytre looking to plug the leaks that have appeared in a previously solid looking defence and came away with a deserved point from an absorbing mid table clash.
Both sides looked committed to the task and although the tackles were flying in the spirit of both sides was impeccable, although the quality was at times a reminder of why neither side have challenged this season. Indeed Town's early season form has been mirrored by Goytre's finish to the campaign as they struggled for points to ensure a top half spot.
That said, the first half was a pretty even affair although the Kingfishers probably had the better of the openings as first Palmer rattled the crossbar after five minutes then Tabb and Palmer efforts stung the home keepers' hands rather than ruffling his net. On 40 minutes Dean Palmer wonderful free kick given for a dubious backing in decision nestled beautifully in the bottom corner to give Town a half time lead.
The second half served up more of the same with perhaps the Plough Road team shading the better of the possession but the commitment and concentration of Town showed that lessons had been heeded. An unfortunate ricochet undid the good work on the hour however as Davies shins laid the ball into the path of an unmarked striker who calmly slotted in the equaliser.
Town responded well and should have done better with other chances as Tabb, Bowen and Tranter efforts were easily saved. Either side could have won it as mistakes looked likely in the final quarter but in truth neither side deserved to lose or quite had the ideas to win.
Town boss Rob Pick was satisfied with the result "We decided that we needed to get back to defending well as the last two games have undermined a bit of the hard work we put in. It was a fair result and I was pleased with the efforts of the players.We now have a good rest with no game on Saturday but I hope that we can kick on from here and finish the season well to give us a platform for next season's campaign."
Pontyclun 5 Monmouth Town 0
Saturday 25th April 2009
After Town's worst defeat in five years you sort of have to think about the purpose of match reports. On the one hand ..let's face it..no-one's really interested in the minutae of the game. On the other hand, written as they mostly are by club supporters or officials, their main purpose is to celebrate and/or reflect and to give the game some meaning in a wider context.To drum up support, to keep morale high, to send messages to supporters, opponents, or to players and managers that they need to buck up their ideas or that they have done really well. The game is relative to everything that comes before and is yet to come.
In short they are very rarely objective accounts of a game that has just been played unless they are written by a journalist that has been sent by the local rag! Even then, he or she is likely to be more harsh or sycophantic as local people are the ones buying the paper.
Why am I writing this? What has this got to do with anything? It's simple. If i were to write an objective piece about the game yesterday it would be that Town get well beated by a team playing well below their best. I would then proceed to spell out why that was the case. That Monmouth looked the better side for the first half an hour but couldn't or wouldn't score. That Pontyclun has some gifted chances that they never looked likely to take. That Pontyclun went in front, the Kingfishers management made a decision to swap everything that went badly wrong and was exploited by the 'Clun, that Monmouth players made decisions that were truly 'pubteam' and Pontycun filled their boots without really having any oppostion.
But that would be to ignore that Town have had a marvellous run of late and that the players and management have made some great decsions and got a lot of things right. It would ignore the fact that Pontyclun have played a lot better in other games and lost or drawn (the corresponding game at our place springs to mind).
In the light of all that I've decided not to write a match report at all. Roll on Thursday!
Table Toppers Down Town
AFC Llwydcoed 4 Monmouth Town 1
Tuesday April 21st 2009
Monmouth Town's Kingfishers were brought back to earth with a bump by table topping Llwydcoed who looked every inch title contenders.
Monmouth for their part looked jaded and off the pace, perhaps understandably so, as the recent tough programme and carrying a slim squad finally took its toll. Missing in form striker Phil Tranter and with three players playing schoolboy football the same afternoon Town's resources were further depleted when top scorer Matthew Bowen was forced off after only 20 minutes, leaving makeshift striker Simon Wookey to lead the line with Sam McCoy who looked anything but match fit after missing recent games through injury.
Amazingly Town took the lead through Ross Kennedy but it proved a false dawn as two sloppy goals sent Llwydcoed into the half time break firmly in the driving seat.
A qucik goal after the restart virtually sealed the result and although Town held out admirably trying to keep the score down a well worked goal toward the end of the game confirmed a deserved win for the home side.
Club captain Andrew Smith pointed out afterwards "We've had some rally hard games of late and its taken it out of us. I think we could have given a better account of ourselves under normal circumstancess but they were a very good team and they were very composed and controlled when they had the ball and worked harder than we did when they didn't. We've done really well of late but we can bounce back on Saturday"
Town in Seventh Heaven
Porthcawl Town 1 Monmouth Town 3
Saturday 18th April 2009
The wrecking ball that Monmouth Town’s Kingfishers have taken to Porthcawl Town’s title ambitions swung even more ferociously as the Seasiders slumped to their second defeat in a fortnight to a rampant and bang on form Monmouth team. A seventh win in eight was in stark contrast to the Porthcawl side who lost for the third time in a two week period that has not only jeopardised their title claims but put a promotion spot that looked nailed on in doubt.
And yet the game could have been so different. Porthcawl once again were faster out of the traps and within minutes it became clear that the pulsating affair of 11 days ago had given way to a much more frantic spectacle with Porthcawl perhaps sensing that they were in desperate need of a good result, dominating proceedings but lacking any composure in front of goal in contrast to a Monmouth team who had to battle hard and calmly to keep the wave of attacks at bay.
The tension had clearly affected the home bench who very early resorted to abuse of Monmouth players and were incredulous at being 2 goals down within half an hour , very much against the run of play but very much within the rules of association football as first a superb ball from Sam Palmer was rolled forward by Bowen and finished cleanly and then a solo effort from Jack Alderdice whose Gazzaesque approach play and clean left foot strike staked a claim for goal of the season.
Indeed the lack of calmness shown by the home bench was symptomatic of a hurried approach to the game that ensured that the Seasiders only reward for the majority of possession and a glut of opportunities was to capitialise on a first error by Lee Williams which let in the home striker on the stroke of half time.
The second half was similar but much different in the sense that Porthcawl no longer seemed to believe they could pull another goal back to equalise and again Phil Tranter, Bowen and Alderdice looked likely to increase the Monmouth lead with a breakaway effort. Tranter in particular was getting his usual stick from the home crowd and again had the last laugh as he gathered a through ball , drove a coach and horses through all the challenges and slipped easily passed the home keeper .
The rest of game witnessed a lot more huff and puff from a Porthcawl team long since out of ideas and Monmouth clear penalty appeals saved them from an even more humiliating result. Afterwards Town joint boss Robin Pick said “that was one hell of a win for us and one hell of performance. We battled really hard and had to dig in to stay in the game for the first half an hour. Then we’ve hit them with two sucker punches and finished the job with a terrific defensive performance. To be honest they deserved nothing from the game as they seemed a bit clueless really. It was almost as if they thought we shouldn’t be allowed to score. Sorry lads that ain’t the way it works. For our part we stuck at it and looked like we could have scored more. We’re up to seventh now and frankly I don’t care who goes up and who doesn’t. We just want to play and win every game,spoil a few partiesand have a few of our own!”
This Saturday Town are away at Pontyclun but are urging a big turn out for the local, derby next Thursday at Goytre (kick off 6.15)
Town Finish on High
Monmouth Town 3 Llantwit Fardre 1
Wednesday 15th April 2009
Monmouth Town's resurgent Kingfishers claimed another high flying scalp in the last home game of the season in a comprehensive win against Rhondda rivals Llantwit Fardre and gained revenge for an opening day reverse.
Starting with five consecutive home wins Town immediately looked the better team and were denied in the first minute when Tranter just failed to get on the end of a shot that was spilled by the visiting keeper. That set the scene for a good first half performance as Town's consistent probing always looked likely to reap rewards and so it proved when Tranter got on the end of a Bowen flick to fire past the stranded keeper.
With Alderedice and Kennedy again bossing the midfield and Palmer and Ford working effectively down the flanks Town went further ahead on forty minutes as Alderdice emphatically headed home a retaken free kick. In the final minute of the half some uncharacteristically sloppy defending let in Fardre for a goal that may have provided some hope for the visitors.
It was to prove false hope however as again Town dominated the early second half proceedings and defended exceptionally well keeping most of the Llantwit play far from danger. The visitors however have always looked strong on the counter and also at set pieces but again Williams in the Town goal proved more than a match for anything fired his way and Town's clincher came when Tranter again caused problems and hooked the ball onto Bowen. With plenty to do, a shimmy and a swivel put the Town's top scoreer in a great position and his firmly struck shot over his shoulder arced superbly into the corner.
Llantwit responded positively by sending on more attacking options but Smith and co stayed resolute and Bowen could have scored again but shot straight at the onrushing keeper. Subsititute McCoy caused more problems and town closed the game out for a tough but ultimately comsummate victory which consoldated their eight place and ended their home programme on a high.
Afterwards, Robin Pick was deligthed with another home win "another great performance today and another great show of support from people in the Town. Judging by the applause druing and after the game I think we've won some friends with our perfomances which have improved immensely over the past few weeks. We've now got six away games to end our season and we must carry our home form with us if we are to finish in the top half. "
This Saturday Town are away at the Seaside to face Porthcawl Town who still have title aspirations and will be looking to avenge the 2 - 0 reverse they suffered at the Sportsgound last week.
Double Deano Delight - Palmer brace boosts Town
Saturday 11th April 2009
Monmouth Town 4 Ystradgynlais 0
A sumptuous double by Dean Palmer, Aaron Davies ’ first competitive goal for two seasons and an Andrew Smith penalty sealed Town’s fourth consecutive home win and sent the Kingfishers to eighth in the table.
Town are now also the highest placed Gwent side in the division and remarkably are Gwent's top scorers in all divisions, which given their 12 defeats from 14 starts at the beginning of the season represents a remarkable turnaround.
They were however made to work hard for this victory by an Ystradgynlais side all but resigned to playing county foot all next season but to their credit trying their best to fulfil their commitments and bow out with some pride.
Town should have taken the lead in the second minute when Bowen’s effort struck the upright with the ‘keeper helpless and then proceeded to make it difficult for themselves although Ford was showing good penetration down the right hand side but in form strikers Bowen and Tranter decided to sit the game out .
Then on the half hour came three goals in four minutes starting with Smith’s third penalty in as many games as Kennedy made the most of minimal contact. Davies headed home a Palmer corner then Palmer finished off a smooth move with a fine strike into the bottom corner.
From then until Palmer struck his second and the Town’s fourth with another great finish in the 77th minute it was all huff and puff with the reasonable crowd more intent on enjoying the glorious sunshine.
Joint boss Barry Burns was content with the result if no0t the performance “we are about winning football games so we have to be pleased with that. The team talks are getting a lot shorter as all of the players know what they have to do. The trick sometimes is to get them doing it all the time even if we are winning comfortably”.
Mascots at the game were the Town’s under nine’s team who gave a great exhibition at half time. Well done lads!
Kingfishers Enjoy the Seasiders Day Out
Tuesday 7th April 2009
Monmouth Town 2 Porthcawl 0
The Town’s home form held steady as title pretenders Porthcawl were seen off in a pulsating game at the sportsground.
The Seasiders had arrived hoping to get the points to take them clear at the top but struggled to break down a combative and resilient Kingfishers' outfit who made the most of their chances and were good value for the win which again puts them in the top half of the table.
In windy conditions the game started with Town on the back foot and as the quick and direct league leaders used the wind to full advantage but again Smith marshalled his back three superbly and with Alderdice and Kennedy providing a solid base in midfield Town looked to set up Tranter and Bowen using the width again well provided by Ford and Palmer.
Chances were however at a premium for both sides as the wind made constructive passages of play more of a gamble than a positive choice.
That the half ended goalless was a tribute the defensive work and solid goalkeeping of Lee Williams who recovered from a shaky start to regain his composure.
With the wind in their favour it was always likely to be amore productive second half for the Kingfishers and so it proved when Tranter latched onto a through ball from 25 yards and watched, metaphorical pipe in hand, as his low slow shot arced and rolled Crown Green Bowls style into the far corner.
Not to be outdone Porthcawl came back into the game and threatened to level with every attack but again were kept at bay by superb defending. The seasiders should have levelled with just ten minutes remaining when slack marking let a cross roll invitingly to an oncoming striker who from a yard out with an open goal somehow managed to find the river. A minute later Bowen had been upended in the penalty box, Smith does what he does best, Porthcawl fell apart amid a sending off and string of bookings and that was that!
Barry Burns said ”Bloody Marvellous!”
Town Bubble Bursts
Saturday April 4th 2009
AFC Porth 3 Monmouth Town 2
The Kingfishers' three game winning run came to an abrupt end at championship chasing Porth used all of their experience and know how to see out a fairly even game in the Rhondda Valleys.
Town had travelled confident of getting some sort of result such was the contrasting nature of their fortune from the first meeting back in November. Then, Town were struggling to end an awful start to the season with new Manager Andy Beattie packing the defence and looking to stop leaking goals. This time out the young Kingfishers were looking to continue their rich vein of scoring form and when Bowen glanced in from Palmer's cross after nine minutes it looked as though another good result was on the cards. Ironically that the half was reached with the lead still intact had a lot to do with the home team's profligacy but thier was still some credit that could be given to Town's defensive back line although the returning Harris was made to work hard to keep out the Porth right side.
Although the game ebbed and flowed evenly, Tranter and Bowen were getting little change from the Porth rear guard and when Smith accepted an invite to challenge on the hour his mistimed tackle was punished with a penalty by the referee. Town were behind barely ten minutes later when Palmer was hustled off the ball and the resulting cross evaded three more defenders before finding a striker at the far post to tap home.
Town's best spell of the game followed as a number of half chances were spurned and clear opportunities passed up when scoring might have seemed easier. Town found themsleves overcommitted looking for the leveller and were exposed for the third goal with five minutes remaining and although Smith had time to pull another back from the spot after Tranter had been pulled down it was too little too late to save a point.
Joint boss Robin Pick was philosophical after the game "To be fair they were the better side today and used their experinece to win the game. We've played better in the second half and a couple of mistakes have cost usbut its important that we stick at and learn from this."
Kingfishers Down Promotion Hopefuls
Sunday March 29th
Monmouth Town 2 Cwmamman United 0
A third consecutive Monmouth victory severly dented Cwmamman's promotion hopes and catapulted themsleves into the top half of the table for the first time in over a year and gave real hope for a top half finish and the claim to Gwent's highest placed team.
Expecting a real battle following the hard fought draw just three weeks ago Town had to be on their mettle as initially Cwmamman looked the brighter of the two sides and looked to be intent on giving in form strikers Bowen and Tranter little change on a warm afternoon in front of the season's biggest crowd.
The early exchanges created littel panic in either defence as Smith again led the back line superbly and Davies and Spence got the better of the busy strikers. On fifteen minutes Sam Palmer's stunning strike gave the visiting keeper no chance and Town grew in confidence with Alderdice adn Kennedy refsing to be overshadowed by a skilfull opposing midfiled and Ford doing his best to give his opposing left back a torrid afternoon. As the half wore on it seemed that the game would be settled by the midfield and other personal battles erupting around the pitch but despite plenty of possession adn space neither side looked likey to add to the scoring although Tranter's one chance was superbly saved at his feet.
The second half began much as the first half as Cwmamman came back strongly but didn't really trouble the Kingfishers defence and Williams again looked solid in the Town goal. Bowen's substitution however gave Sam McCoy a chance to show what he can do and he wasted little time in getting into the game and unsettling the compsoure of the visiting defence while Ford was threatening to break through whenever he received the ball out wide. Indeed it was a Ford/McCoy combination which finally unlocked the defence for the decisive goal on 78 minutes as a superb 30 metre cross field ball by the latter was instantly controlled by Ford whose drilled shot, although well saved by the keeper was followed up by the lurking Tranter to score with an easy tap in. It was Tranter's 10th goal in nine games since his January signing and with Bowen also notching 10 in nine the Town's strike force is the most in form in the division and has contributed hugely to Town's surge up the table and finally does justice to some of the excellent defensive and midfield displays. Club Captain Andrew Smith was in no doubt that Town can still play a big part in deciding where the honours end up this season "We get to play all of the contenders over the next six weeks and we're confident that we can upset a few ambitions other clubs might have. Sunday's game was relatively comfortable and we looked solid throughout and we can score goals from anywhere at the moment. The Lads really appreciate playing in front of decent crowds and it would be great if the Town could get behind us for the last three home games. We won't be back for five months after that!"
Town co-boss Barry Burns was delighted with the win and had special praise for Lee Williams who kept another clean sheet "Lee has been superb recently and although he didn't have much to do today his concentration was superb and he did everything asked of him and more. Its also terrific to get into the top half of the table and just a few weeks ago we were looking at a very difficult end to the season. The pressure is off now and I hope we can start to express ourselves a bit more but retain the discipline we've now got. I think we can climb even higher and with ten games left there's no reason why we can't keep our run going till the end of the season"
Towm are way at Porth this Satuday but are Home to championship chasing Porthcawl Town next Tuesday (7th kick off 6.15).
SIX OF THE BEST FOR TOWN
Saturday 21st March 2009
Monmouth Town 6 Aberbargoed Buds 0
Victories as comprehensive as this are usually a mix of one team being very good and the other having a bad day at the office but in truth even this scoreline flattered a very poor Buds showing, apparently missing key players more interested in a side event taking place later in the day.
Tranter's consumate hat trick and Bowen's brace was also a poor return for a plethora of other easier chances that went high and wide on a sundrenched Monmouth sportsground. To dwell on such wastefulness would however be churlish as a compact, competitive Kingfisher side put Aberbargoed to the sword and capitalised on poor defence and a toothless attack with Williams in the Town goal having only a couple of weak efforts to trouble his easy afternoon.
Bowen started the rout in the thirteenth minute gleefully tapping home after a horrible mix up left three defenders on the floor and the ball rolling toward an empty net. A simlar situation on 28 minutes let in Tranter for his first as he turned to lob a static goalkeeper. Town should have been out of sight at half time but ensured the second half would at least provide some interest by contriving to miss openings that were being carved out at will.
Alderdice finally settled matters with a glorious strike on 67 minutes and as, chance after chance, was sent into Chippenham the Buds continued to try and get back into the game that was far beyond them, emphatically so as Tranter then Bowen made it five with superb finishes and Tranter completed his hat trick with another run and strike shot on 82 minutes. From then it was a matter of whether Town could keep a clean sheet but a usually confident Buds team had long given up any belief that they could get any form of consolation from the game.
The win puts the Kingfishers above Aberbargoed in the race to be Gwent highest placed third divison team and just down the road the Kingfishers' second string made it a good day for the club hammering table toppers Tintern 4 - 1 on their own ground.
Before the match Town's players walked out with the club's under 8 team who were enjoying the day as mascots and provided an exhibition of their skills at half time.
Club Chairman Lee Robson was justifiably proud of the club on a good day for Monmouth football "It doesn't get much better than that. We had a few visitors from Somerset, Nottinghamshire and London and I think they left with a great impresssion of the Town and the club. It was proud moment to see how successful our youth set up is and how keen the young players were and how enthusiastic the parents were. Shelley Swann has done a marvellous job with the youngsters. The grown ups, if I can call them that, didn't do too badly either and to finally get a win over Buds was excellent. Things are going well at the moment and we have to keep doing the right things in the right way and I'm sure we will continue to progress."
Town are now at Home next Sunday as they host promotion chasing Cwmamman United (kick off 2.30). Beforehand there is a charity match as Wales (Dads) take on England (Dads) in aid of St Davids' hospice (kick off 12.30).
Tranter Sinks Ferry
Saturday 14th March 2009
Briton Ferry 2 Monmouth Town 3
A thunderous strike from an impossible angle in the 87th minute by Phil Tranter earned the Kingfishers an impressive victory on the third leg of their Neath Valley tour. Tranter 's explosive strike was celebrated in some style as the Town's young Kingfishers had shown superb character to come from behind twice and snatch a deserved victory.
Town started badly on a pitch best described as agricultural falling behind in the seventh minute to another badly defended corner as the home striker stooped to head home unchallenged and it took the first half hour for both sides to realise that even attempting to play any passing football would be rendered foolish. Once Town got into the game they seemed the team most likely and got a deserved equaliser as McCoy turned infield to unleash an unstoppable strike from 25 yardss that took a slight deflection and wrongfooted the home 'keeper.
The second half was a more open affair with both sides looking to attack and Ferry probably making the best of the conditions underfoot but possibly conceding the better opportunities to Monmouth who could, and should, have done better with promising situations The Kingfishers had their pockets picked when a superb through ball left Spence one on one with the burly and experienced centre forward whose strength took him clear and a quick finish went low past Williams.
The response was immediate as McCoy fed Bowen who dispatched his shot from a sharp angle past Briton Ferry's depairing keeper.
With the game delicately balanced at two a piece the referee always seemed likely to leave an impression as he peppered the game with whistles for innocuous challenges and bizzarely played advantage to more blatant offences none so baffling than turning down what seemed a clear penalty appeal for Ferry as Kennedy's challenge upended the tricky Briton Ferry winger.
As the game entered its final minutes Tranter blazed over, Bowen failed to capitalise on a clear opening then inexplicably punted wide from a yard out with the goal keeper beaten before Ferry struck Wiliams' upright and stung his hands with consecutive attacks.
As it looked like neither side could take the chances presented to them, cue Phil Tranter taking a pass on the edge of the box, skinning his defender and from a seemingly improssible angle rifling a shot into the roof of the net to claim the points for the Kingfishers. Although his shirt waving celebration earned a booking it was just reward for a hard fought ninety minutes that still had time to see a Ferry player dismissed. Town's management team were delighted after the game with Robin Pick particuarly impressed with the Team's fighting qualities "All fourteen of the lads wre terrific coming from behind twice and scoring three terrific goals. Our three games in the Swanse and Neath valleys have ended all square and that's not a bad haul when on other days we could have won them all. Its great to be back home next week and we're looking to have a positive final leg of the season. It's vital that all the players realsie that they will all play a part in that run in and they aren't too precuious about spending a bit of time on the bench"
Kingfishers Prove a Point
Saturday 7th March 2009
Cwmamman United 3 Monmouth Town 3
Monmouth Town's Kingfishers made the long trek to Carmarthenshire and put their defeat at Llansawel behind them grabbing a point from an entertaining game at promotion chasing Cwmamman. The hosts had started the day in fourth place and had won their previous five fixtures and looked confident in the opening exchanges as Town struggled to recover from the 2 hour bus trip. Matthew Bowen's strike on 18 minutes certainly warmed the travelling supporters as the drizzle and previous rainfall worsened the conditions for players and supporters alike.
Just minutes later a mistake by Dan Spence led to a whipped shot that skimmed off Williams in the Town goal and was finished emphatically by the home striker. Williams may have done better on a drier day but he could still be pleased with two outstanding stops earlier in the half.
On the half hour some dazzling footwork by Bowen took him through the home defence and his superb through ball was collected at pace by McCoy who prodded the ball home to make it 2 - 1 to Town. Moments later a superb effort from Dean Palmer cannoned off the cross bar and away to safety as Town looked to increase their lead.
After the break the home side were clearly responding to some harsh words from their management as they were altogether a snappier outfit hustling Town players backwards and into mistakes. Town however still looked dangerous on the break and on the hour Tranter's run was ended by a trip in the penalty area and he brushed himself down to take a penalty before departing to a wedding reception in Cardiff. The kick was well saved by the home goalkeeper but the rebound was bundled home by Alderdice allowing Tranter to dubiously claim another 'assist'.
Simon Wookey's introduction and a reversion to a tighter 4- 5 -1 formation was designed to secure all three points for the Kingfishers but they were undone twice in almost identical fashion failing to adequately challenge for headers at consecutive corners, and ball watching as the knocked down headers were converted from close range.
Both sides could have gone on to win the game as Bowen, Alderdice and Wookey had efforts thwarted and the Cwmamman strikers missed easier chances. Town boss Robin Pick was however pleased with a point "I'd have taken a point before the game and the performance was a massive improvement on last week. Our first team squad is a bit thin at the moment which is very worrying if we have any more injuries but we've competed really well and we can hopefully get back some of the form we were showing a month ago."
So Neath So Far
Saturday 28th February 2009
Llansawel 4 Monmouth Town 1
Monmouth Town's Kingfishers travelled to Neath in hope and expecation of a win which would send them another couple of places up the Welsh League table and returned with nothing having been beaten by a better organsied, hungrier relegation threatened Llansawel team who barely had to break sweat to register their best win of the season.
Although missing the suspended Smith and in form striker Tranter they can have little excuse for an insipid display as they shipped four goals from set peices, lost all of the individual battles and generally had a bad day at the office.
And yet the start was misleading as Kennedy headed in a Harris free kick for the first goal after seven minutes but two goals in two minutes on the half hour as Town's defenders went missing from a throw in and a corner gave Llansawel the half time lead.
If anything Town's second half performance was worse and once they went further behind on 62 minutes it was game over as the home sick Kingfishers on their first away game for three months never looked capable of breaking down a home defence who didn't have to do much to thwart toothless and aimless attacks.
In contrast the burly Llansawel strikers seemed to cause havoc with every long ball punted their way.
The fourth goal merely underlined the gulf that existed in attitude and desire between the two sides and Town joint boss Barry Burns was at a loss to explain the heavy defeat afterwards preferring to look forward to next week's fixture again in west Glamorgan at high flying Cwmamman United; "We were very poor all over the park today and if there's any consolation it's that we can't play that badly again. We should know by now that we can't expect to turn up and beat sides. We have to work a lot harder for our results and hopefully that lesson will have been learnt."
Before the game both sides observed a minutes silence in tribute to Monmouth's Jamie Gunn recently killed in action in Afghanistan.
Troedyrhiw, Troedyra ha ha ha ha ha have the last laugh to end Town run.
Saturday 21st Februrary 2009
Monmouth Town 1 Troedyrhiw 2
Monmouth Town's winning run came to an end in a scrappy and feisty affair at the Sportsground as they finally ran out of luck in front of goal.
After sixteen goals in the previous three fixtures and barely a missed chance the Kingfishers had good reason to feel confident about reversing the 4 - 1 thumping they experinceed earlier in the season but after a fairly even first twenty minutes the task got harder as they failed to deal with an awkward penalty area melee, Smith handled and was red carded for the third time this season and the resulting penalty was confidently dispatched.
A hastiley reorgrnased Monmouth team took a littel time to get back inot the game but for the rest of the half took the game to the visitors and had the better of the exchanges but struggled to make the possesson and territory count as Troedyrhiw showed their mettle. Town finally got the breakthrough they deserved when once again great work by Tranter was clinically finshed by an increasingly confident Bowen for his fifth in four games.
The pendulum swung further Monmouth's way in a mad final muinute before half time when first another panelty was awarded to the visitors which was well saved by Williams then a moment of madness by a Troedyrhiw midfielder as he stamped on Kingfishers captain Alderdice was answered with the second red card of the game.
Perhaps because of the aditonal space the second half grew more scrappy and stretched as both sides failed to find any rythmn but Town defended well and restricted Troedyrhiw to passing around in front of them. A coupe of good efforts didn't really trouble the visiting 'keeper but Tranter and Bowen should have done better with clear opportunties before a lapse of concetration let in the busy Troedyrhiw striker who took his chance well.
From there a lot of huff and puff made no real dents in a the Troedyrhiw back line who held firm and looked dangerous on the break as both sides tired.
Town co-boss Barry Burns was disappointed with the result but added "I thought we were good for a draw at least but we've lost a bit of concentation at a crucial time and been punsihed. We possibly could have made more of some opportunties but its hard to criticise anyone as they all put in a good shift today. Sometimes it doesn't go your way. That's football"
Cuckoos Evicted In Valentine's Day Massacre
Saturday 14th February
Monmouth Town 8 (eight) Risca United 1
A Kingfishers team shorn of four regular first teamers including influential captain Andrew Smith ensured there was no happy Valentine's day for Risca's Cuckoos as Town posted their best ever Welsh League result. With more braces than a children's dentist there were two a piece from Matthew Tabb, Matthew Bowen and Phil Tranter who continued his goal a game start to life at Monmouth and added three assists with Alderdice and Dean Palmer also on the mark as Town made it five wins in the last seven and sixteen goals in the last three home games to jump another two places up the table and away from relegation danger.
New management duo Robin Pick and Barry Burns had watched Risca over the past two weeks and plotted an early onslaught against a defence that sat too deep and had too little width. The reward was a five goal half time lead that although not flattering the home side masked a more even game in terms of possession.
There were only three minutes on the clock when great work by Sam Palmer was finished by a composed headed finish by 17 year old Matthew Tabb making his first start this year. Tabb topped that effort with another calm strike five minutes later and when Alderdice stroked home the third after an amazing burst of pace from the forever young Tranter with barely twenty minutes gone it was game over. Two sublime through balls from Matthew Bowen to his strike partner Phil Tranter who finished superbly served only to pile on the agony for an increasingly ragged Risca United who have been the end of some horrible hammerings over the past couple of months.
The second half was a more scrappy affair with neither side able to get any fluency to their play but two goals from Bowen again following great work by Tranter and a confident strike by Dean Palmer posted the final scores for Monmouth dissected by a goal from the hard working and dangerous Andrew Gay for the visitors that served as scant consolation.
New boss Robin Pick ermeged from his first game more than happy with the result and the performance. "Risca aren't a bad team and they can certainly put it about but we had a plan and we stuck to it and got the result. We had four out today but Tabb and Luke Harris have come in and done a fantastic job for us and Justin Harris returning was also a boost. Bowen and Tranter are on fire at the moment and will be hard for anyone to stop in the mood they're in and as for Jack Alderdice; if there's a better midfielder in this division I haven't seen him.
We must remember that we're only half way through the season and we're cliimbing the table but certainly not out of danger. We just have to keep racking up the victories"
This Saturday Town are home to Troedyrhiw (kick off 2pm)
Rampant Kingfishers Not So Civil
Saturday 24th January 2009
Monmouth Town 5 Newport Civil Service 0
Monmouth Town's Kingfishers put in their best performance of the season and humbled Gwent County Champions Newport Civil Service and in the process went one better than the last time the visitors had come to Monmouth; that time a 5 - 1 reverse on a balmy night in April 2007.
If anything this vistory was even more comprehensive as high flying Civil rarely threatened the Town goal and looked desparately short on ideas and committment all afternoon in stark contract to the Kingfisher line up which saw every player putting in man of the match performnces. None more so than strike duo Bowen and Tranter with Bowen restored to the starting line up and again forming an effective partnership which caused the Civil defence problems all afternoon. Commanding midfield performances from Alderdice and Kennedy formed the platform for a wholly derserved victory which was secured with a flurry of three goals in a five minute spell before the break.
First Tranter converted from a corner flicked on by Bowen for his third in his three games so far then Spence got his second senior goal meeting a superb delivery from Dean Palmer with a bullet header before Bowen got his reward, chipping the goalkeeper from the edge of the area.
The second half continued in a similar vein as Civil visibly wilted and Alderdice headed in from a corner on the hour. Smith and Tranter forced two great saves from the visiting keeper before substitute Sam McCoy finished proceedings with a cool finish after Davies had won three strong challenges to set him up for a clear run on goal.
Stand in Manager Barry Burns was delighted with the win "That was just awesome. Everyone was just magnificent today and if we can turn in those performances week in week out we can beat anyone" Singling out Bowen for particular praise he continued "Boucher was terrific today and seems to relish his partnership with Tranter. He's been on the bench for the last couple of games but has responded brilliantly when he's come on. When he's up for it there's no one better in this division. He doesn't give defenders a moments peace."
Kingfishers Slay Saints
Saturday 17th January 2009
Monmouth Town 3 Merthyr Saints 2
Another home win, this time against bottom club Merthry Saints pushed Monmouth Town's Kingfishers up three places in their fight for Welsh League survival and were made to sweat as Merthyr threatened to snatch a draw courtesy of a bizarre goal in the dying minutes.
In a dire first half there were few chances for either side, although good work on occasions by Sam Palmer and Sam McCoy could have brought more positive results as shots flew high and wide and a galring Merthry miss may have proved costly for Town.
The second half promsied more of the same until the introduction of Bowen on the hour and his immediate rapport with Tranter led to confusion in the Merthyr defence and Dean Palmer capitalised with a sweet strike on the hour from the edge of the box.
The Tranter - Bowen combination was evident just a few minutes later as a great run and cross by the former was converted gleefully by the latter and Town looked home and dry. Tranter added a third on 80 minutes to add what looked like a gloss on the proceedings.
Merthyr had other ideas and threw bodies forward to at least try to make a game of the last few minutes and were rewarded with an easily converted header from a corner, missed a number of other good opportunties before an amazing 'goal that wasn't' was claimed by the less than holy Saints and, to the disgust of most of the Monmouth players, given by the referee. Town captain Jack Alderdice explained "The ball struck the stanchion behind the goal from a shot and came back into play. To be honest we all stopped at that point but one of their lads has popped it back into the goal. I was amazed when they claimed it and the ref pointed to the centre circle. Luckily it didn't cost us anything and we could afford to have a laugh about it afterwards."
Chairman Lee Robson spending his final week on dug out duties commented after the game "I'm delighted we've manged to get clear of the bottom three but there's still a long way to go. We've had to manage without our permanent manager for a number of weeks now and that has been unsettling for some of the players. They've stuck at it and we've taken 10 from the last fifteen on offer so there's some food for thought when he gets back next week."
Town Gunned Down by Goytre
Saturday 3rd January 2009
Monmouth Town 1 Goytre 2
Goytre took the spoils in the season's first Monmouthshire derby edging past a spirited Kingfishers performance that once again failed by the odd goal.
Town arguably had the better of the first half and were kept at bay by some superb goalkeeping by Williams in the visitors goal and a tight back line that did well against Kingfishers debutant Phil Tranter playing his first game for three months and looking strong and direct on the counter. Indeed Tranter should have done a little better with one good chance and a number of half chances weren't converted while Goytre looked to have more joy rampaging down the Kingfisghers left, pegging back Sam Palmer but most efforts were kept to a distance in a goalless first half.
Goytre came out stronger in the second half and again looked to exploit the space down Town's flanks as the increasingly desperate home defence tried to stem the constant flow of attacks. Town however were aslo capable of producing their own attacks and again should have converted at least one of a number of shooting opportunties.
A change on the hour was designed to shore up the back line and rejuvenate the attack at the same time and in some senses it worked with Town suddenly producing some better attacking play with substitute Bowen immediately forging a good understanding with Traneter and the back four looking more solid. Paradoxically the withdrawal of Luke Harris created a vulnerability at set peices that was exploited on 72 minutes as a near post throw was helped on and across the area and a scuffed shot found the corner to give Goytre the lead.
Perhaps sensing that Monmouth were far from beaten the Goytre side began running down the cliock at every opportuntiy and with only 7 minutes remaining another near post throw to the Goytre substitute proved the undoing of a lot of hard work as he bamboozled Spence and finished at Williams' near post.
There was still time for Bowen to set up Alderdice for a wild attempt that was converted a the back post by Tranter and a number of other efforts that on another day may have earned a point for the Town. As it was the Kingfishers were left to reflect on another defeat and the prospect ot table toppers Llantwit Fardre 's visit next week.
Stand in Manager Barry Burns was disappointed with the result but remained upbeat about the performance. " We have to take the positives out of the game mainly that we haven't rolled over and they were clearly worried about us for long periods of the game. We certainly aren't pushovers any more and I thought Tranter did well on his first run out and Bowen did well when he came on. I made a tactical change to try and stop them getting behind us and maybe give them something to think about up front. From that point of view it worked as we played some good stuff after the change but we've been done by some poor defending at two throw ins and have to try and cut out silly mistakes like that".
McCoy and Alderdice at the Double
Saturday 27th December 2008
Monmouth Town 5 Cwmaman Institute 0
A blistering brace from Sam McCoy and two deft headers from skipper Jack Alderdice put the icing on the Christmas cake as the Kingfishers moved out of the relegation zone with their best home win for three years and inflicting Cwmaman's worst defeat in their Welsh League campaigns.
A remodelled line up made sure the Town were more compact than in recent games and in the absence of skipper Smith, Davies returned to command the back line with Dean Palmer in a more comfortable advanced position. It was Palmer who won the first decisive free kick decision on 17 minutes and up stepped McCoy to whip the ball over the wall and into the Cwmaman net from 25 yards to settle the post Christmas nerves. Fears that the festivities would have a negative effect on the young Kingfishers were further laid to rest when Alderdice met another set piece with a glancing header to make it two and then set up Bowen whose first touch was sublime and his finsh efficient.
Three up at half time Town could have been forgiven for shutting up shop and taking the points but instead continued to try to keep a high tempo for the second half with Palmer getting more joy and the midfield dominating before Alderdice again made a good connection with a Palmer free kick to make it four. There was still time for McCoy to rattle a fifth from 30 yards to seal the win and a point blank save from the again impressive Williasm kept the town's first clean sheet for four months intact.
Track suited Chairman Lee Robson was delighted with the result "There was a real bounce to us today despite a bit too much Christmas Pud but maybe that made us a little bit more relaxed. The Lads are responding well to fairly simple but direct instructions about what they have to do and when and I think they can now see that if we keep doing the basics well then we can build on that and get a bit more expansive".
Robson also announced the signing of experienced striker Phil Tranter from Undy Athletic who will be available from next week "I am delighted than Phil has agreed to sign for us as he caused us all sorts of problems when he's played agaisnt us in the past and I have wanted to get him here for a couple of seasons. He's strong, direct and scores goals. He's got a lot of experieince and will be a great help to the younger lads".
Cool Head Luke Grabs A Point
Saturday December 20th 2008
Monmouth Town 1 Pontyclun 1
A last minute strike from point blank range by defender Luke Harris grabbed a well earned draw for the Kingfisherss and kept their survival hopes on track.Possibly fielding the youngest ever starting line up the Town were hoping to take the confidence of the last game into the match against high flying Pontyclun making their first visit to Monmouth. The preparation was undone in the first minute as tackles were missed and claearnce failed and although Ponty missed three srtrikes on goal in a goalmouth melee they were awared a penalty as Smith was adjudged to have handled on the line. Williams, making his first start for two months in place of the flu ridden Roberts, was given no chance with the spot kick.
For the rest of the half however Town took the game to an increasingly frustrated Pontyclun who seemed surprised by the tenacity of the Kingfishers midfield and the competence of its backline, again superbly organised by Smith. As the half progressed it looked like the Town would get at least an equaliser but they had to be alert to the threat posed by Pontyclun whose two strikers, particualry the right winger who looked capable of unlocking the defence at will.
Once again Town's strikers wanted too much time to put away opportunities; more than once tackled in possession and failing to get strikes on goal. McCoy came closest, hitting the bar from distance and the half ended with Town still with a goal to get.
The second half was a similar affair but again chances went begging for both sides with some offside decisions saving defensive blushes. Pontyclun had four efforts dissallowed. Some correctly and some as offside strikers couldn't resist the final touch. Williams also pulled of some superb saves.
As the game looked to have a familiar hard luck stroy about from Town's point of view, Palmer's corner kick was headed back across goal by Bowen and Harris did the rest.
Town Win At Last
Saturday 6th December 2008
Ystradgynlais 1 Monmouth Town 2
Monmouth Town's Kingfishers registered their first win in three months on a glorious day in the Swansea Valleys. A cool strike by Sam Palmer and a looping header by man of the match Dan Spence three minutes from time gave the Kingfishers three points and pushed them one place up the table in their quest for Welsh League survival.
It started well for the Town as McCoy, Palmer and Bowen caused problems for the home defence, while the returning Smith in an unfamiliar sweeper's role marshalled the defence superbly and restricted Ystradgynlais to speculative efforts. The game was goalless at half time and Town looked comfortable enough to be confident of some kind of favourable result.
As so often happens the home side came out visibly quicker in the second half and dominated the midfield but again were kept at bay by Spence Davies and Smith. With half an hour remaining the pressure told and a cross was converted smartly by the home striker.
The Kingfishers' forward play was suffiiciently dull as to offer no way back into the game but substitutes Houldsworth and Cleaves added some much needed nuisance value and Cleaves' composure paid off with just ten minutes remaining as his pull back was finished smartly by Sam Palmer. Spence's header handed all three points to the Town. Assistant Coach Barry Burns was pleased to get the win but added some words of caution. "It was great to get a result but to be honest we've played better and lost. What we did do well was try to stick to the script and hopefully the lads will now realise that if we keep doing the right things and making the oppostion work then results will keep coming"
Town Edged Out At The Last
Saturday 29th November 2008
Monmouth 1 AFC Porth 2
With two minutes remaining Monmouth Town's young Kingfishers were heading for well deserved point and looking more likely to cap a fine second half performance with a winner against a Porth side beaten only once in two seasons. Cue Matthew Bowen 's tireless run which was ended illegally and as the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Sam McCoy hoping to gain the Town's first win for three months. The dismay as his spot kick was saved spread panic through the side and within a minute the referee had evened things up as he awarded a penalty to the visitors. At a stroke all of the hard work was undone and Town were once again left rueing what might have been and remain stranded seven points adrift of safety.
It hadn’t started too brightly for the Kingfishers as they struggled to contain an experienced Porth side containing several members of Andy Beattie's old Merthyr Tydfil side who although having a weight advantage still had more quality and experience than the Town's finest. Palmer did manage to find his way past sweeper Needs but was upended and a deliberate handball was punished by only a yellow card.
Porth went ahead with a header from a corner and the Kingfishers could have wilted under more pressure but got stronger as the half wore on with Palmer McCoy adn Bowen qall goping close.
The socend half however was differnt story as Town kept pressing an increasingly worried Porth team. Luke Harris on for injured namesake Justin added a bit of composure to the back line and McCoy and Palmer were a constant source of discomfort. Tabb and Ford again looked lively in midfiled and Alderdice and Davies were their ususal dependable selves.
The Kingfishers got their reward with fifteen minutes remaining as a superb Spence free kick was glanced home by Bowen. Town even had time to miss clear chances as first Spence then Alderidce missed good opportunities The referee had the final say.
Kingfishers Slump In the Mud
Saturday 22nd November 2008
Aberbargoed Buds 2 Monmouth Town 1
Monmouth Town's relegation fears deepened losing a classic six pointer against a game Aberbargoed on a freezing afternoon in the Gwent Valleys.
And yet the Kingfishers started brightly and for 25 minutes looked the most likely to. Bowen opened the scoring finishing smartly from a great McCoy through ball and stand in captain Alderdice and debutant Ford looking comfortable in midfield.
As half time approached the Town had reason to be confident having successfully kept the home team at bay until a corner was turned back inside and in for the equaliser. A minute later Roberts conceded a penalty which was blasted over by the home skipper.
The reprieve was short lived however as The Buds started much the better in the second half and although having most of the possession struggled to find the killer touch. It was finally provided when Town failed to clear their lines and Roberts was exposed dropping the ball to the feet of a grateful Buds striker.
Barry Burns, standing in for Andy Beattie remained upbeat despite the scoreline which leaves the Kingfishers firmly rooted in the relegation zone "We've worked on our set up for three weeks and we started really well, The defence was superb particularly Kennedy, Davies and Spence and Ford did everything that was asked of him given it was his first start. For the first half hour I couldn't see us losing the game. If anything we lacked quality clearing our lines in the second half and we looked a bit tired. It was probably the youngest side we've ever sent out so there are some positives we can take from the game. Our discipline was much better and we at least tried to stick to what we wanted to do. The important thing is to keep doing the right things and we'll be fine".
Next Saturday Town are at home to high flying newcomers AFC Porth (kick off 2pm)
Town Ship Points To Ferry
Saturday 15th November 2008
Monmouth Town 0 Briton Ferry Athletic 2
Despite a realtively solid defensive display Monmouth Town's Kingfishers were again made to pay for missed opprortunties, some bad offside decsions and indiscpline as a compact and skilfull Briton Ferry side made their way back to West Glamorgan with all three points.
Town had been given strict instructions on how they needed to play the game by absent Manager Andy Beattie and for the most part followed them to the letter. Ferry were largely frustrated by a sea of defenders in the first half and didn't force Roberts in the Town goal to make a single save. At the other end Palmer and Bowen were getting in good positions but failed to get shots away or were mysteriously pulled up for offside.
The portents for the second half were not good however as Smith picked up a needless yellow card after only five minutes.
On the hour Briton Ferry went ahed following a good delivery into the box that Kennedy could only steer past the stranded Roberts. Within minutes frustration got the better of Smith and he was sent packing for contesting a throw in decision too strongly.
From then on it was an uphill struggle although more chances went begging the best when substitute McCoy's free kick was saved and Sam Palmer blasted over from six yards.
Ferry capped a delicious curling ball in to the box with a solid headed finish and a third goal seemed certain in the dying moments as the ball ricocheted from both posts and out much to the delight of the home supporters.
Stand in manager Barry Burns had a mixed view of the game afterwards saying "We set the team to play in a certain way and defensively did well limiting their attempts on goal and we defended set pieces well. The two other parts of our game plan were discpline and to make their keeper work when we had chances. A sending off and five bookings tells you one of things we'll work on this week and the fact that we hit the target only once in seven or eight attempts tells you the other. Its work in progress".
Beattie Stops the Rot
Saturday 1st November 2008
Monmouth Town 1 Llansawel 1
It wasn't quite a fairy tale start for new boss Andy Beattie but a hard earned point against fellow strugglers Llansawel ended the Kingfishers run of eight straight defeats and laid some solid foundation for harder tests over the winter months.
Looking more solid and tighter defensively with clear instructions to increase the mobility of the forward play Town looked sharper in the early exchanges bringing good saves from the Llansawel keeper and generally keeping any opposition threat as far away from goal as possible.
Some good chances went begging and it seemed as if a familiar story was unfolding until a great move was capped with a calm finish by Alderdice.
The initiative swung the visitors way in the second half as Town seemed unable to clear their lines and 'Sawel earned a deserved equaliser when a corner was badly defended and a header found the bottom corner.
With Town stuttering to find rythym Smith earned a penalty that should have wrapped up the points but Dean Palmer's wild attempt troubled only the visiting birdlife as it sailed embarrasingly high and wide.
A late double substitution saw Williams earn his first team debut and the injection of pace from subs Tabb and Wookey created some late havoc but no end product.
A relieved Chairman Lee Robson said after the game "In between making the half time tea and putting the pasties in the oven for the after match meal I was impressed with what I saw. We look more organised and whilst I would have been ecstatic with a win I think it was important to get something from the game. The players responded brilliantly all week and they have been very positive and willing to learn a new way of doing things. it's a bit of a shame we haven't got a game next week but the players have been told to report for training. That'll learn 'em"
Kingfishers Thumped at Troedyrhiw
Saturday 25th October 2008
Troedyrhiw 4 Monmouth Town 1
And on it goes. Monmouth Town's dismal run continued at Troedyrhiw as they suffered their heaviest defeat of the season and the worst for four years, with Sam McCoy's late goal providing little if any consolation.
Town Slump Continues
Saturday 18th October 2008
Risca United 2 Monmouth Town 1
Monmouth Town's stock fell faster and further than a British high street bank's with a comprehensive defeat at Risca last Saturday and fell to bottom but one in the Welsh League with only the hapless and pointless Merthyr Saints below them.
At other times Town may claim to be unlucky or rue missed chances or refereeing decsions but this was as total a defeat as a football game gets with Town outplayed from 0 to ninety and 1 - 14 as Risca started the game at high speed and ended it cruising downhill with the wind behind them in neutral as they had outfought and outthought a timid and tepid Kingfisher side showing no appettite for the fight.
The only bright spot was a glory goal from Smith that was completely against the run of play while goals from substitute Gay and young striker Derrevan put the home side back in control to wrap up the points.
Town have now lost their last seven games in all competitions and, a win against Merthyr apart, have to look back to last April for their last competitive win, an emphatic win against current table toppers Llantwit Fardre, which showed the level they are capable of, a level that must be quickly reached if a winter haunted by relegation fears is to be avoided.
Strange Time Warp Thingy Aids Town Win
Saturday 4th October 2008
Monmouth Town 3 Seven Sisters 1
(Actually we lost 4 - 3)
A wierd time warp worm hole occurrence the like of which has never been seen before set up Monmouth Town Kingfishers on their way to their first home win of the season.
In a twilight world that only Stephen Hawkin could explain the game kicked off with twelve minutes on the clock and Town playing some great football stroking the ball around with no little aplomb and got their first goal courtesy of a flowing move that Smith finished with a surging run into the box.
The surreal nature of the game continued as Town pummelled the visitors goal and got their second just before the break as Bowen slalomed through the defence to place the ball in the far corner.
The second half which started on time was an even more hallucenogenic affair as Alderidice hit a post and Palmer failed to convert a point blank rebound (that bit was normal) but Bowen got his second with a header to put Town 3 - 0 up.
Seven Sisters did get a goal back against the run of play when Williams slightly misjudged a blasting strike which spolied an otherwise impeccable display of the net keeper's arts.
(editors note: The match report is a fictitious account loosely based on real events. Any similarlity with anyone living or recently slaughtered in the local press is wholly coincidental).
Sorry Town Slump Again
Saturday 27th September, 2008
Monmouth Town 2 AFC Llwydcoed 3
It was case of after the Lord Mayor’s show for Monmouth ‘s Kingfishers as last Wednesday’s brave performance against Cwmbran Town was rendered null and void with a second half horror show against title challengers Llwydcoed. Two nil up at the break courtesy of goals by Rogers and Palmer and facing the second half against a ten man Llwydcoed who had seen their ‘keeper dismissed as early as the twenty fifth minute the home supporters could have been forgiven for expecting a mature performance to see off spirited by limited opponents. What they got was a secon half performance so lacking in discipline and heart that Llwydcoed simply blew them away with two goals in the final five minutes, the winner with the last kick of the game. For almost the entire second half Llwydcoed showed the necessary desire and commitment, constantly outnumbering a labouring midfield and overlapping at will to create panic every time they reached the Monmouth Town penalty area. The Kingfishers simply had no answer to the barrage despite manful performances by Davies and Alderdice at the heart of the back four and plenty of attitude by Smith and Wookey.
Town Lose Out in Seven Goal Thriller
Wednesday 24th September 2008
Gwent Senior Cup
Cwmbran Town 4 Monmouth Town 3 (aet)
Monmouth Town’s brave Kingfishers came within inches of a famous victory at Cwmbran Stadium last Wednesday having fought back from a goal and 2—1 down to see a last kick of normal time game cleared off the Cwmbran goal line.
For long periods the Town looked most likely and weren’t shy of shooting for a change but saw most of the attempts fly high and wide.
Neville Harris wads looking to the manor born ina new right back berth and Alderdice prompted well in the absence of skipper Smith. Roger s Bowen and Palmer also caused problems and Murphy was having a tidy game on the right hand side.
Against the run of play however the Crows struck first when Town failed to deal with a long throw to the near post which was flicked on and in by the home striker.
The second half was much the same pattern with both sides keen to keep the ball on the floor and on 62 minutes Bowen caught the keeper in possession, kept his composure to round him and roll the ball home.
Just five minutes later town were undone as they lost possession in midfield and the long ball caught Harris on the wrong side and the ball was tucked past Williams. Cue new signing Sam McCoy. His horrible first touch in Town’s colours belied his second as he latched on to the ball on the edge of the area and clipped the ball home for the equaliser.
Town had much the better of the late exchanges but were nervous in front of goal when with thelast kick of the normal time McCoy eased past his marker and sent in a dangerous cross that somehow failed to go in. Extra time saw McCoy go close again and Palmer and Rogers forcing saves but a hopeful cross to the back post was headed back across the Town goal and a Cwmbran took the lead . Moments later Williams flapped at a cross and in the ensuing melee Cwmbran made it four.
Town did have time to launch a late rally as again good work by McCoy set up Rogers to finish smartly and at the death Palmer had a goal bound effort well saved by the keeper.
'Double Sammy’ for Kingfishers
Welsh League Cup Round 1
Saturday 20th September, 2008
Monmouth Town 1 Cwmbran Celtic 2
Monmouth Town were bundled out of the Welsh league cup by second division Cwmbran Celtic last Saturday but were also celebrating a double striker signing as they netted Sam McCoy from local football and Sam Holdsworth from Welsh League rivals Risca United.
The two new signings had a close up view of their new team mates and would have no doubt as to why they were needed as once again Town missed a series of good chances and made two basic defensive errors which presented the victory to the visitors.
Town were the better side for long periods of the game and might have gone ahead in the first half but for inspired goalkeeping from the 17 year old Celtic’s Lee Challenger and Celtic’s strikers always looked the more likely to succeed.
Bowen and Rogers had lively games for Town but the Kingfishers were crying out for more width, penetration and pace that hopefully McCoy and Holdsworth can provide and finally took the lead on 65 minutes after great work by Rogers had handed Sam Pak,mer a sitter but also after Celtic had been reduced to 10 men. It was the third game in succession that town found themselves facing a depleted opposition and as with the other games failed to make the extra man count. A defensive shift saw Kennedy replaced by Wookey and Harris moved from right to left presumably to give some game time to Wookey but within minutes Town had conceded an equaliser failing to deal with a long throw in that evaded everyone but the unmarked striker at the back post.
Worse was to follow on 82 minutes when Davies made a hash of a pass from defence and presented the Celtic striker with his second that was calmly slotted beyond Williams. Dean Palmer belated introduction added much needed urgency to proceedings but despite some good late efforts from Town Celtic left Monmouth with a win that in truth was a testament to their better all round quality.
Kingfishers Blown Away at the Seaside
Wednesday 3rd September 2008
Porthcawl Town 2 Monmouth Town 1
The Kingfishers bowed out of the Welsh Cup at the preliminary stage in dreadful conditions at Porthcawl’s Lock’s Lane which made a mockery of any attempt at playing the beautiful game. Neville Harris put Town ahead on twenty minutes with a near post cross which eventually nestled in the far post corner although the Seasiders mastered the conditions better and were possibly unlucky to go in a goal down at half time.
They were soon level when Davies misjudged a swirling ball and left the home striker to finish past a stranded Williams. Worse followed just five minutes later when the Town defence failed to deal with a number of short passes and a good finish put Porthcawl in front. Huff and puff as they did the conditions got the better of both sides and Porthcawl were in the next round.
Newport Red Tape Blocks Town
Saturday 30th August 2008
Newport Civil Service 3 Monmouth Town 1
Any promotion ambitions that Monmouth Town might have held are already looking decidedly shaky as, for the second week running, they failed to make their better passing and possession tell against a strong Civil Service side newly promoted on the back of successive Gwent County Championships.
Town started brightly enough harrassing the Civil midfield whose only threat came from set peices for the most part well handled by Harris and co in the Town defence. Some of the attacking play was also promising with Bowen once again leading the line superbly but again lacking decent support but a few good moves almost unpicked a well drilled Civl defence as shots by Bowen, Palmer and Harris flew wide.
Fourteen minutes into the game however a hopefull punt from the home 'keeper was ignored by everyone except the alert Cadman and he struck firmly past the stranded Williams.
Town started the second half the stronger and took the game to the hosts and were rewarded on the hour when Bowen was impeded. Dean Palmer rammed home the penalty. Five minutes later a red card for a home defender turned the game in Town's favour and led to a burst of attacking that created clear cut chances for Palmer, Bowen and Harris. That the home keeper wasn't forced to save any of them tells its own story. And then the wheels fell off. An innocuous free kick was handled in the area by Harris and suddenly Town were 2 - 1 down. Five minutes later Hughes and possibly the referee was duped by the rampaging Cadman into awarding the third penalty of the game and it was 3 -1. Despite a number of substitutions including another appaerarance for 51 year old Philpotts the Kingfishers had nothing to show and probabaly deserved nothing for a timid end to the game.
Kingfishers Chairman Lee Robson was dissapointed at the way the team capitulated "We had real high hopes coming into the season and we can still challenge but I think we were taught a lesson today in how to play like a team instead a bunch of individuals. They were hungrier, and had much more will to win than we did. Sure we missed chances and they didn't create an awful lot but they wanted it mnore than us. We have to be more than the sum of our parts and actually want to win games not just be content with 'being unlucky'. That doesn't win games".
Kingfishers Slay Saints
Wednesday 27th August 2008
Merthyr Saints 0 Monmouth Town 5
After failing to register a goal and only one shot on goal in the season opener Town went slightly goal crazy on a dismal evening in Merthyr. Playing without the suspended Smith, Town struggled to find a rhythm to their game and were unable to keep possesion on a pudding of a pitch more suited to a wet November afternoon than the height of the British summer. The first goal changed the complexion and when it came it followed a good passage of play which ended with Sam Palmer calmly rounding the 'keeper to slot home on 14 minutes.
From then on it was all Town as Saints struggled to string any passes together and on half an hour Wookey headed home a looping free kick. The half was finished off by Eddie Murphy finshing off a good move for his first goal for the club. Golden Child indeed.
Although Saints continued to try and get back in the game Town seemed able to create chances at will and Bowen was finally rewarded for another blistering game finishing off a goal mouth scramble. An early goal of the season contender followed as Murphy's angled forty yard pass found Sam Palmer who sold the dummy crossed superbly with his left foot and Bowen's emphatic downward header added the gloss. Sight of the gloomy evening was rampaging left back Ross Kennedy getting beyond the Saints defence in the last minute delivering a pin point cross that was inexplicably missed by both Bowen and Wookey.
Town Misfire in Season Opener As Smith Sees Red.
Saturday 23rd August 2008
Llantwit Fardre 2 Monmouth Town 0
Finally the waiting was over for Monmouth Town's Kingfishers as the Welsh League season got underway at Llantwit Fardre. If the result wasn't what the Kingfishers expected the performance probably was as the vast majority of possession and hugely enjoyable passages of play were once again let down by an inability to finish off ordinary opponents or to display any real killer instinct in the final third of the pitch.
Town fell behind in the seventh minute as a free kick flew over the defensive wall and beat Jenkins at his near post. Before and mostly after that it was pretty much all Monmouth as Llantwit soaked up pressure and looked to hit on the break. When they did they did with menace and were let down on more than one occasion by poor final passes and at times Town's defence looked more of a danger to themselves gving away possession too easily when under no pressure.
Alderdice and Smith were winning the midfield battle and prompting attacks and Bowen was having a superb game leading the line but too often lacked any quick support. A couple of efforts were easily saved and Harris hit the crossbar as the goalkeeper fumbled a corner kick but Town went into half time comfortably the better team but worryingly unable to turn promising situations into chances and chances into goals.
The second half was a similar story, not helped when Bowen was denied a blantant penalty as he turned his man and was upended. It wasn't until the seventieth minute that Davies replaced the tiring Wookey and Town pushed Dean Palmer forward in an increasingly despearate search for the equaliser. With just 12 minutes remaining Palmer was downed on the edge of the area and as Smith made for the loose ball was also upended. The referee, inexplicably chose to ignore the foul play and instead excercised a literal interpretation of the new 'respect' agenda and Smith looked up to see not an attacking free kick opportunity but a red card and an early bath for swearing.
Another double substitution saw Murphy, getting his first team competitive debut and Dorrington replace the hard working Cleaves and Harris but this added little to any creative options and with just five minutes remaining Town were picked apart down the right hand side and an overexposed Jenkins was left helpless as the home striker gleefully put the game out of reach.
Town Chairman Lee Robson was left to pick up the pieces after the game saying "I don't usually comment on referees and in truth he didn't cost us the game as we had more than enough possession and openings to have won the game comfortably. What does concern me though is an overzealous approach to new edicts. I am fully behind attempts to clean up the image of the game and cut out dissent and foul and abusive language but when someone who so obviously loves the game as much as Smudger (Andrew Smith) and plays it with such passion and commitment is sent off for just uttering a swear word directed at no one in particular that no-one outside of a five yard radius can hear its hard to see who benefits".
"The directive from the FAW is one of the most common sense pieces of guidance I've ever seen but it is aimed at stamping out abuse and dissent not naughty words. This is still a working man's game (just) and as such it reflects our pride, passion and at times our language. That may sound pompous but it's why so many of us love it ...warts an' all".
Late Pen Keeps Kingfishers on the boil.
Saturday 2nd August 2008
Monmouth Town 1 Albion Rovers 0
A late Andrew Smith penalty earned Monmouth Town a hard fought victory in the penultimate pre season friendly against Gwent County's Albion Rovers. Newport based Albion were quicker out of the blocks in the hastily rearranged fixture and although town soon got to the pace of the game the robust nature of the game meant that neither side could find any real rhythm.
Both sides had chances in a first half perhaps marred by a lot of dissent, some tough challenges and the frequent sound of the referee's whistle.
A changed formation in the second half was designed to take the game to the opponents but although Palmer joined Bowen up front it was very proving very difficult to break down the Rovers' rear guard.
As the game petered out among waves of substitutions Tabb wasted a glorious opportunity before great work by Bowen finally unlocked the defence and a clear hand ball led the referee to point to the spot. Smith made no mistake.
Stand in manager Lee Robson was pleased with the win but added "At this stage it's still about preparation for the game against Porthcawl (in a fortnight). We tried to get a mix of friendlies and we knew that Albion would be more physical than our other opponents so in that respect we came through it really well particularly with a clean sheet. Everyone has now had a fair amount of game time and we have a much better idea of what everyone is capable of and what systems work for us. Obviously I won't pick the team when we get serious but I'll be giving Nick (Oxford) my thoughts.
Town 's final pre season game is a local derby clash at Ross Town next Saturday (3pm kick off)
Broadwell Test Young Kingfishers
Thursday 31st July 2008
Broadwell Amatuers 2 Monmouth Town XI 1
The short trip to England ended in defeat to their Forest hosts but Monmouth Town 's young Kingfishers came back to Town with plenty of positives. A completely changed line up, skippered by Jack Alderdice, meant first starts for Greg Jones, Luke Harris and Martyn Dembicki while there were debuts for young goalkeeper Ryan Holder and Chris Tyler, all of whom acquitted themselves well.
The game itself was a fairly well contested affair and Monmouth's passing game contrasted well to the more direct approach of Broadwell.
Town fell behind to the first corner of the game on 25 minutes when Willaims missed his claim and the ball was blasted in follwing a penalty box pinball rally.
A couple of Town penalty appeals were waved away but it was deep into the second half that Tabb equalised following great wrok by Cleaves and Palmer. Minutes later Ford, having a much improved game on the left, struck well but his shot and Tabb's follow up were well saved by the home keeper.
The winner when it came was courtesy of ballooned cross which was manna for the 6'7" striker although Holder at 5'6" showed his bravery by competing for the ball.
Kingfishers Bite Bulldogs
Saturday 26th July 2008
Ton Pentre 2 Monmouth Town 3
Monmouth Town’s preparation for their second Welsh League season continued with a good workout against Ton Pentre’s Rhondda bulldogs on a sweltering afternoon at Ynys Park. The Kingfishers made the trip missing a number of key players and with only one substitute and started the game less than impressively against a very organised Ton Pentre who kept the ball well but struggled to make any inroads against a centre back pairing of Justin Harris and new Brazilian signing Alex.
As the first half wore on however the Kingfishers showed more invention than their hosts and went close on a couple of occasion as first Palmer shot wide and then the impressive Neville Harris failed to connect to a superb Dean Palmer through ball. Town got their breakthrough on the half hour as Cleaves and Tabb won 50:50 tackle before Sam Palmer arrowed a superb right foot strike into the top corner. Within thirty seconds Ton were level as Williams in the Town goal dallied with a back pass and was robbed by the Valleys strike who rolled it into an empty net. It was in fact Williams’ only aberration on an afternoon when he made three stunning saves, one from a point blank header.
Just before half Alderdice found the time and room to drill another great strike into the bottom corner to make it 2 – 1.
Ton Pentre’s half time team talk clearly galvanised the first division outfit and they moved up a couple of gears and played some good energy sapping possession football and equalised with a smart move finished comfortably with a neat header by Jamal. It seemed at that point that the young Town team with no fresh legs on the bench would wilt in the summer heat and Ton upped the pressure with the Kingfishers barely able to get the ball let alone keep it. Ton’s profligate strikers were made to pay as a great free kick by Dean Palmer evaded everyone except Alderdice who neatly nodded home his second of the afternoon. Ton were denied a last minute equaliser by the assistant referee and the Kingfishers returned home over the Rhigos Pass with a hard earned win. Stand in Manager and club Chairman was pleased with the afternoon’s work saying “It was very warm out there today and that was just in the dug out. I’d have been happy with a good work out and narrow defeat but these lads keep on surprising me. Ton were very good and kept the ball well but Williams was superb, Alex had a dream debut and we showed a lot of creativity when we got the ball. It was nice to see some shooting for a change.”
Oh Dereham ....but big improvement
Saturday 19th July
Dereham Town 3 Monmouth Town 2
Two second half goals from Simon Wookey brouight a lot of repectability to a game that had threatened to repeat last season's 7 - 1 drubbing at the hands of this quality Norfolk outfit. In fact there was no real comparison to last season's pre season opener and again showed that there has been a lot of improvement in the Town's team over the course of the year.
To add some consolation the Town's veterans, including a comeback from Steven Buffin, gained a 3 - 1 win against the hosts over 40's. The local Travel Lodge is also still in one piece.
Kingfishers Ease into Pre Season
Saturday 12th July
Monmouth Town 3 Cadoxton Cons Club 0
Scruffy goals from Andrew Smith, Matthew Bowen and a well worked effort from Simon Wookey got the Kingfishers pre season campaign off to a comfortable start against competitive Barry based outfit Cadoxton Cons.
Showing bags of energy after a fitness based pre season training regime the Town played with plenty of tempo and caused all sorts of problems but more pleasing was the way Town tried to keep the ball and make the passes tell.
The returning James Hughes looked to having a good time and added a bit of craft to the midfield, while Bowen as usual ran his legs off. Smith however was the pick of the team although Eddie Murphy made a promising start with a number of good crosses which created good opportunties.
The down side again was the seeming unwillingness to test the stand in goalkeeper as time and again attacking efforts were spurned either by taking too many touches or by uncertain finishing.
If the Town are to challenge this year as they have every right to do given the talent in the squad, they really will have to learn to take responsibility in front of goal.
This Saturday the Kingfishers travel to Norwich for a friendly against Ryman League outfit Dereham Town.
Kingfishers Look to Challenge for Honours.
Monmouth Town 3 Ystradgynlais 3
Abertillery 3 Monmouth Town 2
Penrhiwceiber 3 Monmouth Town 1
And so Monmouth Town’s first season in Welsh League football ended with a bit of a whimper but taken in the round the 12th place finish was probably a fair reflection of a long tough season. In some ways the final three fixtures mirrored the season as a whole with some sparkling football let down by poor finishing, and stronger more experienced opponents needing not too many invitations to punish any defensive lapses.
In the first of the final three games the Kingfisher inability to finish off a pair of teams that had concede over 200 goals between them and for long periods of the season were the division’s whipping boys came back to haunt them as both Ystradgynlais and Abertillery gained points with late goals.
That Town also used three goalkeepers in the games showed the need next season for consistency between the sticks and ruthlessness in front of them.
There were however many plus points as Bowen bagged his routine twenty for the season, and at times promoted Penrhiwceiber couldn’t live with the movement and slick passing of Town’s finest. Sixteen year old Matthew Tabb made his first start for the Town and Spence looks a shoe in for young player of the season. Of the rest Smith found his form towards the end of the season and can surely lead his young team to greater things, Davies and Harris were solid throughout, Dorrington his usual dogged self and Alderdice and Wookey weighed in with polished performances in midfield. Cleaves at whatever position is clearly unappreciated but sticks to his task manfully and the experience will only have made him better. Rogers began to produce more mature performances realising that as one of the older members of the team he had to take on more responsibility. The Palmer brothers continue to be a joy to watch and although the brothers Ford still look like they need to work hard to improve on aspects of their game there is no denying they can continue to play a big part in the Kingfishers' future.
First team manager Nick Oxford was looking forward to a pre season break but was optimistic about the season ahead “At Christmas I wouldn't have bet on us staying in this division after getting 4 points from a possible thirty but over the season we’ve improved a lot and look better organised. We obviously need to take more of our chances but I’d be more depressed if we were not creating anything and were just lumping the ball forward, That's not our style and I know that if we can improve our performances in front of goal we’ve got a chance next season.
Club Chairman Lee Robson echoed Oxford’s sentiments “We’ve made huge strides this season and have been great ambassadors for Monmouth; but we have still have a lot to do. We can't settle for mid table and next season I am expecting a promotion challenge. I’ll be doing all I can to improve things off the pitch and make sure the environment is as good as it can be for our players and we have to up our game in lots of areas. At the moment though I’m off for some beers”.26th and 27th April 2008
Kingfishers On A Roll
Town Back To Back Wins Push them into Top Half
Llantwit Fardre 1 Monmouth Town 2
Monmouth Town 2 Cwmamman United 1
Monmouth Town's Kingfishers made it sixteen points from eighteen and flew into the top half of the Welsh League Division three for the first time this season with convincing back to back wins against tough opponents last weekend.
A superb first half display against high flying Llantwit Fardre who were looking to put themselves into the top three was enough to see off a more determined Fardre second period fight back. Two superb strikes from Rogers and Bowen and an all round confident passing display made a mockery of any notion that Town were a relegation threatened side a mere two months ago.
With even the watching Llantwit supporters applauding some of the passing and movement of Nick Oxford's youngsters there seemed no doubt that his young charges would return with all three points to Monmouth but if the first half showed how good they could be in an attacking sense the second showed the improvement in organisation and resilience of a side that a few years ago would have folded under the physical pressure of the many high balls they had to deal with . As it was, Aaron Davies was once again superb and commanding and Dan Spence gave more proof, if it were needed, of his claim to be the Town's find of the season. Lee Williams in the town goal although at fault for a rash challenge which gave Llantwit a penalty also staked a further claim to be rightfully recognised as Town's first choice keeper.
It was similar story the following afternoon as the Kingfishers returned to Town after six games on the road and in front of the largest crowd of the season set about making it into the top half of the table by winning against a Cwmamman United team who had enjoyed considerable recent success. Indeed although the Neath based outfit looked to at least want to keep the ball on the floor unlike many visitors but showed little concerted attacking threat and were undone when Bowen latched onto a superb Alderdice through ball and rolled the ball past the keeper for Ford to tap into an empty net. Town should have scored a couple more before the break as first Harris then Wookey spurned good opportunities and Rogers strangely refused to shoot when through on his own. It was a similar story in the second half as Cwmamman looked to be the better side but opportunities were passed up by Ford Rogers and Bowen before Rogers went on a barnstorming run to finish emphatically in the bottom corner.
Cwmamman got back into the game with a deflected long range effort which deceived Williams and Town then seemed to try their best to throw away the points by gifting possession to the opposition. Matthew Tabb also had a great chance to finish off the visitors in the closing minutes but his shot was cleared off the line.
Town are at home again tonight (Wednesday) for their final home game against Ystradgynlais (kick off 6.15) and Manager Nick Oxford wants his team to take their recent form into a promotion challenge next term "We've had a fantastic last couple of months and have lost only four times since the turn of the year, winning twelve. Our main aim is to keep that eighth spot and build on it for next season. I've said many times that we have nothing to fear from anyone in this division and we can certainly challenge next season so long as we keep learning and improving."
20th April 2008
Kingfishers Eye Top Half Finish
15.4 Risca United 2 Monmouth Town 2
17.4 Ystradgynlais 1 Monmouth Town 6
19.4 Newcastle Emlyn 1 Monmouth Town 2
Eight days, four games, seven hundred miles, ten points, fifteen goals scored, four conceded, rounded off with a thumping win at second placed Newcastle Emlyn and Monmouth Town’s young Kingfishers have moved within sight of a top half finish.
The five goal win at Porthcawl last Saturday week was followed by a deserved 2 – 2 draw at Risca which saw Town completely outplayed in the first half to go in level with a Bowen equaliser, his sixth in three games. The second half of that game was mainly Monmouth ‘s but they couldn’t break down a determined Risca defence and they fell behind with just ten minutes remaining when the Town defence failed to deal with a an inviting low free kick which was dispatched at the far post by the onrushing Risca striker. Nothing if not resilient these days, however, and Rogers was upended with five remaining and Wookey did the rest from the penalty spot to snatch a draw for the Town.
Back on the road on Thursday last week with a trip to Ystradgynlais in the freezing Neath Valeys. Two more Wookey goals and one apiece from Bowen, Ford and the Palmer brothers Sam and Dean gave the Kingfishers their highest win of the season. It could and should have been much, much more but for wayward finishing and a referee who took pity on a woeful Ystradgynlais display and finished the game ten minutes early.
And so to Newcastle Emlyn . The long awaited trip to West Wales began with Town at pretty much full strength welcoming back Dan Spence after his drama exams, adding Matthew Tabb and Ashley Ford to the travelling contingent but missing Rogers with a hamstring injury. Town took the game to the title challengers and set about looking for their second double of season having seen off the West Walians at the sportsground in December. As the game wore on it was the home side who looked to have more of the game but spurned good positions and set pieces with poor delivery although Williams continued his fine form in the Town goal and the defensive partnership of Harris and Davies once again held firm and looked capable of dealing with a strangely predictable Newcastle strike force.
The Kingfishers took the lead on 25 minutes when first Palmer, then Bowen had attempts that were blocked before a final effort from Elliot Ford found the corner of the net.
Newcastle came back strongly and again had more of the play but looked least likely to do anything with it until a deflection from their umpteenth free kick sailed past the stranded Williams.
The second half started brightly enough for Town but again they couldn’t hold possession for long enough and the referee , although clearly competent, seemed intent on penalising even the slightest contact. On seventy two minutes a fine free kick from Palmer was met firmly by Alderdice and Town were in the driving seat. The final twenty minutes however proved as difficult to negotiate as the West Wales terrain and Newcastle threw more men forward in search of an equaliser to keep their promotion challenge alive. Some good saves by Williams and great defence coupled with an increasingly erratic and frustrated Newcastle onslaught meant the spoils and the three points came back to Monmouth.
Town Manager Nick Oxford was delighted after a tough week for his charges, “it’s been a great week for the team and the club. The spirit is fantastic and although they had a lot of the game I thought we didn’t look in too much danger. All of the lads have been brilliant this week and I’ve been particularly pleased with Lee Williams who has been superb for us and proved a point to some of the doubters. “
Town are at home this Sunday in a rearranged game against Cwmamman United (kick off 2.30) and conclude their home games next Wednesday when Ystradgynlais are the visitors. (kick off 6.30). Club Chairman. Lee Robson, is hoping for a good turn out from the Town for these two games “It would be great to get a good crowd for out last home games. Hopefully the weather will be good and we’ll be putting on some food after the game and watching Everton v Villa on Sunday followed by the Liverpool Chelsea game on Wednesday. If people haven’t been to the clubhouse for a pint, then why not help us celebrate our first Welsh League season.”
Tuesday 15th April 2008
Of Kingfishers and Cuckoos
Risca United 2 Monmouth Town 2
If after twenty minutes of this Gwent derby Monmouth Town’s Kingfishers had been three or four goals adrift of The Risca Cuckoos there could have been no complaints. Playing at a much higher tempo and with striker Andrew Gay looking to take Town apart Risca, backed by a vociferous crowd, and egged on by the promptings of former Cardiff city duo Ekhart and Wigg were altogether the better side moving the ball more quickly and getting men in support. They were also quite pleasing on the eye. Town for their part struggled to get any decent possession although Bowen did prove to be a good outlet causing United at least to be a little wary of throwing too many men forward.
As it was for all their endeavour all Risca had to show for their dominance was a solitary goal scored when four Town defenders failed to deal with an innocuous situation and Gay’s delightful ball set up his co striker with a confident finish past Williams. Oh. Risca also hit the bar and Williams’ face with a screamer of a volley and missed a series of other chances with half hearted finishing.
As the game wore so the Cuckoos and their supporters wore out and Town started to get back into the game and got some joy down the flanks without really causing any danger until Dean Palmer ran across the face of goal and rasped a shot from 25 yards that the Risca keeper couldn’t hold and Bowen gleefully smashed home an equaliser for his sixth in three games.
Level at half time then and Monmouth emerged for the second half seemingly in much better shape moving the ball better but possibly because they were allowed to. Alderdice went close with a glancing header and Ford had a shot well saved as Risca increasingly resorted to the longer ball in the hope that Gay would retain his work rate and get some joy against a Town defence who looked more comfortable and organised.
A superb move involving Rogers and Bowen was almost completed by Sam Palmer whose delicious volley cannoned off the cross bar and Ford ‘s follow up was well saved.
Barely five minutes later a hopeful out ball was indeed gathered by Gay who invited a challenge by Spence which itself earned a yellow card. The hopeful free kick seemed to take an age to work its way invitingly across the face of goal and the Risca substitute posted his RSVP emphatically at the far post.
Town were stirred into immediate action and a great Alderdice through ball was gathered by Rogers who was bundled over by the goalkeeper and Wookey made no mistake from the spot. Palmer could have won it for the Kingfishers with some clever work easily beating the Risca right back but his drive came back off the upright. On balance a draw was probably a fair result and sets up further tight affairs as both teams look to consolidate a good position in the final table.
Saturday 12th April 2008
Bowen Hat Trick Rocks Seasiders
Porthcawl Town 0 Monmouth Town 5
A Matthew Bowen hat-trick and a brace for Andrew Rogers helped Monmouth Town’s Kingfishers to their best win of the season and eased any lingering relegation worries.
With only one point from the previous nine on offer Town had started to get sucked back into a relegation fight they had looked to have won after an impressive early year run but this win coupled with a superb performance will do wonders for their confidence as they face three games this week ending with a trip to Newcastle Emlyn next Saturday.
On a glorious day at Porthcawl’s Lock Lane ground the first half belonged almost entirely to the Kingfishers as they were quicker to the ball, Smith and Alderdice pulled all of the midfield strings and the pace and strength of Bowen, Ford and Rogers in attack constantly caused problems for the home side.
It took some time however for the Town to break down the Seasiders’ defence as first Dean Palmer went close with a dipping effort and brother Sam’s cheeky backheel was blocked on the line. But Bowen it was, fresh from his two goals the previous week, who broke the deadlock emerging from a goalmouth melee with the vital touch.
Eight minutes later it was two as Smith was hauled down on the edge of the area and Rogers’ powerful strike found the bottom corner. Ford could have made it three before half time with a great run and an unlucky finish that grazed the wrong side of the upright.
The Seasiders came out for the second half looking like they’d had a deserved half time rocket and went about their game with more determination and effort. They were nearly rewarded when their striker found himself alone just inside the area but Lee Williams’ outstretched foot and the crossbar came to the rescue. The Kingfishers lived dangerously for another 20 minutes until a great move eventually found Rogers unmarked and his drive made it three.
Then Porthcawl crumbled. Bowen made it four with another opportunist strike, mysteriously missed another chance before completing his hat-trick with an emphatic turn and finish to round off a great day out for the Kingfishers.
Manager Nick Oxford was delighted with the win and the performance “That’s the best we’ve player for a long time and we were certainly good value for the margin of the victory. I said to the lads that we were getting by on talent but that wouldn’t be enough. We had to have more discipline and do the right things. I think they listened. Lee Williams kept only our second clean sheet of the season and again Dan Spence was superb for us. Andrew Smith had another big game and hopefully we can take this into our games this week”
Saturday 5th April 2008
Bowen Twins Thwart Seven Sisters
Monmouth Town 2 Seven Sisters 2
Two goals from Town striker Mathew Bowen were enough to end his own two month goal drought and secure another valuable point for the Kingfishers Welsh League campaign.
Bowen struck early in the second half with a cool finish to bring Town level after a great through ball from Dan Spence. His second followed a dreadful mistake by the Seven Sisters’ goalkeeper who inexplicably failed to gather a hopeful through ball and allowed a surprised Bowen to rob him and round him.
The first half however was a different story as the struggling Sisters looked to be the better side or at least looked least likely concede a goal as Town failed to get any rhythm into their game. Smith looked back to his best for town with an all action display but seemed to have little or no support from his fellow midfielders who too often turned into tackles or failed to show any grasp of the rudiments of the game.
Despite this Town were in little danger until Rogers poor attacking free kick was turned quickly to the opposite end and as Roberts in the Town goal retreated he lost his bearings and presented the visiting striker a simple opportunity to finish.
The Kingfishers did fashion a few first half openings but poor finishing and wayward crosses that troubled the local anglers more than the keepers angles meant town finished the half in arrears.
Bowen’s strikes hauled town in front and seven sisters looked to heading back to Neath with nothing to show. Manager Oxford looked to secure the points by bringing on sixteen year old Matthew Tabb for his Welsh League debut and Ashley Ford for the visibly wilting Rogers and Cleaves but the gamble failed as the again excellent Spence sliced his clearance and handed the visitors a last throw of the dice. The long throw was almost inevitably nodded on and in and the spoils were shared.
Having looked safe from relegation a few weeks back there is still work to do with the remaining nine games coming in the next five weeks but Oxford was measured “It would have been nice to have taken all three but a draw was probably fair and they needed a win more than we did. We’ve used seven players under 21 and three who can’t even buy a pint after the game so I’m happy that we can give our young lads a run and not get beaten. We’ve got a lot of games coming up and three more wins will make mathematically certain we’re safe so I’m starting to look ahead to next season already”
Dynamos Dim Grim Town
Monmouth Town 0 Pentwyn Dynamos 1
Monmouth Town narrowly slumped to their second successive home defeat against title challengers Pentwyn Dynamo in a dire affair at the Sportsground last week. The Kingfishers were again without five key players though a mixture of injuries and no shows and gave seventeen year old Dan Spence a first start as centre half and included the returning Ross Kennedy on the bench and for most of the game looked relatively comfortablel against a strangely toothless Pentwyn team looking to regain top spot. Admittedly, Town also looked challenged in the molar department as Bowen once again foraged fruitlessly as Town struggled to get any decent ball to the lone front man and often looked unable to get near enough to support him even if they did.
Perhaps it’s a measure of the team’s progress that Town must be disappointed to lose a game they might have won and in truth the midfield battled gamely against a Pentwyn midfield packed with wiser and cannier older heads. Spence looked to the manner born with a polished performance and Dorrington , so often , maligned gave a good account of himself while Harris was his usual robust self.
The first half was really a case of defending well and hoping that some Rogers magic or the pace of Ford could unlock the exposed visiting defence but Ford was well shackled by Fowler the Dynamos left back and Rogers had clearly left his wand in the changing rooms. For the largish crowd is it was no better in the second half with few chances created by either side and the game looked ot be petering out into a scoreless encounter when the wind and a poor throw by Jenkins put Dean Palmer in all sorts of trouble and he gave away a free kick on the edge of the area. The tricky free kick bounced in front of a struggling Jenkins and his fumble was followed up by five Pentwyn attackers with no defender in sight and Stephens poked the ball home.
Town did open the defence a little better after that as Ford joined Bowen in attack but in Bowen’s only real sight of goal he shot straight at the keeper and Palmer’s curling effort with five remaining sailed harmlessly wide. And that was pretty much that but Nick Oxford refused to be too downbeat. “To be honest with the injuries we have and the other players out for a variety of reason we were always going to struggle to get anything out of the game. I thought we deserved a point but no more than that and I was pleased with the way we defended. Jenks has lost some of his confidence after the horrific injury he received against Llantwit Fardre but we have no choice but to soldier on and keep having some faith in our younger players. I want us to be positive and look forward to the April fixtures and to start enjoying ourselves. We can be a bit miserable at times!
Next Saturday Town are away at third from bottom Ystradgynlais and will be looking to leapfrog other Gwent teams in the weeks to come.
8th March 2008
Town Crash in Seven Goal Thriller
Monmouth Town 3 Penrhiwceiber Rangers 4
Monmouth Town narrowly lost out to high flying Penrhiwceiber in a see saw encounter at the Sportsground last Saturday. In blustery conditions The Kingfishers took an early lead when a flighted free kick by Rogers from twenty five yards deceived Dan Field in the Rangers goal and wafted into the top corner.
The early exchanges were dominated by Monmouth as the visitors struggled to maintain any real pressure. Town even passed up a number of decent chances as first Palmer then Bowen failed to get any real contact on two free kicks by Rogers. Indeed it looked like set pieces were going to be the only way through for either side until 28 minutes into the first half when a clear foul on Dan Spence went unpunished and Penrhiwceiber took advantage of the extra men pushed forward and equalised emphatically.
Just two minutes later another decision went against Town as a ball that again appeared to be out of play was played inside and a rash challenged produced a free kick on the edge of the Town penalty area. A gleeful striker snapped up a loose ball from the resulting melee to make it 2 – 1 but as half time approached another storming run by Bowen was brought to an abrupt end with a needless challenge. Wookey although making a hash of the penalty brought parity as he bounced home the rebound.
The Kingfisher defence didn’t seem to have emerged from the dressing room for the second half as the visitors struck immediately to take a 3 – 2 lead as a Penrhiwceiber winger promenaded though the home defence to finish at Jenkins near post.
Justin Harris then converted a good header form a corner kick just two minutes later and Town had time to waste a few more decent openings, once when great work by Bowen finished hitting the upright, before conceding the winner with fifteen minutes remaining from a near post corner.
Town Boss Nick Oxford was not too unhappy with the performance but conceded that lapses in concentration cost his side dear “A couple of decisions could and maybe should have gone for us but we have to make sure we keep playing to the whistle. Again we came out slowly and paid a price for that but overall I thought we played really well and deserved something from the game. I think we moved the ball better than we have for a long time and some of our play was very pleasing on the eye especially when we got down the flanks.
There’s always something we can do better but our general team play has improved a lot and it was hard to pick out which team was challenging from promotion. They were probably just a bit sharper than us in some key areas and were one of the better team to have come here in recent weeks but we can work on that and get better. “
This Saturday Town are away at struggling Abertillery but the following week entertain league leaders Pentwyn Dynamo at the Sportsground.
1st March 2008
Kingfishers On Song but Saints Fail to March
Monmouth Town 5 Merthyr Saints 2
Its been many months since Monmouth Town's Kingfishers delivered a stress free afternoon for their supporters but this was as close it gets as two goals by the returning Simon Wookey, a fine header by Jack Alderdice and one a piece by Cleaves and Sam Palmer ensured a relaxing final 20 minutes at the Sportsground.
It didn’t start well though as despite looking very comfortable against a game but ordinary Merthyr outfit Dorrington's sliced clearance gifted the Saints a lead after only 7 minutes. Five minutes later however Town were level as Bowen was upended in the penalty area and Wookey drove home the penalty. He had hardly finished celebrating his return to first team action when a good effort by Smith was bizarrely ignored by the visiting 'keeper and as the ball rebounded from the post he snaffled the lead for the Kingfishers.
On twenty five minutes a superb free kick by Rogers was converted confidently by Alderdice from six yards but when another defensive lapse presented Merthyr with another goal it seemed nailed on that the second half was going to be just as erratic as Town veered from being very good to being very bad indeed.
Indeed Saints cam out looking quicker in thought and deed and might have made more of a number of promising openings but Roberts in the Town goal looked assured until replaced on the hour by Jenkins, returning after his horrific injury. Jenkins picked up his form where he had left off and looked to get Town moving quickly form the back and as the game wore the quality of stand in captain Dominy and young Dan Spence looked like deflating a young Saints team. All it needed was a superb pass form the tireless Bowen to be met first time by Cleaves to give some breathing space and set up Town's first double of then season. After that it was game over as Saints visibly wilted and had no real answer to the composure of the town defence and the trickiness of their attack and on 80 minutes Sam Palmer converted his eight goal in a dozen games with an emphatic drive into the roof of the net.
23rd February 2008
Palmer Goal Streak ends Morriston resistance.
Monmouth Town 2 Morriston Town 0
Goals from Andrew Rogers and Sam Palmer, getting his seventh goal in 11 matches, ended spirited resistance from relegation haunted Morriston Town in last Saturday's Welsh League clash.
Town have hauled themselves away from relegation with 21 points from their last 33 but still needed to put in a decent performance against a Morriston side looking to extend their 57 year tenure as a Welsh League Club.
Town were missing the injured Davies, out with a torn thigh, and reshaped with Jack Alderdice switching to centre half and Smith returning to partner Dominy and Cleaves in midfield. The first half hour was dominated by the Kingfishers but as so often the Swansea outfit defended doggedly and restricted clear cut chances but offered no real threat of their own. The final quarter of an hour of the first half however was a different story as Town lost the grip on the game and allowed Morriston to come back strongly and only good goalkeeping from Roberts and profligacy form the Morriston strikers kept the game level at the break. It was a similar story in the second half as town were decent enough but showed little real quality with the ball although some passages were pleasing on the eye. One particular burst by Rogers when he embarrassed a couple of defenders were a portent of things to come as shortly afterwards a good break by Bowen released a pass across the face of goal that Palmer gleefully dispatched from one yard out.
It should then have been a matter of how many more Monmouth could score but again the visitors regrouped sending three men up front and causing a number of problems until Rogers finished the resistance with a calm finish five minutes from time.
The win puts Town eight points clear of the drop zone and on current form would have to do something of Devon Loch proportions to be in any danger come the end of April. Manager Nick Oxford, however, was not getting carried away. "We were Ok. Nothing more, nothing less. No real bad performances but John Roberts has improved massively over the last few weeks and he saved us at the end. Andrew Rogers had a really good game and now doesn't seem to mind doing some of the hard yards. He even won a defensive header! I know we can keep improving but we have to increase our energy levels and impose ourselves a lot more on teams."
This Saturday Town entertain Merthyr Saints at the Sportsground (kick off 2pm) who will be looking for revenge for a 4 - 1 drubbing handed out by the Kingfishers in November. A win that ended their losing streak and put them on the road to recovery.
16th February 2008
Kingfishers Collapse in Cynon Valley
Cwmaman Institute 2 Monmouth Town 1
Two minutes of madness straddling half time was enough to condemn Town to a defeat against high flying Cwmaman on a glorious day in the Cynon Valley. One goal ahead after twenty minutes following a flowing Kingfishers move finished by Sam Palmer Monmouth were under no real threat from a decent looking Cwmaman team who had won their last three games to put themselves in a promotion position. Enter Jack Alderdice’s right boot flooring a home striker moving away from goal gifting Cwmaman a penalty on the stroke of half time converted by player manager Price. Top that with a route one goal straight from the kick off of the second half and that pretty much sums up a disappointing day out.
In fairness neither side looked to have brought their football radar as pass after pass went astray and the game became dominated by defences on top of their game and rarely under threat. The Kingfishers were handed a lifeline on the hour when Cwmaman right back sought retribution on Alderdice with a right hook and duly received his marching orders. The initiative, however, was handed back to Cwmaman when barely a minute after sending on Bowen for Ford, Davies fell victim to a groin injury which threatens to out him action for six weeks. With only the 51 year old Philpotts named as the second travelling sub, manager Oxford was left to rue his decision to allow additional players to run out for the reserves.
Rogers missed a great opening for the Kingfishers latching on to Bowen’s superb through ball but inexplicably failing to shoot and allowing previously beaten defenders to cover and Cwmaman keeper Truelove to smother the ball. Cwmaman striker Airy also wasted a glorious chance rattling the side netting form six yards out. The game petered out into the inevitable result to move Cwmaman up to second spot and Monmouth to think of might have been. Manager Oxford was disappointed with the way his team had failed to make any real inroads “We just didn't come out in the second half and barely turned up in the first half, it was a great playing surface but we just couldn't get our passing going. I don’t think anybody did really well although Jack (Alderdice) was unfortunate with the penalty as otherwise he had a good game. Losing Azzy (Davies) is also a huge blow to us but we‘ve shown we can cope when we miss some of our bigger players and with Smith and Palmer due back and Wookey on the road to recovery we should be fine.
On Saturday Town are at home to strugglers Morriston Town in a classic six pointer (kick off 2pm).
Oxford continued “If we win on Saturday there’ll be too much daylight between us and the bottom two and although I’m not complacent we can think about a mid table finish. We need everyone to turn up and be firing on all cylinders”
9th February 2008
Any Striker You Like So Long As Its Ford.
Monmouth Town 2 AFC Llwydcoed 1
No Bowen, Roberts back in goal having a stormer, 1 nil down, Ford 1 - 1 Palmer gets the winner to make it the first back to back to winning run of the season and make it 18 points from 27 since the turn of October.
Good work fellas!
Kingfishers Composure Seals Win
Monmouth Town 2 Llantwit Fardre 0
26th January, 2008
Town Nipped By the Buds
Monmouth Town 1 Aberbargoed Buds 2
Monmouth Town’s six match unbeaten run came to abrupt end with a below par display against their Gwent rivals Aberbargoed. Town and Aberbargoed started the match level on points and goal difference with both teams looking for win to ease relegation worries and it was Monmouth who started the brightest retaining most of the possession and territory but only threatening occasionally. On a more compact pitch however the Buds looked the physically stronger team getting the better of tackles and ruffling more of the free flowing football from the Kingfishers who went ahead on 22 minutes as Bowen latched on to a through ball form Alderdice and lifted deftly over the advancing Kirkwood in the Aberbargoed goal.
Inn a game never destined to be a classic there were chances for both sides as first Bowen steered his shot too close to the keeper and then Davies cleared brilliantly from his own line after Jenkins had been beaten to a cross. Town just about deserved their first half lead but a more motivated Buds team took the game to the Town at the start of the second half and equalised when Duggan's relatively tame shot from distance seemed to deceive Jenkins who could only watch as the ball crept in at his right hand post.
The rest of the half was more grit than guile as Aberbargoed kept to their game plan of ruffling Kingfisher feathers and out fighting a in increasingly frustrated midfield. A clear chance did fall to Ford but with the goal at his mercy and just six yards out he somehow managed to take the paint off the Chairman’s’ car which was foolishly to the side of the goal.
As the game neared its end Oxford withdrew Bowen and Cleaves in an attempt to inject a different approach but just minutes later Jenkins failed to deal with a long throw in and the click on allowed Mazurczak to gleefully hook the ball home to put the Buds in the driving seat.
With Bowen now withdrawn an increasingly toothless Monmouth failed to penetrate a more determined Aberbargoed back line and the Buds took the points back to the Gwent valleys. Manager Oxford was philosophical after tasting his first defeat as manager “We had much the better of the first half but didn’t put any daylight between us. They came out much the stronger in the second half and we looked sluggish in some of our approach. They were much more up for the physical contest and that’s something we have to think about. That said I’m disappointed not devastated. We‘ve had a good run and we don’t become rubbish again with one defeat. Big game next week and we have to be up for it.”
5th January 2008
I wouldn't rather be Emlyn
Monmouth Town 3 Newcastle Emlyn 2
Monmouth's Kingfishers extended their unbeaten run to six games with a superb victory over title challengers Newcastle Emlyn in a tense game at the Sportsground last Saturday. Having made a three hour trip from West Wales Newcastle Emlyn looked minibus lagged as Town took the game to a side beaten only twice all season and looking for a win which would take them back to the top of the league.
Elliot Ford, drafted in for the flu ridden Rogers created havoc every time he got the ball and Alderdice, Cleaves and Dominy bossed a sticky midfield allowing Palmer and Bowen to capitalise on Ford trickery.
The first goal on 23 minutes however was one of the most bizarre seen at the Sportsground in many years as a fairly hopefully punt toward the visitors' goal was ignored as players pleaded with the referee for a free kick. As he waved play on the goalkeeper completely forgot to stop the bobbling ball as it rolled over the line. Just five minutes later Newcastle's keeper nearly made amends as he saved Palmer's poor penalty only to see the rebound gobbled up by Palmer for his second.
On thirty five minutes Bowen's turn and shot put the Kingfishers 3 - 0 up and within sight of their first home league win of the season. Newcastle rallied briefly in the latter stages of the first half in which they had been comprehensively outplayed and on the stroke of half time a free kick form 25 yards flew past Jenkins in the Town goal to set up a tense second half.
Newcastle emerged for the second half with a line up that was reshaped to cater for Ford's first half performance and they were rewarded only five minutes in as Jenkins parried onto the bar but Emlyn striker Morgan blasted through a thicket of players to make it 3 -2.
Town then withstood a barrage of baffling free kicks, threatening occasionally on the break and, as the home supporters urged the referee to call a halt, Jenkins had time to save the three points for town with a superb save at the feet of Davies. Town Manager Nick Oxford was delighted at the result "We thoroughly deserved to win the game and with our confidence so high I fully expected that we would. It was a blow that Rogers couldn’t start but Elliot Ford was superb again and Jenks had a good start for us in goal. Our defending in the second half was also fantastic and everyone is now working hard in all areas of the pitch to make sure we don't lose games and we protect any lead we have. We've got competition for places all over the team and although that makes it harder for me that's the way it has to be if we are going to thrive in the Welsh League. "
Kingfishers Keep Top Spot and stay 4 ‘n’ zip!
Penrhiwceiber Rangers 0 Monmouth Town 2
Saturday 26th August, 2011
Another goal from Danny MacDonald and one from Jack Alderdice, secured the points for Town on a muggy day in the Cynon Valley. ’Ceiber had been relegated last season and were the third of the three relegated sides that Town have now dispatched in their four games so far and although it was never easy it was rather more comfortable than the score line suggests especially after Town had ridden out the stormy first half when Dean Palmer and the returning Smith were lucky only to have received yellow cards after a number of brushes with the man in black.
The Kingfishers took the lead on 14 minutes when MacDonald found himself unmarked at the back post to meet a cross from Palmer which he flicked back across the ’keeper. It was MacDonald’s seventh goal in four games and his link play with Bowen has added an even sharper cutting edge to a Monmouth strike force which wasn’t exactly blunt to begin with although it is true to say that he gobbles up chances like a drunk hoovering up Bombay Mix while waiting for his takeaway.
For the rest of the half, however, Monmouth were increasingly sucked into retaliating or rash challenges and Dean Palmer and the returning Smith were lucky just to have received the one yellow each from an official who on another day would have been brandishing red. Ryley in for the holidaying Ford had a tough afternoon but will certainly have learnt more in the first forty five than he has over the past two seasons. Holder in for Pass had only one save to make and Town changed things at half time bringing on Lewis and going more 4– 4 –2 in an attempt to put more pressure on a competent but clearly flagging home rear guard.
The change worked as Hughes and Smith gained the upperhand in Midfield and from a superb pass on the hour from Hughes, a half clearance was crashed back into the top corner with interest by Alderdice.
The Kingfishers threatened to score at will as Lewis had some efforts off target and should have been gambling more to get on the end of things, MacDonald fizzed a free kick inches wide and Sam Palmer played a game of After you Claude and spent twenty minutes trying really hard not to score. He succeeded.
With ten minutes remaining Bowen was hauled down for a stonewall penalty but the referee and his official just metres away inexplicably had a different opinion and gave a goal kick.
Town then seemed to invite ‘Ceiber back into it as they tried to force issues that had already been settled and the home team attempted to pep up a flat performance with a flurry of substitutions. Holder held out with a couple of fine saves and blocks, and Alderdice cleared one off the line. Town finally made their experience count by keeping the ball and counting down the clock to pocket the three points and keep their 100% start intact.
As an American tweeter put it “Four and Zip on the season” Don't know what it means but I’ll take it! Follow us @MonmouthTown FC
Round One to the Kingfishers in Mon Derby
Caldicot Town 2 Monmouth Town 4
Wednesday August 17th 2011
Monmouth Town took the 1st leg of the Monmouthshire derby and laid down a marker for the rest of the division in the process. Promoted as Division Three champions they have taken to life in the second division like Kingfishers to sticklebacks and maintained their 100% start to the season with a solid performance punctuated by some great passages of play against opponents who themselves don't look in too bad shape for the season ahead.
The game was a far different propostion to last Saturday's and opened in typically robust Gwent fashion; fast direct and on a surface more suited to chasing eggs Caldicot got the better of the early exchanges as the Kingfishers defence looked out of shape and off the pace. Thompson and Lloyd may sound like an accountancy partnership but the home strikers certainly looked more likely to make ma goal deposit in their first outing and at the back Guy looked unassailable, although did earn a booking for a foul on Elliot Ford in the early exchanges.
As Town rode out the early storm they started to do what they do best and find their range in attack with MacDonald again calling the shots and Bowen working hard and Ford having some joy down the right hand side. The goal when it came came from an unlikely source as 16 year old Luke Cleaves intercepted a clearance down the Caldicot right, whipped in a first time cross that Ford met with his head into the top left hand corner to give the Kingshfers a 38th minute lead.
A sublime through ball just before half time from MacDonald set up the speedster again on 44 minutes but Ford blasted wide.
It is s trueism that at every higher stage of football the chances get fewer and the keepers get better so strikers have to improve with it. In other words. Take your chances! Two minutes into the second half David Lloyd equalised for Caldicot latching onto a ball in the box poking it toward Pass's left hand corner that the stickman did incredibly well to palm on to the post but watched helplessly as it bounced over the line.
Town fought back and Sam Palmer scored with a rare header to make it 2 - 1. The result however was never in the bag and although Monmouth looked to have more options in attack they foten crashed on the rock that was Jacob Guy and still looked capable of conceding. So it proved in 63 minutes as Barnard failed to clear and Alderdice's late challenge conceded a penalty. Thompson did the rest from the spot.
Undaunted, the Kingfishers attacked at will and it became clear that the home defence was flagging against the barrage and inevitably a number of chances ended in a scrappy goal for Alderdice on 78 minutes capped on 80 by a header from Macdonald. Then; and only then, did Monmouth look to run down the clock. The return leg is at Monmouth in a fortnight and on this evidence its anyone's guess as to how that will end up. First things first and this Saturday Town take on the 6 hour round trip to Newcastle Emlyn hoping to extend their 100% start.Five star Kingfishers have fun in the Garden.
Garden Village 0 Monmouth Town 5
Saturday 13th August 2011
A Dan MacDonald hat trick and a Tom Pass penalty save were the highlights of a super showing as Monmouth began life in Welsh League Division Town in emphatic style. The third division champions were up against Garden Village relegated from Welsh league One in May without five regulars who were missing for a varoety of reasons. It meant a defensive reshuffle with Chris Tyler making his first appearance at Welsh League level and a first start for 16 year olod Luke Cleaves while 16 year old Geroge Ryley and 17 year old Dan Barnard warmed the bench. The surface was perefct for football with some light drizzle making the ball zip around in the early exchanges as both sides seemed nervous often misplacing passes and finding it difficult to find any rhythm. Gradually however a footbal game took shape as Elliot Ford rememberd why he was player of the year and former Villa man Dan MacDonald remembering why he is feted as one of Monmouth's finest ever. Bowen slid home a chance on 14 minutes only for it be ruled out by an assistant's flag before he turned provider and MacDonald opened his Welsh league account on 16 minutes firing through the legs of a defender. Bowen made it two on 22minutes, and had a superb effort saved minutes later as Ford was creating havoc.
Garden Village obviously still suffering from a relegation hangover fought back and should have pegged the Kingfishers back with a number of good openings that were passed up. An even better chance was handed to them as Tyler missed the flight of the ball and hauled down the home striker for a clear penalty and a possible red card. Yellow it was. Tom Pass in the Town goal is not a former England U18 for nothing and he saved well from Dave Rimmer to secure his clean sheet on his Town debut. Minutes later MacDonald made it three and Town went in at half time scarcely believing their lead but good value for it.
Investors from the five pound football fraternity following the match on Twitter @MonmouthTownFC must have enjoyed the second half even more as this was almost an exhibition with the centre peice an absolutely superb goal from Elliot Ford after Pass then Alderdice has outfoxed the home attack, Sam Palmer's flick was nonchalantly helped on by MacDonlad to Ford who finished wonderfully and thunderfully into the roof of the net. MacDonald finished the scoring on 62 minutes with a calm finish low and accuraltey across the 'keeper. Town should and could have scored several more as Bowen MacDonald Palmer, Lewis and sub Ryley all had efforts saved when well placed. But to quarrel about such minor matters would be churlsih. This was a great performance by a team full of confidence and goals and a gauntlet thrown down to the divsion. Watching Town Chairman Lee Robson purred "it was a great result and one of the best performacnes in a long time and there are plenty to pick from. Macca was simply unplayable at times and Tom had a super debut. " Wednesday, its away at Caldicot Town for part one of the Monmouthshire derby.
Double Mac The Highlight as Kingfishers take away the spoils
Lydney Town 0 Monmouth Town 3
Two goals from trialist Danny MacDonald and another by skipper Jack Alderdice were enough to seal a comfortable win for the Kingfishers in their first pre season friendly. As is the nature of these things it was more a case of blowing off the cobwebs and having a look at potential new signings and returness and MacDonald did not disappoint and Town will be keen to see his signature as a boost to their Division Two chances in the coming campaign. Also of interest was the second half appearance of former Forest Green ‘keeper Tom Pass who also represented English Schools at Wembley a couple of times to good reviews. Otherwise it was the usual suspects who took the stroll in the Lydney sunshine with MacDonald scoring with a cool finish in the first half, with a super free kick in the second before Alderdice finished off a flick by Bowen.
Town have a number of other fairly low key pre season games finishing with a visit to First Division Cwmamman Institute on the 6th August before starting their Division Two campaign away at Garden Village in the Swansea suburbs on 13th August. More interestingly is a way game at Monmouthshire rivals Caldicot on 17th August and the mouth watering return on Wednesday 31st August as the kingfisher open their home campaign. It will be the first time ever that these two have met in Welsh League competition and club Chairman Lee Robson is hoping for a big turn out to welcome the Welsh league Division Three Champions back to Blestium Road. “Its only 9 weeks since we clinched the title and but everyone is buzzing in training and looking forward to the new season. To open against Caldicot Town is a boost and a big crowd will do wonders to our morale. I think we can challenge this year and if we can clinch one or two signings we have in mind then there’s no reason why we can’t be in the mix for the whole season. A Division One place is not beyond our reach with the talent we have and with what we can hopefully bring in”.
Town whose main sponsor this season is Wyemedia based at Singleton Court are looking for additional sponsors and advertisers for their award winning programme and for match balls and junior and minis kit. We are always looking to work with local companies to help each other and I’m happy to talk to anyone with any ideas about how we can help their business grow “ This Saturday a Town XI will play Redbrook on Chippenham at 2.30pm
Four Goal Ford Fires Final Flurry
South Gower 2 Monmouth Town 7 (seven)
Saturday May 21st 2011
Monmouth Town's Kingfishers capped a memorable season with a seven goal salvo to clinch the third divsion title with Elliot Ford outstanding in grabbing four for himslef to send the players, management, officials and travelling support into rapture that stubbornly failed to turn up for the rest of the world.
This result was however a much safer prediction with Town travelling on the back of a four game winning run, needing a point to be sure of promotion, all three to stake their champiosnhip claim and hope that Newport Civil would fail to win all of their last four games and this agasnt a side in the bottom three for most of the season. But Monmouth being Monmouth you never quite sure which team turns up. Would it be the team that had scored 87 goals or the one that conceded 60 plus? After fiteen minutes the coubts weer stting in as first a Ford scuffed effort bobbled into the far corner and then a simple corner from SG's first attack was poorly defended and it was 1 - 1. Some semblance of calm was delivered however as For helped himslef to two more and set up Bowen in a crazy seven minutes to take the Kingfishers into the break 4 - 1 and seemingly cruising. And yet. And yet? And yet nothing. Ford rifled another one, Town conceded a soft second from a half way line free kick which was headed past the stranded WIlliams and Sam Paklmer and Ashely Ford rounded of fteh scoring the latter following an outrageous back heel from reliable super sub Craig Lewis. And that was that!
News immediately filtered in that Newport Civil had drawn at home and as the news spread the promotion celebrations kicked up a gear into the celebrations of champions, a fourth promotion in seven seasons and a place in the top 70 or so football clubs in Wales. Town Chairtman Lee Robson paid tribute to everyone who had worked so hard to get the results and delver the hightst place in the Town's histroy "The players and team management have been magnificent not just Barry Burns and Robin but also Sean Keane and Benny Philpotts with the reserves. Today we included five youth team players who have been superb throughout the whole season. Special thanks also to Wye Media our main sponsors and to all of our supporters and helpers. Hopefully we can all have a few weeks off, celebrate a bit more and then some of us will be back preparing for the next stage on our journey onwards and upwards"
The Kingfishers will be presented wih the third divsion trophy at the Welsh leageu awards night on Friday June 10th and will be back for the club awards evening on Friday 17th at the Pavilion (from 6pm) All supporters welcoeme.
Ford The Hero For Kingfishers
Cwmaman United 2 Monmourth Town 3
Elliot Ford’s injury time winner against Cwmaman United gave Monmouth Town's promotion chances a massive boost last Saturday. The Kingfishers travelled to the end of the M4 knowing that only a win would keep them in the race for the fight to get out of Division Three of the Machwhirter Welsh League.
The task was never going to an easy one with the Town missing Smith, Spence, Lewis, Holder and Williams. The unavailability of the latter two resulted in the Town travelling with no recognised goal keeper. That job was handed to Ashley Ford who donned the gloves for the first time in his fledging career. It also meant a reshuffle in the back four with Davies partnering Kennedy in the heart of the defence and Rhodri Lewis coming in at left back. Michael Cleaves returned to the side after captaining the young reserve side for the majority of the season.
The town got off to the worst possible start when, after only five minutes, the home centre forward headed home unmarked from six yards despite seemingly being in an offside position after the visiting defence had pushed up. Despite the setback, the Town did then settle and passed the ball about well looking to get the two full backs Palmer and Lewis as forward as possible as the home side kept ten men behind the ball.
The Town were patient and played some superb football involving some excellent third man resulting which created chances for Sam Palmer and Elliot Ford who were denied by some good goalkeeping and wayward shooting. The Kingfishers were finally level when good pressing from Alderdice resulted in an error in the home defence for Elliot Ford to fire home from twelve yards.
The younger Ford was a virtual spectator in the visiting goal and was confident of playing the ball out as the home side seemed happy to allow the visitors to have possession and sit back. The score remained 1-1 until the break but the town were confident that if they continued to pass the ball and continue with their movement then they would go on and win the game.
The Town started the second period on fire. Bowen, Alderdice, Ford and Palmer were all linking up well and created numerous chances but were unable to provide the finishing touches to some excellent moves. Sam Palmer finally put the Kingfishers ahead with a crisp volley from the edge of the box after a James Hughes long throw. The travelling supporters expected a flurry of goals such was the dominance of the visiting play and the amount of possession they were enjoying.
To their credit, Cwmaman changed their system slightly and started to play with a touch more aggression and attempted to stop the side in yellow. As in midweek, the Town started to look nervous as they tried to hold on their lead and, on 71 minutes, disaster struck when, from a long throw flick on, the home centre forward was there again to head home past the under employed Ford in the Town goal. 2-2, promotion dreams under threat, the Town has to dig deep and try to get a winner. Yet again, however, poor decision making and missed passes caused frustration as the town struggled to break down the opposition defence. A miss placed cross from Lewis nearly beat the home keeper but clipped the cross bar and numerous chances again went begging. On 89 minutes the Town thought they had won it. Elliot Ford found himself one on one with the keeper. As he lifted the ball over the keeper and across the goal, top scorer Bowen arrived for a tap in but, along with pressure from an arriving defender couldn’t find the touch needed and left players and supporters with heads in their hands. To their credit, one thing this side has shown this season is that they keep going. As the clock entered the last minute of the four added on, Bowen chased a ball down the channel and out muscled the visiting centre half. As the home side screamed for a foul, Bowen entered the 18 box from the angle and pulled the ball back to Alderdcie, as everyone waited with baited breath for the skipper to pull the trigger, he supplied Ford with a square ball and the winger duly despatched the ball into the bottom right corner. Cue huge celebrations from both players, management and supporters. However, the drama was not over yet. As the home side forced one final corner in the dying seconds, the ball fell to a vising midfielder and, from 30 yards, he hit an explosive drive towards goal. As it flew past Ford and towards the net, the goal scoring hero Ford flew himself at the ball and cleared with a diving header off the line. As the final whistle blew, it was met with cheers from the players and a huge sigh of relief from those on the sides as the Town collect another three points in their quest for promotion.
Even better was to follow when, as soon as the Town supped their first beverage, the news filtered in that Britton Ferry had lost to South Gower, elevating Monmouth to second in the table. They now face Britton Ferry away on Wednesday night where a win would really put them in the hot seat to reach Division Two for the first time in their history.
Kingfishers home Farewell Sets Up Promtion Fight
Monmouth Town 2 Risca United 1
Monmouth Town completed their final home fixture of the season with a 2-1 victory over Gwent rivals Risca Utd at the Sportsground last Wednesday. After a home draw with lowly Tredegar and a defeat at home to promotion rivals Britton Ferry Llansawel, the town entered this fixture in last chance saloon knowing that, realistically, they have to win all of their remaining matches to keep alive any promotion hopes.
With manager Burns missing thorough illness, Smith returned to the hot seat since stepping down three years ago, having only come out of hospital following knee surgery that afternoon. He and Pick stuck with the team that started the Britton Ferry game but with a slight change of system looking to get Ashley Ford in more space further up the pitch. The game started with both sides looking to work each other out, intent on not conceding an early goal. The visitors themselves were in good form having pulled themselves out of relegation trouble to mid table safety with victories over Tredegar and a draw against table toppers Corus Steel.
As the game settled, the Town got back to their passing ways, seeing much more comfortable with the playing surface that was finally at a decent length to play cricket (or football). The younger Ford found space plenty of times and the Hard working Bowen was back to his usual self of holding up balls and bringing others into play. The first real attempt came on fifteen minutes when, from a Bowen through ball, Elliot Ford cut inside and looked to square the ball back across goal but his cross/shot evaded everyone and rolled agonisingly wide of the back post. Just 2 minutes later and the Kingfishers did get their lead. A similar move resulted in Bowen firing home from eight yards past Long in the visiting goal. The Town were clearly up for this and it showed as they were first to almost every first and second ball and looked content to pass the ball around patiently waiting for gaps to appear. The second goal came on 25 minutes with a simply breath taking goal involving a dozen passes. Good interchange in the middle with Hughes and Alderdice resulted in Elliot Ford finding space in the middle, inviting full back Davies to bomb past him. His superbly delivered ball found top scorer Bowen who finished first time to complete a memorable move. The visitors were struggling to cope with the movement and intensity of the Towns play but did look dangerous themselves from set pieces. From one free kick, thirty yards out, they did crash an attempt against the bar and Michaels fired wired when one on one with Holder in the Town goal.
Half Time: Kingfishers 2-0 Risca Utd
The half time team talk was all of being professional and seeing the game out, not giving Risca any invitation to get back into the game. With 27 seconds on the clock, the game should have been over. The visiting centre half clumsily trod on the ball and was robbed by Bowen who then fired wired with just the keeper to beat. Risca did manage to get into the game but for thirty minutes of the half struggled to create any real chance. Young Dan Barnard was introduced with 15 minutes to go, replacing the excellent Spence, and Lewis replaced Sam Palmer on the lefty hand side. For some reason the Kingfishers then started to press the self destruct button. A combination of lack of composure and poor decision making, resulted in the Town giving possession away and inviting pressure on their own goal. Needless free kicks were conceded but fortunately the visiting side failed to convert. As the clock passed the 90 minute mark, Risca did pull one back, somehow. A high up and under was launched into the box and, as Holder came to claim, was simply assaulted by Michaels as he attempted to pull the ball out of the air. The referee, who in all honestly had officiated superbly, waved play on as the ball fell to the centre forward to put into the empty net. The official then informed everyone that five minutes of additional time were to be added which made an extremely nervy time for the now frail and tired Kingfishers. Michaels had another chance but placed his shot the wrong side of the post and then the home side then spent the final two minutes holding the ball up in the corner until the final whistle was met with both cheers and a huge sigh of relief.
Full Time: Kingfishers 2-1 Risca Utd
Smith, seemingly enjoying his role in the dugout commented “The first half display was certainly one of better recent performances but we do have to get better at seeing games out. Risca came out second half to their credit but we didn’t help ourselves with our decision making in that last quarter of an hour, especially after we showed for the majority of the game that we were capable of keeping the ball for long spells. Having said that, we now have 4 away games with three of them against sides at the bottom of the league and our away form has been superb all year. Everyone here has the same goal and that’s to get out of this league. I believe win all four and we’ll achieve that goal. We have a few lads unavailable Saturday but it’s a great chance for the lads that have not been involved as much to keep their place and play a massive part in our promotion push”
Stalemate Stalls Top Spot Plot
Monmouth Town 1 Tredegar Town 1
The Kingfishers;' attempt to claim top spot in the third division was foiled by an organised Tredegar performance who used all of their wily charms and game craft to take a point from the sportsground and do their own relegation fight a power of good. A goalless first half once again saw a number of chances float and flash across and over the visiting goal and the tension was palpalbe around the ground and translated onto the pitch as again passes went astray form short and long distances with no real pressure.
Veteran Tredegar defender Andrew York was pretty much dealt with anything coming his way and must have enjoyed his country walk while his side, a mix of wiser heads and Valleys enthusiasm again belied their place in the table with some grit and not a little skill. That said Holder wasn't really troubled in the Town goal and a couple of full blooded penalty appeals were turned down because in truth the claims were dubious at best. In the age of 'respect' to refeerees (was there ever a time when it wasn't the age of respect?) Mr Flavell was doing his level best to test the patience of both sides with baffing decsions and a liberal attitude to challenges and off the ball shenanigans.
In the second half it was more of the same from Town looking to get Ford in behind and a number of openings should have led to a better reward. The favours were returned with a sublime ball from Ashley found his older brother in space. Elliot steadied and rifled a shot beyond the keeper to put the Kingfishers in front on 56 minutes. Tredegar were not finished by a long chalk stretching wide and running from deep with Savage rolling the years backwards and his sleeves upwards to hassle and harry at every turn. A couple of let offs went unheeded as a simple ball was thrown over the top of the home rear guard and Petit finished grand through Holder legs at the near post. Soon after it was a similar story but this time the shot trickled wide.
The Kingfishers did have a number of chances to get a second goal but more frustrating decision slowed the game to bursts of activity foiling any sustained assault on the Tredegar goal. A good penalty shout was again turned down when Bowen passed an opportuntiy Ford who looked taken out from behind but the game spluttered and coughed to its almost inevitable and, on balance, fair conclusion.
Seventh Heaven as Town chase Promotion Dream
Monmouth Town 7 Porthcawl Town 2
An explosive first twenty minutes ensured that Monmouth Town didn’t slip up in a potential banana skin of a league game against bottom placed Porthcawl Town at the Sportsground on Saturday. Starting the game in third place following superb wins against promotion rivals Goytre and Newport Civil Service, the Kingfishers have labelled every game a ‘Cup Final’ as they continue their quest for promotion to the Welsh League second division.
Any worries of an upset in the glorious sunshine were quickly put to bed after Ashley Ford curled an effort into the top corner before the clock hit two minutes. Just a further two minutes were played before Sam Palmer smashed a half volley into the roof of the net and the game was over as a contest when, with just twelve minutes on the clock, Elliot Ford fired home. Sam Palmer got his second goal of the game when faced one on one with the shell shocked visiting goalkeeper after just twenty minutes in a start nearly as hot as the temperature.
The game settled slightly as the town looked to keep possession for spells on a bumpy, rock hard surface. Leading goals scorer Bowen added to his tally of 22 goals this year when he tapped in at the far post from skipper Alderdices’ header. James Hughes nearly scored a rare goal but headed against the cross bar from a Palmer free kick. The Seasiders rallied despite the game already out of their reach and did get reward from the penalty spot after Kennedy was adjudged to have hand balled. Bowen got his second of the game and Dean Palmer rattled the post from a free kick before the official blew for half time.
With the score at 6-1, co-managers Pick and Burns could rest Sam Palmer and Elliot Ford, replaced by Sam McCoy and Craig Lewis respectively. The game did fizzle out at the Town coasted through the second period. The visiting centre half converted into his own net after good work from McCoy before the Seasiders got their second of the game after sloppy defending from a complacent Town back line. The Kingfishers still created plenty of chances but fluffed lines and good goalkeeping, in particular after efforts from Bowen and Lewis, kept the score at 7-2 to the Town.
The town now move into a huge couple of weeks when, they entertain Tredeger Town (Wednesday), promotion rivals Britton Ferry (Sat) and Risca United (Wed) all at home before playing their final four games of the season away from home.
Town Chairman Lee Robson has urged local football fans to get down and support the Town. “The lads have done superb to get themselves into a position where we have a great chance to get to the highest level of Football ever seen in Monmouth. There’s nothing better than a big crowd down the sports ground in midweek and it certainly gives the lads a great lift when they see plenty of support down here”.
Monmouth Town 1 Newport Civil Service 0
Wednesday 13th April
Monmouth Town’s Kingfishers made it three wins from three with an Elliot Ford goal, a clean sheet and number of bruises despite a below par performance against Gwent rivals Newport Civil Service. In the process Town were looking to gatecrash the promotion party that just a month ago had them pressing their noses against the window after a series of dull draws against lowly opposition. And gatecrash they have as this win followed by Saturday’s win against Goytre, coupled with a series of defeats for promotion rivals has put the Kingfishers third with eight games to go, half of which are against the bottom three while two are against rivals Briton Ferry.
Yet Town started this game looking to gift a win to Civil, who did not have to try too hard to get the ball in threatening areas as Palmer, Kennedy and co failed to find yellow shirts in the cold spring gloom and instead played in their opposition who wasted a number of early situations. Holder made a couple of routine saves and Spence cleared off the line. At the other end Bowen wasn’t writing too many post cards to his mates back home. The younger Ford Ashley was strangely subdued while Hughes was starting to put in another man of the match performance probing and spoiling with Alderdice looking to get forward. Town however did take the lead on 38 minutes with a well taken goal from Elliot Ford who once again was giving his left back a torrid time.
The second half was a fairly similar story but with Town tightening up at the back and not giving too many passes to the opposition who in any event seemed more intent on worrying newly nesting Crows in the Chippenham conifers rather than Holder’s goal. The Kingfishers, for their part reciprocated when Bowen delayed a shot and was intercepted , elected to pass not shoot when better placed and Ford and Palmer’s decision making in and around the area went awry with opportunities squandered to put the game out of the visitors reach. The two Fords received some off the ball punishment for their audacity more severely in the dying embers of the game when Elliot was taken out with a well aimed kick that went unseen and unpunished and in truth was not in keeping with a game that in open play had seen barely a bad tackle. It was however the closest that Muir had got to Ford all game. The Kingfishers however were good value for a win to give them their first double of the season and extend their home winning streak against Civil to 6 seasons, the highlight of which remains the 5—1 drubbing handed out in 2007.
Its Palmer at the Double in Mon Derby
Saturday 9th April 2011
Goytre 2 Monmouth Town 3
The Kingfishers maintained their interest in the promotion race of the Welsh League Third division with a fine orchestrated win at neighbours Goytre last Saturday. As the town now enter their final nine games of the season, they are well placed to produce an assault on those top three places to achieve progress to the next tier.
With Saturdays game being against promotion rivals, this was billed as a must win game for the Monmouth side that have only lost 5 out of 24 outings this season. Goytre went into the game high on confidence after reaching the League Cup Final with a 4-1 win over Division One side Barry Town in midweek.
The Town, however, had done their homework. Smith was sent on a scouting mission to watch their rivals the previous week so that the management of Burns and Pick could plan their tactics for this battle against their County and Promotion rivals. The home side played as expected and launched a physical aerial assault with the dangerous Prosser brothers upfront. With the back four reshuffling so that Dan Spence could play in a central role with Kennedy, the Kingfishers defence held a firm high line so that any balls propelled at the town goal could be safely collected by Holder in goal.
Leading goal scorer Bowen was aided with Sam Palmer and Elliot Ford also playing as high as possible so that the Goytre full backs also struggled with their direct approach.
The Town started brightly and with a tempo that was certainly missing in the previous week’s victory over South Gower. Despite some aggressive play from the Prosser bothers that would have looked more at home on the Rugby field, the Town refused to allow the home side any time and space and created a number of corners of their own. The Kingfishers pressure finally paid off when Bowen was pushed needlessly in the penalty area on 17 minutes. Sam Palmer stepped up and slotted home to give the visitors an important lead. Just four minutes later and, from another corner, Elliot Ford seemed surprised that the ball found him in front of goal and just headed over. The older Ford then had a shot well saved after good work from Bowen and Palmer. The town were certainly in the ascendancy and the home side showed why they head the discipline chart by having four players booked before half time. Just before the interval, the home side did find the net, only for it to be ruled out for a hand ball.
The half time talk was all about sticking to the game plan and maintaining a high line to reduce the threat of the aerial bombardment from the home side.
Four minutes into the second period and the town increased their lead. A long throw from the excellent James Hughes found Bowen who steered his header superbly into the top corner of the home sides goal. The game ebbed and flowed for fifteen minutes as the Kingfishers looked to consolidate their two goal advantage. Any long ball that did manage to beat the back four was dealt with by the brave and bold Holder. On 68 minutes, Prosser found himself one on one with Holder and after going around the young stopper, looked certain to score only to see Spence get back and clear his effort off the line. Goytre did reduce the deficit from the resulting corner when the kick was headed back at the far post to find Prosser two yards out to head home. This was now a testing time for the Monmouth lads buts they responded brilliantly by restoring their two goal lead just three minutes later. Good work from Elliot Ford ended with a sublime through ball to Sam Palmer in the box. The wide man took one touch past his defender to fire home and cue mass celebrations with players and the travelling contingent. The Kingfishers had sixteen minutes to hold on. Sam Palmer could have made the game safe when he was gifted the ball on the edge of the box with the goalkeeper and centre half floored but his left foot attempt found the grateful keeper. As Goytre added an extra striker, the long aerial route continued. Aaron Davies mistimed his tackle just inside the penalty area to give Prosser the chance to score from the spot, which he duly did to make it a tense finish.
The midfield trio of Hughes, Alderdice and Ford tired after endless running and pressing . Lewis replaced Sam Palmer and Haney replaced Ford as the Town looked to put the ball in the corners and hold on. After four minutes of added time, the official from Newport blew up to the relief and delight of the boys in yellow and those that had travelled to watch and support.
The town now enter a huge period with games coming thick and fast starting tonight, at home, against Newport Civil Service, who are also in the race for promotion, kick off 6.30p.m. Co-manager Burns was full of praise for his squad after the result. “Today just shows what we can achieve when we have a game plan and everyone sticks to that game plan. The boys have worked their socks off today and deserved exactly what they got. We have nine games remaining and the boys love playing midweek games at home with plenty of support so hopefully the people of Monmouth will come out and help us achieve our ultimate goal of promotion. We’ve basically go nine cup finals”.
Kingfishers Keep Up Pressure
Monmouth Town 3 South Gower 1
Goals from new dad Elliot Ford, Uncle Ashley and a first half strike by the returning Sam Palmer were enough to send the Kingfishers to within a point of the promotion places and condemn South Gower to a hard struggle for survival through April. Whether this was a improvement on the ‘pub football‘ of Town’s history as described by its Chairman in last week’s Beacon would be hugely debateable as both sides looked lethargic in the Spring sunshine and could barely muster any passages of play that would register as being anything other than of the Ale house variety. True, the surface was once again best avoided and any attempt to play along the floor produced more bobbles than an edition of Ski Sunday but that would be to excuse a general lack of quality. One piece of skill produced the only goal of the first half as Sam Palmer volleyed home after good work by Elliot Ford. Craig Lewis, making a rare start was game as usual and Bowen foraged well but it seemed that despite any real threat South Gower were more likely to score, breaking well but finding the final ball elusive. Holder had retained his place and was rarely troubled but confident when called upon.
The second half was much the same but Town showed more intent bringing great stops from the visiting keeper and a number of other clear chances went begging. An appalling decision from the referee to allow the South Gower centre back to remain on the field after a clear stamp on Ashley Ford made a mockery of the renewed attempt at a Respect campaign but it mattered little when Elliot Ford rose to head home Towns second. Cue the rock-a-by baby celebration. Uncle Ashley added the third soon after smashing home from close range. A consolation goal was gifted to the visitors with fifteen minutes remaining as three teenagers entered the fray. Two, Alex Hunt and Luke Cleaves, getting their first team debuts. Indeed, with the younger Ford, Holder and Fred Haney, Town finished with five teenagers on the pitch.
Town are away next week at third placed Monmouthshire rivals Goytre before a run of five home games which will either set themselves up for a promotion spot or end their hopes for another season. Before that the Kingfishers' under 19 side are away at Welsh Premier club Port Talbot in a quarter final tie on Tuesday night (ko) 7.15pm where they will be sporting her new kit sponsored by Monmouthshire Housing Association then next Saturday Town’s reserves are at home against unbeaten Welsh Premier challengers Afan Lido, also in a cup quarter final clash (ko2pm).
Town Stalemate Dents Hopes
Monmouth Town 2 UWIC 2
Monmouth Town were held to an entertaining 2-2 draw at home to the students of UWIC last Saturday. UWIC arrived in good form after a sensational cup run seeing them beat Welsh Premier League side Bala Town 4-1 just a few weeks ago. After the goal less draw midweek against Tredegar, this was billed as a must win game for the Kingfishers in order to keep their promotion hopes on track.
The home side kicked off in the glorious Spring sunshine and attacked from the off despite missing Sam Palmer and Andrew Smith through injury. Sam McCoy returned on the left flank whilst Aaron Davies returned to the heart of the defence after missing the midweek fixture with a calf strain. The town should have taken the lead after just four minutes. Good link up lay between Ashley ford and Bowen resulted in Elliot Ford cutting inside and, with only the keeper to beat, seemed destined to score but somehow fired over from four yards.
Two minutes later, it was the younger Ford brother found guilty of missing when he too fired over from close range after Bowen had robbed the full back and squared the ball across goal. The pulsating start continued and on eleven minutes, the home side took a deserved lead. Alderdice seemed to delay his shot and, when blocked, it fell to Bowen to drill home from eight yards.
The town seemed to sit back after this and this invited the students to attack. Holder, keeping his place in the home goal after two consecutive clean sheets, made an excellent save to claw out an attacking header. He repeated the act just two minutes later when, after a miscued cross from the left came back off the inside of the post, the ball fell to the visiting centre forward who seemed certain to score. The attacker dived to head the ball home, but the young stopper leapt to his right to produce a brilliant one handed save to keep the score one nil at half time.
The second half was just four minutes old when the students form Cardiff levelled. A free kick from forty yards out wide was delivered towards the edge of the box. Holder’s decision to come and claim backfired when he was beaten by the visiting number 9 who headed home from eighteen yards. The town needed to regroup now as they have the tendency, especially at home, to conceded goals in quick succession. The game ebbed and flowed for ten minutes before the students struck again. A through ball to the dangerous number 10 saw him through on goal until Holder rushed out to clear the danger. Unfortunately for the first half hero, his clearance was sliced and fell to the visiting striker to role the ball into the empty net.
As the game entered the final fifteen minutes, Monmouth seemed to gain in confidence and looked to drive forward in search of the equaliser and even the winner. Dean Palmer noticeably got more involved and produced a flourishing final last fifteen seeing him push further forward from his full back position. Elliot Ford again looked certain to score when put through on goal but poked his effort not only over the keeper but also over the cross bar. He did, however, play a big part in the equaliser when it came with seven minutes to go. Bowen played him in inside the full back and, when barged to the ground, the referee pointed to the spot. With regular takers Smith and Palmer out injured, it seemed no-one wanted the responsibility to take the spot kick, until substitute Craig Lewis showed great character to place the ball and smash it past the keeper to draw parity.
As the game entered the final five minutes, there was only going to be one winner. The town attacked at every opportunity. Lewis had a shot blocked, the Town forced a number of corners and Bowen had a looping header just tipped over the bar before the referee finally blew up to end an entertaining encounter between two promotion hopefuls.
The Town have only lost five games in twenty three outings this year, but the number of draws, eight in total, now may put end to their promotion ambitions. Co-manager Barry Burns commented after the game. “Results again have gone our way elsewhere so the point may not be as bad after all. We have a run in that includes a lot of the sides near the bottom of the league. Obviously they will be fighting for their survival but its essential we pick up maximum points from those games to stay in the hunt”.
Kingfishers Bounce Back as Treowen see Stars
March 12th 2011
Treowen Stars 0 Monmouth Town 5
Monmouth Towns Jekyll and Hyde season continued on Saturday with an impressive five nil win at in-form Treowen Stars. The Kingfishers inconsistency has somewhat haltered their promotion push of late, seeing them drop to sixth place after the previous weeks disastrous performance against Pontyclun. The Town have certainly gained many admirers this season with their pace and passing abilities, but opposition also know that their Achilles heel is their inability to keep goals out at the other end.
The town travelled to Treowen without club captain Andrew Smith, who looks to be out for the rest of the season with knee cartilage trouble. Co-managers made a couple of changes to the Pontyclun episode with Sam Palmer returning on the left flank for McCoy and a first team debut was handed to Fred Haney, who replaced Smith in the centre of midfield. There was also a return for James Hughes, who started on the substitute’s bench.
The opening five minutes was a cagey affair as both sides eyed each other up and tried to work out each other’s formations. The first real talking point came after seven minutes, when a long ball evaded both centre halves resulting in the home striker running towards goal. Holder, making his second appearance in goal, rushed out and brought down the striker resulting in a free kick and a yellow card for the young stopper. Fortunately for the Town, Davies had got back and covered which probably saved the keeper being sent off, much to the discontent of the home supporters.
As the town settled, they started to create more pressure on the Stars defence with Palmer, Bowen and the Ford brothers look more and more dangerous. On twenty minutes, Elliot Ford struck his first of the game when put through by his brother. His strike from fifteen yards, seemed to be saved by the home keeper but somehow squirmed through to give the visitors the lead.
The usual suspect defence seemed to be much more in control, with the back four squeezing at every opportunity aiding the midfield three to press their opponents at every opportunity. The first half sizzled out with a few more attempts at the home goal but with no end result.
The second half started as the first had finished with the Town looking to play most of the football but failing to produce the killer instinct in the final third. With twenty to go it looked like a one goal margin would be enough but Ford grabbed his second of the game when he fired home from an acute angle after good work from Bowen.
The town then had a five minute spell where they produced some scintillating football but resulted in two of the misses of the season. First, Bowen fired wide from three yards after good work by Elliot Ford, and then, younger brother Ashley ran thirty yards, cut inside with only the keeper to beat but amazing miscued his final attempt wide. The visiting fans were still nervous that the misses would come back and haunt them but all was put to bed when Elliot Ford completed his hat trick form the penalty sport after the home keeper had lashed out inside the box and got himself sent off.
The final ten minutes saw the rejuvenated Kingfishers create chance after chance and it Bowen got himself a brace after more good work down the right from Elliot Ford, resulting in an emphatic 5-0 win that pushes the Kingfishers up to fourth place, just one point off that illusive promotion spot.
Co-manager Burns was delighted with the result but was keen not to get too carried away. “ We have shown today that if we can defend properly in the first hour of the game we have a great platform to build on. Recently we have just been too open and given ourselves mountains to climb. We have to learn to be more solid and resolute and then we can push on later in the game. There is still a long way to go, we are still in with a shout, but I also know how poor we can be. If we can get a little more consistent, then who knows”.
Kingfishers Show Real Steel
Corus Steel 2 Monmouth Town 4
Monmouth Town came from two goals behind to earn a hard fought victory against in-form Corus Steel last Saturday. The Town arrived in Port Talbot looking to rejuvenate their promotion push, which had halted in previous weeks, picking up just four points from a possible twelve. In contrast, the home side were on an impressive run of their own, unbeaten in their previous nine games including a three nil victory over the current league leaders.
The game couldn’t have started any worse for the Kingfishers when, after just four minutes, they found themselves two goals down after a lively and positive start from the Steelmen. As the travelling fans worried about a repeat score line from the last time these sides met, a 6-1 drubbing at home, the Monmouth lads regrouped and started to play the pleasing football that has been their trade mark all year. Incredibly, the scores were level after just 12 frantic minutes, the first coming from Ashley Ford after good work from Bowen and Elliot Ford. The second came after good work from Lewis, playing at right back, finding the older Ford brother to fire home from eight yards.
With parity restored you could be forgiven for expecting the game to settle down. Not a bit of it! The drama continued. On twenty minutes, more good work from Bowen after some neat passing through the middle, found Ashley Ford on the edge of the box who fired a shot inside the post to give the visiting side a surprising lead.
The game was still being played at a frantic pace and tackles were flying in all over the park. The game erupted again on thirty five minutes when, after Smith made one of his trademark tackles in the centre circle, the home centre forward lashed out with a size ten boot to the ribs of the diminutive yet combative midfielder. The ensuing red card gave a numerical advantage for the Kingfishers which they used to their advantage for the remaining ten minutes of the half.
The Monmouth side reverted back to their patient passing style and carved open the Steelmen defence on numerous occasions. In fact, Elliot Ford actually netted three times, only for the official to rule them all out for some controversial offside decisions.
To be fair to the home side, they reshuffled their ten men after the break and refused to lie down and be beaten. They dominated possession throughout the second period without really creating any clear cut chances as the visiting Kingfishers sat back and looked to break on the counter attack.
Sam Palmer replaced Sam McCoy on the left hand side and immediately settled into his role and aid his side to keep possession. Bowen hit the woodwork on a counter attack after seventy three minutes before Palmer finally secured the three points with a sublime strike into the corner of the net from twenty three yards.
Hot Shot Town Fire Four
Monmouth Town 4 Caerau 1
Monmouth Town claimed another valuable three points in their quest for promotion with a hard fought victory over Caerau at the Sportsground on Saturday. Playing on the smaller reserve team pitch, due to a fixture clash with the Rugby, the Kingfishers knew they would be in for a physical encounter with the visitors also attempting to get themselves into the promotion places in the Welsh League third division.
Despite the smaller dimensions, the Town still found a way of creating space and play their pleasing on the eye football with Sam McCoy and the returning Elliot Ford providing plenty of pace and purpose on both flanks. It took just eleven minutes for the Town to take the lead when Gwent’s leading scorer Matthew Bowen notched his sixteenth of the season, converting a sublime ball across the goal from Ashley Ford. This was the first time the Kingfishers had scored first at home in six outings. Just minutes later, a superb counter attack resulted in Elliot Ford picking out Jack Alderdice who, uncharacteristically fired over. The visitors struggled to contain the tempo and movement of their hosts but did look dangerous themselves at times with direct long balls testing the Town’s back four.
As tackles started to become more intense and tempers frayed, the visitors received a number of yellow cards as their frustration started to show. Against the run of play the visitors from Maesteg levelled on 32 minutes with a counter attack of their own. From a Town corner, a Kennedy header back into the danger area was cleared and the visitors broke to fire past Williams and restore parity.
The danger now was that the Kingfishers would panic and revert to their shaky defending and invite pressure. However, after regrouping, the yellow shirts of Monmouth continued to look to play in the younger Ford, the hard working Bowen and the dangerous Ford who was giving another left back a torrid time. Two minutes before the break and the Kingfishers were ahead for the second time. Alderdice picked the ball up on the edge of the area and slalomed through three defenders to fire the ball across the goal where Ashley Ford had darted in to fire home.
With the town defending against a strong wind in the second period, the visitors made their intentions clear with an onslaught of long balls that piled pressure on the back four. Despite starting in third place and leading the goal scoring charts, the town have the second worst defensive record in the league, having conceded 37 goals in their previous 13 matches. Today, however, was a different story. Kennedy led his back four of Davies, Lewis and Dean Palmer superbly, heading and clearing at every opportunity and even looking to play out of defence when needed.
For thirty minutes Monmouth seemed intent to see the game out but still created plenty of chances without being too cavalier. The usual leaky defence remained strong and held a firm line resulting in Williams only really having to make one save down to his right. Craig Lewis replaced McCoy on the left flank and can certainly be pleased with another good shift. Ford, Smith, Lewis and Alderdice all had chances to make the game safe but miscued their attempts setting up a tense finish. As the clock ticked down to the final nine minutes, the visitors centre half inexplicitly pushed Elliot Ford to the ground in the penalty area despite the ball being a full forty yards away from goal. A yellow card and a penalty converted by the reliable Smith gave the Kingfishers a two goal lead and ensured the points were safe. Elliot Ford got his rewards for his hard work when he fired home from close range after persistent work in the penalty area.
This was a different Town performance. One that proved they have the physical presence and mental toughness to add to their attractive style of play. Next week they travel to Tredegar Town where they look to close the gap on the title chasing duo just two points ahead of them.
Sportsground GoalFest Keeps Town Boiling
Monmouth Town 7 Cwmamman United 3
Saturday January 8th 2011
Ten goals in the first hour including a hat trick by Ashley Ford ushered in the new year at Monmouth Sportsground and kept the Kingfishers firmly in the hunt for promotion honours. The scoreline will not please the purists however as Town topped the scoring charts for the Welsh League but are positively dunces when it comes to defending.