Well maybe, we are awaiting news from Sport Wales regarding the restart of the league.
Afan Lido find themselves out of the Nathaniel MG Cup after a disappointing 5-2 loss away to Risca United at Ystrad Mynach.
This was the first fixture since March for all clubs at Tier 2 level – the coronavirus pandemic enforcing an extended break for all clubs beneath the top division.
It’s been a tumultuous summer at the Marston’s Stadium following the exodus of last season’s squad and the nine month break in competitive action has yielded significant change which was evidenced here, with no fewer than seven first-team debutants named in the starting line-up.
Management team Paul Evans, Matthew Driscoll and Barrie Jones were also without several key figures for this opening fixture which made an already difficult fixture even tougher for a young, inexperienced squad.
Lido’s young side started brightly, however, forcing the Risca defence onto the back foot early with the two Ioans – Evans and Clatworthy – pressuring their full backs on the respective wings.
And it was Clatworthy who came closest to opening the scoring after just four minutes, somehow only managing to hit the post from inside the box with the goalmouth gaping after Risca goalkeeper Jordan Dibble was beaten by a low cross.
Lido were soon made to pay. Risca striker Tom Berry profited from some lax defending, turning his defender to place a long range shot into the bottom corner.
Berry was on fire for Risca, creating space every time he touched the ball, and he was soon to become the story of the afternoon.
Only three minutes after opening his tally, he hit the post after ghosting past two Lido defenders in the box.
By the middle of the half it was 2-0. Evan Price brought down Camden Duncan on the edge of the area and referee Teifion Cook had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Lewis Hitchcock duly tucked the penalty away.
Lido weren’t yet out of the reckoning and veteran midfielder Craig Reddy soon narrowed the deficit with a sumptuous half volley from 30 yards out, angling his body to guide a rising ball into the top corner to open his club account.
Risca hit back immediately and it was that man again Berry, losing his marker in the box to turn home a low cross.
Lido made two changes at the break to shore up the midfield and it appeared to work, the visitors looking far brighter in the opening exchanges. It looked to have paid dividends when a second goal came, this time courtesy of the promising Clatworthy who saw his low drive deflect into the bottom corner.
The goal seemed to spur Risca on, however, and they quickly added a fourth, Sam Palmer pouncing on a misplaced pass from Aaron Jones to play in Tom Berry for his hat-trick.
Despite a tactical switch that saw captain Cai Owens deployed up front for the last fifteen minutes, some sustained pressure from Lido couldn’t find that all-important opening. With the Seasiders pressing forward at every opportunity, Risca eventually broke quickly and capitalised by adding a fifth with two minutes to go. Camden Duncan breezed past Ben Burns on the right wing and fired in a cross which was turned home by Leon Thomas.
It was the story of the match, with Lido’s bright attacking movement undone by some inexperienced defensive play.
Nevertheless, the Lido management team will be encouraged by a return to action and the adaptability of all the players and officials in adhering to the unfamiliar protocols.
Our new look side lost 5-2 at Risca in the league cup. Craig Reddy netted both our goals. Match report to follow
The football season starts next Saturday with a league cup tie away at Ysrad Mynach against Risca United. The game will be played behind closed doors as per the current guidelines.
Aaron Jones who was our youth team goalkeeper a couple of seasons ago and made his first team debut has signed for the coming season from Porthcawl Town. Also on board is another former youth team player, Ioan Clatworthy, the midfielder has signed from Cefn Cribbwr.
We made a promising start probing in the right areas. No breakthrough yet but Lido have forced a series of corners and put some pressure on the Taffs defence. Taffs had their openings too but nothing has materialised yet.On 16 minutes the first real chance for Taffs Well and it’s a tight one. The visiting attack waltzed through the home defence and the ball landed up with Carey who dummied past his defender and took a shot at goal which narrowly missed the far post
A chance for Lido on 28 minutes when a corner was deflected goalwards by a Taffs Well defender and it took a great save from Jones to claw it off the line. Taffs Well broke under Carey who carried the ball 30 yards before taking a shot at goal but he doesn’t connect well and it tamely drifted past the post. Lido took the lead on 33 minutes, Sean Hanbury lifted a free kick into the box and it was nodded home by Toby Link-Jones for his first ever senior goal. Lido 1-0 Taffs Well. Almost immediately Taffs Well equalise, Carey turned inside the box and shot goalwards, it took a wicked deflection past the helpless Coughlan and into the back of the net. On 39 minutes we retook the lead, Chris Jones was released through on goal by a sumptuous through ball from Sean Hanbury. Chris took a touch before guiding a low shot into the bottom corner. A minute later Ben Symons played in Brad Flay in and he fancied his chances from distance but his shot went narrowly over the bar. After 49 minutes, some great link up play from Lido with Liam McCreesh finding Sean Hanbury out wide. He whipped in a cross onto the head of Flay who tried to direct it into the bottom corner but it landed into the side netting. Brad was unlucky with that effort; it could so easily have been a goal. Twenty minutes to go and Taffs Well took a shot from distance which bobbled goalwards and it took a great save from Coughlin to tip it wide Taffs pushed forward in the final 10 minutes looking for an equaliser, the brisk sea wind was playing increasing havoc with proceedings with Lido unable to make any distance in their clearances allowing Taffs tom apply more pressure. Coughlin kept a series of set pieces at bay. Patrick Finneral gambled on a defensive error to play Chris Jones through. He unleashed a powerful shot from the edge of the box which Cael Jones parried and then collected.
A hard fought victory in tough conditions for Lido against a resolute Taffs Well team who couldn’t find an equaliser despite periods of sustained pressure. Link-Jones and Chris Jones’ first half goals sealed the 3 points.
On paper a heavy defeat, in reality an excellent performance by a young inexperienced side who all wanted to play at Cambrian on a cold, wet Tuesday night. Hopefully their support will see them have more appearances this season.
Toby Link-Jones came in for his first start of the season and only his third in his young career, he was arguably our man of the match. Jay Thomas made his full league debut, Jamie Karnsang joined him in midfield for his fourth start while Patrick Finneral up front was making only his eleventh start. Off the bench three youth players, Morgan Gardner, Luke McDonald and Evan Thomas all had their first taste of football at this level. Also on the bench but didn’t make an appearance was a fourth youth team player, Myles Perkins.
As expected all the early pressure came from Cambrian but it was the Lido who almost took the lead on 8 minutes when Chris Jones set up a chance for Patrick Finneral who was unlucky to see his shot hit the post and rebound in the Cambrian keeper’s hands. Cambrian then went down the field and took the lead when Gareth Couch failed to hold a header which crept over the line. On 10 minutes we were two down, Cambrian had the ball wide in our area and were looking for space to cross it. A Cambrian player went down to win a penalty with basically no challenge on him. 13 minutes and another goal, the referee decided that Sean Hanbury had handled the ball near half way, again this was a disappointing decision by the referee but he then failed to notice Cambrian take a quick free kick with a rolling ball. Two passes later it was in the net. So, 3 down in 13 minutes with two contentious decisions going against us. The boys responded really well to this and Lewis Holmes scored with a right footed shot on 16 minutes following a corner. Again, Cambrian had a free kick given for ‘hand ball’ but this time they headed the free kick over the bar. Gareth Couch made an excellent save on 21 minutes when he got down to turn a powerful shot away for a corner. Patrick Finneral just lost out to the keeper in a 50-50 chase for the ball on the edge of the area. Although 3-1 down we were by no means out of the game. Jay Thomas forced a good save out of the Cambrian keeper with a low 25 yards shot and on the half hour he again made an important save this time off Chris Jones. 5 minutes before half time Gareth Couch closed down a Cambrian attacker and made a good save to keep the score at 3-1. Just before the interval Jay Thomas tried to play Patrick Finneral in but again the keeper was out to claim the ball.
Gareth Couch made an save early in the second half as Cambrian looked to increase their lead. Sean Hanbury tried a free kick from distance that the keeper fumbled but he was able to gather before a Lido player could respond. Patrick Finneral was once more unlucky, he cut in from the left but the keeper again saved. Ben Symons won the ball in midfield and his pass found Brad Flay but his shot went wide. On 65 minutes we went 4-1 down, we lost the ball on the half way line and they powered down the left and shot to beat Gareth Couch at his near post. From the kick off several players were involved in an excellent phase of passing to set up Chris Jones but his shot went just over the bar. Cambrian should have scored again with 10 minutes to go but failed due to some excellent defending and blocking by the players with Lewis Holes and Toby Link-Jones to the fore. In the closing minutes Cambrian had a couple of corners which were headed behind and in added time Chris Jones saw the Cambrian keeper off his line and tried a long range shot which the back pedalling keeper just managed to tip over for a corner.