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New Aber boss is delighted to be home



Matthew Bishop: Looking forward to Aber challenge

Matthew Bishop: Looking forward to Aber challenge

THERE’S no place like home and that’s certainly the case for Penrhyncoch based Matthew Bishop.

The new manager of Aberystwyth Town returns to Cardigan Bay after a successful playing and coaching career away from his home county. Although Bish pulled on the Aber Black and Green eight times, this opportunity represents the first time he has spend significant time at Park Avenue.

“I’m excited! I’m looking forward to the new challenge!

“It’s great to be very much working at home! Almost my whole footballing career and my coaching career has been down south or across the border.

“It’s always been my home town club. I had a very short spell as a player but I certainly came down there as a youngster, watching them win the league and watching them in Europe.”

After last season’s 8th place finish, Aber will be hoping to go one better and hit the Top 6 next season. But for now, Bishop is only setting short term goals.

“The challenge is first getting the team together and gelling that team. We want to be competitive and take every game seriously, including the Cup games and let’s see where it takes us. If we adopt that attitude you never know.

“It’s going to be tough because of where we are geographically. But we’ve got unbelievable contacts and it’s our job to get the right players in so that we can move forward as a football club.”

Bishop joins Wayne Jones on the management side with the former Haverfordwest County manager assuming the role of second in command. The duo have already been busy in the seven days since the official announcement.

“We’re already busy and have been for the past week or so. I’m speaking to ‘Wolvesy’ two or three times a day already about things, players and what we can do. We’re looking to bring some fresh faces into the squad and freshen things up a bit so that we can put a team that’s competitive on the pitch.”

“Ultimately, our priority, Wayne and I, is to come in to reinvigorate the squad and look forward to the new campaign. We want a team that’s fit and a team that’ll work hard. We want to play and get the ball down. We’ve got the new 3G pitch coming in which will help spread the play about.

With some of last year’s squad leaving Park Avenue for pastures new, Bishop and Wolvesy have the task on their hands of reassembling a squad before the first match day in August.

“It’s about looking for the best value for the money. You want good players at a football club. You want players that are hungry, you want players that are willing to work hard and want to win things. It’s about getting a side together that’ll be competitive.

“If you’ve got players that are hard working, willing to sacrifice, add that with a bit of talent and you can get some success out of it and that’s what we want. We’re looking to add some legs and we want to give it a go.

“It will be tough as some of the big boys are spending big money. But we want to assemble a squad that’ll be competitive, give it a go and entertain at the same time.”

Bishop joins the Seasiders after coaching spells with Aldershot, Newport and most recently Hereford where he was part of the management side that won an incredible three trophies in their maiden year since their phoenix club rose from the demise of the old Hereford United in the High Courts and Bish was quick to praise his former employers.

“I had a phone call from Peter [Beadle], our paths had crossed when I was at Newport, he was on an A license course that I was directing. We hit it off and kept in touch throughout the year so when the phone call came from him, especially from a club like Hereford with the history and tradition, it was a very quick decision.

“It was a unique year! When I arrived, the club had just reformed, we didn’t have a single player signed on. We won the league, we won two cups and it was unfortunate, we went to Wembley and on the day we didn’t quite get there.

“But taking 21,000 fans to Wembley will remain a special day. It’s put the club back on the map and it was always going to be difficult leaving there. Having the opportunity to come back home and make a difference.“

Aber Town’s brand new 3G pitch will herald a new era for the club. For the first time, the opportunity to play on Park Avenue will be available to all. The all weather surface will provide a stimulus for the community and those links are something that Bishop is keen to nurture and use.

“It’s going to be brilliant for the Town, club and the community. We want a team that’ll entertain so that people will come down and enjoy what they see.

“One of the key things we have to do as a football club is reengage ourselves back in the community. We’ve got to work closer with our local clubs. Look at Penrhyncoch! Gari, Freddie and Bari have done an unbelievable job at Penrhyncoch.

“Not only them, we need to get the likes of Bow Street, Cardigan and many more on board because we want the best players playing for Aberystwyth Town.

“We’re only going to do that if we have good relationships and it works both ways. We want the best footballers playing football so we’d like to send some of ours out to the Cymru Alliance because there’s no better experience than actually playing competitive football. Not only that but getting used to the travelling and the competitive element of football.”

But for now, Bishop is excited and relishing the opportunity to cut his managerial teeth in the league with his hometown club.

“I’m just delighted to be given an opportunity to manage a big club in the Welsh Premier League It’s lovely to be back in the Town and I’m looking forward to exciting times ahead.”

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Evans at the double for Roosters



PENRHYNCOCH earned a fifth win of the season on Saturday (Mar 17) as they came from behind to beat FC Queens Park 3-1 in the Huws Gray Alliance.

The Roosters were forced to make a change in goal before the match as regular keeper Leigh Jenkins was ruled out through illness and Freddie Thomas was called in to replace him.

The home side made a bright start to the match as they put pressure on the Queens Park defence.

With sixteen minutes gone, Jonathan Evans won a free kick which Cledan Davies took but the ball went just wide of the posts.

Jonathan Evans is tackled by the Queens Park keeper

Moments later, Thomas was called in to action as Queens Park broke quickly and Shaun Cartwright sent a low drive towards goal which was pushed away by Thomas.

With twenty minutes gone a good move from the visitors found Tom Williams who was through on goal and he finished well to make it 1-0.

The home side responded well to going behind as they won a series of corners and Liam Lewis sent a header just over the bar.

Jonathan Evans then found himself in space but the Queens Park keeper came out and timed his challenge well to steal the ball.

At the other end, Queens Park won a corner but the Roosters were unable to clear and Jon Foligno had to be alert to block the rebound.

The Roosters finally got their equaliser shortly before the break when Evans spotted the Queens Park keeper off his line and he lobbed the ball in from 40 yards out to make it 1-1.

Shortly before half time Queens Park were reduced to ten men as a last ditch tackle brought down Evans in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.

Evans picked himself up and sent the penalty down the middle to make it 2-1 and put the home side in command.

They strengthened their grip on the game just three minutes in to the second half as Elian Davies saw a shot blocked on the line but he then laid the ball off for Steff Davies who tapped in to make it 3-1.

Cledan Davies delivers a corner in the snow

Snow had started falling on the Cae Baker pitch which made things difficult for both sets of teams but the Roosters controlled the game well.

Just after the hour mark, a corner found Carwyn Jones on the edge of the box but his shot went over the bar.

Tom Williams looked to get Queens Park back in the game but Elian Davies did well to keep him out and clear the danger.

It was nearly four for the home side with eight minutes to go but a brilliant fingertip save from the Queens Park keeper prevented sub Liam Doherty from scoring.

Queens Park continued to attack but came up against a determined Penrhyncoch defence and the home side were able to see the game out comfortably.

The win for the Roosters means they are now eighteen points above second from bottom Queens Park in the table.

They will be going for another win on Saturday (Mar 24), as they take on bottom side Llandudno Junction.

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Eriksen’s sublime brace sends Spurs through



By Jonathan Twigg

THE first-ever FA Cup meeting between Swansea and Tottenham on Saturday (Mar 17) saw the Welsh wizards unceremoniously dismantled in the quarter final, their first in fifty four years thanks to a sublime performance from midfielder Christian Eriksen in a 3-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium.

The North London aristocrats arrived with their usual pomp and ceremony and left South Wales in the knowledge the hosts will not be invading Wembley, Spurs temporary home ground as White Hart Lane is refurbished, although post-match, manager Carlos Carvalhal diminished any thoughts the result would impact on his goal of premier league survival.

Around the time of the Swans last foray into the latter stages of the FA Cup, Cliff Richard and the Shadows had a number one hit single ‘Summer Holiday’, where the fun and laughter of a summer holiday left no worries for me or you’, despite there being no further welsh involvement as Spurs became the first side since Southend United in 1976 to win two games against Welsh opposition in an FA Cup run.

‘We’re going where the sun shines brightly, we’re going where the sea is blue; Swans fans have seen it in the movies and but will now have to wait at least another season to savour the atmosphere and occasion of Wembley in an FA Cup tie.

Perhaps memories of a tough tackling wing back from the post war period can be dusted off; Arthur Willis, capped once for his country against France and part of the Spurs 1950 Division 1 winning side, the Yorkshire man signed for Swansea Town in 1954 and made 96 appearances before journeying further west to take up the reigns as player manager of Haverfordwest County at the Bridge Meadow.

Willis, who died in the Town in 1987 aged 67 brought a professionalism to the Welsh league side where he was able to coerce the best local talent amongst those more seasoned campaigners from up the line.

Local rivals Pembroke Boro had lifted the title in two of the previous three years before the Bluebirds were successful for the first time in 1956/7, something the Pembrokeshire public wouldn’t witness again until 1980/1, Willis mantra like that which Pochettino has seen evolve at Spurs.

Referee Kevin Friend oversaw the fixture with a bitterly cold north westerly wind swirling around as the dark blue shirted visitors kicked off with the Video Assistant Referee Stuart Attwell in place for subjective decisions, an early call being Nathan Dyer being felled in the area by goalkeeper Michel Vorm in a strong but fair challenge, after a fantastic through ball from Tammy Abraham.

The opening goal came after 11 minutes midfielder Eriksen curled a peach of a left foot strike beyond Nortfeldt after exchanging passes with Lamela having been given the freedom of the Swansea as he was unchallenged in moving 30 yards forward.

Tottenham’s quality from playing football in tight pockets nearly drew a second goal when a long winded VAR review stood by the Assistant Referees call of offside as the match was certainly a one sided affair.

With ten minutes left of the opening half Dyer and Clucas raised the home crowd of 17498 expectations an interlude, Ericksons left foot drive getting a fingertip save from Nordfelt and Dier spooning a header over from six yards.

McNaughton, tentative against his former side was disposed of possession as the game meandered into injury time, with Lamela placing a classy right foot shot beyond Nordfelt, the game and Swansea’s foray into a potential semi-final ended.

Carvalhal, mercurial in his analysis called Narsingh off the bench for McNaughton after the half time oranges, Olsson immediately pulling a blinding save off former Swansea goal stopper Vorm, who like Lazarus was off the ground to save a point blank diving header from Abraham.

Dier drew an equally stunning save from Nordfelt at full stretch all within five minutes of the restart where Swansea had some bite in their game, coming on the front foot until Erickson killed the game just after the hour following some sustained build up play.

Spurs are on their way to Wembley, home from home for their supporters, the first time since 1981/2 when they have reached back to back semi-finals. Reflective as the Spurs go marching on that maybe the suitcase required for the summer holiday was not a realistic thought, Carvalhal having greater plans and better destinations than Wembley.

Supporters can rekindle the romance of the Cup, former Police Chief Superintendent John Daniels a mere 14 year old Ammanford schoolboy when he followed the path to Villa Park in 1964.

Much water has travelled down the river since those halcyon days for John, a potential blockbuster role in the pipeline if the book on ‘Seal Bay’ makes the cinema screens.

Now brandishing a white lining on top, more than a fair splattering of snow, he will have to wait a little longer for a trip to Wembley, his suitcase holding the memories of yesteryear and perhaps more importantly the faith he holds in Carvalhal’s renaissance, a true Jack to a King story.

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Twins warm up with fine victories



CRYMYCH boxing twins Ioan and Garan Croft warmed up for the forthcoming Welsh championships with fine victories in a Wales Select v England Select tournament at the Hampshire Court Hotel, Basingstoke.

Southpaw Ioan overcame weight issues to win on a split decision against Scott Melvin, an opponent 18 months his senior, in a 56kg contest.

Garan also won on a split against Donte Dixon, a strong opponent almost two years older than his Cardigan ABC rival after boxing him from long range for much of their encounter.

Promising Fishguard schoolboy boxer Mikey O’Sullivan also registered another impressive win recently.

Pitted against Evan Williams (Cwmavon Hornets) at the Pengry Road Social club, Loughor, the Cardigan ABC boxer came out flying, almost overwhelming his opponent and giving him a standing eight count in the first and second rounds.

Williams managed to regroup in the last round, but O’Sullivan had already done enough to win by a unanimous decision.

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