Match Reports 2012/13
Llanishen & Caerphilly 0 – 3 Cardiff &UWIC D
MOTM – Lee Porter
DOTD – Dan Payne
The last game of the season would be a nervous affair as Llanishen & Caerphilly were in real danger of relegation. Due to the formation of the league 4 teams are relegated………..3 were down already, now it was between Llan & Caer and Whitchurch. Llanishen & Caerphilly lead Whitchurch by 2 points in the league table, meaning that if Llan & Caer could secure a win, they would force Whitchurch into relegation no matter their own result. Llan & Caer were facing a Cardiff team that had obliterated them earlier in the season. Although Llan & Caer couldn’t have had any more incentive to win already, pride was also at steak to overcome the previous embarrassing game. The game began quite brightly as both teams showed their hand with attacking hockey. Both teams made use of counter attacks but stunning saves from Man of the Match Porter in goal were required to defend short corner drag flicks. Llan & Caer would break into the Cardiff area on several occasions, unfortunately even a 1v1 with the goalkeeper went unconverted. Cardiff would eventually take the lead on only their second chance at goal during open play while Llan & Caer had spurned several chances at goal.
The second half would see Llan & Caer pen Cardiff into their own half for periods at a time. Several attempts at goal were created however some were off target while some great saves from the Cardiff keeper kept out the rest. Cardiff would put the game beyond doubt by scoring 2 break away goals in quick succession before the mid point of the half. Still plenty of time for Llan & Caer to score a few goals, as they have done previously. Despite chance after chance at goal, the team had no more chances left as the clock ran out. Llan & Caer were unable to guarantee their league position and would now be in the hands of the Whitchurch result. To Llan & Caer’s jubilation Whitchurch only secured a point in their game and ensured Llan & Caer stay within the league pending the EHL results. Hopefully the EHL relegations wont have a cascade effect on league positions as did in the 2008/9 season. In the meantime Llan & Caer look forward to their youth bedded into the team for next seasons battles.
Llanishen & Caerphilly A 0 – 1 Cardiff & UWIC F
MOTM – Peter Henderson
DOTD – John Sansom
The final game of the season saw a rejuvenated Cardiff & UWIC team visit Hawthorn. The simple maths of the league meant that Llan & Caer needed to win by upwards of 15 goals to challenge Aber for promotion in 2nd spot. It was always going to be a challenge too much, especially for a young looking side, but Llan & Caer were determined to finish on a high with a win. With even more changes to the team the pre-match talk was focused on team work, work rate, and communication. Entwisle and Sansom made comebacks to the starting line up despite still struggling with injuries, and Igoe was welcomed back between the posts. Pinney was making his debut for the 2’s following a strong season with the 3’s, and Edmonds also stepped up to fill a birth in the defence. Llan & Caer started brightly with Roach, M. Soffe, and Singh linking well and putting the Cardiff & UWIC defence under pressure but were unable to create a clear opportunity on goal. Entwisle playing in the unusual position of defensive midfield attempted to shield defence and put through some good balls for the attack, and Henderson stuck to his task well at left back against a very skilful winger. Sansom organised the defence well in unison with Edmonds, Black, and A. Soffe. Jenkins, usually a destructive force going forward, was very solid on a day when his defensive skills were being tested. Cardiff & UWIC, who with recent results appeared to have had some kind of hockey renaissance, created opportunities which were snuffed out by Igoe and his defence as the game went from end to end. Towards the end of the first half a dubious short corner was converted off the foot of Sansom to give Cardiff & UWIC the lead, which is how the half finished.
The second half continued to go from end to end with both sides pushing for goals. Henderson, Black, and Sansom were solid at the back, with M. Soffe and Roach looking dangerous going forwards. With excellent work rate, and team spirit, the 2’s continued to push for a well deserved equaliser but lacked the final pass and finish that their efforts deserved. The game finished in defeat for Llan & Caer, and a season which came close to glory ended in disappointment. However the spirit that has been shown and the commitment to the team from each player this season has been evident to anyone who has played. The post-match pub talk was of a struggle to find a DOTD and MOTM due to many good performances... however eventually Samson was awarded DOTD for his fine left foot finish, and Henderson MOTM for his hard working defensive display. Hopefully after the disappointment of missing out on promotion has passed, Llan & Caer will be able to look back on a season of positives, where new players were welcomed and a fantastic team ethos was forged. I wish everyone a good close-season and I very much look forward to pre-season and starting it all again... 22 weeks and counting!
Gwent 3 – 3 Llanishen & Caerphilly
Adam Saunders x 2
MOTM – Lee Porter
DOTD – Sean Lewis
A tale of two halves was played out on a wonderfully sunny day. A solid performance for the first 35mins saw Llanishen & Caerphilly take a 3 goal lead into half time. Gwent would be thoroughly contained for the most part but would still need Porter to pull off 3 outstanding saves. The second half should have been a formality however Llan & Caer’s misfortune this season would rear its head once again. Some unforgivable misses in front of goal and some team defence that left skipper Porter speechless gifted Gwent a route to a draw. On a slightly positive note Llan & Caer now go 5 games unbeaten.
Llanishen & Caerphilly A 4 – 1 Penarth A
It was a hot sunny day in March with Llan & Caer 2nds approaching the end of their hockey season, with just three games to go today's game against Penarth was of the utmost importance. The whole team were at Hawthorn warmed up and ready for the 12.30 start, the home crowd waited in anticipation, even Fred travelled from Australia to support the home team, along with his lady friend Lulu....when Captain Fantastic (Nigel) gave one of his inspirational team talks which set the tone for the day.
The team started well with some great pressure, the midfield was led by Dan Payne & Nicky Llewellyn, the pressure paid off when Dan went on a mazy run the full length of the field to score the first goal!
The team continued to keep Penarth in their own half, the away teams only outlet being the long ball, this resulted in their equaliser, the young Jeremy Griffiths caught out by their centre forwards quick turn of speed & early shot. With the restart Llan pushed forward with Alun Jenkins breaking up play and Mike Soffe, Jasminder Singh trying to link play up front, it paid off from a resulting short corner when Nick Llewellyn slotted the ball through to Greg Roach who scored a stunning strike, adding to his tally for the year. With half time approaching Llan & Caer consolidated their position of dominance by pushing the ball wide & trying to stretch play.
The half time team talk by Captain Fantastic was once again enlightening & inspirational, the game plan was to continue the pressure & move the ball wide....and score more goals!!!! The 2nd half commenced with Llan & Caer pushing forward, Nicky Llewellyn leading the onslaught, this resulted in our man of the match grabbing the third goal, which was set up by Greg Roach, Nick’s goal was greatly deserved after using all his battling qualities to motivate the team. Although dominating the match the ever reliable Nigel Stephens was caught in possession by the opposition on numerous occasions, resulting in pressure on the back four; both Anthony Soffe & Jeremy Griffiths making saving tackles. In the final 20 minutes, Nigel Stephens bursts of pace slowed down and he was caught by a vicious tackle which resulted in him leaving the field with a serious back problem, Nicky Llewellyn slotted into defence.
The team now played their best hockey moving the ball quickly from midfield to attack, and in the final 5 minutes Alun Jenkins scored the fourth goal, once again the assist was made by Greg Roach, Alun’s goal was just reward for all his hard work on the left of midfield. The game concluded with Man of The Match Nick Llewellyn guiding the team to a well earned victory. On checking with the medical team, Captain Fantastic was passed fit to travel for his Annual Winter Break at his retreat in Antigua, the ever consistent Tim Entwisle will take the reigns as captain for the final two games. Let's now have a final push for promotion, come on you Reds!!!!!
Llanishen & Caerphilly 3 – 3 Bourton & Sherborne
MOTM – Paul Duggan
DOTD – Lee Porter
This game would prove to be a bit of a struggle for both teams, more so for Llanishen & Caerphilly as at no point did the team look comfortable. A lethargic first half saw Llan & Caer allow Bourton into their D on several occasions to loose shots at goal, thankfully the Bourton strikers seemed just as woeful. To Bourton’s credit however the first half was truly theirs as Llan & Caer struggled to even get into gear. Bourton would eventually take the lead just before the halftime whistle from a strike made just outside the D. The screamer of a shot almost decapitated our very own Jedi, but the goal was allowed to stand, apparently its ok to strike outside the D so long as the umpire is playing advantage……..hmmmmm.
The second half didn’t get any better for the home team as a half time pep talk did nothing to inspire the team. Within 2 mins Bourton had extended their lead further after hitting Llan & Caer on a counter attack and Lewis’s man scored. Llan & Caer continued to weather spells of pressure until the mid point of the half. Suddenly Llan & Caer were awoken from their slumber. Finally finding success in the Bourton half, Llan & Caer continued to pin back the opposition. A mad flurry of tackles on Rogers saw a Bourton player sin binned, unfortunately Singh followed soon after for a similar foul. With both teams down to 10 men it seemed in Llan & Caer’s favour as they worked themselves up the pitch through some amazing play. Bourton were pulled out of shape as the ball worked through playmaker Duggan, to Saunders and finally to Rogers to convert. Bourton were clearly showing signs of nerves now as Llan & Caer continued to pin them in their half. Similar play came via Thompson who unleashed Rogers to beat his marker, laying off accurately for Saunders to equalise and set the team alight. Llan & Caer would force another effort in the D via Saunders who’s blistering shot could only have been stopped by an equally outstanding save. Bourton would continue to try and break on the counter attack and some slack defending saw their striker given plenty of room to score from a meter within the D. To Llan & Caer’s credit they showed great character and determination and didn’t lower their heads. Immediately going back to the task at hand Llan & Caer continued to pressure the Bourton area. A low solid shot wasn’t dealt with by the keeper and of all people it was Lewis on hand to fumble the deflection into the goal. Some players were questioning why Lewis was even that far up the pitch, some players were wondering why Rogers was rolling around on the floor like a turtle stuck on its back. It made no difference however as Llan & Caer had equalised and stretched their undefeated streak to 4 games.
Aberystwyth University 2 – 2 Llanishen & Caerphilly
Adam Saunders x 2
MOTM – Paul Duggan
DOTD – Adam Saunders
It’s that time of the year when Llanishen & Caerphilly have the painstaking task of travelling to the west coast of nothingness. Arriving on time we find that typically the students have struggled with both the big and the little hand on the clock……….the push back will be delayed a further 30mins. The game finally gets going and Llan & Caer start brightly. Building attacking play on the left and shutting down all of the students attacks, Llan & Caer were sitting comfortable. A couple of half chances were created on the Aber goal but the deadlock would hold until the mid point of the half. A driven ball from Morley found Saunders who managed to fumble the ball past the oncoming keeper. The students upped their play a little and won several short corners, all were well defended or flung wide apart from the very last attempt before half time. Duggan was found wanting at the back post as his mark was left free to tap in.
The second half was very much played end to end. Both teams created chances but spurned their efforts. A mention must go to Lewis who’s tackling was an example to all and Rogers who was constantly driving the ball from midfield. Llan & Caer were infuriated when the distant umpire forced the nearside umpire to change his decision for a short corner, the eagle eyed neutral umpire supplied by Aberystwyth themselves had spotted something. Ok short corner accepted and successfully defended Llan & Caer battled back into the game. Tempers were beginning to fray as several stick tackles in the Aber half weren’t spotted. Again at the mid point of the half Llan & Caer would take the lead and Saunders would complete his brace. Unfortunately from here on Llan & Caer hit the panic button to a degree. Aber pressed well in the attack while Llan & Caer would continually regain possession only to lose the ball straight back from the front line. The students were gaining a foothold on the halfway line, when Llan & Caer did break the line it was disappointing as the front runners conceded the ball without building any real momentum. With the pressure increasing on the Llan & Caer defence an umpiring howler would see an Aber students clearly barge through Ripley and knock him to the ground, both umpires somehow managed to allow play to continue for the very same player to enter the D and finish with a rocket to even the score. Aber were ecstatic as they couldn’t believe their luck. Upon strong appeals both umpires saw nothing wrong with the rugby tackle which is disappointing and frustrating but seems to just be part of the incompetence and lack of consistency at this level with umpires. The game finished within minutes, and although Llan & Caer put in a hard shift on the pitch and came away with a great result away from home, it was hard not to feel cheated out of all three points.
Llanishen and Caerphilly A 4 - 2 Abergavenny
After last week’s heroic draw in Aberystwyth, the seconds came into this weekend’s double-header knowing they couldn’t drop points in their promotion push. Their first game of the weekend was at home to a skilled but unorthodox Abergavenny side. The home side knew they were in for a tough match as Abergavenny dominated from the start. The away side took full advantage of the space in the middle of the pitch and scored the opening goal through skilful play from their forward. An injury to A. Soffe led to an early change as Lewis came onto the field of play. There was an instant impact as Lewis picked up the ball in space and gave an inch perfect pass to Singh in the D to earn the home side their first short corner of the match. This was comfortably converted by Entwisle to add to his impressive tally this season. It turned out to be the last chance of the half as the high altitude of the opposing D affected Lewis, forcing him to waste good positions by miss hitting the ball out of play on numerous occasions, to the frustration of the team.
At the half time team talk the side knew that only 3 points would be good enough in the race for promotion. Llan saw a once in a lifetime event as Stephens decided to go off the pitch voluntarily without the need of a card. This change made an instant impact as the home side showed why they were so successful this season. The slick passing exposed the space out wide as M. Soffe and Singh were a constant pain for the Abergavenny defenders, while strong tackling from Llewellyn ensured that the away side barely got out of their own half. The home side were rewarding for their pressure as Llewellyn found Lewis in space inside the D to give his team the lead. Llan & Caer began to create chances and were unfortunate to have a goal disallowed, but within minutes scored another goal as a quickly taken free hit was slotted home by M. Soffe. Abergavenny battled all match as a quick counter attack left the defence exposed as they conceded a penalty flick. The flick was perfectly place leaving Igoe with no chance. With only 1 goal between the sides, tempers flared as both sides were desperate for the win. Llan defended bravely and managed to score a late goal to restore their 2 goal lead. As the final whistle sounded Llan & Caer walked off the pitch exhausted after a battling display.
Pembroke County 2 – 3 Llanishen & Caerphilly
James Tall x 2
MOTM – Lee Porter
DOTD – Lee Porter
Not usually being one for statistics but thought a couple here would help wet the appetite. Llanishen & Caerphilly travelled to Pembroke through a monsoon on the back of a disappointing away record. Llan & Caer have recorded no away wins in 7 games, scored a mere 10 goals whilst leaking 27 goals. On the other hand Pembroke boast an extremely impressive 7 game undefeated streak at home, scoring 18 goals and conceding just 7 goals!!! Llan & Caer were in no doubt that they were in for a game, and what a game it proved to be.
Llan & Caer started confidently, so much so that skipper and keeper Porter thought it possible to gift the home team with a goal within the first few minutes. Suffering such an early blow would be a thorough test of character and Llan & Caer more than stood up to the task at hand. Credit goes to Pembroke for exerting periods of pressure on the Llan & Caer defence that stood resolute. Approximately 10mins into the game Rogers would drive straight into the Pembroke D, and slipped the ball to Tall who dutifully equalised. Acting as a fresh start, the equaliser proved to be a staging point whereby Llan & Caer could mount some pressure on the home team. Llan & Caer would however suffer a sucker punch as influential Rogers removed himself from play due to injury. The travelling team would now do battle with the bare compliment of players against Pembroke’s rolling substitute’s. Pembroke won several short corners however their drag flicks were thwarted by Porter, who was desperate to make up for his earlier mistake. Llan & Caer would also force their own short corners but weren’t able to take advantage of any. However, during a period of pressure Llan & Caer sharpshooter Saunders was given space to unleash a crisp reverse strike to take the lead. The game was being played from end to end, Pembroke were however edging the half and searching for their own equaliser. It would come from another mistake from Porter who’s miscommunication with Duggan saw the ball roll neatly past for a lurking striker to pounce on…………..all level at half time.
Individual events are hard to recollect from the second half, but a general overview can still be gained. Pembroke took almost full control of the second half as lead legs started spreading throughout the Llan & Caer team. Attacking play started to become disjointed for Llan & Caer however as a team they stood utterly defiant in defence. Crunching tackles, interceptions, bodies on the line and again Porter making up for his first half errors. Duggan did his best to muster the midfield while the strikers came deeper and deeper to defend as a team. Pembroke continually played well off the ball with some great runs but they were always thwarted. Again the home team won short corners and again the now solid short corner defence turned them all away. Llan & Caer would push into Pembroke territory as often as their tired legs would allow, but fatigue was telling. Suddenly Tall would make a solid block tackle just outside the Pembroke D, turning over possession Tall continues his run past a couple of lunging defenders. Winding up he sets a rocket beneath the diving keeper who gets a touch, the ball travelling a little slower towards goal a Llan & Caer player helps it travel the last 6 inches for a jubilant Llan & Caer to take the lead. With 14 minutes left on the clock Llan & Caer prepared to defend with all they had. Unadulterated commitment from every Llan & Caer player saw not a drop of energy left in the tank. Any bystanders watching the game would be in no doubt that Pembroke bossed the possession and play in the second half. With the minutes counting down, chances were created by Pembroke however Porter outmatched every shot at his goal, even with a superb diving stick save to his right that looked easily goal bound. The final whistle blew and a run against play saw Llan & Caer take all 3 points on the day and all 6 over the course of the weekend.
Llanishen & Caerphilly 4 – 1 Whitchurch C
MOTM – James Tall
DOTD – Sean Lewis
Lets get this out of the way first, the 1st XI gathered on the sideline while the 3rd XI were battling away against Carew. The gather players tried their best to cheer on their fellow club mates, however there is always one guy who takes it just that bit too far. With the ball running the length of the pitch Lewis decides he will step into the game and become the 12th man by stopping the ball mid-game………..total DOTD wrapped up and we hadn’t even started our warm up!!!
Both teams took to the field with the bare compliment of players, yet neither team could afford to underestimate the other. Llanishen & Caerphilly have been proving themselves a more determined team as of late while Whitchurch have been relatively consistent in the league thus far. The first half was a very evenly contested affair as both midfield battled hard. Llan & Caer would break the deadlock when their own short corner resembled a ping pong table, the result was Rogers netting neatly from the reverse. The team continued to defend valiantly and the back line especially held their shape well. It is to Whitchurch’s credit that they were able to break through and level the score going into half time.
The second half was a continuation of the first, both sides evenly matched, but it was noticeable that Duggan was now edging the midfield battle with Rogers and Payne. The game was at the midway point of the half and both teams were committed to breaking the stalemate. Llan & Caer were starting to hold periods of pressure in the Whitchurch half, yet the final ball just wasn’t making itself available. Up steps Tall to bag his first goal of the season and totally change the game, creating his own time within the D he hammers the ball past the keeper and into the back corner take give his team the lead. The goal seems to have taken all of the fight out of Whitchurch as they capitulated to hard work and running put in by Llan & Caer. Rogers broke away from the midfield and made his way towards goal, squaring to his left to Saunders who dealt with the keeper and stretched the lead. Llan & Caer would further extend their lead and put the game beyond any doubt. A short corner broke down and fell to Duggan who’s shot was saved just off the line by a defenders foot, the umpire was on the verge of calling for a penalty flick but sensibly played a little advantage. With the ball rolling back towards himself, Duggan flicks the ball over the keeper and bags his first goal on his 16th club appearance. Llan & Caer did themselves proud and showed grit and determination that not only won the game, but saw them concede not a single penalty corner all game.
Aberystwyth University A 1 – 1 Llanishen & Caerphilly A
MOTM – Tim Entwisle
DOTD – Not all votes in yet…….
You know that feeling when you're committed to do something you'd rather not do but you feel compelled by loyalty, compatriotism and a sense of supporting your friends, your club....It defines us as men! Well a few players chose to define themselves in a different way, but for those that followed skipper Stephens to middle earth they proved themselves Men of Harlech.
It started well with 4 cars, 11 players and 1 wife (no girlfriends, shame for Pete) arriving safely. The only blot on the day was the student that burrowed his way into the Llan dugout. He claimed to be Skippy's 21 year old mini me but he looked the same size and a little older but Llan didn't get distracted and focused on the job at hand; to beat the opposition whilst ensuring balance of the game was maintained by the umpires.
It was all Tim from the start, he tackled, he ran, he passed and he led. What a magnificent display which started in the fifth minute when a well disguised pass by Mike Soffe enabled Tim to sweep the ball in from the penalty spot.
The students bounced back with petty jibes, rhymes and other cruel ways to embarrass the ill educated opposition; fortunately most of the team didn't let it affect them but on reflection was that due to a lack of understanding?
The students were quick footed, they were fast and really lousy in front of goal. Although keeper Mike Igoe had a good game getting a boot or a glove in the way of shots on goal, the only one he needed to save he let slip past his near post after Nick Llewellyn failed to clear.
By half time it was one a piece with the Llan team working hard to quell the students enthusiasm and their skipper sidelined following a dangerous tackle from which he came out the worst for wear.
The second half brought ill discipline but strong leadership meant that Llan stayed calm so much so that when their keeper was beaten for a second time it was Stephens who cleared off the line to keep the score level.
Aber had the better of the second half but with Pete Henderson clearing the left flank and Mike Soffe running the right flank they were kept at bay even when they achieved a numerical advantage for the better part of 10 minutes........shame on them.
In the end it was a good away point and keeps Llan in the promotion race.
Neath A 0 – 0 Llanishen & Caerphilly B
MOTM – Tom Edmonds
With the second ice age finally receding, and bread and milk making its way back to regular levels on shelves all across the land, Llanishen & Caerphilly B team faced their first “double header” to make up fixtures abandoned due to snowpocalypse. Firstly came a 4-1 home loss to Gwent at home. A very disappointing result against a team who have been beaten with a reasonable level of comfort in every other fixture against them this season. With that loss fresh in the minds, and a whole heap of lactic acid creaking in the muscles, the team set off on the journey west to Neath, to face a team full of skill, physicality, and the confidence of sitting comfortably atop the league table. Indeed, Neath’s last two fixtures were a 5-0 hammering of Carew, and a very surprising 8-1 win against the student team of UW St Davids. Llan & Caer were missing one or two key players, most notably holding midfielder J. Love, and perennial MOTM candidate Pinney, who both had “better” things to do in far flung lands. The game started at a frantic pace, with Neath attacking from the off. The first five minutes of the game was concerted Neath pressure, but some excellent defensive work, particularly from MOTM Edmonds, who was the epitome of impassable playing out of position at the heart of the defence, held them out with calm assuredness. After the first five minutes had passed, Llan & Caer established themselves strongly in the game, and, building on the strength from the defence, maintained possession brilliantly, and started holding the ball, and controlling the play. A stunning work rate from the Llan & Caer midfield drove the ball forward time and again. Neath brought their usual physical style to the game, but Llan & Caer refused to be bowed, and instead drove at the Neath defence even harder, creating several good chances. The first half ended with an unfortunate miss for young forward Jones, who should have got his stick to the ball to round off a brilliant passing move.
The 2nd half continued in the same vein, with both teams contributing to a cracking match that would have been just as much fun to watch as it was to play in. With roughly 10 minutes to go, Llan & Caer got the best chance of the game when they were awarded a penalty flick when a Neath player stopped a goal bound shot with a foot. Unfortunately the flick was saved, and the game ended 0-0, on reflection probably a fair result. Llan & Caer shaded the play, and had the better chances, with Neath not getting a single shot on goal. That stat alone shows the commitment and level of performance put in by Llan & Caer against a team who scored 13 goals in their last two matches. A performance every player should be rightly proud of. Next up is a chance for revenge against the exuberant toddlers of Carew.
Cardiff & UWIC C 4 – 0 Llanishen & Caerphilly
MOTM – Johnny Rogers
DOTD – John Davies
Llanishen & Caerphilly took a bare 11 away to league leaders Cardiff & UWIC. Llan & Caer held no high or false expectations but intended to give Cardiff a run for their money. The game began and Cardiff immediately showed their intention by chasing every ball and committing to every tackle. Llan & Caer held their own however and turned their own possession into attacks. It would be Cardiff who would break on the counter attack and take the lead from a well struck shot. The remainder of the half was evenly contested as both teams battled strongly but fairly for possession. Llan & Caer shut-out Cardiff for the most part and would even miss two clear chances on goal with just the keeper to beat. Cardiff extended their lead from a short corner awarded on the halftime whistle.
The second half continued in the same manner is the first half, Llan & Caer battled well but Cardiff’s quality and structure was too much. Llan & Caer were unable to convert any of their chances created while Cardiff extended their lead with another two goals. The points may have been lost on the day but Llan & Caer were content with the willingness and commitment shown on the pitch. Llan & Caer now have a tough weekend looming as a double header weekend sees them take on Whitchurch and Pembroke.
Llanishen & Caerphilly A 0 – 1 Swansea Uni A
Not very far away from our galaxy Llanishen & Caerphilly A played their second game against Sansea university this past Saturday....Before the start of the game Llan & Caer were already facing a problem due to several players being absent.The start of the game saw captain Stephens choose a poor strategy to begin, which put Llan & Caer under pressure. With the defence struggling to cope, the pressure from the Swansea students ensured their 2nd goal of the season against Llan & Caer.
The second half began with Llan & Caer again under pressure, with the students gaining more of an advantage. The second half saw the Llan & Caer defence s improve with some solid tickles from Strong which helped put some pressure on Swansea. Llan & Caer saw some great possession and running hockey on the right wing which later became the strength of the team. Llan & Caer gradually pushed up field with the help of Llewellyn in the middle with great running. With the last few minutes counting down Singh missed a clear chance to score which would have levelled the teams. Singh had beaten 5 players alone including the keeper but with the open goal looming he wasn’t able to take advantage……….however the entire team did acknowledge the great individual skill and ability showed by Singh.
Llanishen & Caerphilly 4 – 3 Gloucester City A
Adam Saunders x 3
MOTM – Lee Porter
DOTD – Dave Ripley
The only downside of the awesome snow we have recently had is the inability of British drivers to use their brain and the lack of hockey. So after almost 2 weeks without being able to touch a hockey pitch, Llanishen & Caerphilly turned up early (with a couple mother in tow) to shovel the remaining snow off the pitch. The team welcomes youngster Tall back into the fold after seemingly going AWOL while Ripley finally turned up without an ailment of some sort or other. The game began well for Llan & Caer as within minutes Rogers had forced and intercepted a Gloucester hit-out and squared to Saunders to take the lead. The goal seemingly woke Gloucester as they began to claw themselves into the game and stood their ground for the remainder of the half. An evenly matched game so far saw Gloucester force several great saves from keeper and skipper Porter to set the bar and keep his team in the game. Gloucester had their own concerns however as Llan & Caer were granted six short corners, of which a post and a great save from the keeper could excuse two. Gloucester managed to draw level before half time however to set up a thrilling second half.
Unfortunately for Llan & Caer the second half didn’t go as particularly planned. Although Llan & Caer continued to create chances, it would be Gloucester who would twice take the lead from swift counter-attacks. Gloucester took full advantage of Rogers being sin binned and utilised all of their players to outnumber the home team to take their second goal of the half well. Gloucester continued to play direct through a very youthful player who was an example how to control a hockey ball, a joy to watch even………apart from he was playing for the opposition. The game continued in the same vane whereby Llan & Caer would press and attack while Gloucester would look to attack on the breakaway. Gloucester forced a flurry of short corners that were all turned away but also ate into the time remaining on the clock. Llan & Caer kept their heads held high and continued to defend a final short corner as 6 minutes remaining was called by the umpire. Llan & Caer turned over the short corner, broke from defence for J. Davies to find Saunders, whom turned his defender and beat the keeper with a reverse strike. Suddenly Llan & Caer came to life as they immediately pressed for the equaliser. A superb piece of play down the right saw the ball fed through J. Davies and Ripley who found Redfern jinking into the D and drilling the ball underneath the keeper. Skipper Porter couldn’t have been happier to take a point from this game, however his team had other thoughts on their mind. A turnover against a now nervous Gloucester saw J. Davies drill a ball at least 40 yards to find Saunders deflecting past the keeper at the back post. A totally jubilant Llan & Caer take all 3 points when all seemed so lost, great character and determination from the home team to provide an upset.
Llanishen & Caerphilly 2 - 2 Ross-on-Wye
MOTM – John Morley
DOTD – Sean Lewis
A fresh start and a new year will hopefully provide Llanishen & Caerphilly with a little more success on the field this season. Llan & Caer hosted Ross-on-Wye who have been playing well after promotion and have improved their hockey drastically from their last foray into the league. The earlier game in the season saw Ross edge ahead and take the win at home, Llan & Caer struggled with the pitch and their own performance on the day so intended to make an impact on the day. It would be Ross who would strike the first blow as a penetrating run through the home D wasn’t picked up and allowed a neat conversion. It served to wake up the home team however as Llan & Caer held long periods of possession. Several efforts were squandered at the back posts however Llan & Caer did take advantage of a short corner as Redfern found J. Davies to draw level. Some stern defending was on hand as D. Davies and Ripley were forced to make some exceptional tackles. Lewis was always on hand to outlet while Duggan and Redfern distributed from midfield. Llan & Caer now fully pressed Ross into their own half for a period of time, pressing and pressuring while forcing mistakes. The game continued to be an evenly matched game until Porters slow reactions gifted Ross a straight strike on a short corner. Ross took the lead into half time yet Llan & Caer salivated for the second half.
The second half continued where the first left as Llan & Caer created more chances on goal, however managing to waste all. Morley continued to penetrate the Ross defence in his more advanced role which helped earn him Man of the Match, more on that later!!! Ross were now restricted to counter-attacks, of which they were keeping the Llan & Caer defence busy. All was dealt with comfortably until a seconds distraction saw Morley take his eye of his man. The resulting Ross player was allowed clean through towards goal. Porter made up for his earlier gift to Ross by pulling out a fantastic save to left as he was diving in the opposite direction. The danger was not cleared however as the ball was still in play with a Ross player inbound. Morley was on hand to make up for his mistake moments earlier and flew into the fray, put his body fully on the line and cleared the ball via the post. A Ross player ended a little tangled in the post but after a minute to collect himself stood and resumed the game. Llan & Caer finally made a decisive breakthrough as Saunders was put clean through on goal, slightly spooning his shot but baffling the keeper in doing so Llan & Caer drew level. Ross fired back by pressing the home team for the last 5mins while Ripley and Lewis decided to make it interesting by conceding easy possession to Ross on several occasions. The thoroughly enjoyable game finished with the points shared and by far improved performance from Llan & Caer.
Whitchurch F 3 – 4 Llanishen & Caerphilly A
MOTM – Tim Entwisle
Llanishen & Caerphilly 2s started 2013 with a hard fought victory against a spirited Whitchurch side.
A cold Saturday morning greeted the return of the hockey season after the Christmas break, and Llan & Caerphilly 2s were keen to avoid any slip-ups on their way to a promotion push. After a disappointing 1-0 loss to Whitchurch earlier in the season the 2s were determined to avoid the same outcome.
Starting the game with only 10 players as Griffiths sought an early vote for DoD by turning up 30 mins into the game, and welcoming Sansom back after an injury lay off, Llan & Caer started brightly, keeping the ball well through midfield and building some pressure. The early pressure told and nerves were settled after some good work in midfield from Stephens and Llewellyn, as Entwisle dispossessed the Whitchurch center-back on the top of the D and put an early shot hard past the keeper.
Whitchurch fought their way back trying to make their numerical superiority show and won a short corner via a dubious bit of control by their forward. The following short corner found its way past Llewellyn on the line to level the scores. This sparked Llan & Caer into life and good work from the Soffe brothers on the right caused problems for the Whitchurch defence and opportunities were created but weren’t converted. After good defensive work from Henderson on the left, a surging run from Stephens brought the first Llan & Caer short corner. With Van der Walt having sought sunnier climbs in the southern hemisphere, M. Soffe took over injection duties and found his mark with a slick ball out, which was duly stopped and tipped into the D by Stephens, and dispatched into the bottom corner by Entwisle.
The game ebbed and flowed as both sides created chances, with Igoe making some solid saves and Sansom showing his class with some cool tackles. Roach worked tirelessly on the left of midfield showing his ability to not tackle but still stop the Whitchurch man. Llan & Caer were soon down to nine men when Llewellyn took a ball to the eye and left the pitch with blood dripping. Five minutes before half time Griffiths turned up and following some hap-hazard first aid Llan & Caer were up to the full 11.
In the second half Llan & Caer were slow out of the blocks and allowed Whitchurch to equalise through another short corner. Again Llan & Caer woke up and found the next gear. Good play again on the left from the Soffe brothers brought another short corner which Entwisle narrowly put wide. Llan & Caer restored the lead after some more good build up play and pressure allowed Stephens to strike on target, only for Singh to get a touch 6 inches from the line, claiming the goal and celebrating.
Llan & Caer looked to stamp their authority on the game, with good passing, and good tackling across the pitch. A long ball from Stephens found Entwisle in space on the Whitchurch 25, with only the goal keeper to beat, which he duly did. Completing his first Llan & Caer hatrick, Entwisle rounded the keeper and finished with a cool reverse finish.
The Christmas break and effort began to tell on the Llan & Caer team as Whitchurch sought to capitalise. A speculative shot from a Whitchurch forward was deflected in off the post by the right boot of Griffiths. A finish that in his footballing days he would have been proud of. At 3-4 and with energy levels dipping low, Llan & Caer dug deep and rebuffed any Whitchurch attack. One key factor of the season so far for the 2s has been a team spirit and resolve, and this was shown in the dying minutes with selfless running into the corners with the ball by Singh, Roach, M. Soffe and a well timed sliding tackle from Entwisle, as Llan & Caer held out for a vital 3 points.
Swansea City A 3 – 3 Llanishen & Caerphilly
MOTM – Marc Redfern
DOTD – John Morley
The final game before the Christmas break saw the rain set in early for a drab day, hopefully Llanishen & Caerphilly’s performance could be better this week. Taking to the field without five of their first select, Llan & Caer welcomed Soffe and Singh into the side for their debuts. Fielding a bare 11 Llan & Caer really could afford Rogers getting a baddie knee and Woodhouse coming down with a baddie tummy within the first few minutes. Battling away with 9.5 men on the pitch (0.5 being Rogers other leg) Llan & Caer gave a straight penalty corner for Morley making a slash tackle within the 25. Swansea to their credit ran through a neat routine which saw them take the lead. Within 5mins of the restart some poor marking saw the Swansea striker walk into the D for a free shot which he slotted beneath the diving keeper. After giving away two poor goals and a head start Llan & Caer now decided to start playing hockey. Some nice movement off the ball and passing saw Llan & Caer hold plenty of possession and territory, but the final phase just wasn’t there. Finally on their second attempt at a short corner Saunders drilled the ball into the backboard.
The second half was there for the taking as whatever team would score next would probably go on to take all 3 points. Again Llan & Caer held the possession and the odd chance was coming, great play down the right from Soffe saw Singh open for the cross only to find the post. Swansea were breaking well on the counter attack and forced a couple of saves from the opposition keeper. It was Swansea who would scored and take a two goal lead again from a well struck cross. Llan & Caer showed some of their old fight while Soffe and Singh showed how to play a simple ball and make it count. More possession and territory was held by Llan & Caer as both peg leg Rogers and Sean “Little Ears” Lewis managed to find the net to bring the game level. Swansea were being pegged back and Llan & Caer squandered a chance to take all the points. Swansea finish with their first point of the season while Llan & Caer finish with their first point away from home…………….IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!!
Cardiff & UWIC D 7 – 3 Llanishen & Caerphilly
Adam Saunders x 2
DOTD – Everyone
Yet another second half capitulation saw Llanishen & Caerphilly not only give up a 3-2 lead but also ship 4 goals in the last 15mins. An all round average game between two poor teams showed anything but how a team should defend. One more game before a Christmas break and at least we can have some nice presents!!!
Llanishen & Caerphilly 0 – 4 Cheltenham B
MOTM – Dave Ripley
DOTD – Adam Saunders
Llanishen & Caerphilly saw in the first day of December with a frustrating defeat. Llan & Caer had probably played some of their best hockey during the first 35mins. If the back of the net had been found from the several chances created they could have easily sat on a two or three goal lead within the first 15mins. However that wasn’t to be the case, as Cheltenham scraped two chances on goal they found the back twice and took the lead at half time against a shell shocked Llan & Caer.
The second half saw Cheltenham step into the game more and hold equal possession and territory. Llan & Caer tried throwing everything at the Cheltenham goal however their goalkeeper was outstanding throughout the game. A combination of great goalkeeping and fluffed lines from the Llan & Caer front line ensured no goals for the home team. By trying to stretch the game and themselves Llan & Caer were culpable for a further two goals conceded to put the game well out of reach. A pointless result from what could and should have been three points on the board. Llan & Caer now look to their final two games before Christmas on the road and in need of some points!!!
Llanishen & Caerphilly A 2 – 0 Bridgend B
MOTM - Mike Soffe
DOTD – Jasminder Singh
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away……….
Llanishen & Caerphilly had their 8th league game against Bridgend B on 1st December. After Llan & Caer’s previous win over Penarth A, they continued with another great home performance. From the start Llan & Caer took control of the game and with some quick attacks from M. Soffe down the right flank they looked dangerous. There were great runs from Singh and Roach that created the space from which Llewellyn and M. Soffe exploited with a one-two pass finishing with Llewellyn netting an opening goal.
The start of the second half brought light rain, however this was still not enough to smother the ferociously burning embers of Llan & Caer. A great performance continued as four short corners followed but unfortunately not converted. The Soffe brothers excelled in attack during the second half down the right with some great passing. Chances continued to come and go for Llan & Caer but they couldn’t score. Somehow Llan & Caer enforcer Llewellyn was overlooked for DOTD after being flattened and ran over by a 12 year old!!! Singh managed to earn himself DOTD by failing to give two easy passes to Llewellyn and Roach, which could have helped Llan & Caer seal victory. Griffiths, Stephens, Cartwright and A. Soffe held the defence soundly which made it impossible for Bridgend to score. To cap a great performance, Cartwright netted the second goal from a great pass by Roach, requiring a simple finish. Llan & Caer look to continue their great performance for the rest of the season....
UW St Davids 3 – 0 Llanishen & Caerphilly B
MOTM - Dylan Pinney
Even after last week’s heavy defeat to Neath, the 3rd team still sat proudly on top of the league table before the near two hour journey to the bleak welsh outback. The team arrived travel-weary, but nevertheless unbowed. This was the start of what proved to be a long day in Lampeter. During the warm-up (on the leaf and stick strewn pitch), it became apparent that the home team couldn’t provide umpires. After much consternation, they decided two of their players would drop out and umpire the game. Llan and Caer started the game well. A slightly lethargic warm up was put to one side as Jenkins and Pinney took early control of the midfield with an all action display. With the score at 0-0, a shot from just inside the D was stopped on the line by the student defender with his foot. Time slowed as everyone looked to the umpire, expecting the penalty flick. The umpire stood with a slightly stunned expression and waved his arms about randomly, before giving……….nothing. After an almost 5 minute consultation with both captains, eventually a short corner was awarded to Llan & Caer which came to nothing. This disruption spoiled the flow slightly, and allowed UW St Davids back into the game, they immediately drove through midfield, with their two outstanding players combining to score the 1st goal. A real sucker punch, against the run of play. From there though, Llan & Caer never found a way back into the game.
Although the majority of this report may sound like an excuse, the real difference in this game was not the umpiring, which was equally poor for both sides, but the greater experience up front for the student team. Llan & Caer’s oldest forward on the day was 17 year old Jones, and although the three strikers put in a great shift and chased everything down, they lacked the guile needed to put chances away. The usual combination of young head/old head up front was really missing an old head to give the attack some direction. St Davids scored a 2nd, when Cullen intercepted a driven cross out of the air in front of goal which unfortunately dropped straight onto the on rushing forwards stick, to make the score 2-0. Llan & Caer continued to push hard, and had much more of the ball, with Pinney putting in a MOTM performance in midfield beating player after player but the problem remained putting the ball in the back of the net. The game was rounded off with a well worked 3rd being driven into the roof of the net off the backhand for UW St Davids. Despite a decent performance on the road from Llan, a deserved victory took the student team back to the top of the table. Next up for Llan are two tough away games to take them into the Christmas break.
Llanishen & Caerphilly 3 – 2 Gwent
Dan Payne x 2
MOTM – Dan Payne
DOTD – Chris Woodhouse
Llanishen & Caerphilly move up a position in the league thanks to an emphatic 1st half performance. A most welcome brace from D. Payne and the slowest recorded ball travelling speed for Woodhouse gave Llan & Caer a three goal lead. Gwent fought back well at times but it wouldn’t prove to be enough on the day. Points worth mentioning were D. Payne missing three great chances on goal, Duggans first shot of the season on goal, J. Davies throwing a tantrum on the sideline and Lewis making a self pass off the pitch.
Penarth A 0 – 1 Llanishen & Caerphilly A
MOTM – Mike Soffe
“To my team mates thank you for the honour of writing the report” – Nigel Stephens
On an appalling day for weather, quality and the honesty the Llan & Caer team struggled to put in a performance of note both on and off the pitch. Skipper Stephens dominated the game and bossed the match making decisive runs while creating opportunities throughout. Stephens won the midfield battle and distributed the ball through the Soffe brothers that played either side of him. In the end the game was won when Stephens burst down the left flank in the 15th minute creating a free hit from which he manufactured a passing move with Entwisle and crossed the ball from M. Soffe to score from a straight strike. Further chances were created in the remainder of the half as Stephens combined with Singh, Van der Walt and Entwisle to provide each goal scoring opportunities that were unconverted.
The second half brought further rain and a similar level of control as veteran Sansom gave the ball to Penarth’s vibrant forward player. Fortunately Llan & Caer were saved by Griffiths who fought back to make a goal line save. As the second half moved on there were sharp attacks from Soffe and Van der Walt on the right flank but they were unable to break through. A final flurry from Singh meant that Llan & Caer were only denied a second by the post but were able to hold on for a win which takes them to fourth and in striking distance of the promotion slot. With Stephens in charge the team will continue to go from strength to strength.
Llanishen & Caerphilly 3 – 2 Aberystwyth University
Johnny Rogers x 2
MOTM – Bruce Thompson
DOTD – Dave Ripley
Llanishen & Caerphilly head into a tough fixture on the back of some of their poorest run of results. The team goes another week by missing key players yet welcomes the return of stalwarts Thompson, Ripley and Bevan stepping up form the 2nd team. With a solid performance in the first half the travelling students weren’t given a look in. The Aberystwyth keeper to his credit kept his team within fightback distance while the Llan & Caer keeper didn’t have a single save to make. The account was opened when J. Davies slipped the ball to Redfern who stepped to the right of goal and drilled the ball through the near post. The students seemed a little rattled and within minutes found their 16 yard hit out intercepted by Rogers who pace saw him bypass the keeper and net in the far corner. Aberystwyth were beginning to fight back however the combination of Thompson and Ripley allowed nothing passed. With the half winding down Bevan found himself in possession, with a defender to beat he unleashed the blistering pace of Rogers who converted with a reverse sweep. Llan & Caer had done the basics right and the fruits of their labour had provided a three goal lead.
A game is never written off at half time and to Aberystwyth credit they came out fighting. With a nothing to lose attitude they chased every ball and lost cause. The error count had picked up behalf of Llan & Caer as some attempted plays found them conceding disappointing possession. As Llan & Caer seemed to have relaxed a little too much it was left to great tackles from Thompson, Ripley, Morley, Lewis and some fine saves from Porter. It wouldn’t be quite enough however as the students managed to take advantage of the new own goal rule. A drilled ball wrong footed the keeper as it deflected and looped high in the opposite direction. The students felt themselves back in the game but were neutralised until the clock had 2 minutes remaining. A bout of pressure on goal saw Porter make multiple saves but couldn’t do enough to keep the ball out of the net. With less than 2 minutes to go all Llan & Caer needed was to hold possession. No wonder the Captain looked totally exasperated as the restart was given straight back to the students. Llan & Caer managed to regain possession and hold it to complete a clean sweep for the club on the day.
Abergavenny 0 – 2 Llanishen & Caerphilly A
Fred Van der Walt
MOTM – Fred Van der Walt
DOTD – Dan Payne / Mike Soffe
The 2's looked to bounce back from the unlucky 1 - 1 home draw against Aberystwyth University the week before. Llan & Caer were a little slow to get out the starting blocks with the team losing possession in the first few minutes of the game. Despite this the team worked well together to win the ball back and earned a short corner in which Entwisle fired the ball into the back of the net, however it was unluckily disallowed as he was unable to hit the back board. Moments later, Llan & Caer were awarded another short corner which Entwisle put away after a deflection off the keeper to take the lead.
Roach and Singh were unlucky when in possession at the top of the field as they gave the ball away on occasions as the midfield were unable to get up the pitch quick enough to support. Abergavenny made the most when they counter attacked, they shifted the ball across the pitch nicely attacking both wings but defensive stalwarts Henderson, A. Soffe, Stephens, Sansom and Van der Walt put up a strong battle and stole the ballot counter attack themselves. Half time came too early for Llan & Caer as they had just been awarded a long corner which Payne took quickly but the umpire blew for half time.
Just after the break, Black and Griffiths finally turned up, with more subs to enable players to recuperate, Llan & Caer were attacking with even more precision and energy. The majority of play being directed through Llewellyn and Payne feeding their outside players who drove down the pitch to then look for the forwards. Despite this effort the midfield were unable to find the forwards consistently due to the tight marking by Abergavenny. The home team also had a good effort denied by Igoe who played outstandingly well throughout the whole game.
In the closing 10 minutes fatigue started to kick in for every player on the pitch as mistakes crept into both teams game. Abergavenny went all out by taking their keeper off the pitch and adding an extra outfield player to try and construct something special to get back in the game, however nothing would breach the Llan & Caer defence on this day.
In the closing minutes Llan & Caer are awarded a short corner but with both Stephens and Entwisle off the pitch a make-do routine was used. Van der Walt ejected to Llewellyn who stopped the ball for M. Soffe to strike but he was unable to convert it despite having no keeper in his way. With another penalty corner awarded, Van der Walt again injected to Llewellyn who immediately returned to Van der Walt to converted and take a two goal lead for Llanishen & Caerphilly.
Llanishen & Caerphilly B 2 – 1 Carew A
Dylan Pinney x 2
MOTM – Nathan Scriven
The first round of games for the day would prove a lot to live up to as Llan & Caer battled through a hard fought game with Carew. The majority of the first half tipping just in the balance of Llan & Caer saw them take a very early lead via a neat flick from Pinney. While the defence held firm it enabled Jenkins to forage for possession and outlet to Pinney and Scriven to continually find space. Carew created their own chances on goal and forced Lewis to make reflexive saves within minutes of each other. With the end of the first half coming to a close Llan & Caer lost concentration and allowed Carew back into the game with an extremely well taken equaliser. The start of the second half saw Carew with the wind in their sails as they continually pressed Llan & Caer. However it was to no avail as Hardman and Williams organised their lines and left Carew a little brow beaten. End to end hockey ensued as Llan & Caer brought themselves back into the game through the workrate of J. Love, Jenkins, Pinney and especially Scriven. With 10 minutes on the clock a neat breakaway saw Pinney swirling in the Carew ‘D’. Surrounded by opposition and with the keeper stepped forward to close him down, he neatly reverse swept the ball to wrong foot the keeper and put Llan & Caer back in the lead. Carew wouldn’t lie down and continued to battle to the end, credit to both teams for a terrific game.
Llanishen & Caerphilly A 1 – 1 Aberystwyth University A
MOTM - Anthony Soffe
On paper, this week posed the biggest test yet for the 2's, facing up against top of the table Aberystwyth University. The 2's looking to shake off the disappointment of a 0 - 1 away defeat to Swansea University the week before, set out to take the initiative against the young opposition.
From the outset, Llan & Caer pushed hard, taking control of the midfield. The open space behind the Aber back four was exploited time and time again by searching passes from midfield and intelligent running from the forwards.
Roach and Singh held up the ball well to allow Llewellyn to break the gain line on several occasions with aggressive running from midfield. However, it wasn't until a piece of quick, accurate passing down the left and a cool, clinical finish from the top of the D by super-sub Bourn, that the deadlock was broken.
Unfortunately, this didn't prove to be the straw that broke the students back. Short Corners came and went, but Llan & Caer could not get that second goal.
Chances continued to come and go for Llan & Caer in the second half. Roach earning his Dotd by failing to convert twice having penetrated the space between the back four and the keeper on both occasions. The frustration being shown by Roach and his team mates further exasperated the situation.
The final 10 minutes of the game saw a switch in momentum, with Aber retaining possession and for the first time in the game applying any real pressure to the Llan & Caer back four, who had kept any attacks at bay for 60 minutes.
Aber, through a lazy spell of play from Llan & Caer, managed to break into the D and squeeze a shot past the keepers near post to bring the game back on to equal terms.
The game came to a close with a score-line that did not reflect the game, nor the performance of Llan & Caer. The downfall of hale at the final whistle was symbolic of the attitudes of the Llan & Caer boys. Despite coming away with a point, this felt like a loss.
However, the spirited performance of the Llan & Caer boys cannot be overlooked. Having risen from disappointment the week before, the attitude and performance against the league leaders is a huge positive. Let's take that into next weeks game...
Llanishen & Caerphilly 4-6 Cardiff & UWIC C
Adam Saunders x 2
MOTM – Johnny Rogers
DOTD – Lee Porter
A goal fest of a second half decided a game whereby neither team were able to showcase sterling defending. Llanishen & Caerphilly took an early blow as I. Davies hobbled off the pitch within 5mins leaving the team with a bare eleven men. Minutes later the home team were reduced to ten men as R. Bevan took time to nurse a knock to the ankle. However it seemed to work to Llan & Caer’s advantage as they somehow took advantage of being a man down to score the opening goal. The game began to open up as chances were created either end of the pitch. Some poor team defending by Llan & Caer however let Cardiff back into the game with two goals before half time.
With the game still up for grabs both teams continued to attack without defending. Cardiff would take a two goal lead on three occasions. To Llan & Caer’s credit and commitment they battled back within a goal on each occasion. Llan & Caer finished the game with only three of the seven goals scored within the second half and finish the game without a point.
Llanishen & Caerphilly B 0 – 0 UW St. David’s
MOTM – Keith Jones
The home team hosted an exuberant student team who were currently unbeaten in four games after scoring thirty goals and only conceding five. To say they are the leagues in-form team is an understatement. Still the mix of experience and youth of Llan & Caer went up against the usual enthusiasm and ability of the students. Credit must be given to UW St. David’s as their attacking play created all but a goal. Deep driving runs from their own half were continually batted away by the Llan & Caer defence. If anything was fortunate enough to get a shot onto goal, skipper and goalkeeper Jones was more than a match. Matching the opposition step for step and tackle for tackle summarised Llan & Caer’s team work. Llan & Caer absorbed much pressure for the game however the students wouldn’t have it all their own way. Conceding a penalty flick from a blatant back stick clearance, Llan & Caer keeper Jones stood tall and batted the flick wide to stay in the game. Pushing the game into the students territory on several occasions kept the travelling team on their toes. Mention must be given to Pinney and Jenkins for their constant pick and drives at the defence however the team performance above all was outstanding to take an extremely difficult game point.
Gloucester City A 4 – 2 Llanishen & Caerphilly
MOTM – Lee Porter
DOTD – John Morley
Llanishen & Caerphilly continued their poor away form following a catastrophic start to the game. No credit is to be taken away from Gloucester as they were deserved winners. However Llan & Caer didn’t even seem to be on the pitch for the first 20mins. Combining a poor start with some extremely questionable decisions from one aged and one seemingly inexperienced umpire saw Llan & Caer trail by 3 goals which included a penalty flick. Llan & Caer were really feeling the pressure as Gloucester continually pressed their attack while Llan & Caer players were penalised and carded for minor infringements. Finally the cogs dropped into place as Llan & Caer came back into the game before half time. A shell shocked Gloucester suddenly became nervous as their defensive weakness was exposed by two quick fire goals from Saunders and Rogers respectively. Gloucester were now put on the back foot and under pressure and doing all they could to slow down counter attacks. Even reverting to intercepting the ball out of the air with a high stick on the halfway line, usually a straight yellow card, however nothing was given to the Gloucester player by the umpire. The home team were forced to defend their goal as both Rogers missed at the back post and Saunders only managed to hit the ground with his reverse attempt to have equalised.
The second half was entirely a different game to the first as both teams knew the next goal would likely seal the game for either team. The game swung back and forth as both teams tested each other, a good game on the pitch however was still not assisted by the umpires. Yet another high ball was picked out of the air with a high stick by a Gloucester player and yet again the weak umpiring saw no action taken. With the umpires loosing control it was impossible to stop Llan & Caer’s tempers becoming a little frayed. Rogers turned his man on the halfway and his burst of speed was uncatchable. However a cheeky trip to the ankle from the trailing Gloucester player soon saw Rogers attack thwarted. With the Gloucester defender openly apologising for the trip the umpire calls a dive and to play on. Rogers reaction to the insult sees him sit in the sin bin with a yellow card from said umpire. Practically sealing the game for Gloucester they pressed into attack, and with Llan & Caer a man down forced the travelling team into three short corners. Although some stoic defending held firm it was inevitable that the final attempt went in and sealed the victory for Gloucester. Llan & Caer battled back as best they could and forced the Gloucester keeper to make saves. However it just wasn’t their day as all 3 points were dropped. A thoroughly deserved victory for Gloucester and compliments to their skipper who apologised for the standard of the umpires appointed to the game.
Llanishen & Caerphilly 3 – 2 Pembroke County
Adam Saunders x 2
MOTM – Johnny Rogers
DOTD – Ian Davies
After last week’s disappointing loss, Llan & Caer entered this game knowing a win was needed to get their promotion push back on track. Unfortunately for the team, goalkeeper and team captain Lee Porter had been summoned to Spain this week to deal with Ben ‘Julio’ Payne’s visa issues, which has also seen the young Spaniard missing for a couple of weeks. Llan & Caer’s problems were further intensified when vice-captain Andre Villas Duggan, suffering from shin splints, prioritised his half-marathon commitments the following day, and took to the sidelines for his debut as manager. His appointment of Thompson as on-field captain was an inspired choice and a re-shuffle with the front line saw AVD move Rogers into the midfield, a move which was rewarded with a pulsating man of the match performance. After a rousing speech by the new manager, Llan & Caer started the half the stronger side, and while the passing game the team has adopted recently was struggling at times, they managed to take control against a quick and fit Pembroke team. A break down the right saw Redfern run along the base-line before pushing the ball across the face of the goal for Saunders to scramble home. Pembroke responded brightly but winning the ball in his own half, Rogers thundered past a couple of trailing Pembroke players down the left-hand side to cross for a deft deflection by Saunders to complete his brace. Going two goals down seemed to rejuvenate Pembroke and Llan & Caer found themselves repelling a number of swift counter attacks and some excellent saves were required from stand-in goalkeeper Igoe. Eventually one attack got through down the right hand side for the Pembroke striker to steer home. There was still time left at the end of the half for Llan & Caer to re-establish their 2-goal lead before the half as a short corner routine was executed to ‘perfection’ with Jones steering home the wayward strike by Saunders into the Pembroke goal.
The second half started with Pembroke taking a firm foothold in the game and pressing on the Llan & Caer D, leaving Thompson and I. Davies to make numerous last ditch challenges. Pembroke felt they had pulled one back near the start of the half but after deliberation between the umpires, the shot was called to have been outside of the D. This didn’t deter Pembroke who kept coming and were awarded with a well-worked short corner that found it’s way into the bottom corner. The last 15 minutes saw a hard-fought end-to-end game as both sides battled it out for the points. However, Llan & Caer were willing to throw their bodies on the line for the cause, with one such occasion resulting in yet another green card for Rogers for what seemed a perfectly legal diving interception. Llan & Caer were eventually rewarded for their work ethic as the final whistle blew to take all 3 points.
Llanishen & Caerphilly 4 – 0 Swansea City A
Adam Saunders x 3
MOTM – Adam Saunders
DOTD – Johnny Rogers
The day’s league games for Llanishen & Caerphilly had begun excellently as both 2nd and 3rd teams registered difficult 0-2 away victories respectively. It was now down to the 1st team to complete the first clean sweep for the club this season. Llan & Caer took to the field with a strong XI including the return of Ripley from a mountain, Jones (after 10 years AWOL) and Woodhouse the specialist drag flicker. The Swansea team fielded was typically full of youth, one of which Llan & Caer wouldn’t take lightly after the previous seasons 2-5 drubbing. A more dominant opening would have been difficult to surpass as Llan & Caer held the ball for the opening minutes without Swansea getting a touch. Some fantastic vision and passing was shown by Llan & Caer that found them working their way up the pitch. A shot was sent into the top left hand corner that only a magnificent leap from the Swansea keeper could have denied. A combination of Duggan and Ripley in midfield (haven’t said that for a while!!!) stood resolute and uncompromising as they played the ball from midfield. The pressure was firmly on Swansea and it told as an intercepted hit out by Saunders was laid off to Rogers to reverse beyond the stretched keeper. After the goal it was to Swansea’s credit that they began having their own spells of pressure but were unable to beat Porter in goal when they eventually came. Llan & Caer finished the half strong as Morley effectively turned over possession in a strong tackle for Rogers to carry from midfield. A clear channel opened up for Rogers to create space for a simple tap in for Saunders.
Llan & Caer were adamant they would continue their form for the 2nd half and true to their word they did. Large spells of possession were assisted by the solid display of the defensive line, Thompson of particular note putting in a fine performance. An early short corner chance was handed to Woodhouse on a plate but was unsure how to use such a well placed ball stop……..we won’t say anymore. Swansea created further chances on goal themselves, in particular a 1 on 1 with the keeper, however Porter pulled out a spectacular dive to take the ball off the strikers stick. Showing Llan & Caer’s fluidity in true fashion saw Thompson breaking down the right wing to inject a somewhat fluffed cross into the Swansea goal area. After a couple of bounces and skipping over a few sticks Saunders was on hand to half volley into the top right hand corner to get his brace. Great signs of composure were shown by youngsters Morley and Tall who looked solid and comfortable in the 2nd half. Swansea yet again would'nt let Llan & Caer have it their own way totally as their short corner rocketed past the left hand post. The best form of defence being attack, Llan & Caer didn’t sit back too long before a Ripley and D. Davies combination found Saunders who turned on his reverse to hammer home his hat trick and take the Man of the Match.
Cheltenham B 1 – 2 Llanishen & Caerphilly
Adam Saunders (P/F)
MOTM – Dan Davies
DOTD – Sean Lewis
Putting last weeks disappointing result behind themselves, Llanishen & Caerphilly set about the task of winning away to Cheltenham. Easier feats have been undertaken as Llan & Caer (if my memory is correct……which isn’t often) have not been able to take a win at Balcarras since competing in the same division as Cheltenham. Llan & Caer travelled with a depleted team as Thompson and Redfern were missing, however the team was bolstered with the Payne brothers. It would be a day of rampage for Rogers as he started the warm up cracking the ball straight into Porters wrist, later found to possibly be fractured…….great start. Llan & Caer immediately went on attack and put Rogers through for a 1v1 with the keeper twice, unfortunately missing both. Cheltenham were attacking with speed but the defensive line led by Ripley stood in solid stead. Llan & Caer would gain the better play for the majority of the first half as the midfield of Duggan, D. Payne and Rogers worked tirelessly. Another chance at goal would go begging as Saunders would square the ball to Rogers for a free strike at goal only to miss. Cheltenham battled hard to ensure they weren’t overrun and created spells of pressure in the Llan & Caer half. At the mid point of the half they would take the lead from their first effort on goal, winning a penalty short corner and drilling hard beneath Porter. Would this be another game where Llan & Caer would rue their missed opportunities. To their credit Llan & Caer went on as they had begun and continued to press Cheltenham. Rogers was making his usual runs from midfield when an opponent tackled from the wrong side……stick, swing, head, blood, ambulance. This saw the Cheltenham player leave the game with hopefully nothing more than some stitches or staples required.
The second half would be no less of a conflict as the teams clashed for possession. The Cheltenham team were beginning to fall foul of their own tempers as constant outbursts and questioning of decisions were beginning to be penalised. A stellar performance from the defence was led by J. Davies and D. Davies who’s consistency was rewarded by winning Man of the Match. Early on the in half Rogers speed was causing Cheltenham no end of trouble. Bursting through midfield Rogers found himself clear and charging into the opposition D. The goalkeeper stepped out of his gaol to challenge Rogers but in doing so brought him to ground and conceded a penalty flick. We won’t mention D. Payne’s outburst but marksman Saunders was given the nod by Porter to take the penalty flick. Saunders calmly stepped up to the spot and unleashed a venomous flick thing that wrong footed the keeper and dribbled into the gaol to level the score. Cheltenham to their credit didn’t sit back on their haunches and took the game back to Llan & Caer. Holding firmly it is to Llan & Caer’s credit that Cheltenham weren’t allowed a single open play effort on goal all game. They made up for that however with several short corners, of which Lewis assisted on a few occasions. All would be turned away by the improvised short corner team who were outstanding. Llan & Caer would again burst through the Cheltenham defence, Rogers would look to play the ball to Saunders to finish. A lunging interception from the defender would only return the ball to Rogers who would score to push his team into the lead. With 15mins still remaining there was still a significant way to go. The game would consist of several more short corners awarded to Cheltenham while Llan & Caer would hold phases of play to keep Cheltenham pinned in their own half. Cheltenham wouldn’t assist their own cause by losing two players to the sin bin for habitual complaining about the umpires decisions. Llan & Caer would see out the game, take the win and all 3 points to set up a finale for the last game of the season.