For their first game of the new season, Aberdare travelled to the Western suburbs of Cardiff to take on Caerau Ely, relegated from Division One last season. With   Aberdare   basically   starting   from   scratch   having   seen   all   last   season’s   regulars   depart   bar   a   handful,   everyone   at   the   club   knows   it   will   be   a   demanding   year,   but   with   true clubman, Simon Jones at the helm there is a confidence that over the coming months the team will gel into a competitive outfit. Significant   changes      lie   ahead   in   the   Welsh   league   pyramid   system   so   the   realistic   aim   at   this   stage   of   retrenchment      is   to   stay   in   the   division,   consolidate   and   then   with   a   Tier   2     licence already in place look to advance with the ultimate aim of getting into the Welsh Premiership.  But   for   now,   all   that   is   asked   is   that   the   eleven   starters   and   those   from   the   bench,   who   take   the   field,   play   for   the   badge   and   eke   out   results      and   the   former   was   certainly   evident   on the   day.   This   fixture,   played   on   an   afternoon   when   the   rains   finally   returned   to   South   Wales,   was   always   likely   to   produce   maybe   too   stiff   a   challenge   early   doors,   but   the   good contingent of away day support were delighted to witness a performance of grit and resolution with two quick strikes around the hour mark putting paid to returning with a result. Aberdare’s   starting   line-up   made   up   exclusively   of   local   lads,   included   four   new   starters   to   Welsh   League   football   with   four   others   having   no   more   than   a   smattering   of   experience   at this level. So   to   hold   the   hosts   to   a   goal   less   first   half   was   a   boost   to   morale,   especially   after   having   to   rejig   the   system   losing   Kevin   Connolly   to   a   hamstring   tweak   to   be   replaced   by   veteran David Pinch  who was to produce an excellent defensive display as did Andrew Fenaroli and Iestyn Stevens. Caerau   Ely   certainly   had   their   chances   with   the   speedy   and   skilful   Elijah   Chilwaka   spurning   two   gilt   edged   chances   and   a   Jerome   Maynard   header   cleared   off   the   line   by   Town’s man of the match, Simon   Morgan. The   ex-Newport   County   full   back   had   a   previous   brief   spell   at   Town   and      is   going   to   prove   to   be   a   fine   acquisition   with   his   defensive   qualities   allied   to   pace   and   a   willingness   to   get into the oppositions’ final third. The   closest     Aberdare   came   in   the   first   forty   five   minutes   was   a   Levi   Jones   bullet   strike   from   a   wide   angle   which   flew   narrowly   wide   and   a   Scott   Griffiths   shot   well   held   by   Caerau keeper, Elliot Matthews. Half Time: Caerau (Ely) 0 Aberdare Town 0 Striker   Cory   Thomas   had   ploughed   a   lonely   furrow   upfront   and   the   second   half   saw   Daniel   Riddiford   pushed   up   to   support   but   passes   were   rushed   and   the   front   runners   were working off scraps often provided by Liam Lewis with some nicely weighted passes. The visitors were producing the neater and more controlled football however but the opener came from a direct route. A long clearance by Matthews was latched onto with aplomb by striker Dean Clifford who ran on ten yards and finished clinically. The floodgates had been opened and the second arrived minutes later with Jerome Actie skipping through a few tackles and rifling home. Much to this new Aberdare side they did not capitulate even after a third goal was struck home by Nathan Mathias from twenty yards. Town then lost full back Kieran Bairstow to injury having fought bravely through the pain barrier. This was a combative performance against a team that will probably be vying for the title at the season’s end. With the hope of some new arrivals imminent there is a degree of promising hope of positive results to come against the lesser lights of the division as the season progresses. However, the fixture list has not been particularly kind. So   after   the   midweek   derby   with   AFC   Llwydcoed   this   evening   it’s   another   home   game   for   the   Aber   fans   on   Saturday   as   we   welcome   newly   promoted   Swansea   Univeristity   -   who had an opening day win against Coed - so another very tough test in store. Our thanks to all those who travelled down to watch and support the team for this game. Man of the Match:  Simon Morgan Match Details: LINE-UP: Martin Phillips, Simon Morgan, Kieron Bairstow (Rhys Thomas), Andrew Feneroli, Iestyn Stevens, Scott Griffiths, Levi Jones, Liam Lewis, Daniel Riddiford. Cory Thomas, Kevin Connelly (David Pinch) NOT USED: Brad Lewis SCORER: n/a
Caerau (Ely)
Aberdare Town
Match report by Richard Rowlands
Saturday 11.08.18 (ko 2.30pm) | Welsh Football League Division Two
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