On 28th December Taffs Well played our first home game since the 4th October. Since that time it is fair to say quite a lot has happened at the club. The game itself, a first in back-to-back games against Llantwit Major, was a hard fought affair, played on a pitch that did not lend itself to free-flowing football. Taffs Well took the lead through Jordan Carey, who is continuing to demonstrate his ability and goal scoring prowess. The second half was much more difficult for the young Wellmen, who were unable to register a single shot as they soaked up the pressure from Llantwit Major. The equaliser eventually came from Kyran Gardner, who's left-foot dipping free-kick was executed superbly to give the Taffs Well goalkeeper little chance of saving.
Taffs Well continued to hold fast against the continuous onslaught, but finally conceded another set piece play in the 76th minute. Llantwit hit a looping corner to the far side of the box, which was nodded down to Sean Williams and stabbed home by captain Johnathan Fletcher.
Taffs Well got the chance to redeem themselves on January 4th at the return fixture. The Wellmen started poorly, shipping two early goals and looking as though the game was gone. The second half saw some astute tactical changes to the attacking line-up, with extremely effective results. Taffs Well were able to put some smart moves together and cause the Llantwit defence difficulties. Dylan Jones produced some fancy footwork and finished off the move by squeezing the ball to the inside of the goalkeeper, providing hope to a relatively inexperienced Wellmen side. With only five minutes to go, a cross caused issues within the penalty box, deflecting off competing players and sweetly tucked into the bottom right corner by centre-back Bradley Millward.
The Wellmen looked to have secured a point, but hopes were dashed in the 89th minute as an own goal from keeper Callum Davies unfortunately provided Llantwit the win. Tempers flared in injury time with a scuffle on the touchline, resulting in a number of yellow cards and each team losing a player to a red card. Peace was swiftly reestablished but Taffs Well couldn't find the winner before the final whistle. These were huge games for the club who will be seeing this as points dropped at a time when points are scarce.
Although the results may have been disappointing from a Taffs perspective, a shining light came in the following statistic: 12 of the 16 Taffs Well players involved in the first game came directly from the youth team since 2017. The youth team won their league last season and are showing signs of transferring this talent to the first team. Credit is due to the team at the Academy producing such able players.
So how has the season gone so far? It's been an interesting season, with positives and negatives. There have been high profile players leaving the club for a variety of reasons, including Jason Bertorelli, Richard French, Scott Hayward and Jacob Isaacs. All were captain at certain points and they leave taking a huge amount of experience with them. Whatever the reasons behind them leaving, their absence is due to be felt. In addition, the Wellmen are now losing Kieron Proctor and Jack Fox, who both move to Australia. This will have a significant impact in the midfield which will definitely need strengthening. There has also been changes in management, with Steve Williams losing his managerial seat and we await for clarity as to who will be in the dugout for the second half of the season.
The club now looks to a period of stability both in managerial and playing personnel. Whilst the youngsters coming through provide talent and quality, they will need to pick up experience quickly playing at this level. We await to see any new faces the club looks to bring in with anticipation. Any transfers will be eagerly welcomed and we'll keep you updated on this website and social media.
If a prediction had to be made at this point of the season as to where we'll finish, it really is difficult to call. There are currently four or five teams who could be considered as potential candidates for the relegation spots. We are under no illusion that we are one of those teams, but all it takes is a decent run of form to pick up points and rise up the league table. The next two games are crucial to build that momentum. We play a Caerau Ely side who are finding results especially hard to come by, but are providing stern opposition against teams. The following game sees the second A470 derby against Pontypridd Town, back at home in Ponty. This game could be the pivotal point of the season and with a few new faces hopefully in the squad, we can look to reignite the season.
Off the pitch the club is looking to rejuvenate the fan-base and promote itself to a wide range of supporters. A small but loyal band of volunteers give their time in a number of ways and if you want to be part of this group, please contact us via the contact page on this website. Any support is welcomed, encouraged and could be the difference between win and lose. You can be the difference.
Here's to the second half of the season, further stability and improved results. Follow the boys in yellow and up the #Wellmen!