Saturday’s Nathaniel Cars Welsh League results & tables


Caerau (Ely) P – P Briton Ferry Llansawel
Cwmbran Celtic P – P Llanelli Town
Goytre 4 – 3 Penrhiwceiber Rangers
Llanwern 3 – 1 Undy Athletic
Monmouth Town 5 – 1 Cardiff Corinthians
Treowen Stars P – P Garden Village

Goytre United 5 – 1 Cambrian & Clydach
Pontardawe Town 1 – 1 AFC Porth
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An open letter from Jarred Harvey…

The main news from the Welsh Premier League this week was the sudden departure of Port Talbot Town head coach Jarred Harvey and his assistant Craig ‘Guppy’ Hughes. The former Cambrian & Clydach manager moves on from the GenQuip Stadium after being offered a full-time post at Cardiff City, working with their Under-18 squad after initially arriving at the club under now-Cardiff City assistant manager Scott Young. Harvey’s departure was sudden and after just a short time in charge – he was appointed permanent manager last May – he leaves a positive stamp on the club, having re-galvanised the Port Talbot squad and departs with them well-placed to secure a top-six place. Senior players Rhys Griffiths and Leigh De-Vulgt have currently been handed the reigns at Port Talbot, in what could be a new stage in their WPL careers, and I’d personally like to wish all three the very best with their new opportunities. Meanwhile, Jarred has issued the following open letter:

It’s was with a heavy heart that I made the decision to step down as Head Coach of Port Talbot Town. But the opportunity to become the Under-18s coach at Cardiff City isn’t something that can be turned down, as those opportunities don’t come around that often.

I’d like to think myself Guppy & Kends have made a difference at the club, as I do believe the condition of the squad we’ve developed in such a short period of time can rival any of the top three sides in the WPL.

Whoever gets the opportunity to manage that group will not have to do much, as all the hard work has been done, and what a fantastic opportunity it will be for someone to take on. Especially considering the cut backs made by the club in the summer and that the clubs ambition was consolidation, we still set a target of achieving the top-six to give ourselves the opportunity of European football and I believe they will achieve that.

I’d personally like to thank Andrew Edwards, Wayne Edwards & Colin Hancock for given me the opportunity to become the manager of Port Talbot Town. Having the opportunity to manage the club alongside Craig “Guppy” Hughes, who is a lifelong friend of mine was the proudest moment of my footballing career, he’s a special person, one of a kind, a true footballing man, and I sincerely thank him for supporting me during my time at the club.

He had to make big decisions in the summer to leave Carmarthen, but he knew as well as I did that together we could achieve something great, given the backing of the aforementioned people, and I’d like to think we’ve done that, or certainly put the club in the right direction. I’m sure we will work together again in the future and the experience I’ve had since arriving at the club 11 months ago has been fantastic and I leave with nothing but proud and fond memories.

The TNS game in the Word Cup was a testament for the work that has been done. Duane Saunders, Chris McDonald and the players who represent this football club are a magnificent bunch of men – a real credit to the club and the town, and I will miss them all dearly.

The supporters/fans of the football club are fantastic. And the way they took to us was incredible, and I’d like to thank them for that. Without a shadow of any doubt the best supporters in the WPL. Their commitment to this football club is admirable, and I do intend on spending the odd game sat in the stand with them cheering the lads on.

I wish everyone at the club the very best for the coming season, and whoever gets the job will have my 100% support. I’d also like to express my thanks to all the clubs who represent the WPL and their managers and officials, whom I’ve grown to know so well.

Thanks for the opportunity to manage Port Talbot Town.

Yours sincerely

Jarred Harvey
21 November 2014

TNS snap up Jamie Reed – the best just got better; latest on Bala and Bangor.

With Michael Wilde and Greg Draper already vying for a first-team place in attack, the signing of Jamie Reed further strengthens The New Saints’ grip on the Welsh Premier League.

Having departed the warmer climes of Melbourne, 27-year-old Jamie Reed added to his extensive list of clubs by making TNS his fourth-WPL side on Monday.

Although the announcement from Park Hall was sudden, it had been clear in recent weeks that that Reed was keen on returning to the WPL, with the allure of a full-time contract with TNS proving irresistible and he will become eligible to play from January.

Reed had a number of suitors in the WPL, with former club Bangor City amongst them. TNS confirmed to me last week that Reed had been continuing to train with them – he had also trained with Airbus prior to that – and that there would be an interest in signing him should a deal be suitable for both parties. I suspect at that stage a deal was already in the pipeline but for me, the most interesting aspect of Reed’s move to TNS is where will he fit in?

Domestically at least, TNS aren’t short of firepower and as I’ve written here previously, their superiority over the rest of the league seems to be stronger than ever.

Wilde and Draper already appear to have a healthy competitive rivalry for the centre-forward spot and should the pair of them remain at the club – and maybe this is at the base of the decision to recruit Reed (I believe either of them would get into every other side in the league), it is hard to see what role Reed would have playing up-top.

The alternative is either playing deeper – a role which Alex Darlington and Matty Williams already thrive in – or as a wide player, where the Saints already boost several options, namely Ryan Fraughan, Scott Quigley and summer arrival Adrian Cieslewicz, not forgetting Ryan Edwards who was farmed out on-loan to Cefn Druids for regular playing minutes.

The situation will certainly create a selection headache for management duo Harrison and Darlington but unless it bolsters the side in European competition, there seems little need for a player like Reed given the fact TNS already have one hand on a fourth-successive Welsh Premier League title.

Speaking of selection headaches, the move of another well-known WPL striker is likely to create a similar issue for Colin Caton at high-flying Bala Town.

The omission of Lee Hunt from Prestatyn’s side in recent games meant this his departure came as no real surprise but his destination definitely did come out of the blue.

While Hunt is not expected to be the only senior player to be leaving Prestatyn, the aging WPL marksman returns to a rejuvenated Bala squad where it appears the switch is a good move for both club and player.

Judging him on his recent form at Prestatyn, Hunt will need to raise his game to earn a place in this Bala side, but Caton has recruited an experienced player who has long-proven track record of finding the net in the WPL.

With the Lakesiders squad already possessing Kieran Smith, Mark Connolly, Ian Sheridan and Mike Hayes, the club are on course for their most successful season in their history. Good times indeed at Bala.

Bangor City have turned to ex-player and Burscough manager Derek Goulding to revive their fortunes. Goulding, appointed assistant manager to Nev Powell, is tasked with bringing fresh impetus to Nantporth and arrives at a particularly difficult time.

The grey clouds had seemed to have lifted a little over Bangor following a credible win at Carmarthen Town at the start of the month but a crushing 5-0 defeat, where the Citizens shipped four inside 34-minutes – defeat to TNS wasn’t a surprise but the manner of it cut short the idea that Bangor were about to turn the corner.

Just how they’ll go about ‘turning that corner’ remains to be seen and fears of missing out on the top-six have now morphed into genuine fears of relegation. I don’t buy the idea that Bangor are ‘too big’ to go down. City admit they are suffering from mismanagement and there must be chronic shortage of confidence in the dressing room and as it stands, I can’t name two worse teams.

If speculation is to be believed, the club missed out on both Jamie Reed and Lee Hunt, but the need for fresh ideas and faces to arrest their run is an absolute must.

It does seem quite likely now that Nev Powell will remain in charge but questions remain as to whether Goulding was brought by Powell to assist him or appointed by the board to handle some of Powell’s current responsibilities. Essentially, is Goulding building a case to succeed Powell, should Nev and the club be able to come to a settlement on the remainder of his contract?

The fact Goulding is a former player of the club will bode well but whatever the case, the new management team need to hit the ground running and just how the club manage this crisis is going to be intriguing.

I suggested on this blog a few months ago that Bangor City were this season’s Port Talbot – side who underachieved in a mediocre campaign last year. Given their current circumstances, I think they’d gladly take that now.

Aizlewood’s playing comments mock Carmarthen Town and the WPL

How disappointed I was with the BBC Sport Wales’ latest piece on the Welsh Premier League.

Although I didn’t expect an article reporting on the fall-out of The New Saints’ draw with Airbus UK from the weekend, my heart sunk when I read that Carmarthen Town manager Mark Aizlewood had voluntarily served up some quick and easy ammunition for the league’s critics – which of course, the BBC wasted little time in picking up on.

Aizlewood claims that amidst an apparent injury crisis and mounting suspensions, the former Cardiff City and Welsh international may be forced to return to playing at the age of 55 for the Old Gold’s visit to Rhyl this Saturday.

Those who follow Aizlewood’s comments in the press will know that much of what he is says is tongue-in-cheek with the aim of provoking a reaction and a large pinch of salt is often required. But his latest views are of poor judgement and disrespectful.

It has been 14-years since Aizlewood last appeared in a competitive game so he will clearly be unable to compete at the required standard of the Weksh Premier League which begs the question, why doesn’t he promote players from his Under-19 squad? Are the youth players of Carmarthen Town really so inept, that even 55-year-old Mark Aizlewood would be preferred option. Of course they’re not.

With his playing days well behind him, the signal Aizlewood’s high profile comments about the standard of the Welsh Premier League and youth football in region gives out is a damning one. Is no youth player at Carmarthen able to come off the bench and “stand in the way and block a shot,” as he says he may be forced into doing?

All managers and coaches in the WPL are forced through selection worries, which at semi-pro level is often a bigger obstacle than in the professional game. In playing the underdog card ahead of Carmarthen’s game at Rhyl, Aizlewood’s quotes not only deride his own club but also the WPL.

Poor form, especially from someone with such experience.

Saturday’s Welsh Premier League and Welsh League results and tables

Carmarthen Town 0 – 2 Bangor City
gap Connah’s Quay 1 – 1 Port Talbot Town
Rhyl 0 – 1 Bala Town

AFC Porth 0 – 5 Cambrian & Clydach
Aberdare Town 1 – 5 Caerau (Ely)
Briton Ferry Llansawel 3 – 0 Ton Pentre
Cardiff Met University 3 – 0 Goytre
Garden Village 2 – 3 Pontardawe Town
Goytre United 0 – 0 Monmouth Town
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