On Saturday (13/04/19) Cefn Albion, backed by a fantastic support travelled to Park Avenue, Aberystwyth to compete against south wales outfit Pontardawe Town in the final of the FAW Trophy (1.30pm).
With neither side having previously reached the final of the competition before it meant that there would be a new name etched on the prestigious on the trophy.That name turned out to be CEFN ALBION after a comfortable four nil victory in the sunshine in mid wales.
The FAW Head of Competitions, Andrew Howard (pictured below) was present on the day and placed the FAW Trophy on show as the players walked down the tunnel onto the playing surface. Everything was in place ready for a much anticipated cup final to commence.
Prior to the kick off both teams excellently demonstrated a positive message towards anti-racism wearing show racism the red card t-shirts and having pictures with no racism pennants, each team captain captain also wore a UEFA no to racism armband. The teams also stood as we observed the nation anthem. Also well done to both sets of supports who joined in and also those who held cards up outside the ground.
As the Albion chants rung loud around Park Avenue, the team responded in superb fashion coming out the traps and starting the game with real intent asking many questions of the Ponty back line from the very first whistle blown by well renown referee Mark Petch.
The early dominance was soon rewarded when just after five minutes a well worked corner routine was brilliantly dispatched by Nathan Williams coming in at the far post. The early goal and the dominance that was being shown by the ‘Cefners’ seemed to have Pontardawe rattled.
It was about to get worse for the Swansea based outfit when another Cefn attack resulted in a Jimmy Jones shot cannoning back off the post falling nicely to striker Conner Kendrick who made no mistake from close range to coolly slot it into an empty net making it 0-2 with only ten minutes on the clock. With 20 minutes played and most of that time being dominated by the Albion, Pontardawe created their first real opportunity but the big striker at top failed to latch on to a fantastic delivery from out wide.
As the game approached the half hour mark a cross ball from Alex Williams in to the path of Kendrick was superbly blocked by the Ponty defender only for his clearance to find the excellent Kien Morris who’s shot from 20 yards took a deflection to beat the keeper. With less than half hour on the clock Cefn Albion found themselves three nil to the good in the final of a national competition and in truth its only what the lads deserved and as the half wore on it could have been more. The youthful midfield trio of Dan Cox, Kien Morris and MOTM Dion Gibbins were bossing proceedings with Alex Williams and Jimmy Jones prevalent on either flanks. Ponty did muster a couple of half chances of their own but never really looked to threatening with the Albion defence standing up tall. HT 0-3.
Before the second half began there were some immediate substitutions for Pontardawe who were looking for a vast improvement. Credit to them they battled well and tried to ask some more questions from the Albion in the second half but the team were proving difficult to break down with bodies been put on the line. Pontardawe enjoyed more passion in the second period but in truth they never really looked like breaking down the Cefn defence as they searched for a way back into the tie. As the clocked ticked into stoppage time it was all eyes on the referee to blow the whistle and crown the Albion as FAW Trophy champions, however there was still time for a moment of absolute magic which come from substitute Jamie foulkes who executed a fantastic 60-yard goal after spotting the ponty keeper off his line, 0-4. WHAT A GOAL! And a perfect way to end the game.
It was a game of two half’s but the disciplined performance in the second half was just as important as the first 45 minutes that inflicted the most damage on the opponents. It was an excellent all-round performance from a group of players who has previously won six difficult encounters to get to the final. They thoroughly deserved their opportunity and responded with an excellent win that they should all be very proud of. Jubilant scenes followed the final whistle as Cefn Albion were crowned the 2018/19 welsh trophy champions
We would like to all our fantastic supporters who made the 2+ journey to mid wales and created a tremendous atmosphere. We would like to thank Aberystwyth Town and the FAW for the fantastic hospitality and superbly organised day and finally we would like to wish Pontardawe Town all the very best with their promotion push and add that they were very graceful in defeat which was excellent to witness. Good luck lads!
Photo credits: A big thank you to Colin Ewart & Will Cheshire for taking and sharing the match day photographs. Also a big thank you to Liam Partyn of ClipStat Analysis for recording the game and sharing the footage. Click on this link to see all goals from the final