Many Welsh Football League games were hit hard by the wet and windy conditions engulfing South Wales. Only three games in WFL Division Three avoided falling upon the sword of postponement, one of those being the clash at Larkfield Park in Chepstow, where winless Chepstow Town faced newly promoted Trethomas Bluebirds.
Both sides would have been forgiven if they had turned up wearing scuba diving gear.
Chepstow went into this game on the search for their first league victory since dropping into the division. Town began the season with an opening day away defeat to Welsh Football League newcomers, Trefelin, that game ending 4-0, and that result was followed up with a narrow 1-2 home defeat to another newcomer, Ynysgerwn. Town entered this game keen to avoid making it a hat-trick of defeats against league newcomers.
In contrast, Trethomas Bluebirds have been riding on a wave of confidence, after the fantastic season they had last term, as they won the Gwenty County Division One, and secured their place in the Welsh Football League.
The Bluebirds began their Division Three campaign with an opening day 1-2 away victory at Caerleon. Trethomas then faced an away trip to fellow newcomers Trefelin, where they fell 3-1. This trip to Chepstow Town represented a huge chance to add more points on the board, albeit being the Bluebirds’ third away day in a row.
In front of 100+ people, Chepstow Town quickly took the incentive. The home side creating an early chance to score from a wicked bounce of the ball off the soaked Larkfield Park turf.
Chepstow within minutes of the game starting, took the lead with a magnificent goal. Brilliant play by the Town winger at the byline left the Bluebirds centre back helplessly looking on as the winger teed up Chepstow Town’s number 8 who bent a beautiful shot to the goalkeeper’s left, putting Town 1-0 up early on, and leaving the Bluebirds ‘keeper stranded.
Chepstow Town’s dominance of the first half continued as Town pressed the Bluebirds back four into mistakes, nearly forcing them into putting the ball into their own net. After going close with a corner, Chepstow’s chance creation eventually paid dividends. From a whipped in cross, the Bluebirds defence end up marking each other, allowing space for Town to make it 2-0.
The Bluebirds continued the half under forced pressure, and may have been relieved to see the game halted as the Referee instructed the Chepstow staff to lift a present left on the pitch by a dog. This may have come as a blessing, as Trethomas’ wingers looked increasingly isolated, and left their defence under immense pressure.
When play resumed, Trethomas Bluebirds looked revitalised. The Bluebirds tried hard to get back into the game. Some fantastic crosses into the box were met by some stern Chepstow defending, and the fist of Town’s goalkeeper. Trethomas continued to build in midfield, but lacked the end product to produce a goal.
At 2-0, Trethomas Bluebirds were producing some great football to try and wrestle back the game. The Bluebirds back line pressed higher up the pitch, but no matter how much a move developed, Town’s defence remained strong, denying the Bluebirds a clear cut chance. One chance in particular fell to the Bluebirds number 12, who dragged his shot wide.
Chepstow Town however attempted to capitalise on the Bluebirds’ high line, and were extremely dangerous on counter attack.
Frustration set in amongst the Bluebirds fans, players and staff, as after a great piece of play the, Bluebirds failed to convert from just outside the box. The Chepstow Town goalkeeper in particular ending a lot of long balls into the box by rushing out and taking the pressure off his defence. In one instance however, his punch seemed to miss the wet ball, causing a scramble in the box, but Town cleared their lines.
Almost a carbon copy of the first Chepstow goal sees Trethomas’ number 5 up against a skilful Chepstow player who cuts inside, and beats him again. Sadly for the Chepstow man, he is also beaten by the wet turf and the attack dissolves.
Chepstow Town then capitalised on a sleeping defence, and should’ve really made it 3-0. The Bluebirds argued that the ball was out of play, whilst Chepstow whipped the ball into the centre of the goal. A simple tap-in with the goal at mercy seems simple, but the ball bobbled on the wet turf, and the Chepstow man smashed it agonisingly over the bar.
Trethomas Bluebirds will feel massively unlucky that they just couldn’t find the net. Chance after chance went begging.
Some great footwork by their number 10, who drives by their number 12 to create space to get a shot off, but the fantastic resolute defending by Chepstow keeps them at bay. Even in a two-v-two situation, the Bluebirds find that they cannot manufacture a clear cut chance as another pass falls to a Chepstow defender.
Agony for the Bluebirds as they then fell 3-0 down, after some silly defensive errors allowed Town to pick their spots. A mixture of poor weather conditions and the side switching off contributed. Straight after their 3rd goal, Chepstow Town should have made it 4-0, with a lovely bending effort just falling inches to the ‘keeper’s left.
Frustration sets in for Trethomas Bluebirds, with number 12 man handling his opponent, but moments later je went on a run through the Chepstow midfield, causing havoc, but he dragged his shot wide, and he soon made the run inside the pocket again, but his teammates failed to latch onto his defence splitting pass.
The Bluebird fans start talking about “how we will not score today” as another goal-mouth scramble in the Chepstow box is dealt with by a poor shot and a huge big boot down field. The Bluebirds have two headers straight down the centre of the goal, both of which should have been scored. The first from a free kick to the edge of the area which was headed just over, and the second from a cross which forces a fantastic save from the Chepstow goalkeeper. Three shots blocked from inside the area, misplaced passes, and shots dragged wide were the story of the Bluebirds’ day in Chepstow.
Chepstow Town’s counter attacking play was very effective. Chepstow’s number 11 latched onto a great ball, which he attempted to dink over the onrushing Bluebirds goalkeeper, but his attempt drifted just wide.
Chepstow Town then attempt to replay the situation with another fine ball to number 11, who this time puts it away and makes the score 4-0 to the hosts, and secures their first victory of the season. Groans from the big Trethomas Bluebird fanbase as they felt it was a controversial one, claiming that the Chepstow man had handled the ball before beating the onrushing ‘keeper.
Finally however, Trethomas Bluebirds grab a consolation goal, which was no less than they deserve. A fantastic floated cross from the left wing was met by a great towering header which helped the ball whistle into the net past the Town shot-stopper.
Trethomas Bluebirds controlled a huge proportion of the game, even if the 4-1 scoreline suggested otherwise. The Bluebirds must capitalise on the chances they create in future games if they are to avoid more defeats like these.