After Saturday’s derby win against Afan Lido, Port Talbot manager Paul Evans was delighted with his side’s performance.
In a hard fought contest Port Talbot came out the 1-0 victors over local rivals Afan Lido. A wonder strike from forward Jonathan Hood was enough to see off the Lido, and it was a win that Evans claims will instil some confidence into his players.
It’s always great to win a local derby it gives a great confidence and belief within the squad.
The game was one of few to avoid the dreaded postponement call on Saturday as the rain came down hard at the Marston’s stadium, however Evans will be happy it went ahead. In a difficult first half to the season, Port Talbot have struggled. Languishing near the relegation zone, the Steelmen headed into the game with just four league wins all season, so it was a much needed win on Saturday.
The result was very important for us we needed to create a confidence again within the squad and we done that but the league is so tight both at the top and bottom we need to be more consistent and push on from this result!
Evans inherited a difficult situation. The club were relegated after failing to gain the Welsh Premier League domestic license and lost the majority of their squad. At the beginning of the season, the club had retained just two players from the previous season; club captain Luke Bowen and Marley Bishop-Wisdom. But, Evans has recently signed former Talbot player Hood and after Saturday, many would call it an inspired signing.
Hoody has been great for us his quality and creativity in this league is right up there with the best and he gives us so much of a threat when he has the ball at his feet. Along with our captain Luke we know we have great options to score goals and create opportunities for each other and the other quality we have on the front foot! It’s important we keep all our players happy for the progression of the club.
The game was more than just a local derby on the weekend. Port Talbot boasted a squad of players of which many had played for both sides. Afan Lido have developed many a Port Talbot player, and it was former Lido player Remi Whitlock who impressed.
Remi was great on Saturday he also was going back to his old club so that means a lot and for him to perform and be at his best he needed to think about doing things right on the field and he certainly done that on sat. This also meant a great deal to many of of our players who have all played for the lido from a young age Rory Lewis Jonah Jack Corey herms Casey hoody bows all wanted to go out and win together and knowing our background with both clubs it was a great game to be involved in!!
In a feisty affair, two Lido men were dismissed. In testing conditions, one Lido player felt the brunt of the challenges and was stretchered off with what turned out to be a broken leg, that left the game suspended for five minutes.
With rivalries put aside, Evans and Port Talbot have shown that sometimes it’s more than just football. Both the manager and club send Josh Doyle of Lido their best wishes in his recovery from the broken leg sustained during the game.
It has been tough for Evans, going into a club attempting a rebuild whilst trying to maintain the quality the fans expect. Things haven’t been easy, but he insists the club will continue to fight and improve from this win.
You are always under pressure when you manage a club like Port Talbot, this is a process and I hope we can push on from our great win on Saturday. I think we’ve got to give everything for the club along with the players.They should be proud wearing that jersey and it showed in abundance on Saturday! I was very proud of them.
Finally, Evans thanked the 1901 Ultras for their continued support during a difficult period and claims they are an integral part of the club during this testing period.
The supporters are tremendous they’ve had the ups and downs with us season but they know we are work in progress and we will have even more ups and downs in the future so they are a VERY IMPORTANT part of what we want to achieve over the next few months.
Evans’ side face Cwmbran Celtic on Saturday and will be hoping to kick on from their all important win on Saturday.
PHOTO FROM ANDY NUNN