Are Llandudno re-discovering their impressive debut season form?
HAVING made an impressive start to the 2017/18 Welsh Premier League season, winning their first two games, is it fair to say that Llandudno may be finding their feet once again?
Back to back wins over Carmarthen Town (H 3-0) and Aberystwyth Town (A 0-2) have put the club in good stead ahead of their next clash with Connah’s Quay (H) next weekend.
Their start to the season suggests that they may be ready to put the misery of last season behind them and possibly re-discover the form of their debut season which took them to new heights.
Back in that 2015/16, the Seasiders had a truly memorable campaign in what was their very first year in the WPL.
After being crowned the champions of the Huws Gray Alliance in 2014/15, Llandudno were not fancied by many to go and make many waves in Wales’ highest division in the following season.
However, they ended up stunning even their harshest critics at the end of that campaign as they had a remarkable year, finishing third in the league and consequently managed to qualify for the Europa League in the process (going onto play IFK Goteborg of Sweden).
Their main man that year was former Wrexham forward Marc Williams, who went on to collect the Welsh Premier League Player of the Year award after he scored 16 goals in 32 games and helped guide his side to that successful season.
It all looked promising for the 2016/17 season that followed, but their second season in the Welsh Premier League turned out to be completely different to their debut season.
In complete contrast to when they had come up to the WPL, critics were now backing Llandudno to make the top six once again and had backed them to be challenging up the top half of the table. However, it wasn’t to be.
A tough season, in which they seriously struggled to score goals ( 31 goals in 32 matches to be precise) saw the Seasiders slump into the bottom six and had to battle to stay up in the league during the second phase of the season.
One of the main reasons for their tough year was that the aforementioned Williams had struggled with injuries on and off throughout the campaign and managed to score just six goals, which still placed him as their top goal scorer at the end of the season.
They finished the campaign in 9th place, just five points above Rhyl, who were eventually relegated.
Over the summer, the club has been working hard to do all it can to forget the disappointment of last year, bringing in new faces and offering fresh hope to everyone involved at Llandudno.
Like I said before, it’s no secret that they were in need of someone who can score goals for their side and they’ve brought in two exciting young strikers who could do just that.
19-year-old Shaun Cavanagh was brought from Bangor City over the summer and scored on his debut against Carmarthen. Fellow signing, 18-year-old Sam Ilesanmi, who is predicted to go on to big things and I think he could be one to watch if he’s given a chance this year.
The club has also acquired Ryan J Edwards, who is another midfielder that will add quality to their ranks
Of course, the club has also managed to hold on to their talisman Williams, who has been their main source of goals for two years now so there’s no doubt that that will turn out to be a wise move.
Llandudno have also managed to hold on to creative midfielder Danny Hughes, who most certainly has a goal or two in him (usually from long range!) and captain Tom Dix who is yet another talented attacker within their squad.
Defensively, they have signed Gabriel Kubwalo, who is a former Tranmere Rovers Reserves player and it’s believed that due to his physical presence, he will push the likes of Mike Williams for a place in the starting line-up this year.
Full back James Joyce has decided to stay at Maesdu Park and fellow defender Sam Hart has had a great start to the season, netting two penalties in their 3-0 win over Carmarthen on the opening day of the season.
With five goals already scored in their opening two games, as well as none conceded, it’s definitely fair to say that Llandudno are already looking much stronger than they did at this point last season.
With their wide range of impressive new additions to their side, as well as the host of talent already on show at the club, I think they can re-discover their 2015/16 season form this year.
Their start to the season has been a highly positive one and if they can keep the momentum going then I see no reason as to why we couldn’t see Llandudno pushing for a place in Europe once more during 2017/18.
(Featured Image: Chris Howells)