Can Carmarthen Town adapt to new playing surface at Richmond Park?
Mark Aizlewood’s Carmarthen Town team have been synonymous with gritty defending, hard work and a direct style of play, however could their move to a 3G pitch alter their style of play?
Carmarthen have already played one game on their new pitch as they re-opened Richmond Park with a friendly this past Monday, where they drew with Division One side Cwmamman United in a 1-1 draw.
The league can boast eight teams with the artificial surfaces; with just Bangor City, Connah’s Quay Nomads and Prestatyn Town still utilising grass pitches.
While it has understandably been a tough start for the Welsh Premier League outfit due to having to play their first six fixtures away from home as they awaited the completion of the new surface, many have claimed that Aizlewood’s more direct approach to the game would see a difficult run of results at home too.
However, in their 12 Welsh Premier League games on artificial surface during the last campaign, the club picked up a win percentage of 33%, with four victories in these games. This is in comparison with the 22 games (including playoffs) they played on grass, in which they amassed just six victories; leaving them with a win percentage of just 27%.
Carmarthen’s recruitment and squad is also particularly abundant with youngsters. In their last game against Barry Town United, the average age of the starting eleven of the Carmarthen squad was 26, which was raised notably by the defence which included 32 year old debutant Stephen Hall, 31 year old Lee Surman, and 33 year old Craig Hanford.
With 3G encouraging a less direct style of play, it may take time for the side to adapt. However, with the experience of Aizlewood and a youthful squad, it will no doubt take the players long to adapt. The young squad at Richmond Park should be more than able hold their own, if they can adapt to the quicker style of play.
It should also be noted that the majority of the league has already adapted to the artificial surface, and so Aizlewood’s charges will be already suited to what is necessary to grind out results on the surface. And after a successful sixth placed finish last season, there is without a doubt no better time to make the transition to the new surface.
(Featured Image: Lawrence Molloy)