Bridgend Street boss Craig Dale hails reaching last seasons Cup final
Bridgend Street boss Craig Dale has said that reaching last season’s Welsh Football League Cup final was a massive achievement
The Division Three side reached the final after seeing off higher-league opposition, only losing to Llanelli Town who went unbeaten throughout the whole season in the League and in the League Cup.
This Saturday, Bridgend Street travel to Old Road at Briton Ferry Llansawel, where the final was held as both sides brought big support for what proved to be a memorable occasion for both sides.
No new or major injury worries going into the game we still have 2-3 players a few weeks off with the reserves building match fitness after long lay offs.
“For a club of our stature to get to the final was an amazing achievement in itself. It wasn’t just a great day but a great journey in the way we went about getting to the final.” said the Bridgend Street boss
“We enhanced the clubs reputation amongst the Welsh league and beyond and made everyone at the club and the surrounding areas very proud and made a lot of new friends along the way.”
But despite losing to a side that hadn’t lost in eighteen months, there’s still a bit of disappointment in Dale who wanted to go all the way in the competition.
“On a personal note I was disappointed we got beat even if it was against a very good Llanelli team. We had a game plan but executing it against such formidable opponents and individuals is another matter.
Nobody gave us a chance but the game was far from one sided and we gave a good account of ourselves,lessons were learned and experience was gained.”
Going into the game with Briton Ferry Llansawel, there won’t be many absentees as those who are just returning will train with the reserve squad to build up match fitness.
“There’s no new or major injury worries going into the game we still have 2-3 players a few weeks off with the reserves building match fitness after long lay offs.”
Despite having already played on the pitch, giving the away side a feel of what the pitch is like, there will be no advantage says Dale.
“Absolutely no advantage at all. Its an away tie for us against a team two divisions higher so any advantage goes to Britton Ferry. We are clearly the underdogs and any pressure or expectation doesn’t lie with us.”
The expectations for the Street haven’t been disclosed but the ambitions around the place are that promotion is something that all the club are striving for.
“I don’t get given targets or expectations as such from the club they know as an individual what I’m about I play to win, I want promotion and cups as well as enhancing the club both on and off the field.”
One player who could make a name for himself against higher-league opposition is Bridgend Street’s top scorer for the season, Callum Smith who joined from AFC Porth.
“So far so good. He’s fitted in immediately and has given us a different option in the way we can play and set up.
As good of a player he is he’s also a top guy off the field very popular amongst his team mates. It was a bit of a tussle to get him but he bought into what the club is about and what we’re trying to achieve.”
Through the cup run, attention turned to Bridgend Street and as well as signing Callum Smith, Michael Murphy has dropped down two divisions to play for Bridgend Street, returning to the club he played for as a youth player.
I think a good cup run can only or should enhance your chances of attracting a higher calibre of players.
In Michaels case it’s different. He started off with us from youth team level before moving on.
He’s a local boy and is amongst a squad that consists of several of his best friends and he’s enjoying his football more than ever.
He has huge ability,if he had a brain to go with it there’s no saying how good he could be. We identified areas/positions that needed improving over the summer and with the named above and more we certainly did that.
(Featured Image: Lewis Mitchell)