Swansea University 0-1 Trefelin BGC – Richie Ryan’s side spoil champions party to keep promotion dream alive

Jordan Edwards’ second half header gave Trefelin BGC a vital win in their bid for promotion to Welsh League Division Two after his header ended champions Swansea University’s run of 15 consecutive wins in a 1-0 victory.

Edwards rose highest to meet Travis Monk-Landeg’s left wing cross and settle a tight affair between Division Three’s top two at Sketty Stadium.

This win restored Trefelin’s six-point lead over third-placed Bridgend Street after the Cardiff side won 3-2 at Panteg earlier in the evening. Trefelin have played two games more than their rivals for the remaining promotion place behind Swansea University but Bridgend Street still have to play Swansea University in their final three fixtures.

The evening started with Swansea University being presented with the Division Three trophy and judging by the muted celebrations the players themselves seemed uncomfortable with the peculiarity of being handed a trophy pre-match. The quizzical looks from some of the Trefelin players as they warmed up indicating the added motivation the scenes may have provided.

Despite completing their job for the season Swansea University did field a strong starting XI including top scorer Nick Hyden, captain Adam Orme and rapid striker Marley Bishop-Wisdom. Weary of the attacking threat the champions possess, having scored 100 goals in their first 28 games, Richard Ryan went with three centre backs and wing backs Monks-Landeg and Ryan Morgan providing the width.

With the pressure to win on Trefelin it was of little surprise they started tentatively, the champions taking the early initiative. Trefelin’s high defensive line once or twice looked vulnerable to Bishop-Wisdom’s searing pace until the interventions of sweeper keeper Matthew Stanton and inside the first five minutes a free kick from the left produced an attacking header for Swansea Uni that required a clearance off the line.

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It didn’t take long for Trefelin to start to find their feet and get their own passing game going, captain Ceri Williams combining with Shaun Best before the latter’s shot on the spin forced a good low save out of Harry Churchill. At the other end, Bishop-Wisdom did beat Stanton, but his header from a Hyden free kick rattled the crossbar and stayed out.

For most of the season these two sides have been neck and neck at the top of Division Three; a recent wobble from Trefelin, who went unbeaten in their opening 24 league games, allowed Swansea Uni to pull clear. The competitiveness and balance in the first half reflected how closely matched both sides are, especially on a good playing surface that empowered the passing game both sides prefer. As a result first half chances were at a premium once both teams settled into the game.

Trefelin produced a good chance for Damon Thomas after neat build-up play on the right involving Warren Hudson, Shaun Best and Morgan who crossed for Thomas, but he headed wide from a few yards out. Swansea Uni were dealt a blow midway through the half when Bishop-Wisdom had to be withdrawn with injury, but in the final stages of the half the champions produced a period of sustained pressure that highlighted the strength of their short passing game, ending with a spectacular half volley from Orme that Stanton did well in making a meal of. Nevertheless, no goals at half time.

The second-half brought the circumstances of both sides to the surface. There was a definite drop in energy from Swansea Uni while Trefelin, knowing they had to win to maintain a realistic promotion challenge, upped their levels. The League Cup finalists began to enjoy longer periods of possession and the chances started to come.

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Shaun Best called Churchill into action with a strike at goal following a long Stanton clearance. Shortly after Ceri Williams was on the end of good Trefelin build up and might have wished to do better with his effort from inside the area. Minutes later the captain had an even better chance, but taking too long to get his shot away it was comfortably blocked.

With the clock ticking down Richard Ryan introduced Jamie Latham and the forward didn’t take long to get into the game, a visionary pass opening the play for Travis Monks-Landeg and his rasping 25 yard drive forced an acrobatic save out of Churchill. From the resulting corner Hudson volleyed from the edge of the area and Churchill somehow got across to push away his goalbound effort.

Into the final twenty minutes it may have began to feel like Trefelin were not going to get the breakthrough to reward their second-half performance. However, on the field if there was any frustration it didn’t show and they finally got their goal when Edwards’ glancing header found the back of the net with 18 minutes to play.

Despite a tense final 15 minutes and lots of possession Swansea Uni struggled to test the Trefelin back line, a lack of sharpness and precision in the final third typifying this below-par performance, while the energy, organisation and determination of the Trefelin players ensured they saw out the game to collect the three points, keep their promotion dream alive and complete a league double over the champions.

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