Porth thinking long-term as they aim to bounce back from relegation says Betteney
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The long-term future of AFC Porth will be at the forefront of the Black Dragons plans this season says manager Ryan Betteney.
The club were relegated from Division Two and returned to Division Three after eight years away, with the club having spent two years in Division One in recent times.
Porth’s last spell in Division Three saw them spend a total of four years, before a relegation to the South Wales Amateur League.
They bounced back from that relegation and won promotion to Division Two, a season later in 2010.
Bounce back is what Porth are aiming to do once again after finishing bottom in Division Two under Ryan Betteney. The Rhondda based side picked up just three points last season, scoring 24 goals and shipping 125.
Betteney said: I’ve spent a lot of time playing in Division Three throughout my career so hopefully that can give us a heads up of what to expect
It won’t be easy that’s for sure. There’s a lot of good clubs with a lot of good players so we will need to be prepared.
If we can keep it tight at the back I’m confident we can do well this season.”
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Seven new players have signed on at Dinas Park, as Betteney assembles a team capable of competing at the top end of the table.
Connor Berry, Gavin Morris and Morgan Davies ave all committed their future to the club, despite interest elsewhere in Division One.
Jake Whitfield, Josh Jenkins, Callum Westcott all join having had experience with Cwm Welfare and Ynyshir Albions last season in the South Wales Alliance League Premier Division.
Ieuan Gowen was playing with Trebanog, who won promotion to the Premier Division, last season.
Ynyshir Albion finished second, behind Welsh Cup quarter-finalists Penydarren BGC.
Betteney said: “Iuean Gowen joins the club from Trebanog, where he played a part in their rise through the leagues. He’s a big, strong and quick lad who knows where the net is.
“He’s a Porth boy and was at the club from u9s to u19s and is only 22 so is a perfect fit for where we want to go.”
“Jake and Josh are two lads I know, and I know are as good as it gets in this league.
Josh is a big centre half who can play, which is important on our pitch and is living around five minutes from the ground.
Jake is as creative centre midfielder who can carve out a chance from nothing, is 22 and has represented AFC Porth youth 4 years ago.
“I’m a big fan of Callum, he’s another one who can play and is brave on the ball.
He wins his headers, tackles and is lightening quick.”
Ian Thomas, Edward Caple and Harri Jones have joined from the local leagues, but have joined the club, offering them a way back in to the side.
“Ian and Ed had work commitments last season and Harri is coming back from injury.
Ian is a composed centre midfielder and has been an instant hit with the lads both on and off the field.
Ed is a no nonsense defender and again is lightening quick.
Finally Harri, who is quickly getting back up to speed every week is a strong and powerful winger who was with Cardiff Met FC prior to his injury.”
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Porth, previously known as AFC Rhondda before reverting back to AFC Porth once reached the Quarter-Finals of the Welsh Cup back in 1992/1993, only to lose out to the Connah’s Quay Nomads.
There’s a sense of optimism around the place under Betteney as the club aims to erase last season’s woes from their minds and embark on a new era at the club.
“I do believe there’s a huge opportunity there to build something sustainable, which can also last longer than myself, over the next four to five years.”
The Porth manager said: “We are in a good place at the moment, the club, the squad, the players and coaches are all positive and looking forward to the next couple of years together.”
“Everyone is focussed on one thing, and that’s pushing back up through the leagues as quickly as possible.”
Pre-season has been good, we have got 90% of our targets and they have all adapted quickly to how we like to do things.”
There won’t be many teams training as much as us, as long as us and as hard as us, and hopefully that will give us a good base for a good season.”
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With both promotion and relegation experienced with a number of Welsh League clubs, Betteney has been on both sides of the camp.
Promotion and both relegation with Penrhiwceiber Rangers, as well as suffering relegation with Cwm Welfare, as they bowed out of the Welsh League in the 2016/2017 season.
“With Penrhiewceiber Rangers, I won the Second Division title on the last day away to Newcastle Emlyn which was a day to remember.
“Of course most recently winning the youth league with Ton Pentre Youth, which of course meant a lot to me as I done it with my mates in the dug out and a great group of lads.”
“Yes, I was most recently relegated at Cwm Welfare out of the Welsh League, which was a huge disappointment, as I really enjoyed my time there and played some of my best football.”
“At Penrhiwceiber Rangers from the first division down to the second, which I think the club wasn’t really ready for at the time and we had a long hard season.”
“But again had some good times taking a point from Barry Town and saving a penalty and an opening day win over Taffs Well. They’re both great clubs with a lot of good people behind the scenes.”
AFC Porth kick-off their season at Dinas Park, hosting Treowen Stars who staved off relegation last season on the 11th August.
(Featured Image: Will Cheshire)