Seasiders set sights on voyage to unbeaten season
NOT many teams in Welsh footballing history can boast of entering the festive period defending a 100% winning record.
But that is exactly what is happening at Lock’s Lane as Porthcawl Athletic go into their 12th match of the season having not dropped a single point.
The South Wales Alliance Division One outfit currently lead the division, twelve points ahead of their nearest challengers Treforest FC.
But manager Barrie Jones believes that the side will have to improve their performances if they are to maintain their record.
“I know it seems like a strange thing to say but we haven’t been all that consistent,” Jones told Y Clwb Pel Droed. “We have ridden our luck at times and got the odd goal here and there which has been the difference, and we have to improve if we want to stay at the top of the league because we know how competitive the South Wales Alliance can be.
“One of the best footballing sides we’ve played this season have been Clwb Cymric and they’re in the bottom three, so we’re aware of the high standard that teams are setting in this league.
“We have a very good young team, however, and I’m confident that we’ve got the talent to compete and hopefully get us promoted this season.”
Jones is no stranger to working with young players. Having previously been involved with the youth systems of Porthcawl and Kenfig Hill, he has also had the accolade of managing international representative youth teams with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wales. His experience with working with younger players, he says, gave him the appetite to take over the reins at Porthcawl.
“I saw this as one last challenge,” he said.
“This was one last journey for me. When Ray Walker stepped down at the end of the season I was asked if I wanted to take over and it gave me the opportunity to see if I still had the hunger to be involved in football. I’ve worked with a lot of these players from a young age and I’m continuing to enjoy working with them now.
“The average age of our squad is 22 and they’re mostly local lads from the club’s youth system wanting to play for their local team. For me, that’s very important.”
Among the squad’s current stars are the likes of Joe Jones, Matty Ellis and Aaron Jones, all of whom boast Welsh League experience, as well as local striker Jorge Crofts who has been making a regular mark on the scoresheet.
Jones continued: “The great thing about this club is that we have a fantastic youth set-up which means that there is a sustainable production line that will be in place for many years to come. We’ve got some great youngsters coming through the ranks and it’s a credit to everyone involved throughout the club that we’ve got the facilities and people in place to ensure that the young talent here is nurtured and given the chance to flourish.”
The next step, Jones believes, is to target a return to the Welsh League. Porthcawl Town were a staple fixture within the top tiers of the domestic system prior to the merger with Porthcawl Athletic in 2010 and the eventual relegation to the South Wales Senior League a season later. The club has failed to reach those heights since, but Jones believes that more exciting times are ahead.
“We have all the facilities in place to return to the Welsh League,” he continued. “It would be great to get back into that system so that our youngsters can have the opportunity to perform at a higher level. That’s what everyone in the club sees as the long-term aim.”
Standing in their way this weekend, however, will be Tonyrefail who visit Lock’s Lane off the back of a 2-0 victory at home to Clwb Cymric.
Jones said: “Tonyrefail were one of the fancied teams to be in the promotion chase at the start of the season and when we first played them we were lucky to win 4-3. They are a very strong team who play some excellent football and, like us, they have a lot of local lads who want to play for their local team.
“We’re also in the position where, because we’re undefeated, everyone wants to come here and beat us so we’ll have to be more consistent week in week out if we’re going to keep up this kind of form.”
(Featured Image: Will Cheshire)