STM Sports boss Gardiner says Trophy semi-final is “the most important game for the club”
STM Sports boss Dale Gardiner says that this Saturday’s FAW Trophy semi-final tie with Cefn Albion is the most important game for the club, as they aim to claim silverware this season.
STM will take on the Cefn Mawr side at Latham Park in Newton at 1pm tomorrow, after entering the competition in the second round, beating Aber Valley 5-0, and then Baglan Dragons 3-0 in the next round.
In the fourth round, an 8-2 home win over Cefn Cribwr earned themanother tie at the Cardiff University Playing Fields against Ynyshir Albions, where they clinched a 3-0 win, before two goals from Lamin Conteh helped them beat Pennydarren 2-1 in the quarter finals.
But ahead of this weekend’s tie, Gardiner is hoping his side from Llanrumney can make history as they aim to reach their first final in the club’s history.
“It’s a fixture, I feel everyone involved with the club is looking forward to,” he said. “It’s a fantastic achievement for this club with such a short history to reach an FAW Trophy semi final the first time.”
“I can feel the excitement around the club at the moment and I feel it’s well deserved.”
The guys behind the scenes have been working so hard off the field to progress this club and let’s not forget how well the players on the field have performed to get us here. Everyone at the club deserves this day for sure.”
Having founded in 2008, player manager Gardiner believes that tomorrow is the one of the biggest games in the club’s history.
“It’s certainly up there.
“Thinking back when I was a player at the club we of course had the play-off final to get into the Welsh league. That was played at the Cardiff City stadium which was a brilliant day for the club.
“However, any opportunity to get your hands on a trophy is vitally important. We haven’t had our hands on a trophy in a few years at STM Sports so at this moment, I will be treating this semi final as the most important game for the club.”
Despite the significance of the game in the club’s history, Gardiner maintains that the only goal is to secure victory in the final and believes his side continue to get better year on year.
“It would mean everything for a club like us. Everyone at the club is in it for the enjoyment and to be successful.
“This year we’ve managed to add more quality to what was already a talented group of players so I think the timing is right for this group to achieve something.
“Whether that be promotion or winning the FAW Trophy, either would be a remarkable achievement for STM Sports. We can only keep pushing and working hard in the hope it pays off.”
Having gone one step better than their efforts last season in the competition, the Welsh League Division Two side are one division ahead of the Wrexham outfit, but Gardiner says his team will relish the opportunity and go into it with confidence after last weeks 8-1 win over Aberdare Town.
“In terms of preparation for this cup tie, the scoreline seems ideal but in reality we are not expecting a repeat of that scoreline for a semi final cup tie.
“In terms of form I think Cefn Albion are in better form than we are. They’re unbeaten in their last 8 I believe, with most of them being wins so we have our work cut out.
“We will definitely need to be firing on all cylinders to get anything from this game but I’m sure it will be a great day for all involved.”
However, he admits that it will be a difficult test for his side given that their opponents on the weekend are an unknown outfit to them.
“I would definitely say it’s a different test. In our domestic league you always have the opportunity to do a bit of homework on how the opposition play, and we always feel we know a little bit about each team.
“However, on this occasion we are going in completely blind. It’s just a case of us sticking to what we know.”
But Gardiner believes in his side to pull out the victory on the day.
“Our style of play has got us into a good position in our league to date, and also of course a semi final.
“We therefore don’t feel any need to change anything at the moment. We have to trust the way we play in order to give us the best possible chance to progress.”
(Featured image: Mike James)