A groundhoppers guide to the Old Road

A groundhoppers guide to the Old Road - Briton Ferry Llansawel AFC

Groundhopper Rhys Wynne paid us a visit to watch our game against Llanelli in Welsh League Division Two.
The article is a great read, please take time to read it-
Thanks to Martyn Griffiths for translating.
Briton Ferry Llansawel 2-2 Llanelli
Division 2 Welsh League [South]
Old Road

Admission: £4
Programme: £1
Attendance: 506
Cup of tea: Excellent cup
There was plenty of choice of games last Friday night, including a Rhondda derby between Ton Pentre and CBM Cambrian a Clydach, although my intention was to revisit Taff’s Well as it’s convenient.
But when I heard that my fellow traveller was ill, I decided to venture further to watch Briton Ferry Llansawel against Llanelli.
Briton Ferry Llansawel are a progressive club who have just invested in a new grandstand with 175 seats in order to satisfy the new FAW requirements for Level 2, except that they were treated quite unfairly by the Welsh League in the summer and had to move down from Division 1 to Division 2 (Level 3 in Wales) although they finished the season fourth from the bottom outside the relegation places.
But to be selfish, this gave me an opportunity to watch them at home against one of the big clubs of the lower divisions, namely Llanelli, who by now are on the way back up the pyramid following big financial problems recently. By now Llanelli are at the top of Division 2 and have attracted Lee Trundle out of retirement, with the former hero of the Swans (and Wrexham before that!) capturing many a valuable three points for them with his great goals.
To those amongst you who are knowledgeable (more knowledgeable than me at least) you’ll notice that the club’s name contains a combination of English and Welsh, and this is because two local clubs, Briton Ferry FC and Llansawel FC, combined comparatively recently to form the present club.
Parking spaces were at a premium around Old Road, suggesting that there would be a large crowd, and I arrived at the ground as a minute of silence was being observed in memory of the Aberfan disaster. The first thing that struck me was that all the announcements on the loudspeakers were completely bilingual – Glyn Griffiths would have been pleased, but, looking around me I saw a substantial football ground, with a mixture of standing areas, seats and purpose-built areas for wheelchairs under the same roof right next to the side of the field, the new grandstand opposite, and behind the goalposts there was a a two storey building with a balcony, changing rooms, a room selling hot food, picnic tables and even a play area for children (behind a a high timber fence to protect it from being hit by footballs). Oh, and also there was Bar Red, namely a rather attractive clubhouse, and with every other [alternate] person in the crowd either wandering around with a pint of beer/cider in his hand I would imagine that this bar makes a a healthy contribution to the club coffers.
And during the first half, it went from being bilingual to trilingual when I heard one player shouting at the referee in Portuguese. As I mentioned, Llanelli were at the top of the table, but BF Llansawel were second, and it was the home team who looked like the best team in the first half, but I couldn’t see that they were able to put the ball in the net and 0-0 was the score at the break. Both teams must have had a telling off at half-time as both teams created more chances and BF Llansawel went in front with a kung-fu-ish goal that Zlatan Ibrahimović would have been proud of, but Lee Trundle equalised straight away with a skilful lob impossible to reach. A second yellow card was shown to Llanelli’s number 9 and the home team went ahead for the second time, and despite all Llanelli’s efforts (with Trundle nearly splitting the bar with a powerful free kick) it appeared that BF Llansawel would close the gap at the top. With seconds remaining, Lee Trundle buried the ball in the corner of the net to make it 2-2 and despite the disappointment for the home team I think that everyone went home satisfied.
Reading the programme after the game, it was interesting to see that 16 of the 21 in Llanelli’s squad were born in Swansea, one in Carmarthen, one in Pontypridd and three outside Wales. Also, Jordan Fellows, the scorer of Llanelli’s two goals in their victory of 2-1 against Dynamo Tiblisi five years ago is in the squad.
Many thanks to Rhys for taking time to visit us and write the article, we are glad youe enjoyed your visit and the match!

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