Game of the Day – Saturday, August 17, 2019
Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League Premier Division
Llanelwy Athletic 1 CPD Llansannan 3
A new start and a fresh way of doing things.
Now I can please myself where I report on sport, only myself to answer to.
Sometimes I’ll go nowhere at all – there’s always plenty to do at Sporty Towers.
What better place to start the 2019-20 season than Rhyl and a game between two teams which have no connection with the town at all – Llanelwy Athletic and Llansannan.
Newly-promoted to the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy Premier Division, Llanelwy have made Coronation Gardens their temporary home and they could not have wished for tougher visitors first up.
Llansannan are among the favourites for the title this season, and deservedly so on this display.
On another day, with better finishing, they would have scored nine, but three cracking goals were enough to begin the campaign with three points.
Llanelwy showed enough promise to suggest they can hold their own at a higher level this term.
After years of sitting in press boxes of differing standards and mixed company, it was nice to stand on a touchline for 90 minutes with players, managers and fans.
Llansannan started on the front foot, Joe Maguire blasting wide from a corner before the visitors suffered a ninth minute blow when injured keeper Luke Jones had to leave the field and was replaced between the sticks by midfielder Adam Gage.
Undeterred, Tom Lewis’ side took a 13th minute lead when Leon Gierke, a player I saw stand out many years ago over the wall at Belle Vue for Rhyl, as well as at Denbigh Town, lashed home a 25 yard free kick he earned himself.
Gage made a nervous start and in the 16th minute he could only block a Danny Price shot into the path of Luke Stanley, who made it 1-1.
Sannan settled and on 22 minutes a lovely passing move through midfield released Elis Vaughan to drill past keeper Jamie O’Brien from 20 yards.
Athletic had a goal ruled out for an infringement before Gierke clattered the bar and Vaughan headed off target from close range.
Gierke was clean through but fired over before in added time Jac Glover let fly from halfway with an absolute beauty which flew into the net.
What a goal – he must have felt like he had won the star prize on Dave Clifton’s Suspension Quiz.
At half time I looked to my left and saw a garage/mini mart, the type that sells pasties and anti-freeze. I wondered to myself if Michael the work Geordie was on duty, or if his mate Al the articulated (but not at all articulate) lorry driver was there.
There were no chocolate oranges from Rawlinson’s on the menu at the break, neither was there any Blue Nun in the plastic bottles, but good old fashioned water did the trick in refreshing the players to produce a lively second half.
Playing into the wind did not quell Llansannan’s attacking threat.
Gierke was through one-on-one on the keeper, but decided to pass to an offside Glover, who found the net only for it not to count.
Glover ran the ball too far and allowed O’Brien to clear, then Geraint Jones and Gierke missed sitters.
The travellers almost paid for their profligacy when Llanelwy won a free kick which Price met with a fierce header, but Gage got down magnificently to save.
Had the hosts scored at that point it could have been a different tale.
As it was, Sannan continued to fluff big opportunities, but it did not prove costly and they finished up worthy winners.
A game well refereed without assistants by Anthony Howard and a really enjoyable encounter between two sides which produced plenty of attractive football.