Early last December things looked pretty grim for Caernarfon Town after they suffered a heavy 6-0 defeat at Penybont in front of the live TV cameras.
It was probably the Canaries’ worst performance since they returned to the Cymru Premier in 2018-19. The doom mongers were at large and Town needed to respond quickly.
And haven’t they done just that!
More than three months on from that dark day the Cofis have not lost a league game since in seven starts.
Seventeen points from a possible 21 have edged Huw Griffiths’ men into the top six, putting them on course for a third successive upper-half finish, and with it the guaranteed shot at Europa League qualification.
Five wins and two draws have made the Penybont nightmare a distant memory and none of Town’s victories since have been more satisfying than Saturday’s 2-1 success at Bala.
Caernarfon had not defeated the Lakesiders in five previous league meetings (four losses) but there is no doubt they were worthy of the third points at Maes Tegid yesterday.
So how has the Canaries remarkable recovery come about?
A magnificent seven games undefeated is down to hard work, belief, no shortage of quality football and the motivational skills of manager Griffiths.
Huw, who took over at The Oval in January 2020, had proven his pedigree in previous spells at Cefn Druids, who he twice led into Europe, reached a Welsh Cup final, achieved a highest ever Cymru Premier placing of fifth and scooped the league Manager of the Season award in 2017-18.
He also guided the Ancients to the Cymru Alliance League title in 2013/14.
Now the Marford Magician, who signed a new two-and-a-half-year deal in January, is working on leading The Ovalites into Europe.
Here’s a look at Caernarfon’s last seven matches:
Cefn Druids 1 Caernarfon Town 2 – December 8, 2020
Three days after crashing at Penybont, Caernarfon bounced back in tremendous fashion with a 2-1 success at The Rock against Huw Griffiths’ former club.
Sion Bradley set up Cai Jones for the opener, then Michael Hayes scored off a rebound to put the Canaries two-up at half time.
Although Druids picked up after the break, they could only muster an Aaron Simpson reply on 71 minutes and the visitors saw out the game well.
Caernarfon Town 2 Barry Town United 0 – December 12, 2020
Substitutes Jack Kenny and Sam Jones both struck in the last 10 minutes to seal the points for a Caernarfon outfit which produced their best performance of the season to that stage.
Chances fell at both ends in a goal-less first period, but Barry were rocked when Luke Cooper received a second yellow in the 53rd minute.
The hosts kept knocking at the door and Kenny’s low strike following a Darren Thomas free kick broke the deadlock on 81.
Jones clinched the points when Thomas found him in a congested penalty area, and the young striker expertly guided the ball home with the outside of his foot.
Aberystwyth Town 1 Caernarfon Town 2 – December 15, 2020
The Canaries made it nine points in seven days with a hard-fought success at Park Avenue.
An impressive Darren Thomas inspired the away opener on 21 minutes when he fed Mike Hayes who in turn passed on to Jack Kenny and he finished well past the advancing keeper.
Facing his former club, Thomas made it 2-0 on the stroke of half time with an inswinging free kick into the box which evaded everyone and found the net.
Kenny had a penalty saved early in the second half and after that it was fairly even.
Marc Williams’ header halved the arrears in the 88th minute and two magnificent late saves from Josh Tibbets ensured Caernarfon held on.
Caernarfon Town 1 Newtown 1 – December 18, 2020
An impressive Newtown were worthy of a point at The Oval.
Caernarfon went ahead in the 33rd minute after Telor Williams threaded the ball superbly into the path of Sion Bradley, who turned inside his man in the box and coolly side-footed past keeper David Jones, whose brilliance in the first half kept it at 1-0.
Keeper Josh Tibbetts was the home hero in the second half with a salvo of top-class stops.
With the wind at their backs, Newtown were a constant threat but they did not manage to equalise until the closing minutes when Nick Rushton got on the end of a long throw by Jake Phillips and found the net from 12 yards.
Caernarfon were disappointed not to profit from two late corners.
The Cofis’ winning streak was over, but it was a fair result.
Caernarfon Town 2 Aberystwyth Town 2 – March 6, 2021
After a three-month league break due to Covid-19, Caernarfon returned to action with a draw at The Oval.
A new-look Aber shaped the better in the first half, John Owen volleying in a Jamie Veale delivery to make it 1-0 at the break, but only Josh Tibbets’ heroics prevented the blacks and greens leading by more.
The home side were much sharper after the turnaround, but they were unable to work the scoreboard and into the final 15 minutes it remained 1-0.
In an effort to save at least a point, manager Huw Griffiths introduced Cai Jones, Sam Jones and Wrexham loanee, Jake Bickerstaff, to add fresh legs up front and his decision instantly paid off.
Impressive debutant Max Cleworth found Bickerstaff, who showed great strength before slamming in the 85th minute equaliser.
Sion Bradley put Caernarfon 2-1 up two minutes later with a fine finish from an angle, but Veale’s brilliant free kick deep into injury time saved a point for Aber which they probably merited.
Flint Town United 0 Caernarfon Town 2 – March 13, 2021
Second half goals from Paulo Mendes and Sion Bradley secured a first league win of 2021 for an impressive Caernarfon.
Town should have been in front at the interval, but were foiled several times by the brilliance of Silkmen keeper Jon Rushton.
The deadlock was finally broken just after the hour when Mendes bravely headed home a Telor Williams corner.
The visitors soon doubled their lead. Jack Kenny got his head on a clearance from the back, Jake Bickerstaff was quick to find Bradley in the box and the dazzling youngster confidently struck the ball past the onrushing Rushton.
Bala Town 1 Caernarfon Town 2 – March 20, 2021
Huw Griffiths’ heroes made it four away victories on the bounce with a satisfying triumph at Maes Tegid.
Bala led at half time after Will Evans’ header from a corner fortunately deflected in off Cofis defender Gareth Edwards.
In the second period, the Canaries really picked their game up.
Michael Hayes worked the ball onto his left foot, and a lovely curling finish levelled the game on 47 minutes.
And it was 2-1 to the travellers after 70 when Mendes struck from close range after Bradley and Cai Jones helped the ball into the midfielder’s path.
Next for the Town is a home game against Cardiff Metropolitan this Saturday. Can the Canaries stretch their unbeaten streak to eight games?