After a season which started with a major disappointment CPD Llannefydd have gone from strength to strength.
The highest point occurred last Saturday when Gwyndaf Pritchard’s side won 3-1 at tier 3 outfit Rhayader Town in the FAW Amateur Trophy.
That made it seven wins, a draw and just one loss for the tier 4 North Wales Coast East League Premier Division leaders, whose home ground is named simply Cae Llannefydd.
The season kicked off in the worst possible fashion for the villagers when they surprisingly lost 3-2 at home to local rivals Llansannan in the Welsh Cup.
It proved nothing more than an early blip, as since ‘Nefydd have recorded league wins over Glan Conwy, Llandudno Junction, Bro Cernyw and Mochdre Sports, as well as enjoying a revenge 5-1 triumph against Llansannan.
And there was plenty to be positive about after holding much-fancied CPD Y Rhyl 1879 to a 2-2 draw, a result which even visiting manager Gareth Thomas admitted flattered his newly-formed team.
So, unbeaten in six league outings with five wins and a draw, plus Trophy successes against Caer Clwyd and Rhayader, Pritchard’s pearls are off to a flyer.
Next up in the Trophy next month is an attractive home tie against Bangor 1876.
Formed in 1998, CPD Llannefydd have made steady progress over the years.
Their best season was 2016/17, when they landed the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League Premier Division title, Premier Cup and Premier Auxiliary Cup and just missed out on a quadruple when losing in the President’s Cup Final to Abergele.
Llannefydd went up to the Welsh Alliance, where they remained before the league ceased to exist at the end of 2019-20.
They have certainly adjusted well to life in the new tier 4 North Wales Coast East Premier.
Manager since 2012, Pritchard, who has been involved with the club in some capacity or other throughout its 23-year history, said: “We’ve been pleased by the start that we have made. It’s a really competitive league and to get through the first six games unbeaten has been positive.
“We worked really hard during pre-season to improve our fitness levels and establish how we intended to play this season. The lads have been great in embracing that and we continue to improve in each game.
“We’ve put together a really strong squad where competition for places is intense. The feedback we get is that people really enjoy watching us play and the earlier start to the season has meant that we’ve had good crowds.
“We’ve had two excellent away results at Glan Conwy and Mochdre Sports, winning both games 3-0, and our home form has been strong.
“The performance against Rhyl in front of a big crowd up in Llannefydd was excellent and we were really unlucky not to take maximum points against a very good side.
“It’s early days, and not every team has played the same number of games, but there is no better place to be sat than top of the league. We just prepare for each game as it comes and we’ll see where we end up.
“Saturday’s victory in the FAW Trophy away at Rhayader was another highlight of our early season. To go to a side in the tier above and really stamp our authority on the game was particularly pleasing and it certainly helped to put Llannefydd on the map.”
While retaining the majority of the squad from when they had last played pre-Covid in 2019.20, Pritchard has added some new signings in recent times.
He said: “We’ve been able to keep the majority of the squad together from last season and then strengthen in certain areas. The club has always been successful at bringing young local lads through and we’ve got a couple of lads who have already contributed significantly to what we are doing, so that always helps. In terms of strengthening, we’ve been able to add four senior players to our squad.
“Sam Lewis has signed from Denbigh Town and has slotted really well into the centre of midfield. He’s already shown his worth with his ball retention and is able to put his foot in and break up the play. Alongside Ciran, he has done a great job of shielding the back four.
“Our 3 other signings have been Rob Hurst, Jamie Jones and Simon Roberts. Rob is coming back after time out of the game with injury. He’s a really imposing centre half and once he gets himself up to speed again, he’ll be an important member of the squad. Jamie has scored goals wherever he has played and he’ll add to an already pacey attack. Jamie has joined us from St Asaph.
“Simon has also been scoring goals at all of his previous clubs and is keen to take the step up in level with Llannefydd.
“We’ve already seen glimmers of what he is capable of in training and we’ll be keen to integrate him into the squad over the next few weeks.”
PLAYER FOCUS – SIMON ROBERTS
Simon’s profile has risen since joining newly-formed Rhyl All Stars in 2019-20.
He is the team’s all-time top scorer and is renowned for his tremendous shooting.
Simon has also starred for The Millbank in Sunday football.
The Abergele man now steps up in class to tier 4 with Llannefydd.
Simon said: “I’m really happy to sign for Llannefydd and to go up a tier. I’m looking forward to getting going and they have a great set of lads with some real quality. Hopefully I can help them push on even further.”