Some North Wales football teams have been in awesome form since the first day of the season, while others have just never got going and continue to struggle.
Then there are those who started not too well, but have really picked themselves up and made quite a few waves in recent weeks.
Ladies and gentlemen…..meet THE IMPROVERS – teams who don’t always make major headlines but are well worth writing about.
RUTHIN TOWN – JD CYMRU NORTH
Played 21 Won 11 Drawn 3 Lost 7 Position 5th
November – Conwy Borough (h) 6-1; December – Penrhyncoch (h) 5-1; Llanidloes Town (h) 2-0; Colwyn Bay (h) 4-2; January – Airbus UK Broughton (h) 2-1; Llandudno (h) 0-1; February – Guilsfield (a) 1-1.
After Ruthin went down 3-2 at home to Holywell Town on October 30 and were then mugged 1-0 by a late goal against struggling visitors Llangefni Town six days later, things did not look great for Phil Hudson’s side.
But the last four months have delivered a real upturn in results for the Memorial Playing Fields outfit from the Vale of Clwyd.
After thrashing Conwy Borough 6-1 in November, wins over Penrhyncoch (5-1), Llanidloes Town (2-0) and Colwyn Bay (4-2) followed in December.
Not surprisingly, Hudson, who is assisted by the celebrated Tommy Holmes, scooped the Cymru North Manager of the Month award.
The new year brought the biggest highlight of all as Ruthin pipped leaders Airbus 2-1 to make it five wins on the bounce.
Although Town have since lost 1-0 at home to Llandudno, there is no shame there as Sean Eardley’s top class team are challenging for the title.
And Ruthin were back in the good results business last weekend when they drew 1-1 at third-place Guilsfield.
With the likes of Matty Hill and Jamie Cumming in fine goal scoring form, and the recent return of prolific front man Llyr Morris to the club, Town are well set for a top five finish in this quality league.
LLANDUDNO ALBION – ARDAL NORTH WEST
Played 20 Won 8 Drawn 4 Lost 8 Position 8th
January – Y Felinheli (a) 3-2; Rhostyllen (h) 2-1; February – Brickfield Rangers (a) 3-1; Saltney Town (h) 4-3.
Since forming in 2014/15, Llandudno Albion have generally always won things and progressed.
However, in this their eighth season and the first of the new tier 3 Ardal Northern leagues, the Maesdu Park side began to find the going unusually tough.
Losses to teams such as Denbigh Town (0-3), Mold Alexandra (2-5), St Asaph City (0-3) and Porthmadog (0-2) in quick succession had the Albion rocking.
Before facing Y Felinheli in January, the Albion’s social media page declared that for the first time, the club was in a possible relegation battle.
The warning must have had a positive effect, as Darren Jones’ side have won their past four games and lifted themselves to mid-table respectability.
The goals have not flowed this term like in past ones for the Albion, but they have plenty of players capable of finding the net in the coming weeks.
ST ASAPH CITY – ARDAL NORTH WEST
Played 21 Won 5 Drawn 4 Lost 12 Position 13th
November – Rhydymwyn (a) 1-1; December – Llandudno Albion (a) 3-0, Llanuwchllyn (h) 5-3; February – Brymbo (a) 5-0, Y Felinheli (h) 1-0.
After winning just one of their first 17 league games, St Asaph were bottom of Ardal North West and looking like certs for the drop.
However, since December there has been a complete reversal in form, the Saints winning four in a row to haul themselves out of the bottom three.
It was hardly a shock when Daniel Brewerton won Ardal North West Manager of the Month for December and City scooped Ardal North West Club of the Month.
No-one is taking Asaph lightly now.
The influential James Williams returning from long-term injury will only add strength to a squad already including quality finishers like Jason Foulkes and Liam Grayson.
LLYSFAEN – NORTH WALES COAST EAST DIVISION ONE
Played 19 Won 11 Drawn 3 Lost 5 Position 5th
November – Y Glannau (h) 2-1; December – Betws-y-Coed (a) 4-0; January – Caer Clwyd (h) 4-2, Rhos United (h) 2-3, Llanelwy Athletic (a) 5-0; February – Rhyl All Stars (h) 6-4, Cerrigydrudion (a) 1-1.
While Llysfaen have been pretty steady form-wise all season, it is in recent weeks that they have really reached new heights.
Although their upsurge in excellence might be too late to win them the tier 5 Division One title, they can still prove big players over the rest of the season.
As manager Emlyn Robert Jones said on social media recently: “We won’t win the league, but we’ll have a big say in who does.”
With five wins in their last seven league outings, Llysfaen caused a real stir with a 5-0 away victory at title favourites Llanelwy Athletic last month.
They should have won last Saturday too against another contender, Cerrigydrudion, but had to settle for a draw.
The current Llysfaen is more in keeping with the all-conquering side of 2019-20, who lost out on the Vale of Clwyd and Conwy Division One crown by the smallest of margins on Points Per Game. They also had a big chance of lifting a cup or two only for Covid to end the season early.
The cancellation of the 2020-21 campaign due to coronavirus meant a rebuilding job at the Bananbeu this season. It has taken time to bear fruit, but now it is beginning to motor.
The likes of 23-goal star Connor Morris, the returning Sean Sheridan, the net machine of 2019-20 who hit three at Llanelwy, and exciting signing Joel Massam can help keep Llysfaen’s great run going until the end of the season.