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FAW disappointed at EURO 2020 snub

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THE Football Association of Wales (FAW) and all its stakeholders are extremely disappointed with the news that its bid to secure four UEFA EURO 2020 matches at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff has been unsuccessful.

Over the past four years, Wales has successfully staged three UEFA events – firstly, the UEFA Super Cup Final in 2014, followed by the UEFA Men’s and Women’s Champions League Finals in June this year.

UEFA ranked the UEFA Champions League Final as one of their best events and praised the way in which the Cardiff 2017 Local Organising Committee delivered the showpiece.

The concept of taking UEFA EURO 2020 to 13 different countries was devised to allow smaller countries, like Wales, to have a unique opportunity of being involved in staging a major tournament.

Wales has never staged a EURO or World Cup Final and this was its one and only chance of doing so.

The FAW complied with all of the bid requirements and has written to UEFA to request feedback on the decision so that it can understand the reasons behind the vote for future reference.

The FAW wishes the FA and Wembley Stadium the very best for UEFA EURO 2020, which is sure to be a fantastic tournament.

The FAW will now fully concentrate its efforts on ensuring that the Wales National Team has the very best opportunity to qualify for and participate at UEFA EURO 2020.

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Quins seal KO Cup semi-final place

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PEMBROKE Dock Quins had a fine Bonus Point win on Saturday (Dec 9), despite a bitterly cold afternoon at Bierspool against a Wasps side who never gave up, scoring no less than 11 tries in the process.

It did not take long for the Quins to get on the Scoresheet with Left Wing Liam Hargreaves -Gibson running in after 8 minutes for his third try of the Season, Full Back Lewis Davies added the extras.

Lewis Davies, who was having a fine game at Full Back, then ran in from 30 yards for the Quins’ second try which he duly converted himself.

The Quins were now firmly in the box seat, and Captain and Centre Thomas Doyle soon finished off a fine move as he grabbed his sixth try of the Season which was again converted by Lewis Davies to give the Quins a 21 Point lead.

In the 25th minute the bonus point try arrived again through Thomas Doyle and Lewis Davies added the extras.

As the Half was drawing to a close Right Wing Arron James produced a remarkable bout of scoring with three tries in six minutes with only the latter being converted by Lewis Davies.

The Quins went in at half time feeling happy with themselves with a 45 Point lead.

The second half started just as the first half ended as, within 5 minutes, Arron James was at it again when he scored wide out and Lewis Davies added the extras with his best kick of the afternoon.

Five minutes later the Wasps hit back with a try of their own when Centre Gavin Jenkins scored after some good ball retention and outside Half Luke Hayman added the extras.

The Quins soon replied with their ninth try when Scrum Half James Skeels shot round the Blind Side to score in the Corner but this time, Lewis Davies missed the conversion.

The Quins were to add two more tries before the end through replacement Winger Rhys Bradney who scored in the corner and probably the best try of the match which was saved till last.

The home side attacked from deep, and as the ball was passed through numerous pairs of hands it ended up with Prop Jack Davies who ran in from 25 yards to score in the corner and Lewis Davies converted to bring his tally for the day to 19 points to also bring an end to the scoring.

The game was also doubled up as a Pembs KO Cup quarter-final tie meaning the Quins now advance to the semi-finals of the competition.

Team: Lewis Davies, Arron James, Arron Cookson, Thomas Doyle (Capt), Liam Hargreaves -Gibson, Jake Griffiths, James Skeels, Stefan Halward, Jack Brown, Hywel Baker, Sam James, Jack Byrne, Rob Hearne, Tom Clarkson, Jack Davies.

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Wizards too good for Swifts

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MERLINS Bridge proved too strong for Monkton Swifts as they ran out 4-0 winners on Saturday (Dec 9) to extend their unbeaten run to nine games.

The Swifts had won their previous four matches going into this game but were unable to find the back of the net despite having a few chances.

It was the Wizards who made the better start to the match and they could have gone ahead in the first minute.

Will Haworth crossed into the box for Nathan Greene but the striker couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and Monkton were able to clear their lines.

Haworth then saw an effort go over the bar before the home side took the lead with thirteen minutes gone.

Some good work from Andrew John down the left hand side saw him run on to the half way line and the ball was then played on to Haworth who passed to the edge of the box for Ashley Beck who fired into the net to make it 1-0.

Monkton’s Jimmy Russell was then booked for dissent having been warned previously about his language by the referee.

Luke Hayward and Nathan Greene both came close to scoring a second for the Wizards but both saw their efforts fly over the bar.

Monkton also came close to an equaliser when they saw a header go narrowly over the bar and Russell also had a goal-bound shot blocked.

With four minutes to go until half time the Wizards doubled their lead as Matthew D’Ivry crossed from the right into the box for Nathan Greene who superbly volleyed the ball home from the penalty spot.

On the stroke of half time they had a third when a cross from Will Haworth bounced off the far post and with the ball there for the taking, Joey George was quickest to react to prod the ball home from close range.

That goal all but ended any hopes of a second half Monkton comeback but they did well to restrict the Wizards to just one further goal.

Haworth grabbed a deserved fourth to seal the victory which sees them go above Monkton into third place.

The Wizards are now five points behind leaders Goodwick United with a game in hand.

On Saturday, December 23, Merlins Bridge face a tough game as they travel to second placed Narberth in what should be an excellent contest.

Monkton Swifts will be looking to bounce back from this defeat but they also face a tough game as they welcome leaders Goodwick United.

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Captain Bony calms the ship

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By Jonathan Twigg

A MAN of the match performance from Captain Wilfried Bony led the charge for Swansea City on Saturday (Dec 9) when his second goal in consecutive games sealed a dour 1-0 victory on a dark and gloomy afternoon over West Bromwich Albion at the Liberty Stadium.

Securing a valuable three points lifted Paul Clements under pressure Swans side off the foot of the Premier League table as Bony’s winner sparked a chorus of ‘Hymns and Arias’ with nine minutes remaining.

Substitute Tammy Abraham’s effort was cleared off the line at the far post from a Ki Sung-Yueng corner before the Ivory Coast strikers’ driven right foot shot which thundered beyond former England goalkeeper Ben Foster.

The Swans started the game at the foot of the table but took solace from the fact they had won five out of six fixtures when they had been in a similar situation previously. Their visitors hadn’t won a game in the Premier League for four months and were on a run of three consecutive defeats in their travels to West Wales.

The green shirted Albion started brightly keeping the ball and moving it around across the floor much unlike teams who play under their new manager Alan Pardew’s banner.

Without creating opportunities apart from a Jake Livermore shot midway through the half to punish the home side, the play meandered precariously towards stalemate at half time, unsurprisingly perhaps as former Bayern Munich Assistant Manager Paul Clements side had netted just eight goals in 15 league games.

Winger Nathan Dyer drew a foul from Claudio Yacob after 18 minutes which earned him yellow card which proved to be a catalyst for the apprehension surrounding Swansea’s play subsiding for the remainder of the first half as they gained superiority in terms of possession and territory.

The closest they came was when midfielder Livermore headed against his own post from a dipping Tom Carroll free kick as the visitors screened the play well through skipper Jonny Evans and his centre back partner Yacob across the 18 yard box.

Bony’s opportunities were restricted despite midfielders Carroll, Ki and Roque Mesa enterprising combinations  with Dyer and full back Martin Olsson getting behind the opposition defence through the outside channels, where Sam Field collected a yellow card after 35 minutes as he tried to disrupt the inter play.

Centre half Alfie Mawson squandered a great opportunity to head an opening goal when he found space six yards out with seven minutes remaining before Swansea came out for the second half on the front foot.

Bony managed to break the defensive shackles on him with a strong and direct run but pulled a driven shot wide of the post, which added to the derisory tally of 27 shots on target this season for his side, the worst across any of the major European leagues.

Clement’s introduction of Jordan Ayew after 54 minutes for Wayne Routledge injected more spirit and it created opportunities to test Foster, from which Bony drew heart to become an influential figure on the game as the Baggies eventually wilted under the pressure and conceded the only goal.

Tammy Abraham should have sealed the victory in injury time when he was worked free to stride beyond the covering defenders only to wrench his effort wide when one on one with Foster, an effort which the eighteenth created in the match, but only three were on target.

Mesa picked up a second half yellow card as did Carroll before he was replaced by Luciano Narsingh, with Evans and substitute Chris Brunt for the Albion, alongside Welsh striker Hal Robson Kanu as he berated referee Dean on his way off the field to be replaced just before the goal, by Oliver Burke.

The crowd of 19,590 greeted the final whistle knowing they find themselves a point adrift Alan Pardew’s side who hover one place outside the relegation places; two wins would catapult Swansea to mid-table, which would be a welcome festive tonic as the January transfer window opens, allowing Clement an opportunity to re-inforce his squad which for most of this season has looked short on the quality required for survival in the Premier League.

Their first win since October was certainly scrappy where the immaculately dressed Clements’ initial reaction to Bony’s strike was to dance down the touchline coupled with a huge sigh of relief to go with his elation.

His bold offensive substitutions achieved the result he required as unbeaten table toppers Manchester City visit on Wednesday evening to fully test Clements’ skills and aptitude as a focused and thoughtful tactician.

The roadshow then heads to Goodison Park to take on an Everton side themselves on a run of four unbeaten games since former England supremo Sam Allardyce took the reins before fellow relegation rivals Crystal Palace arrive at the Liberty for a key Yuletide fixture on Saturday (Dec 23).

Swansea head on the road after Christmas, firstly again to Merseyside to face Liverpool at Anfield on  Boxing Day and Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday (Dec 30) before hosting Tottenham Hotspur at home on Saturday (Jan 2).

Clement and his side will take confidence from Saturday’s victory which has eased the pressure in the cauldron after Club owners Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien afforded Clement their ‘public support’.

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