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Captain Bony calms the ship



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’.


Goodwick set up Liberty final



GOODWICK United made it through to the West Wales Cup Final as they beat Carew 4-0 at the Bridge Meadow in Haverfordwest on Tuesday night (Mar 20).

It was a cold evening but that didn’t stop the fans turning out and a good number gathered to watch the game.

Two goals in the first five minutes from Matty Delaney set the Pheonix Boys on their way and a third before half time from brother Scott Delaney all but sealed their passage into the final.

Carew had been down by the same scoreline in the Senior Cup Semi-final just a few weeks ago and made a stirring second half comeback before being beaten 4-2. There was to be no repeat this time however, as a fourth goal from Adam Raymond all but ended any hopes the Rooks had of reaching the final.

It could have been a much different story as Sam Christopher’s shot went agonisingly wide of the post with only ten seconds on the clock.

But, with three minutes gone, the ball dropped kindly on the edge of the box for Matty Delaney and he volleyed the ball into the left hand corner of the goal to make it 1-0.

Just two minutes later they doubled their lead as Delaney again got ahead of the defenders to slide the ball home.

Johnny Horgan then did well to keep the ball in and set up a chance for Lee Hudgell but he sent his effort over the bar.

Chris O’Sullivan also saw a shot deflected wide as Goodwick continued to put the pressure on.

With just under half an hour gone O’Sullivan took a quick free kick which found Horgan on the edge of the box but his fierce drive was well tipped over by Carew keeper Tom Davies.

Three minutes later it was 3-0 as a scramble on the byline saw the ball squared into the box for Scott Delaney to knock into the roof of the net.

That all but ended Carew’s hopes of reaching the final as Goodwick saw out the remainder of the half and went in at the break with a comfortable lead.

Carew started the second half well and Scott Ferney saw an effort go over the bar before Alex Bayley and Jack Christopher both saw efforts saved by Goodwick keeper James Gwilt.

With twenty minutes to go Goodwick scored their fourth as the ball was tapped home by Adam Raymond.

They still went in search of more goals as Carew keeper Davies tipped an effort round the post before Matty Delaney shot over as he looked for his hat trick.

Jordan Griffiths also shot wide late on but it mattered little as the referee brought the game to a close meaning Goodwick had reached the final having last done in 2016.

They won the final on that occasion and they will be hoping they can repeat that feat once more.

A date for the final has not yet been set but Goodwick will play the winners of the tie between Bwlch and Penlan Club.

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P1 SuperStock World Champions Honoured in Monaco



TWELVE months ago, Sam and Daisy Coleman arrived back at Heathrow on an Air India flight and the customs officer asked if they had anything to declare. “We certainly have” replied Daisy excitedly. “We’re world champions!” To reinforce the point, Sam reached into his holdall and pulled out an impressive trophy.

A week earlier the brother and sister, who were the reigning P1 SuperStock UK champions, had left their home in Pembrokeshire to fly to Mumbai to join powerboat racers from eight counties to compete in the inaugural UIM P1 SuperStock World Championship.

This weekend they travelled to Monaco, along with other 2017 UIM world champions of offshore and circuit racing, to receive their accolade at the annual UIM Awards Giving Gala at the Salle des Etoiles, Sporting Monte-Carlo.

The event celebrates the best ravers and successes of last season and is attended by more than 450 guests from sport, business, the boating industry and international media.

As they awaited the afternoon press conference, Sam and Daisy’s thoughts went back to the event in Mumbai last year that was the culmination of six years developing a new paradigm for the best P1 SuperStock racers in the world in a superb setting.

Tens of thousands of spectators around the natural amphitheatre of Mumbai’s splendid, sweeping bay, together with millions of live viewers worldwide of Sony ESPN’s live television coverage, enjoyed by three days of intense racing as Powerboat P1 made its first visit to India.

Sam and Daisy completed a clean sweep of victories on the opening day and were applauded by the international media core as they entered the evening press conference.

They attributed their success to fitness, setting consistent lap times and detailed race preparation. “It was a very technical course and essential to seek out clear water and choose the right line when you’re racing in a pack of 12 boats on a never-seen-before race track on water formed by an extraordinary 6,500 red and yellow buoys” explained Daisy. “Selecting when to take the compulsory pit lap was also crucial” she added.

The finale to the weekend in Mumbai was an energy-sapping 50-minute race in a temperature of 35 degrees, and the Coleman’s again recorded a hat-trick of victories to lift the world championship crown.

“We’re honoured to be here in Monte-Carlo to collect our award” said Sam as he entered the Salle des Etoiles with his sister. “The exceptional success of the inaugural Mumbai event shows that powerboat racing can be a thrilling sport that is capable of engaging sizeable new audiences.”

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West Wales Cup Semi-final preview: Goodwick United v Carew



TONIGHT sees Goodwick United take on Carew for a place in the West Wales Cup Final at the Bridge Meadow in Haverfordwest.

Goodwick reached the final in 2016 and went on to win it so they know what it takes to make it.

Carew last reached the semi-finals of this competition in 1972 but were beaten on that occasion and they will be hoping they can go one better this time around.

A date at the Liberty Stadium awaits either side so both will be keen to create a little bit of history when they step out onto the pitch tonight.

Goodwick reached the semi-final on Saturday (Mar 17) as they beat Swansea side Ystradgynlais 2-0 thanks to goals from Jordan Griffiths and Matty Delaney.

They also beat Ystradgynlais on their route to the final in 2016 so they will be hoping history can repeat itself this year.

The Pheonix Boys overcame Hakin United in round 4 as they came out on top with a 4-3 win in what was a thrilling encounter.

They beat CRC Rangers 3-0 in the third round, Kilvey Fords by the same score line in the second after easing to a 7-0 win over St Clears in the first round.

Carew also proved that west was best in their Quarter-final as they beat Giants Grave 5-2 the previous Saturday (Mar 10).

The Rooks disposed of Bonymaen Colts in the fourth round with a 2-0 win away from home after beating Carmarthenshire side Evans & Williams 5-0 in round three.

In the second round Carew won 4-1 away to Glynneath Town following a 5-1 win over North End in the first round.

Carew also warmed up well for the semi-final as they rested players but still came away with a 4-1 win at home to Narberth with Scott Ferney scoring a hat trick.

The Rooks will be hoping for a better showing at the Bridge Meadow this time around having been beaten 4-2 by Hakin in the Senior Cup Semi-final just a few weeks ago.

The sides have met once already this season with Goodwick coming out on top with a 3-1 win at Pheonix Park.

Whatever happens, tonight’s game is sure to be another epic battle so make sure you get down to the Bridge Meadow for a 7:30pm kick off.

Good luck to both sides.

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