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Record-breaking City too strong for Swans

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By Jonathan Twigg

EXPECTATION wasn’t one of those words which was running closely to Swansea’s hearts as the side, rock bottom of the Premier League welcomed table topping Manchester City to the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday (Dec 13), with anything short of a superhuman performance could prevent a landmark fifteenth consecutive win for City.

Swansea had overcome West Bromwich Albion 1-0 in a dour fixture three day before at the same venue and the home side started the game based on a strong defensive organisation, making the swashbuckling City line up look for space between the stoic lines.

Half chances came and were wasted by a jaded visiting offensive unit, perhaps the emotion of the weekends Manchester derby hanging over them?

The Swans had acceded to allowing music in the changing room, a gesture which wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by mercurial leader Pep Guardiola, where Oasis were charged with pumping up the volume.

There was no storm in a tea cup here and the normal football service resumed just before the half hour when Silva ghosted into the penalty area unnoticed to put City on course for that record breaking win, removing the Spurs record which had stood since 1961 to the annals of time, though few will forget the late, great manager Bill Nicholson’s tenure at White Hart Lane.

Ten minutes before half time a Kevin De Bruyne free kick from the left hand corner of the penalty area doubled the lead when he shot through a plethora of bodies to leave Fabianski grasping at thin air.

37 years ago to the day a famous Welsh talisman made his debut for the then league champions Liverpool, at Portman Road, Ipswich and how the all whites could do with such an icon these days.

They have an abundance of effort which was encouraging for the home support, but the difference in quality between the two sides was evident telling its own story in terms of league position.

The mantra instilled through ‘Pep’ allows his side to play with confidence but more importantly without fear which forced errors from a Swansea side guilty at times of sloppy defending.

A sprightlier second half from Swansea came courtesy of Tammy Abraham, the on loan Chelsea striker making an immediate impact off the bench for Tom Carroll, with his pace to worry a normally composed central defensive partnership of Mangala and Otamendi.

The spirt shown didn’t last, with the visiting fans singing ‘glad all over’ to their manager, watching the diminutive Silva slip through from the left hand side of the penalty area to make it 3-0.

Football is to be appreciated, with the movement, skills and desire to work as a team epitomising a side with a willingness to win, for each other but more importantly the team.

City were human, Aguero wasting a gilt edged opportunity when he was clear with a four on two overlap, whilst Ederson made a wonderful reflex save from a deflective shot from Mesa to keep the score line 3-0.

Fabianski was on top form and without him the City would have been home and dry long before Aguero, a man for match winning occasions notably a 2015 championship strike in injury time, drove with determination to leave a wake of several trailing bodies to score a fourth with five minutes remaining.

In contrast Ki Sing-Yeung’s body shape didn’t give him the freedom to pull a consolation goal back for his beleaguered side, who remain bottom of the Premier League, adrift of safety by two points.

The match statistics show the dominance, with nearly five times the number of shots rifling forth under the ‘blue moon’ and each pass greeted with a continuum of ‘ole’.

Swansea have a long way to go in the season where one swallow doesn’t make a summer and the important message for Paul Clement is one of keeping the faith as he has 20,870 loyal backbenchers believing in him.

He takes his side to Merseyside twice in the next 12 days with a dogfight at home against fellow relegation candidates Crystal Palace on Saturday (Dec23) sandwiched between.

They end the year travelling to Vicarage Road to play Watford with the hope they will have gleaned close to eighteen points before Tottenham Hotspur arrive at the Liberty to start the New Year.

Hope reigns eternal that 2018 will be a better one for Swansea as without hope the reliance of Father Christmas bringing some fortune hangs above the managers’ head. Mistletoe, that gift is not where the minimum is a cup of good cheer.

Sport

All Blacks earn third straight win

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NEYLAND sealed their third League win in a row on Saturday (Sept 22) as they beat Llanybydder 22-16 at the Athletic Ground.

It was a closely fought match and the blustery rain and strong wind made conditions difficult for both teams in their attempts to play open rugby.

The home side started well and were rewarded when lively right wing Patrick Bellerby made a strong midfield run to cross for the opening try, converted by fly-half Mark Riley.

Llanybydder then settled, and a good run by centre Arwel Thomas took play deep into the home 22.

Further pressure by the visitors led to two penalties for centre Steff Richards to give a score of 7-6 at the interval.

Neyland controlled possession and territory for most of the second period, with forwards and backs combining well.

Llyr James reaches over to score the last try of the game. Pic. Herald

They were rewarded with two tries for Number 8 Ben Williams and another for replacement hooker Richard Jones as they claimed a bonus point.

However, the visitors, missing a few regulars, responded with a late try for scrum half Llyr James, with an excellent conversion by Richards securing the losing bonus point.

On Saturday (Sept 29), Neyland will look to keep their winning run going when they travel to Cardigan. Llanybydder return to South Pembrokeshire to visit Pembroke Dock Harlequins.

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Super Solva sink Neyland

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SOLVA pulled off one of the shocks of the Senior Cup first round as they beat Division 1 Neyland 4-2 at the Athletic Ground on Saturday (Sept 22).

The game got underway despite persistent rain and it was the hosts who took the lead.

Solva equalised before Neyland took the lead once more, Ben Fairburn and Mike Chandler scoring for the home side.

Shortly before half time Solva equalised to make it 2-2 and it was all to play for in the second half.

Leon Dinmore scored twice while Gonzalez Rocha and Josh Bland also scored as Solva went ahead in the second half.

Neyland looked to hit back but were unable to find a way past the Solva keeper as a couple of long range efforts flew over in the closing stages.

Solva hung on for a deserved win and will now look forward to their second round game away to Pendine.

Neyland return to Division 1 action on Saturday (Sept 29) as they take on Narberth. Solva will look to build on their Cup win as they host Camrose in Division 2.

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Sport

Senior Cup first round preview

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THE first round of the Senior Cup gets underway on Saturday (Sept 22) as the road to the Bridge Meadow begins.

The standout tie of the round sees Cup holders Hakin United taking on Clarbeston Road in a repeat of last season’s final.

Hakin won the final 7-1 and they will be keen to get their defence of the Cup up and running. Clarby have reached the final for the last two seasons and they will also be looking to get through to the next round.

There is a local derby on offer in Fishguard as they welcome former Senior Cup winners Goodwick United.

Both teams have made excellent starts to their respective seasons and something will have to give for one of these teams to go through.

Keegan Summers and Steve Lewis have both scored seven times for Fishguard and Goodwick will have to keep these two quiet. Jordan Griffiths has also started the season in fine form with eight goals and he will provide the main threat to their rivals.

Division 5 newcomers Newport Tigers will have their first taste of Senior Cup football on Saturday as they travel to Division 1 side Narberth.

Narberth have not won in their opening five games and will be looking to kick start their season with a cup win.

Newport have played three times so far winning just once but they will be keen to cause an upset.

Another side that has had a tough start in Division 1 is Lamphey and they host Division 2 side Letterston who have also made a slow start with just one win from their first five games.

Action from the Senior Cup game between Merlins Bridge and Solva last season

Merlins Bridge have made an unbeaten start to the season with three wins and a draw in their first four games and they will be looking to avoid an upset against Division 4 leaders Cosheston.

Cosheston are also unbeaten and have scored over three goals in each of their three games so far and the Wizards will need to be wary of the threat posed by their opponents.

Division 2 leaders Johnston are at home as they welcome Carew in what should be an excellent game.

Johnston’s Scott Crawford and Ryan Doyle, with nine and seven goals respectively, have started the season in excellent form and they will be hoping they can cause an upset.

Carew had been unbeaten until their loss to St Clears last Saturday and they will be keen to bounce back from that result with a win in the cup.

Neyland earned their first win of the season on Saturday as they beat Milford and they will be looking to back that up as they take on Division 2 Solva.

Solva have made a steady start to their season with two wins and a draw from their opening five games but they also won in their last game on Saturday as they beat Lawrenny 3-2.

Milford v Saundersfoot from last season

Milford United are away to fellow Division 1 side Saundersfoot Sports in a repeat of last season’s first round game which the Sports won at Marble Hall.

Hundleton beat Monkton Swifts in the first round last year and they have a home game against Milford Athletic.

Both sides have made a slow start to the season and will be eager to get their season up and running with a cup win.

Camrose are at home as they take on Pembroke Boro who are yet to lose in Division 3 so far this season.

Llangwm/H’west CC take on Herbrandston while Pendine are at home to Prendergast Villa.

St Clears host Kilgetty and St Ishmaels are at home as they take on Monkton Swifts. James Russell and Dylan Davies have started the season on fire scoring 19 goals between them and Tish will do well to stop them.

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