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Fifty four year dream of FA Cup glory remains for Swans

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By Jonathan Twigg

SWANSEA City continued their Emirates FA Cup run on Tuesday (Feb 27) when they defeated Sheffield Wednesday 2-0, progressing to the Quarter Final stage for the first time since 1964 thanks to goals from substitute striker Jordan Ayew and winger Nathan Dyer.

The Owls were also defeated in that nostalgic cup run at Hillsborough, as were footballing giants Liverpool at Anfield and Stoke City, before the Swans succumbed to Preston North End in the Semi Final at Villa Park.

This game at the Liberty Stadium saw the home fans in the crowd of 8198 warmed not only by the result but also the gesture of the club offering free hot drinks to warm the cockles of their heart on a Baltic night.

Manager Carlos Carvalhal was at his unequivocal best post-match against a side to whom his endearment is visible, despite their parting of ways in December, as he looked with positivity towards the remaining three months of the season.

It took 20 minutes to create an opportunity as players were content to play the ball across the pitch as opposed to taking the game to the opposition, Ki and Carroll combing from a free kick, which kick-started a purple patch for the Swans in terms of possession, to no avail as Nordfelt in goal made a double save with fifteen minutes of the half remaining.

Clucas made an acrobatic attempt to open the scoring when perhaps a simple header back across goal may have put Abraham in, as the on loan Chelsea striker nearly manufactured an opening for Dyer, making his three hundred and second appearance for the whites.

Ki had the penultimate offering for a breakthrough in an uninspiring half, departing at half time as Carvalhal boldly changed personnel with Martin Olsson and Jordan Ayew appearing, their impact immediate in upping the tempo of play in the twenty ninth meeting between the two sides.

Ten minutes into the half the stalemate was broken, Carroll driving forward hit a rasping drive from edge of the box, hitting both posts for the ball to skew into Ayew’s path for a tap in from ten yards, the Wednesday defence looking at sixes and sevens since the Ghanaian’s arrival.

Ayew’s ninth goal of the season had also ignited Abraham, his a sixty first minute shot saved by Pope before six foot six inch Kosovan Atdhe Nuhiu made an appearance.

Wednesday may have reached the final on five occasions, the last in 1997 and lifted the prestigious trophy three times lacked any fruitful response, where cup football is all about putting the ball in the net, which Swansea did and kept a pleasing clean sheet, as Van De Hoorn was dominant at the back alongside youngster Cameron Roberts.

The second and decisive goal came from Dyer after Abraham set him up with a slick through ball and the winger nutmegged Pope from ten yards out, his final action of the night as fans favourite Leon Britton returned to action for the first time in 2018.

Ayew had an opportunity to add to the Swans tally of thirteen goals in the cup campaign with two minutes of referees Stuart Attwell’s watch remaining, Carvalhal immediately turning his focus to a crucial Premier League encounter on Saturday (Mar 3) when West Ham United visit the Liberty Stadium with just three points separating the sides in the battle for survival in the Premier League.

Unlike Greenfield FC player coach Keith Ainsworth, who was goaded into brandishing a pitchfork in the dugout of their game at Barmouth last weekend, Carvalhal can wallow safe in the knowledge he has the support of the Jack Army as he fulfils both his and their dreams of being happy, one win from Wembley and Tottenham Hotspur the visitors on Saturday (Mar 17) for the Quarter Final tie.

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Bluebirds prepare for Pontypridd test

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HAVERFORDWEST County will be looking to progress to the next round of the JD Welsh Cup on Saturday (Dec 8), when they welcome Pontypridd Town to the Bridge Meadow.

The Bluebirds enjoyed a thrilling 4-3 win against Swansea University in the last round having previously beaten STM Sports 2-1 away from home in the first round.

They currently sit third in Welsh League Division 1 with seven wins from their ten games so far this season.

They will also be looking for another cup run having already reached the fourth round of the League Cup.

Visitors Pontypridd also enjoyed a thrilling 6-3 win in their second round game with Goytre and they also won 2-1 away from home against Llanidloes Town in the first round.

They may sit second from bottom in Division 1 of the Welsh Leagues but their cup run has shown that they should not be underestimated.

The game is a repeat of the third round tie from last year which Pontypridd won 3-1 and the Bluebirds will be looking to avenge that defeat.

This is the Bluebirds’ only home game in December so make sure you get down to the Bridge Meadow to show your support.

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Sport

Bowen wins Young Sportsman of the Year

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WELSH jockey, James Bowen, 17, has won the Carwyn James Young Sportsman of the Year Award at the Wales Sports Awards on Tuesday, December 4, at The Celtic Manor.

The Awards which are an annual amalgamation of BBC Cymru Wales and Sports Wales to make the biggest Welsh Sporting celebration of the year, it is intended to showcase the best of both elite and grassroot level of sporting achievement.

Speaking to James on his award he said: “It came as a bit of a shock to me, I didn’t realise I had done that well this year”.

Bowen, who has been racing for the past 18 months, at just 16 became the youngest rider to win the Coral Welsh Grand National in 2018 on Raz De Maree. He is no stranger when it comes to awards, recently collecting the Rising Star Award at the inaugural Welsh Horse Racing Awards at Chepstow Racecourse.

On his Rising Star Award James said: “It was exciting to win this award as it’s the first time these awards have been done at the racecourse”.

On his recent career highlights James added: “I would like to thank everybody who has worked with me over the years, and all the trainers who have helped me get here.”

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A celebration of sport

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INSPIRATIONAL achievements in sport by were celebrated in the prestigious Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2018 on Friday evening.

Fourteen award-winners were announced in a variety of categories, together with the winners of two special awards – the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Special Achievement Award.

Now in its 12th year, the gala ceremony at Folly Farm was hosted by sports journalist Bill Carne and Cllr Huw George and organised by Sport Pembrokeshire, the sport development team at Pembrokeshire County Council.

The event was sponsored by Valero, Sport Pembrokeshire, Western Telegraph, Radio Pembrokeshire and Folly Farm.

The Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Peter and Karen Bowen described by Geoff Williams, Head of Sport at BBC Wales, as a couple ‘at the forefront of British horse racing’.

Presenting them with their award, he said: “Peter and Karen Bowen have transformed a bungalow and a few fields into one of the best yards in the United Kingdom. Their complex at Letterston now boasts over seventy boxes and state-of-the-art all weather facilities.

“But team Bowen is very much a family outfit. Karen was no stranger to the show ring, and is a former champion point-to-pointer. Eldest son Mickey has built a reputation as a successful point-to-point trainer; and Sean and James are both professional jockeys. James became the youngest ever winner of the Welsh Grand National this year, aged just 16.

“They achieved a clean sweep at the recent inaugural Welsh Racing Awards – when Peter won the Welsh Trainer of the Year award; Sean picked up the Welsh Jockey of the Year award and James was honoured as the Rising Star of the Year.

“Incredibly, the stable is now on the verge of achieving a thousand winners.”

The Special Achievement Award, presented by the Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, was presented to 27-year-old footballer Kristian Speake from Crundale.

“The Award is given to a sportsman or woman who has overcome great adversity – and tonight’s winner is certainly no exception,” said Cllr Aden Brinn, Chairman.

“Kristian played for Haverfordwest AFC until last February when he was grievously injured in an incident in the town which resulted in a serious injury to his skull.

“He was in a coma for 24 days in the intensive care unit at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff before being placed on a neurological ward for several weeks.

“Kristian then spent a further six weeks in a special unit in Port Talbot where he underwent extensive physical and cognitive rehabilitation. During this time, he had three eye operations as well as brain surgery in which surgeons fitted a titanium plate in the right side of his head.

“However, there is a happy ending. Though his determination and the support of his family and friends, Kristian has made a miraculous recovery and completed the Cardiff half marathon in October, raising money for the Cardiff and Vale Health Charity as a thank you to all the medical staff involved in his treatment.”

Ben Field, manager of Sport Pembrokeshire, congratulated all the winners, finalists and nominees, and said he was very grateful to the sponsors for their support.

“We received more nominations than ever before this year – 192 – which is a brilliant reflection on how sport is growing and thriving across the county,” he said.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Sport, Leisure and Culture, added his congratulations and said: “The Sports Awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise the amazing achievements of sportspeople across Pembrokeshire, and the very hard work that takes place behind the scenes.

Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2018 – Winners

Coach of the Year

Simon Roach (Weightlifting)

Female Sporting Achievement

Caryl Jones (Athletics)

Male Sporting Achievement

Seth Morris (Surfing)

Boys (U16) Sporting Achievement

Alex O’Sullivan (Boxing)

Girls (U16) Sporting Achievement

Ella Wintle (Athletics)

Disability Sport Award

Ryan Foot (Rugby)

Junior (U16) Disability Sport Award

Lily Rice (WCMX – Wheelchair Motocross)

Unsung Hero

William McGarvie (Neyland Judo Club)

Club Organiser of the Year

Kathy Hicks (Narberth Netball Club)

Team Achievement of the Year

Neyland Cricket Club 1st XI 2017/2018

Junior (U16) Team Achievement of the Year

Sir Thomas Picton Inclusive Zone Basketball Team 2018

Contribution to School Sport award

Alfie Wheeler (Haverfordwest High VC School)

Student Contribution to School Sport award

Nichola Hayton (Platinum Young Ambassador)

Club of the Year

Strength Academy Wales

Lifetime Achievement Award

Peter and Karen Bowen (Horse racing)

Chairman’s Special Achievement Award

Kristian Speake (Football)

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