FC Cefn 4 Corwen 2

Saturday 12th May 2012
FC Cefn 4 Corwen 2
Guy Walmsley & Co Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Premier Division
At: The Muga, Plas Kynaston Field, Plas Kynaston Lane, Cefn Mawr
Kick-off: 2-30 pm
Admission: none; Programme: none
Weather: warm and sunny
Attendance: 140 (headcount)
Duration: first-half: 45:18; second-half: 49:11

FC Cefn, founded as recently as 2006, capped a memorable 2011/12 campaign by gaining more than the point needed to secure the Premier Division title with a game to spare. On a nice warm and sunny afternoon spent at The Muga in the company of Chris Powell, visitors Corwen were determined to spoil the party by twice taking the lead but FC Cefn equalised on both occasions before edging ahead from the penalty spot. The home side wrapped up the win with a fourth goal before Corwen had defender Will Roberts sent off. The League President was on hand at full-time to present the trophy and medals to the champions.

Without heading up to Scotland, travelling down to Wembley Stadium for the FA Carlsberg Trophy Final or dipping into the npower League play-offs, I could only find a handful of other games with something at stake. The one which appealed more than the others was this Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Premier Division game with home side FC Cefn needing to avoid defeat to win the title.

The ‘historic’ village of Cefn Mawr, located off the A483 and A5 around seven miles south of Wrexham, is home to Cymru Alliance side Cefn Druids and also up-and-coming relative newcomers FC Cefn:

FC Cefn were founded in 2006 by Mr Billy Evans, Mr Bill Kempster, Steven Davies and Mark 'Jusso' Jones. The team joined the Welsh National League Division 3 for the 2007/2008 season, playing their home fixtures from Ty-Mawr Park. That season FC Cefn won the Div 3 title by one point from Gwersyllt FC. They were promoted straight to Div 1 and where once again winning the [2008/09] title from Gwersyllt FC, this time by nine points, also winning the Div 1 League Cup, making it a splendid league and cup double. FC Cefn were promoted to the Premier Division. During this season they also changed their home ground and moved to The Mugga Plaskynaston Lane. In their first season in the Premier Division they finished a respectable 11th place and lost to the venture 3-2 in the League Cup Final. Progress continued last season when the finished higher up the table in fifth position (edited website history)

I’ve no idea why the Plas Kynaston Field is known as ‘The Muga’ but I do know that is located immediately south of Cefn Druid’s old ground which has recently been redeveloped into a Tesco store. It is certainly a pleasant place on two levels with the fully-railed-off pitch at the foot of a steep bank down which runs the length of the left-hand side. Trees hide the Wrexham–Shrewsbury railway line running adjacent to the right-hand touchline. However, I couldn’t help noticing the prominent yellow supermarket wall.

FC Cefn (69 points from 28 games) topped the table by three points from Rhydymwyn (66 points from 29 games). Rhydymwyn played their final game this afternoon at home to Venture but, regardless of the outcome of that game, FC Cefn just needed to pick up a point from either of their last two games. But, as someone said to me at the tea bar, they didn’t fancy needing to get a result from their last game against local rivals Chirk AAA if things went wrong this afternoon. Visitors Corwen (35 points from 29 games) occupied 12th position in the 16-team division.

Before kick-off, I was joined by fellow blogger Chris Powell who writes the excellent Damage in the Box. He reminded me that the ground had hosted Aberystwyth Town in the Welsh Cup earlier in the season. FC Cefn lost 6-1 to the Welsh Premier League side in front of a record crowd of around 300.

Corwen (in red shirts, black shorts and red socks), defending the 'yellow wall' end, got the first half underway and caused plenty of problems for the league leaders who, as someone shouted, were “quiet lads”. The visitors went close around the quarter hour mark when Andy Roberts headed over at the same time as the first train of the afternoon hurtled past on the way to Shrewsbury.

FC Cefn goalkeeper Gareth Jones pulled off a superb acrobatic save to keep out a header from Dave Roberts that looked destined for the back of the net.

Concerns amongst the home players and fans (most of whom watched the game from the higher vantage point on top of the slope) significantly increased in the 29th minute when Corwen took the lead. Andy Roberts latched on to a throughball down the right into the area and slotted past the advancing Gareth Jones (photo right).

“We are not working hard enough”.

However, FC Cefn quickly raised their game and equalised seven minutes later. Darren Williams flicked on Nick Williams’s free-kick for Oli Davies to fire home at close range.

“You don’t deserve it. Wake up!”

Corwen goalkeeper Bobby Jones produced a brave save to block a shot from Nick Williams as FC Cefn quickly got forward. Oli Davies also saw a shot blocked by a defender and the teams were locked at 1-1 when the half-time whistle blew.

Told to “enjoy the half”, Corwen made a bright start to the second half and, within 25 seconds of the restart, Gareth Jones kept out a first-time shot from Andy Roberts.

The goalkeeper, however, could do nothing in the 48th minute to keep out a superb lob from Dave Roberts which put Corwen back in front.

Oli Davies thought he’d equalised just before the hour mark, only to see his header chalked off for offside.

FC Cefn equalised for the second time in the 63rd minute. Nick Williams got on the end of a long ball out of defence by James Jones down the right and flicked it past the advancing Bobby Jones into the net.

Not wanting to slip up, the home side started to dominate and Bobby Jones bravely got in the way of a shot inside the area from Paul Griffiths. Darren Williams then crossed to the far post from the right where Nick Williams narrowly missed with a diving header.

The game was played in a really good spirit and it wasn’t until the 78th minute when the first of a couple of late debatable decisions occurred. Bobby Jones, goalkeeper and last defender, collided with Oli Davies inside the area, prompting the referee to award a penalty and only punish the goalkeeper with a yellow card. I think the referee used his discretion to keep Jones on the field where most would have brandished a straight red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity. After Davies received treatment, Nick Williams converted the penalty so that Corwen needed to score twice to stop the title celebrations.

A nice simple goal put the outcome beyond doubt in the 83rd minute. Darren Williams flicked on Sean Jones’ long throw from the right and Lee Jones headed home at the far post. At 4-2, it didn’t now matter what was happening at Rhydymwyn and FC Ceyn didn’t need to get a point from their final game.

In the closing stages, Corwen were forced to substitute goalkeeper Bobby Jones and had defender sent off with a straight red card during the 88th minute on the advice of an Assistant Referee, presumably for something said out of turn. Right at the end, Corwen were awarded a free-kick which Scott Evans fired over the bar and Mr Woodward blew for full-time before the goal kick was taken. FC Cefn had done it!

Shortly before full-time, both myself and Chris noticed a table being prepared for the presentations – a nice way to round off an enjoyable afternoon. The presentation announcer mentioned that Cefn Albion won the Division One title (top division back in 1980/81) and that the fathers of three current FC Cefn players were members of that successful Albion side.

FC Cefn (blue/blue/blue): 1. Gareth Jones, 2. Sean Jones, 3. Sam Roberts, 4. James Jones, 5. Paul Griffiths (capt), 6. Paul Mazzarella, 7. Lee Jones, 8. Darren Williams, 9. Nick Williams, 10. Oli Davies, 11. Andrew Dexter. Subs: 12. Nick Jones (for Lee Jones, 89), 14. Nathan Williams (for Dexter, 62), 15. Alex Williams (for Davies, 89).

Corwen (red/black/red): 1. Bobby Jones, 2. Nathan davies, 3. Sion Hughes, 4. Tommy Davies, 5. Will Roberts, 6. Scott Evans, 7. Cris Davies, 8. Ryan Billington (capt), 9. Andy Roberts, 10. Dave Davies, 11. Dave Roberts. Subs: 12. Hefin Agotz (for Dave Davies, 89), 14gk. Jamie Buddin (for Jones, 84), 15. Neil Brown (not used).

Referee: Mike Woodward.

0-1 Andy Roberts (29)
1-1 Oli Davies (36)
1-2 Dave Roberts (48)
2-2 Nick Williams (63)
3-2 Nick Williams (80 pen)
4-2 Lee Jones (83)

FC Cefn: Paul Griffiths (YC, 90+4)
Corwen: Bobby Jones (YC, 78), Dave Davies (YC, 85), Will Roberts (RC, 88)