2016 Year in Review
2016, so close but so far for St Athan Football Club. The club narrowly missed out on the league title by two points and now sit second in the table in the current season. But by no means can 2016 be deemed a failure. The club has come along way, having built a reliable and able squad full of quality, capable of challenging for honours.
As another year comes to a close we look back at the last twelve months of football from both the first team and the seconds.
The year started off like many others, cold and wet. Almost the first two months of the year called off but finally the weather imposed winter break was ended on the last weekend of Februry, as Saints were held away by Barry Athletic, while the seconds were well beaten 6-2 by Knap FC, Josh Howells and Josh Morgan, the latter pushing for a first team call up that would soon arrive.
March saw St Athan knocked out of the ASRS Cup by Cowbridge on penalties with the seconds eliminated from the Dockers Cup too. But it was in the league where the club found the most joy. The second team embarked on a 5 match unbeaten streak with a draw against Barry Athletic B and a 3-2 win over Penarth B.
The first team hammered Penarth Town 9-1 before a tremendous effort saw them edge old rivals Wenvoe 1-0 away, Jordan Mortimore heading the winner, the result sent Saints 7 points clear of their rivals, however there were games in hand for both Wenvoe and Cardiff Airport.
April saw a mix of joy and eventual heartbreak for the club. The seconds won and drew their two fixtures with Josh Morgan’s performances earning himself a call up to the first team. That call up came in the biggest game of the season away in mid week to Cardiff Airport. Saints grabbed a point thanks to Mortimore’s late leveller and the league was in their hands.
They were to host Airport ten days later, in-between Morgan got a hat trick in a 3-1 win over SP Construction. However, Airport steam rolled Saints 5-0 to displace them at the top of the league and went on to claim a second successive title.
Saints licked their wounds and finished the season strongly with a 6-0 and 7-0 win over Island Marine and Masons Moving Group respectively in May.
Mortimore finished the season as top scorer and as player of the year with James Austin bagging managers’ player. Josh Morgan got both seconds player and managers player of the year.
The new season brought renewed optimism. Cardiff Airport had been promoted and old rivals Wenvoe had folded under their disappointment. But a new rival reared their head in the shape of newly promoted Vale United.
St Athan brought in new signings Karl Steel, Mark Drysdale and Josh Harfoot and started the season as early so called favourites by many within the league, but title aspirations were dealt an early blow as Vale United won round one 4-2.
Saints kept in touch with the early pacesetters with results most notably over Rhoose, Cowbridge and Barry Athletic. But Vale keep on winning and having not dropped points.
Meanwhile, the seconds saw their form ebb and flow, three game winning runs would be derailed before getting back on track for more undefeated streaks. This form sees the seconds in sixth position but with ambitions of a top four finish.
Vale Utd struck a second blow to the first team by dumping them out of the Barry Cup in the quarter finals.
In the SWFA Intermediate Cup Saints found a good cup run, dispatching Tongywnlais and Treorchy BC to be the last remaining Vale league club and set up February clash with old foes Cardiff Airport now of the SWFA Alliance League.
St Athan ended the year with a draw to Cowbridge and a loss to Rhoose. The results see Saints five points off Vale Utd at the top.
Despite the year ending on a sour note, the club can be proud of their endeavours in 2016, the club has come on leaps and bounds and came within two points of winning the league title.
Are St Athan’s league ambitions down and out as 2017 is seen in the horizon? Like all good stories, you got to go there to come back. Here’s to the comeback in 2017, it’s all to play for.
We’d like to thank our sponsors, Owens Motor Services, Llandow, Diving & Marine Engineering, Green Future Landscaping, Llantwit Valet & Car Wash and The Four Bells in St Athan.
Many thanks to everyone who came out to support us during the year, thanks to the management for their hard work and of course thanks to the players for their endeavours the cause.