Tuesday 25th August 6.15pm
Welsh National League Premier Division
Llay Welfare 2 Penycae 6 ht: 2-1 att: 46 (hc)
from The Ring
Free and No prog
This was the last week of the early kick offs in most of the county leagues and minor Welsh leagues. I had to get one in, before the nights starting drawing in, with only floodlit football an option. I forgot Wales was an option until now, having been to GPSO the previous week. However, despite only having five English grounds left at less than 50 miles, there’s a futher 14 in the Welsh National League, with Borras Park Albion the only one coming in at under 40. Llay was 42.9.
Llay is a coal mining village near Wrexham. The building that fronts their cricket and football grounds – the Llay Miners Institute, was the largest such building in the country when it was built in 1931. At one time Llay Deep Pit was the largest colliery in Wales, and after 1952 was the deepest pit in the UK. The football club emerged at around the same time as the construction of the Institute.
Their full title is Llay Miners Welfare; they were founded in 1930-31. They won their only league title in 1962/63 – the Welsh National League, same as the one they’re still in. Their best finish in the Welsh Cup was the 6th round in 1936/37, when they lost to that famous Welsh team, Crewe Alexandra. They did beat another Welsh giant in the 3rd round though – Hereford United.
Their Ring ground, so called as it sits within the Llay cricket club grounds, was until recently, fairly basic. They now boast no less than three stands, a small 30 odd seater next to a similar sized structure for standing spectators. Then behind one goal is a longer covered terrace. The views out behind the other end are typically Welsh; a backdrop of rolling hills.
Llay had got off to a bad start to the season conceding an average of five goals per game. Their opponents Penycae had recently played at Cymru Alliance level for several seasons (although their Afoneitha Road ground is less developed than Llay’s). They were in mid-table.
Penycae took an early lead through a header off a corner back across the goal. A defensive mix up let Llay back into it and then a piece of individual skill on the edge of the area followed by a curled shot into the far corner gave Llay a deserved 2-1 lead.
In the second half Penycae moved up a gear and scored five goals. A couple of defence splitting passes, bad defending and good finishing contributed to Llay’s downfall after it was looking so good for them at half time.
It was great early evening entertainment. I was a bit confused by their season ticket prices – £25…but only £1 a game. How many home games?!