Penybont FC manager Rhys Griffiths. Pic: Penybont FC.

Rhys Griffiths Heading Up Penybont Title Bid Again

Former Cardiff City defenders Martyn Giles and Gethin Jones have joined forces at Welsh League Penybont.

Former Llanelli Town and Plymouth Argyle goals ace Rhys Griffiths is the Penybont manager, while Cardiff-born Giles is his assistant.

The experienced Jones will have a key role at the heart of defence.

Griffiths, who scored 269 Welsh Premier League goals and won the Golden Boot seven times, is working to build a team capable of making a sustained challenge for First Division honours.

Penybont finished runners-up to title winners Barry Town United last season, five points behind champions who have been promoted to the Welsh Premier League.

Griffiths was named manager of the month for April when his team won all seven matches played and finished strongly in 2016-17, moving ahead of Goytre and Haverfordwest County.

Now the Bridgend-based club are looking to go one better in 2017-18.

Jones, who celebrates his 36th birthday on Tuesday, has played for his home town club Carmarthen plus Cardiff City, Merthyr Town, Bath City, Port Talbot Town and Cirencester Town.

He won the Southern League Premier Division with Bath in 2007 and was in part of their team who won promotion to the Vanarama National League via play-offs playoffs three years later.

Jones made six first team appearances for the Bluebirds, playing in two 7-1 wins, against Rushden at home and Oldham away.

Teenager Bradley Flay, an attacking midfield player who has had spells with Wrexham, Cardiff City and Newport County, has also joined Penybont.

Swansea-Born Liam Walsh, 21, is another arrival at the Kymco Stadium.

Port Talbot Town have signed Lee Baldock and Mike Hartley from Barry Town United, who have been promoted to the Welsh Premier League. Both were in the Barry squad who won Welsh League Division One last season.

Centre-half Cortez Belle, who played in the Football League for Chester City during 2004-05, has also signed for Port Talbot. He has had spells at Newport County, Merthyr Town, Llanelli, Carmarthen and Chippenham Town.

Former Cardiff City defender Lee Phillips is in charge at Ton Pentre, having led the Rhondda Bulldogs to 12th place in Division One last season.

When Phillips was appointed early in 2015 he said: “When I was young Ton Pentre were always the top team in the valleys and South Wales.

“I played at Ynys Park a couple of times when I was playing professional football for Barry Town. The atmosphere was excellent and Ton Pentre were one of the biggest names in Welsh non-League football.

“My aim is to bring back the days when Ton had hundreds of fans watching them.”

Phillips played for Cardiff, making his debut at the age of 17, Barry, Forest Green Rovers, Newport County, Llanelli and Carmarthen Town. His first job in management was with Cynon Valley club Aberdare Town.

Corey Shephard is back with Ton Pentre, having joined them from Newport County a year ago. He played for the first team and Ton’s youth team, who won their league title.

Phillips has also signed experienced striker Huw Bowtell from Cambrian and Clydach plus local defender Josh Hardy, who has moved from Ton and Gelli BC.

Hardy is from Ton Pentre and has been a lifelong Bulldogs fan.

Other arrivals at the club for 2017-18 are former Cardiff Met University winger Nathan Facey (from Merthyr Saints), goalkeeper Ryan Griffiths (from Pontypridd Town) and 19-year-old striker Josh Toomey (from Merthyr Town).

Ton Pentre won 5-1 against newly-promoted Welsh League Swansea University in a pre-season fixture. The scorers were Sam Small (2), Huw Bowtell, Leon Jacka and Matthew Smith.

Ton completed their preparations for the new season with a 2-1 win at Southern League Paulton Rovers.

Jacka scored first for the Rhondda Bulldogs, scoring from a free-kick when he lifted his shot over the wall and into goal.

Thomas Davies, Hardy and goalkeeper Ryan Griffiths all stood out for Ton in defence when Paulton went in search of an equaliser.

Jacka and Bowtell combined to set up a half chance for Adam Lewis, who went past two defenders before scoring.

Joe Guest pulled a goal back following a corner, but the visitors saw out the match to earn a creditable victory.

Ton Pentre (v Paulton): Ryan Griffiths, Steve Williams, Gavin Morris, Josh Hardy, Tom Davies (capt), James Dury, Adam Lewis, Andre Griffiths, Huw Bowtell, Leon Jacka, Nathan Facey. Subs: Corey Shepherd, Matthew Smith, Josh Toomey, Tom Randel, Keiron Bassett, Cameron Thomas, Sam Small.

Ton Pentre go to Cwmbran Celtic for their first Welsh League Division One fixture on Saturday (2.30pm).

Welsh League fixtures in August:

Division One 

August

Friday 11: Afan Lido v Goytre United (7.30pm), Llanelli Town v Taffs Well (7.45pm).

Saturday 12: Cwmamman United v Briton Ferry Llansawel (2.30pm), Cwmbran Celtic v Ton Pentre (2.30pm), Goitre v Cerau Ely (2.30pm), Penybont v Monmouth Town (2.30), Port Talbot Town v Haverfordwest County (2.30pm), Undy Athletic v Cambrian and Clydach.

Saturday 19: Caerau Ely v Afan Lido (2.30pm), Cambrian and Clydach v Cwmamman United (2.30pm), Haverfordwest County v Cwmbran Celtic (2.30pm), Penybont v Undy Athletic (2.30pm), Taffs Well v Goytre (2.30pm), Ton Pentre v Monmouth Town (2.30pm).

Friday 25: Cwmamman United v Penybont (6.15).

Saturday 26: Cwmbran Celtic v Goytre United (2.30pm), Goytre v Briton Ferry Llansawel (2.30pm), Haverfordwest County v Monmouth Town (2.30pm), Llanelli Town v Cambrian and Clydach (2.30pm), Port Talbot Town v Afan Lido (2.30pm), Taffs Well v Caerau Ely (2.30pm), Undy Athletic v Ton Pentre.

Nathaniel Car Sales League Cup first round: 

Tuesday, August 15: Abergavenny Town v Goytre United (7.30pm), Neauadd Wen v West End (7.30pm),  Penrhiwceiber Rangers v Monmouth Town (6.30pm), Pontardawe Town v Ton Pentre (6.30pm), ), Port Talbot Town v Ely Rangers (7.30pm),Treharris Athletic Western v Cambrian and Clydach (6.30pm), Treowen Stars v AFC Llwydcoed (6.30pm), Trethomas Bluebirds v Swansea University FC (7pm), Ynysgerwn v Panteg (7.40pm).

Wednesday, August 16: Caldicot Town v Bridgend Street (7pm), Croesyceiliog v Chepstow Town (6.30pm), Cwmamman United v Goytre (6.30pm), Llantwit Major v Garden Village (6.30pm), Pontyclun v Pontypridd Ton (6.30pm), Taffs Well v Dinas Powys (7.15pm), Tredegar Town v Haverfordwest County (6.30pm).

Tuesday, August 22: STM Sports v Undy Athletic (6.30pm).

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