Latham Park, Newtown.

Cardiff-Based STM Face North Walians Cefn Albion In First FAW Trophy Semi-Final At Newtown’s Latham Park

dai-sport are covering both of today’s FAW Trophy semi-finals. Terry Phillips is at Latham Park, Newtown and match reports will be posted after each tie. 

Dale Gardiner, a close pal of former Wales and Cardiff City striker Craig Bellamy, is on a football mission in mid-Wales today.

Player/manager Gardiner’s STM Sports team, who are based in Llanrumney and play in the Welsh League, play Cefn Albion, a team from Cefn Mawr, near Wrexham, in the FAW Trophy semi-final at Latham Park, Newtown (1pm kick-off).

That clash is followed by Pontardawe Town against Anglesey club Bodedern in the second semi-final at the same venue (4.30pm).

Gardiner, who was sponsored by Bellamy during his playing days, is in charge of an STM team pushing for promotion to tier two in the Welsh League.

They qualified for the semi-final with a 2-1 win against Penydarren BGC and Gardiner says: “We really are a small club run by very few people who all work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the players get what they need come matchday

“If anyone deserves a good day out it’s these people, who the players and I are really grateful for. These days don’t come along very often for clubs like us and we are all aiming to make a great day of it.

“It’s a fantastic achievement for this club with such a short history to reach an FAW Trophy semi final the first time.”

“I can feel the excitement around the club.”

The guys behind the scenes have been working so hard off the field to progress this club and let’s not forget how well the players on the field have performed to get us here. Everyone at the club deserves this day for sure.”

Sports were formed just over a decade ago and Gardiner said: “I am treating this semi-final as the most important game for the club.

“The timing is right for this group to achieve something, whether that be promotion or winning the FAW Trophy. Either would be a remarkable achievement for STM Sports. 

“We can only keep pushing and working hard in the hope it pays off.”

Cefn Albion are in the lower half of the Wales National League (Wrexham Area) and manager Steve Davies, who won the FAW Trophy with Cefn United as a player, says: “We like to get the ball down and play football. The way we play is without doubt our main strength.

“Reaching the semi-final is brilliant for the club and our community as a whole.

“We get fantastic support from the village and we will have plenty of support to add to the occasion.”

The semi-final action at Latham Park, Newtown continues at 4.30pm when Welsh League Pontardawe Town, playing in this competition for the first time, take on Bodedern Athletic.

Ricky Williams, manager of Anglesey-based Bodedern, who play in the Gwynedd League, says: “I couldn’t have been prouder of the lads after our win against Llangefni.

“Not many people gave us a chance of winning there, but we stuck to our game plan and believed in ourselves. 

“Ryan Taylor came up with the all important goal to send us through, but it was a real team effort.”

Pontardawe go into the semi-final again nasty Bodedern off the back of a 4-2 win against Welsh League Division Four leaders Monmouth Town.

Four first half goals shocked Monmouth and Pontardawe could have scored more. Josh Dorward (2), Liam Griffiths and Kurtis Rees scored the Pontardawe goals.

Dorward almost completed his hat-trick, but was denied by a brilliant save, while Tom Blizzard thought he had scored only for his effort to be disallowed for offside.

Blizzard netted with a brilliant lob from 25 yards and Pontardawe players felt a goal should have been awarded.

Monmouth pulled two goals back in the second half, but went down 4-2.

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