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Trethomas Bluebirds Feature

The champagne bottles may have long been emptied but Trethomas Bluebirds will be hoping the drops that soaked the boots of Levi Rees can work some more magic this weekend.

Rees was the goalscoring hero for the Ardal League club last week when they knocked JD Cymru Premier club Haverfordwest out of the JD Welsh Cup, 2-1.

It was a notable win for a club not short on ambition. Not only do the Ystrad Mynach-based outfit have desires to one day make it to the Cymru Premier themselves, but they aim to grow their fan-base as a community-serving club, just north of Caerphilly.

This week, they are back to the bread-and-butter of the Ardal League South East when they host Goytre at the same venue as their Cup heroics.

Manager Mark Dunford – a team lead occupational health physiotherapist in Cardff and Vale University Health Board – is hoping to get his squad tuned in as perfectly as they were seven days before.

“We really believed we could win the game against Haverfordwest,” says Dunford, who once had a spell at Goytre during his time as a player which included a number of other clubs across South Wales.

“We marketed it well and there was plenty of impressive social media, but as manager I had to concentrate purely on the football.

“We had a massive amount of nervous energy before the game, but that was fine because it suggested to me we thought we had a good chance of winning.”

Trethomas came from 1-0 down, a goal scored by Jack Wilson, but the game turned after the pace of Rees led to a panicked sending off suffered by the visitors.

“When they had the sending off, I said to my assistant, ‘that won’t change the game. They will still have most of the possession,’ adds Dunford.

“That was the case but we expected that. On our artificial surface, the pitch was not going to be a leveller by any means, but that was okay as it meant both sides had to keep playing good football.

“Levi had two-and-a half chances and scored two goals. All credit to him.

“We knew we had quality in the team and that it would pay dividends. Haverfordwest were gracious in defeat and they commended our tactics and our workrate on the day.”

The victory for Trethomas – who now meet Penydarren in round two – was made all the sweeter as the Bluebirds included two former Haverfordwest players in their line-up, Bobby Briers and Adam Raymond.

Defender Briers insists the belief in the home side never wavered from the moment they were paired with their illustrious Cymru Premier opponents.

“We genuinely thought we could get a result,” says Briers.

“We did our homework on them and identified a few weaknesses we felt we could exploit. On occasion, we managed to do that.

“We went a goal down which was disappointing, but credit to our boys for sticking together and we got our reward later in the game.

“Levi Rees did really well to take his goals. He’s a good player, with a strong left foot and he’s part of a threatening front line.”

If Trethomas are to threaten the promotion places this season then they need to start transferring their cup form into their league campaign.

At present, they lay back in 12th position in the table, although they do have games in hand on most of the clubs above them.

One of those is Goytre, rumoured to be the big budget spenders in the division, but only in 8th spot at present and seven points adrift of leaders, and the other Bluebirds in the league, Abertillery.

But Dunford is hoping the togetherness forged in their Cup victory can instill a harder edge in Trethomas’s league push and identifies three players he believes will be crucial as the season gathers momentum through the winter months.

“You need strong characters and personalities and we have an excellent one in Tom Rutherford, our captain.

“He has become a great leader on and off the pitch. He’s a Cardiff lad, rather than a local, but he’s someone who the players really look up to. He’s a great person for me to have around.

“He’s industrious, hard-working and has an impressive CV in the Welsh football pyramid.”

“We are also very lucky to have Gareth Tedstone, our striker. He played for me when I player-managed many years ago and he is a real handful as a striker – quick, physical, good in the air and he scores goals.

“He’s a quieter lad than Tom, but he leads by example.

“And you also need characters who are slightly different and we have one in Charlie Loss, who we signed from Merthyr Saints.

“He’s an excellent player and a real character to have around the dressing room. He’s full of beans although it’s sometimes hard to believe some of the stuff he comes out with!”

While Trethomas host Goytre, leaders leaders Abertilley are also at home – to mid-table Brecon Corries.

Second-placed Undy Athletic travel to 11th place Tredegar Town, while the other significant game in the division sees third-place Chepstow Town host sixth-place Risca United.

Abertillery Bluebirds v Brecon Corries

Blaenavon Blues v Newport City

Chepstow Town v Risca United

Lliswerry v Croesyceiliog

RTB Ebbw Vale  v Monmouth Town

Tredegar Town  v Undy Athletic

Treowen Stars   v Caldicot Town

Trethomas Bluebirds v Goytre

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