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The Konica League of Wales - 1994-95

THE KONICA LEAGUE OF WALES - 1994-95

That Maesteg Park Athletic were our first opponents at the start of a new campaign was not without irony. In our last fixture of the previous season a 2-2 draw at Llansantffraid had kept The Saints up and consigned Maesteg Park to relegation only for them to be given a lifeline by Haverfordwest's subsequent resignation. A Keith Dearling goal in the opening game of 1994/95 did them no more favours and Maesteg Park were to suffer a dreadful season winning only two of their 38 fixtures. Further home wins over Ebbw Vale and Caersws were followed by a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Newtown, and when we entertained Ton Pentre on 1st October 1994, The Nomads lay in mid-table, while unbeaten Ton Pentre were just two points behind league leaders Bangor City.

The Nomads' main problem had been a distinct lack of goals, only half a dozen in seven league matches. Top scorer during the previous season was Scott Taylor but he had spent the summer playing football in New Zealand. Whilst he had returned to these shores the club could not gain international clearance to play him. He featured against Newtown and then left for pastures new as did goalkeeper Phil Collister following the victory over Caersws. The Ton Pentre game, as it transpired, was something of a turning point as goals from Peter Hughes and Marc Limbert inflicted The Bulldogs' first defeat of the season. A week later, at Llanelli, The Nomads really found their scoring boots winning 9-0 at Stebonheath Park! Dave O'Gorman netted a second successive hat-trick at the ground and Neville Powell scored twice - almost unheard of. Peter Hughes bagged a brace while Marc Limbert and Darren Wynne also found the net as The Nomads more than doubled their goal tally for the season.

The euphoria from that big win (still the club's highest away victory in the Welsh Premier League) quickly died down as Inter Cardiff beat us 1-0 at the Halfway Ground the following Saturday and it was the end of January 1995 before The Nomads secured another three points on the road. In fact, a 2-1 victory over Aberystwyth Town on the last Saturday in October 1994 was the last success tasted in the league that calendar year. Eight games up to Christmas produced five draws and three losses and as the New Year dawned, The Nomads occupied 16th place in the league table.

In truth, our position was nowhere near as precarious as the foregoing suggests. Six league victories and a similar number of drawn games had brought us 24 points from 19 games and a goal difference of just minus one. While Conwy United where hanging onto our shirt tails with 22 points, the bottom three clubs could muster only 19 points between them. Maesteg Park Athletic and Aberystwyth Town hadn't won a single game between them and Llanelli had won only two and conceded 69 goals into the bargain. While The Nomads had blasted nine past them in a single game, poor old Maesteg Park had mustered only nine goals in total from their 18 fixtures.

Our disappointing league form was carried into cup performances too and home and away defeats to Conwy United ended our League of Wales League Cup hopes at the first stage. In the Welsh Cup, we fared a little better with a 3-2 home win against Mold Alexandra followed by a 2-0 success at Cefn Druids. That earned us a trip to The Racecourse to face Wrexham on the Tuesday evening prior to Christmas. The Nomads were forced to field a weakened side and then gave The Robins two early chances which strikers of the calibre of Gary Bennett and Steve Watkin were hardly likely to refuse. The Football League outfit ran out 4-0 winners before a crowd of just under 2,000 but The Nomads showed their mettle with a strong finish to the game and were disappointed to have started so slowly.

Flint Town United provided the opposition for our first home game of 1995 and we were buoyed by a 2-1 win in a dramatic 'derby' battle. The Nomads' goalkeeper, David Whyke, pulled off several saves in the first period and kept us in the match. Dave O'Gorman rounded Phil Collister, by now Flint's custodian, in the 66th minute to give The Nomads the lead, debutant Danny McGoona smacked the crossbar and O'Gorman had another effort cleared off the line. Whyke was back in action, brilliantly saving Chris Davies' penalty kick before Davies saw another effort hooked from under the bar by Barry Thomas. Then, in the last minute of normal time, Davies headed past Whyke and the visitors celebrated snatching a point or so they thought until Marc Limbert's 93rd minute indirect free kick inside the Flint penalty area came back to Barry Thomas who slammed the ball into the net.

David Whyke saved a third successive penalty at Llansantffraid the following week where, despite O'Gorman's hat-trick, The Nomads went down 3-4. That elusive away win came at Rhyl on 28th January, Nicky Brookman adding to goals from O'Gorman and Limbert in a 3-2 success and, by the time Llansantffraid visited Deeside at the beginning of March, Connah's Quay had climbed up to tenth position in the league and were only eight points adrift of Afan Lido in second place with 13 games remaining. Victories over Porthmadog (4-1 with yet another treble from Dave O'Gorman) and away at Mold Alexandra (3-1) aided the team's resurgence but neither the players nor the fans could have foreseen what was to happen during the final seven weeks of the campaign.

Against Llansantffraid, we took an early lead and despite the visitors scoring twice before the break, The Nomads dominated the second half but without scoring. A week later, a 2-0 lead away to runaway league leaders Bangor City was undone inside two second half minutes but a 2-2 draw was highly creditable. The tide really turned against The Nomads on a Friday evening in the middle of March when mid-table Rhyl came to the Halfway and went away 4-0 winners. A week later we lost 1-0 at Flint, on the night their manager Dixie McNeil left the club, before upsetting the odds by gaining a 5-4 victory over Conwy United at the Morfa, though two of Conwy's goals were in the final moments of that match. Then 'the wheels fell off' as The Nomads succumbed to six consecutive defeats before a 3-2 home win over luckless Aberystwyth Town brought some respite. Our last game of the season was at home to the champions Bangor City and how they made us pay for that draw at Farrar Road. The Nomads were taken apart and suffered their biggest home defeat in the league as The Citizens scored eight times without reply.

Click here to see the final league table

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