Micky Phillips takes a look back at the Pembrokeshire Football League 1986-87 season

Fishguard Sports were crowned First Division Champions in 1986-87 season 1986/87
Sports set early pace
Early season pace setters were Fishguard Sports who won their first nine games which included away wins against last year’s runners up Johnston 4-1 (Sion Thomas 2, Kevin White, John Codd (og)/Mark Goodridge), last year’s Senior Cup winners Carew 2-1 (Bernie Armstrong, Sion Thomas/Jeremy Morris), and a 3-0 win against their north county rivals Goodwick United 3-0 (Bernie Armstrong, Kevin White, Sion Thomas).
They surprisingly lost their unbeaten tag on 13/12 with a 2-1 defeat away to third from bottom Narberth with Paul Phillips netting the two goals for the Bluebirds. This brought on a bit of a wobble and they failed to win any of their next four games, although three of them were drawn with the defeat coming at home to Goodwick United where goals from Sean Roche and Steve Summers giving the visitors a 2-0 win.
This stutter enabled the chasing pack to considerably close the gap at the top of the table and at the end of January three clubs were within three points of them with Johnston having two games in hand, Carew the same number of games whilst New Hedges/Saundersfoot had played two games more.
Fine run for top two
On 7/2 Carew went top following a 5-3 success against Hakin United with Kevin Hughes netting four of the home goals with Gerald Hicks netting the other. Roy Dawes, Alan Williams and Mike Jenkins replied for the visitors. They went onto win their remaining nine games but remarkably Fishguard Sports matched them all the way also winning 10 consecutive games!
The Sports run included an impressive 5-0 win against Johnston (Sion Thomas 3, Keith Gardham, Paul Hayman) and the double over New Hedges/Saundersfoot 4-3 (RV Jones, Philip Armstrong, Sion Thomas, OG/Phil Nicholls, Alan Brindley, Philip Keating) and 2-0 (Sion Thomas 2). Carew’s run had also included a 2-1 against New Hedges/Saundersfoot (Simon Clarke, Kevin Hughes/Paul Wyatt) and a 5-0 away win at Goodwick United (Jeremy Morris 2, Kevin Hughes 2, Simon Clarke).
Going into the last Saturday of the season (18/4) the Sports led the table by three points and had a superior goal difference of 10. They faced 7th placed Kilgetty at home whilst Carew faced a trickier tie playing third placed Johnston at home.
Carew won 2-1 against Johnston (Jeremy Morris, Kevin Hughes /Chris Walters) but the Sports won by the same score and were thus crowned champions for the first time in eleven years.


Johnston AFC 1986-87


Milford get themselves out of trouble
At the other end of the table Pennar Robins and Milford United finished in the bottom two though with the withdrawal of Scotfit from the first division at the beginning of the season there was uncertainty as to whether both clubs would be relegated. Pennar had only picked up two points in their last eleven games whilst Milford United ended the season on a high winning four of their last five games to finish second from bottom and giving themselves a chance of avoiding relegation. Most impressive result during this run was a 6-1 success at St Ishmaels thanks to goals from Dean Morgan 2, Steve Reynolds 2, Richard Hackett and Phil Griffiths.
Senior Cup
Defending Champions out in first round
Defending champions Carew fell at the first hurdle losing 1-0 in a replay to Division 2 Merlins Bridge. The first game had ended 3-3 with the Bridge equalising in the last minute. Simon Clarke (2) and Gerald Hicks had scored for Carew with Micky Ellis (2) and Chris Walters scoring for the Bridge. In the reply a lone Micky Ellis goal separated the teams.
The Bridge had been strengthened with the demise of Scotfit with many players returning to the club. Indeed this strength enabled them to reach the final beating on the way Manorbier United 3-1 (Eric James 2, Dickie Thomas/Geraint Ralph (OG)), Kilgetty 5-2 (Chris Walters 3, Robbie Reynolds 2/Jeff Allsopp, Barry Lewis) and Monkton Swifts 2-0 in the semi.
Their opponents in the final were Goodwick United who had progressed by beating New Hedges/Saundersfoot 2-0 (Mike Delaney, Sean Roche), St Ishmaels 1-0 (Martin John), Fishguard Sports 2-1 (Sean Roche, Stephen Hughes) and Hakin United 2-1.
Final goes to three games
The first game at the Bridge Meadow ended 1-1 with Sean Roche scoring the Goodwick United goal.
The replay also ended up 1-1 with Tony Jones scoring for the Bridge and Stewart Wilson for Goodwick United.
The second replay ended up 3-2 with Micky Ellis putting the Bridge ahead only for two goals from 15 year old James Morgans giving Goodwick United the lead. Gordon Thomas equalised for the Bridge before Dekker Thomas struck the winner.
Division 2
Merlins Bridge and Solva battle all the way
As reported above Merlins Bridge had been strengthened by the demise of Scotfit and this resulted in an epic battle between them and Solva for the second division title.
At the half way  point of the season the two clubs were well ahead of the rest of the league with the Bridge having only suffered one defeat, a 6-0 home hammering by Solva where a hat-trick from Matthew Raggett , a brace from Barry Smith and another from  David Gray took away their unbeaten record. Solva maintained their unbeaten record until 27/12 when they surprisingly lost at home to bottom of the table Manorbier United 1-2 (Nobby Howells/Phil Scale, Terry O’Donnell).
The two sides continued to match each other although both lost to mid table RAF Brawdy, the Bridge 0-1 (Adi Linday) and Solva 3-4 (Jim Cook 3/ Adi Linday 2, Mark Taylor, Steve Smithies).
With three games to go Solva led the table by three points having just put 17 past Tenby who had played the whole game with only eight players due to a car breaking down on the way to the game and four players failing to arrive at the ground. Jim Cook (5), Eirian Evans (4), Barry Smith (3), Nick Skudder (2), Matthew Raggett, Sean Young and an own goal completed the goal fest.
In midweek fixtures the Bridge won 3-2 away at Hakin United II whilst Solva lost 3-1 at third placed Neyland.
On the next Saturday they met each other and an entertaining game ended 3-3 leaving the north county side needing to beat the Quarterdeck by at least seven goals in their final fixture. They won by 5 goals to one thus resulting in the Bridge becoming champions thanks to a goal difference of 79 compared to Solva’s 77.
Relegated team win the Cup!
The Divisional cup caused somewhat of a surprise when 6th placed Quarterdeck faced Steynton United in the final with the latter team having finished second from bottom in the league.
Game of the competition was the second round tie between Merlins Bridge and Solva. The Bridge led 1-0 at half time only for their opponents to score five goals in a row to lead 5-1. The Bridge did fight back with three further goals to eventually lose 4-5. Home goals were scored by Chris Walters (2), Micky Ellis and Gordon Thomas with Jim Cook (2), Eirian Evans, Sean Young and Grant Young scoring for the visitors.
In the semi -finals the Quarterdeck beat Solva 2-1 thanks to two Dai Griffiths goals, whilst Steynton beat Tenby by the same score, with two goals by Mike Morris cancelling out a Derek Glover goal for Tenby.
Steynton won the final 1-0 against the Quarterdeck thanks to a Phil Jones goal.


Steynton AFC had a bitter sweet 1986-87 season

Division Three
New Hedges/Saundersfoot II almost unbeatable
The third division was dominated by New Hedges/Saundersfoot II who won their first nine games before being held to a 2-2 draw by Haverfordwest Cricket Club. Phil Ridge netted both goals for the cricketers with Russell Knox also getting a brace for the runaway league leaders.
They then went on another eight game winning streak which included a 3-2 win against second placed Pendine (Paul Hayward, Tracy Loughlin, Joe Kelly/OG, Graham Cole) and an 8-2 victory over Camrose (Tracy Loughlin 3, Stuart Mackay 3, Barry Phillips, Andrew Williams/Mike Tucker, Kelvyn Williams).
Their unbeaten record eventually went on 31/1/87 when they lost at home to second placed Haverfordwest Cricket Club by three goals to one. Tracy Loughlin scored for the home team with an excellent hat trick by Stephen Phillips scoring for the Cricketers.
This setback was swiftly followed by a further five wins in six games and they were crowned champions on 14/3 following a 2-0 victory at Pendine thanks to two Joey Lydon goals.
Lamphey finished runners up having gained a critical 2-1 victory at the home of the champions thanks to goals from Jon Dyson and Andrew Jenkins with Brian Ormond scoring the home goal.
Saints cause cup upset
The Divisional Cup saw the eventual league champions crash out to 11th placed St Florence. The first game had ended 1-1, but in the replay goals from Terry George and Paul Griffiths saw the Saints secure a 2-1 win with Joey Lydon replying for the home team.
The semis saw a lone Rob Lewis goal help Angle beat St Florence whilst Pendine had overcome Lamphey 3-2. Goals from Neil Godden, Alan Stephens and Robert Deschoolmeester cancelled out a brace from Richard Wilkins for Lamphey.
The final at Pembroke Boro saw Angle beat Pendine 3-0 thanks to goals from Haydn Phillips, Kenny Chadwick and Nigel Phillips.
Division Four
Withy bush make up for last year’s disappointment
Withybush, who narrowly missed out on promotion in the previous season, dominated the division and won their first 15 games. These included a 12-0 demolition of Manorbier United II (Nigel Pritchard 7, Steve Thompson 3, Brendon Williams, and Simon Walters) and a narrow 2-1 victory over second placed St Ishmaels II (Brendon Williams, Simon Walters/Bob Nelson).
They eventually lost their unbeaten tag against recently promoted Lawrenny. Nigel Pritchard and Keith Thomas netted the home goals only for two Ian Edwards and one Andrew Cole goal giving the visitors a 3-2 victory. This setback was quickly overcome and six wins and two draws in their next eight games saw them clinch the title on 28/3 with a 3-3 draw away to third placed Solva II. Del Lewis, Peter Gray and Nigel Phillips scored for Solva with Nigel Pritchard 2 and Jeff Gilderdale scoring for the champions.
St Ishmaels II’s finished runners up with a 2-1 win against the champions sealing their promotion. Two Mansel Thompson goals secured the victory with Nigel Pritchard scoring for the visitors.
Carew prevent Withybush from completing double
The divisional cup saw the top two teams draw each other in the second round. The first game ended 1-1 with Stuart Finlay giving St Ishmaels the lead only for Keith Thomas to equalise late on. The replay was another tight affair with a Simon Walters penalty being the difference between the two sides although Tish missed the chance to equalise when they missed a penalty of their own.
Withybush met Carew II in the final with the latter team having reached the final following a 2-0 success against Blackbridge United in the semi with the goals being scored by Graham Longster and Darren Thomas. Withybush had required another Simon Walters penalty to overcome Solva II in the other tie.
The final went to a replay, after a 0-0 draw in the first game, with a lone Neil Morgan strike in extra time winning the game for Carew.
Division 5
Double for reformed Merlins Bridge reserves
The reformed Merlins Bridge II dominated the division with their nearest rivals being St Davids City and Hook Sports. The Bridge won 16 of their first 17 games with the only defeat being a 2-4 home defeat against Cilgerran Rovers (Robert Taylor 2/Roger Powell 3, Steve Crome). They scored 111 goals in their 26 league games with their biggest victory coming in an 11-2 victory over St Florence II (Robbie Reynolds 4, Robert Taylor 3, Nigel Ralph 2, Steve Williams, Philip John/Paul Cole, Chris Allen).
Promotion was clinched following a 3-0 away win at Cosheston II (Tally John, Robert Taylor, John Collier), with the title being clinched following a midweek 1-1 draw against St Davids City. This point also ensured promotion for their opponents with Hook Sports just missing out in third place.
Biggest surprise in the divisional cup was the fact that St Davids failed to fulfil their second round fixture against Merlins Bridge and were thus expelled from the competition. The Bridge had met Hook Sports in the first round and thanks to two Robert Taylor goals and one from Martin Carruthers had progressed to the next round.
In the semis the Bridge had beaten Scarrowscant United 3-2 thanks to a hat-trick from Robert Taylor with Paul Narbett and Robert Murray scoring for the opposition. The other semi saw Cilgerran Rovers beat St Clears II 3-1 thanks to goals from Peter Glover, Jerry Carroll and Roger Powell with Lawrence Scourfield scoring for the Saints.
The Cup final, played at Goodwick, saw the Bridge complete the double with a 3-0 win.
West Wales Cup
Narberth reach the semis
Narberth were the most successful Pembrokeshire side reaching the semi- final where they lost to Trostre Sports 4-0.On their way to the semi they had taken some notable scalps, none more so than the fourth  round success against Fishguard Sports who they beat 2-1 thanks to goals from Nigel Williams and Neil Rossiter. In the quarter final they overcame Birchgrove United, who had beaten Goodwick United in the previous round, 5-1. Two Nigel Williams, one own goal and one each from Paul Phillips and Nigel Thomas saw them record an impressive victory. However they lost in the semi-final 4-0 to Trostre Sports.
Footnote – thanks to everyone for helping me with the information for this article. With the Archives office closed my main source of information is unavailable and I am grateful for all help received.