Micky recalls the footballing events of 1984-55

Micky Phillips Today we are delighted to welcome back Micky Phillips, a fine all-round sportsman in his own right, who still does yeoman work as Hon Assistant Secretary and Treasurer of the Manderwood Pembrokeshire Football League.
He has agreed to restart his comprehensive walks down Memory Lane by returning regularly to specific seasons in local football and provide comprehensive coverage of ALL the leagues and cup finals, including scorers and any other interesting details.
Today Micky goes back to the 1984/85 campaign where there was an exciting run-in to the programme in the top echelon before Carew fended off the strong challenge of four other clubs to take the coveted league title.
Thanks Micky for providing such extensive coverage for football followers in our county!

Carew AFC

Division One:

The early pace setters were defending champions New Hedges/Saundersfoot who were top at the end of October and were closely followed by last year’s runner up Johnston. Both sides had dropped points against St Ishmaels, who had beaten New Hedges/Saundersfoot 2-1 on 20/10 (Alan Proctor 2/Phil Nicholls) and held Johnston to a 3-3 draw on 13/10. Steve Hayward netted a hat-trick for the home team with Glyn Griffiths, Mark Davies and a late equaliser from Alan Proctor giving Tish a share of the spoils.

Johnston AFC

Johnston held onto the longest unbeaten record until they unceremoniously got thrashed 7-1 away to Carew. Mike Lewis (2), Jonathan Griffiths (2), Kevin Hughes and two own goals by Mark Carrington scored for the 3rd placed home team, with John Codd having netted for the visitors to make it 3-1 just after the break.
On 10/11 in the game of the day, top of the table New Hedges/Saundersfoot travelled to 4th placed Carew.  Kevin Hughes put the homesters 1-0 up in the first minute with Wallace Howells equalising a few minutes later. Phil Nicholls then put the visitors ahead only for Johnny Watkins to equalise eight minutes from time.
At the turn of the year New Hedges/Saundersfoot held a nine-point lead at the top of the table though they had played three games more than their nearest challengers Johnston, St Ishmaels, Goodwick United and Carew.
Very little league football was played in the first five weeks of the new year with cup matches taking precedent. On the 9/2 Carew had a significant 2-1 win at New Hedges/Saundersfoot, with a brace from Jonathan Griffiths cancelling out a Neil Webb goal for the homesters. Two weeks earlier in a Senior Cup game between the two sides goals from Alan Brindley and Neil Webb had seen the home team victorious with Gerald Hicks replying for Carew, thus making the league victory all the more sweeter for Carew.
New Hedges/Saundersfoot championship hopes were dealt a further blow on the 9/3 when they suffered another defeat to fourth-place Goodwick United. Despite taking an early lead through Wallace Howells, strikes from the Wilson brothers (Stuart and Jeff) and an own goal gave the north county side a 3-2 win, with Gary McNeilly netting the other away goal. At this point they still led the table by six points with second placed Carew and third placed Goodwick United having two games in hand, whilst Johnston nine points behind having five games in hand.

Hakin United AFC

Carew dropped points in their next three games with draws against Narberth (1-1), Fishguard Sports (2-2) and Hakin United (2-2) though when New Hedges/Saundersfoot lost 2-1 to bottom of the table RAF Brawdy their hopes of retaining their title took a serious blow. On the same day two of the other title contenders, Johnston and Goodwick United, played out a 0-0 draw at the Glebelands.
Five in with a realistic chance of winning the league
Thus at the end of March Goodwick having played 19 games led the table on  goal difference from New Hedges/Saundersfoot, Carew were three points behind, St Ishmaels were six points behind with two games in hand and Johnston eight points behind with five games in hand.
With midweek games now kicking in Johnston travelled to New Hedges/Saundersfoot and came away with a hard earned point in a 0-0 draw, though the following Saturday they lost 1-3 at home to Carew with Darren Thomas, Jonathan Griffiths and Kevin Hughes goals cancelling out a Russell Murray strike which had given the home team the lead. On the same day New Hedges/Saundersfoot dropped further points with a 1-1 draw away to Fishguard Sports, with Brendan Early scoring two minutes from time to cancel out Neil Webb’s earlier strike. Goodwick United remained top with a 4-1 win at home to Pennar Robins (Bernie Armstrong 2 Stewart Wilson 2), whilst St Ishmaels remained in contention with a 4-0 win against RAF Brawdy (Glyn Griffiths 2 Doug McIldowie 2).

St Ishmaels AFC
Carew win last five games
The next batch of midweek fixtures saw Johnston draw 3-3 with bottom of the table RAF Brawdy and beat Monkton Swifts 1-0. St Ishmaels continued the pressure on the top two with a 4-0 win against Letterston.
The Saturday games (20/4) saw two top of the table clashes both end in draws. Goodwick and Johnston drew 1-1 (Adi John/Mike Griffiths) whilst New Hedges/Saundersfoot drew 2-2 with St Ishmaels (Wallace Howells, Gary McNeilly/Barry Clark, Glyn Griffiths).  Carew on the other hand took full advantage with a 3-0 win at Monkton Swifts thanks to a Mike Lewis hat-trick and went top of the table. They knew that if they won their last game and Johnston slipped up in any of their remaining five games, they would end up as champions.
Midweek fixtures saw St Ishmaels beat Johnston 1-0, setting them up with a crucial last game of the season at home to Carew. Injuries to key players, Jeremy Howells and Brian Davies, in the aforementioned game saw a weakened St Ishmaels side go down 0-3 thanks to two Jonathan Griffiths’ goals and one from Mike Lewis. Goodwick United eventually finished runners up thanks to a 2-0 win at Marble Hall, whilst Johnston despite beating Saundersfoot 4-2 (Richard James 2, Chris Walters 2/Richard Eastlake 2), failed to win their final match of the season drawing 3-3 away to Narberth.


Senior Cup:

Early upsets
The only shock of the first round was Division 1 Pennar Robins losing 2-3 at home to Division 2 Scotfit though both Goodwick United and Carew needed replays against lower league opposition before progressing. Goodwick had been held by Division 3 Lamphey and needed three late goals in the replay before triumphing 4-2 (Bernie Armstrong, Adi John, David O’Connor, Stewart Wilson/ Haydn Esmond, Mike Allen). Carew needed extra time to overcome the Quarterdeck with a Kevin Hughes hat-trick in extra time seeing them home 6-3. Gerald Hicks (2) and Mike Lewis netted the other home goals with Andrew Burgoyne, Paul John and Dai Scoble netting for the Division Two side.
The Second round saw Scotfit repeat their giant killing act this time with a 4-2 victory away to Hakin United thanks to a Chris Walters hat-trick and an own goal, with Maurice Coe and Alan Williams netting for the Vikings. Milford Athletic repeated the act by over-coming Goodwick 3-0 in a replay, with Robert Hewar, Martin Robinson and an own goal providing another shock. The biggest shock of the round came at St Mary’s where Fishguard Sports lost 2-0 to Solva thanks to goals from Stephen Summers and Matthew Raggett. Tie of the round had been the New Hedges/Saundersfoot v Carew noted above.
The quarter finals saw Scotfit lose 1-2 at home to Manorbier, Solva defeat Milford Athletic 4-2 thanks to a hat-trick from Nigel Phillips, Johnston easily beating Narberth 4-0 (Richard James 2, Steve Hayward, Russell Murray), and a Wallace Howells hat-trick helping New Hedges/Saundersfoot beat Monkton Swifts 4-1.
Solva AFC

Biggest ever cup shock?
The semi-final draw saw the two first Division sides avoid each other though this resulted in one of the biggest ever cup upsets with Solva, sitting fourth from bottom in Division 2, overcoming table topping New Hedges/Saundersfoot at London Road. Nigel James with a first half strike was the Solva hero.
The other semi-final saw Johnston need a replay to beat Manorbier 2-0 with Mark Goodridge and David Dickenson netting for the Tigers.
The final, originally scheduled for Marble hall on the 6/4 had to be cancelled due to Milford United having a Welsh league game at home to Briton Ferry on that day. The final was rescheduled for the Bridge Meadow on Bank Holiday and although Johnston won 3-0, the local press reported that this was not a fair reflection of the game.
Mike Griffiths had given them the lead after 10 minutes but several fine saves by Steve James kept Solva at bay. Early in the second half Chris Walters doubled the lead and added a third shortly after. Solva kept plugging away and were denied a goal when James saved a Nobby Howells’ penalty. The game was well refereed by Don Maclean-Walker.

Manorbier AFC

Lower leagues

Manorbier United and Scotfit gained promotion from Division Two with the latter-named team beating the former club 3-1 in the last game of the season to pip the Quarterdeck to the runners up position.

Manorbier had been on a run of 15 games unbeaten until the aforementioned defeat and did not go top of the table until 2/5. The Divisional Cup saw the club complete the double, beating Milford Athletic 1-0 in a replay after the first game ended 0-0. John Izzard scored the only goal eight minutes from time.

Cosheston AFC
Division Three saw Cosheston remain unbeaten in the season winning the title by nine points, with Hakin United II finishing runners up. Their hopes of achieving the double were ruined by a 4-3 defeat in the cup by Clarbeston Road II. Kevin John, Ian Graham, Melvyn Lewis and Martin Harries scored for the Road with Byron Phillips, Steve Phillips and Ronnie Taylor scoring for Cosh. Clarby eventually lost 1-0 in the final against Hakin.
Pennar Robins II won the double in Division four, pipping near rivals Tenby by two points in the league and beating them 4-2 in the Cup Final. The critical game in the league was on 2/3 when they met at Bush Camp. Two Gavin Southcott goals and one from Pat Spiers cancelled out a lone strike from Derek Glover.
Division Five saw both St Ishmaels II and St Florence remain unbeaten in the season with Tish winning the league thanks to a goal difference of +72, compared to St Florence +71! The teams had drawn 0-0 and 2-2 (Paul Griffiths, Brian John/Adi Howarth, Robbie Thomas) in back to back fixtures in September. St Florence gained some revenge in winning the divisional cup thanks to a 4-3 success against Angle II. 

Other News:

Bearing in mind the current Comet/nationwide registration system, whereby a £10 fee is charged per player, it is interesting to note that during this season the FAW had tried to introduce a similar £3 charge per player to cover the Association’s loss of revenue due to the termination of the Home International Championship. It met with a lot of opposition and was subsequently abandoned – and quite right too!

Refs 1984-85