Canaries seal top-six spot
... But Eardley won’t sit back
DESPITE the outstanding achievement of securing a top six spot for the second phase of the Welsh Premier League season, Caernarfon Town manager Sean Eardley has no intention of sitting back and admiring his work, reports Paul Evans.
Promoted to the WPL this term, the Canaries sealed an upper-half Championship Conference place for the final 10 games of the campaign following last weekend’s emotion-charged 3-1 triumph against Carmarthen Town at The Oval.
Eardley stressed after the game he cannot praise highly enough the squad which has booked the club top-flight football for another season, but also revealed new faces are in his sights.
“There will be comings and goings over the next couple of weeks,” said the Cofis chief. “We’re in contact with two individuals at the moment...one more is pending.
“The squad have been different class up to now, but some players want new ventures at the split - they want game time.
“We won’t be standing still, but I want everyone not to panic.
“We’re on the front-foot, but it’s probably what the changing room needs. The players have been first class but one or two fresh faces will kick them on and keep competition there for places.”
Goals from Cai Jones, Nathan Craig and Darren Thomas last Saturday in front of 752 at The Oval ensured Caernarfon can finish no lower than sixth at the 22-game point of the season.
Their final match of phase one is at Bala Town this Saturday. A win there could book the Cofis fifth place at the split.
In the second part of the campaign, the Canaries will face Bala, Newtown, The New Saints, Barry Town and Connah’s Quay Nomads home and away.
Eardley added: “I’m absolutely made up for everyone involved at the club - from the board to the committee, players, management team, of course the supporters and the people of the Caernarfon.
“We’ve been a great addition to this league; we’re very aggressive when we go forward, we look dangerous and we’ve shored up games and we’ve shown that away from home at tough places like TNS and Connah’s Quay. I think we add a lot.
“3-1 did flatter us; we knew we were in for a tough test against Carmarthen, they’re experienced campaigners in this league, but we went 1-0 down and then showed that togetherness and that spirit we possess greatly.”
Jamie Breese went close before Cai Jones thought he had put Caernarfon ahead when he found the roof of the net from close range, but he was flagged offside by the referee’s assistant.
The opening goal arrived in the 21st minute but it was not the hosts who got it, as the Old Gold made the most of a rare sortie upfield. Mael Davies was brought down in the penalty area and Liam Thomas beat Alex Ramsay from the spot.
The goal seemed to unsettle the home side, Ramsay pulling off an impressive full-stretch save to deny Greg Walters in the 38th minute.
The Cofis finally got back on level terms two minutes before the break when Thomas raced into the penalty area, crossed into the sixyard box, and Jones tapped in from two yards.
Caernarfon sped out of the blocks for the second period and Sion Bradley was proving a real handful for the visitors, who were fortunate to block the youngster’s close range effort after he had tricked himself into the penalty area.
Breese twice forced stopper Lee Idzi into action before Town edged ahead in the 67th minute after Jones was brought down 25 yards from goal and Craig did the rest with a trademark piledriver.
Thomas capped off a magical display with a wonderful goal, running past three defenders across the box before thundering a right foot effort beyond Idzi.
Caernarfon Town’s man of the match Darren Thomas takes on the Carmarthen defence