Five games in and, certainly not for the want of trying, Llandudno FC have their first JD Welsh Premier League win of the season. A 2-0 victory over Barry Town United saw the Seasiders climb out of the relegation zone, but the Maesdu Park club feel a win has been a long overdue. Smith tells us more.
“I came here because I wanted to develop, really. Coming on loan from Wrexham, I see this as a good opportunity to get regular minutes under my belt at a good standard and help me continue to improve as a player.
“I want to play as much as I can, as does everyone, and I’m hoping to do as well I can while I’m here – I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far. We’re playing really well, we’ve performed well, but it has been frustrating not to get the goals our performances deserve.
“It was good to get that win on Saturday, we completely deserved it, and the aim for a side of this quality has to be the top six, so I’m looking forward to playing whatever part I can in getting the club up to that position.”
It has been a theme of Llandudno’s season so far that they’ve been strong at the back – as you would be with the acquisitions Iwan Williams made over the summer – and positive in attack, if wasteful on a few occasions in front of goal.
It would be easy in such a situation where things haven’t necessarily gone to plan in front of goal to try and change the philosophy or the playing style or any number of things, but Llandudno have stuck to their guns and the victory over Barry – who have already conquered Bala and Connah’s Quay this season – could be a turning point for this side.
“Everyone wants to play positive, attractive football. Going forward I think we need to continue to be that positive, we need to continue to try and get at teams and play that kind of football that we all enjoy. Defensively, we’re solid, we’ve got a very strong unit, and we’ve done well offensively too, but we could do much better in terms of taking our chances.
“Coming into the side for the Carmarthen game, I’d only trained with the team once so I didn’t really know too much about the group, but we performed well and with the chances we created we really should have taken the three points.
“Cefn Druids, it was a similar story against them, but on that night we were punished for not converting in front of goal, but we’re pleased to get that first win last week. It is very early, and as the season goes on I am confident that we’ll continue to build and improve and achieve what we want to achieve.”
When evaluating the Llandudno project at this stage of the season, it has to be kept in mind that this is more or less an entirely new squad, with only Matty Williams, Toby Jones and Danny Hughes remaining from last year’s contingent.
The new group at the club has shown great cohesion and unity so far, certainly in terms of the defensive unit which has looked particularly stingy in the way they’ve gone about their business, and the attacking unit has done well despite the struggles in front of goal, and the 20-year-old Smith lauded his side’s team spirit, as well as the influence of the manager on his move.
“It is a great group of players here, a great attitude amongst the group, it feels like we’re a good group of friends who have known each other for a long time and just want to enjoy playing and win football matches.
“Everyone has been top drawer with me. I knew Kai (Edwards) from when he was at Wrexham with me, he’s a huge name in this league and he called me as soon as I signed to say how excited they were to have me and so on, which was a very nice feeling and helped me feel comfortable.
“The manager has been brilliant, he’s always asked about my football over the years, he knows my family well, he’s a great supporter of mine and I’d love to be able to repay the faith he’s shown in me.”
Another of the many young talents to join the JDWPL ranks from other high-quality leagues in the UK over recent years, Smith elaborated on what he believes is the appeal of the league, and what the league means to him.
“The league has a fantastic profile. There are live games every week, the cameras are at every game and you see the highlights, you see the goals and everything all over the place, and I think that is attractive for players, especially young players who want to perform, to develop and want to get noticed.
“I know the league well, I watched it a lot when I was younger, and I was very happy to come to the JD Welsh Premier League – it is an exciting opportunity for me and one I’ve really enjoyed so far.
“I think the way most teams try to play here, it suits me too. It is a very challenging league, but I’m just hoping I can help the club get to where they want to be and inside the top six.”
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