As signs of life began to appear with sprouts of green grass at Cae Ty’n Ddol, Machno Utd got pre-season preparations underway with a visit to Anglesey league champions Mynydd Tigers. We discovered the strength of the Anglesey league early on last season, when exiting the junior Cup at the hands of Valley FC. Therefore we knew that the reigning champions of the island league would provide an extremely challenging opening test.
Our concerns were realised within the opening minute of the match, when a long ball caught the Machno defence slightly on their heels and the Tigers’ centre forward finished tidily inside the near post to give Mynydd a 1-0 lead.
Thankfully this early setback seemed to spark life into a largely “new look” Machno side, as they began to string together some eyecatching moves, one of which ended in a Callum Parry screamer whistling just past the post. New signing Parry, a would-be asset to any team in North Wales football, levelled the scores a few minutes later, finishing calmly following a goalmouth scramble in the Mynydd Tigers area. 1-1, and hopefully a sign of good things to come.
Machno were now really beginning to assert themselves on the game, with real pace and power shown in the final third. “The Yellows”, though playing in green, deservedly took the lead on 19 minutes through a sublime chip from the left edge of the box from returning “prodigal son” Luke Roberts. 2-1 Machno.
Roberts returning for a third spell at the club was causing havoc for the Mynydd defence with his pace, and link up play with fellow striker Rhidian Williams. A flowing move on 21 minutes very nearly yielded another goal with an excellent long range effort from Sion Jones, whilst Roberts himself drew a fine save from the opposing keeper on 28 minutes. Machno were really in the ascendency now.
On the half hour mark some more great link up play between Callum & Rhidian, saw central midfielder Josh Francis harshly ruled offside as he finished off the move. Francis was another player catching the eye, looking extremely comfortable controlling the play alongside Machno youngster Sam Thomas.
Machno finally extended the lead to 3-1 in the 37th minute as a superb Rhidian Williams whipped cross from the right found Luke Roberts head, and he placed it perfectly into the bottom left corner for his second of the game.
A very entertaining first half had seen Machno impress with their dominance in midfield, and eyecatching pace and movement up front. At the back, some of the more experienced members of the squad had shown calmness when called upon and looked very comfortable indeed.
The second half brought opportunity for a number of changes and a chance to see more of the club’s new signings.
With the second period starting with a very similar pattern to the end of the first, Machno again had a goal harshly ruled offside as they sprung the Mynydd defence on 49 minutes for Roberts to tap home. Obviously frustrated the team, responded tin the best way possible as the impressive Josh Francis made it 4-1 just a minute later. The towering midfielder broke impressively into the Tigers’ area, and although his first effort was repelled by the keeper his follow up effort was despatched tidily from 12 yards.
Machno, by now, certainly appeared to be enjoying themselves and a fantastic curling effort from 16 year old Dion Lloyd, was tipped over the bar brilliantly by the keeper. It was a tremendous effort from the edge of the box from a debutant who already looked as though he’d been playing adult football for years!!!
The 66th minute mark was reached and there were further wholesale changes from the Machno management team, and opportunity for some to take a well-deserved breather.
A Jamie Williams corner was nearly converted by Rhidian Williams’ head in the 70th minute, and the 5th goal followed just three minutes later with Luke Roberts finishing tidily for his hat-trick from the right hand edge of the box. 5-1 Machno.
Luke Roberts dispatches his hat-trick goal to make it 5-1 to Machno.
As Machno took their foot off the gas slightly, there was a stark warning against complacency as the Tigers put a chance over the bar from a couple of yards following a free kick. However, on the break Machno were still causing trouble, and on 78 minutes another blistering break from Roberts saw him centre tidily for Sion Jones to net a well deserved tap in. 6-1 Machno.
The last ten minutes of the game was played out relatively quietly, apart from a reality check on 84 minutes when a Mynydd break drew a mistimed sliding challenge in the box, and the resulting penalty was despatched to make the final score 6-2 to Machno.
A great result against very strong opponents and a highly satisfactory way to get pre-season underway. From the sidelines the football was an absolute pleasure to watch, and certainly builds excitement for what the season ahead holds. Pre-season preparations will continue with Wednesday night’s visit to Gwynedd League members Talysarn Celts, old adversaries from our days in the Caernarfon & District league. COYY.