Abergavenny Town FC made the journey west down the Heads of the Valley on Bank Holiday Monday for a JD Cymru South fixture against Ammanford AFC.
Following two tight games against the same opponents in their first season at this level, a 0-0 home draw preceded by a narrow 2-1 defeat at Ammanford’s Recreation Ground, hopes were high of getting the season off and running following four losses.
With Nicky Morgan resigning as manager after the 2-1 defeat to Afan Lido two weeks ago, new boss Danny Elliott has been busy in the transfer market getting reinforcements in.
One of them, Joe Cashman, made his second start at the back following his debut goal against Baglan Dragons last time out. Left back Logan Bowkett was unavailable and with former Cardiff City U18 Rhys Schwank returning from injury, a few changes were made.
On a bright but cold day, with a slight wind, it was the home side who dominated much of the first half, but it took until midway through the half before a resilient Aber defence was breached with Lewis Reed netting.
This seemed to spark Aber into life as the Pennies looked to get back into the game.
Carrying a slight knock into the match, defender Dylan Dinham was withdrawn with 10 minutes of the first half left, to be replaced by Loughborough University-bound midfielder Lewis Ellaway.
This resulted in a shift in formation by the manager, reverting to a flat backline with wingbacks, George Clarke and captain Jac Evans jointing Cashman and Brett Alderson in front of busy goalkeeper Cameron Clarke.
The move seemed to work as the team picked up more second balls and created chances.
And four minutes into first-half added time, Schwank cut in from the right and unleashed a shot that took a deflection to whip over the Ammanford keeper to make iot 1-1 at the break.
Ammanford got back on top after the restart though, and two quick fire goals in the 51st and 52nd minutes by Tristan Jenkins, the first a penalty following a foul by Evans, seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Aber team.
And the remainder of the game saw few opportunities as the game wound to the end, Paolo Merenghi and George Clarke having half chances for the visitors but unable to convert.
The 3-1 loss sees the team rooted at the bottom of the table, one off the foot occupied by near-neighbours Abertillery Bluebirds on goal difference.
But the league is showing signs of being two leagues in one, and this will give the team confidence as Aber have upcoming fixtures against the teams around them.
With the transfer window now closed and some new faces in the door, a trip back down West to another Swansea-area side, Pontardawe Town FC, for a Welsh Blood Service League Cup tie is next up this Saturday (September 2), kick off 2.30pm, before the side return to league action with a Friday night (September 8) home derby against Cwmbran Celtic under the lights at Pen-Y-Pound
Prior to that, this coming weekend sees a home double header against Abercarn United.
First up, the future of the club, the Under 19s under the guidance of new manager Nathan Speller, look to continue a really promising pre season with a 7.30pm kick off on Friday night (September 1).
Saturday sees the 2nd XI at home for a FAW South East Reserves fixture, 2pm kick off, entry free and the club bar open.