OTJ Column: An ugly, lovely win

23rd January 2019

In his 12th column of the season, former midfielder Owain Tudur Jones pays tribute to Lenny Johnrose and ponders whether Swansea City can launch a late play-off run.

OTJ made 56 appearances for the Swans during a four-year period in which he helped the club win the League One title and the Football League Trophy.

Now, after a 13-year career which saw him play for eight clubs and earn seven Wales caps, he is working in the media as a respected pundit.

Here, he brings you his latest column.

Lenny an inspiration

I wanted to start off this week’s blog by reflecting on Sunday’s charity game for Lenny Johnrose in Port Talbot, which I had the chance to be a part of.

Obviously it is such an awful time and an illness that is quite scary, so to meet Lenny and to see him with a smile on his face was inspiring.

It tells you so much about Lenny that he is seeking to use his illness as a means of raising awareness of Motor Neurone Disease and helping others.

It was good to see a healthy turn-out and a number of players who had played with Lenny in attendance, and it’s important to raise awareness and do anything we can help.

All we are doing is risking a swollen knee or whatever joint happens to be a problem area for any player, but it’s a fantastic cause and it was great to see the supporters there adding their backing too.

The important thing is to help Lenny as much as possible. I know some of the lads had helped with the organising and I know Swansea treat their former players very well.

It is such a worthy cause and I know Lenny was not with the club for a long time, but you are talking about over 40 appearances and the small matter of a vital goal against Hull.

It can get forgotten because of James Thomas’ hat-trick, but he more than played his part in ensuring Swansea’s magical run to the Premier League got kick-started.

Fans will have seen Leon Britton get a hat-trick, but I’m amazed he was allowed to with the Lee Trundle and Andy Robinson show going on around him.

It was like Punch and Judy the way they were going at each other, it was embarrassing to be as greedy as they were when Leon was the one on the hat-trick.

They’ve brought shame on the city of Liverpool!

Battling spirit means Swans are still in the hunt

There will have been occasions this season where, after a bad loss or a difficult run, people would have thought there is no way Swansea can get in the play-offs and it is a case of mid-table at best.

But the Championship so often gives you that carrot of being in the mix because so many sides can go on good runs or bad runs.

It means everything works its way out and it ends up being pretty congested.

The majority of the clubs in mid-table will think if they can put a run together they can get there, and that’s where Swansea find themselves. Can they be one of those sides who put together a late run?

Can they get to the play-offs and get there in good form on the back of a big win over Sheffield United?

I thought it was a really good result because taking six points off Chris Wilder’s Blades is no mean feat.

There may be more fashionable teams in the league like Leeds and Norwich, but beating a side who are right up there home and away will earn Swansea a fair amount of respect from other teams in the league.

It was not pretty but there is a certain beauty to grinding out a 1-0 win and finding a way to get the job done.

It’s massive for confidence because if Swansea are to progress, this is the type of result that is big for the players because they know they can come out on top in tight games. They have done it and can draw on it.

In some ways Swansea have been the entertainers this season, being involved in games with a lot of goals and late drama – which has not always gone their way – so there is something nice about being to hold a narrow lead, take the win and move on.

Carter-Vickers can be rewarded for his patience

The only disappointment for Swansea would have been the injury for Joe Rodon, who has been excellent in his first season at this level.

But, to his credit, Cameron Carter-Vickers has been patient and professional when it comes to his chances.

I know what it’s like being on loan as a player and – if you go to a team in a lower league than your parent club – there comes a sense of arrogance that you should play every week.

If that does not happen it can play tricks with your mind, so for him to show that patience and keep working hard has been excellent.

When he has played he has done well. He is composed, gets up well aerially and I think he is a safe pair of hands, and maybe for Joe a little recharge of the batteries will help him come back strong for the end of the season.

The concern would be what would happen if Mike van der Hoorn or Carter-Vickers were to get injured with Joe Rodon out, would it force Swansea’s hand in January?

Gills clash brings back fond memories

My first experience of Gillingham was a Friday night game being called off because of snow, but we also have that wonderful memory of getting promoted there in 2008.

To be fair, in this day and age with social media, it’s something you are reminded of quite regularly.

It’s not a distant memory, you see it every year and this year is the 11th anniversary of a special day.

But one thing that has not changed since then is my impression that Gillingham are always a difficult game.

They may not have had the best players but they always worked so hard, fought for every ball and – if you are not at it – you are in for a surprise, as Cardiff found out in the last round.

Obviously their manager, Steve Lovell, has links to Swansea so it is a nice game in that respect, but I am thankful it is at home. If you are going to Gillingham it would be a different game.

I would expect Swansea to make sure there is no banana skin and their quality shines through.

If they don’t do that it could be a long afternoon but Graham Potter will want to keep this good little run going and build on the momentum.

Derby day in the Welsh Cup

Meanwhile, we have JD Welsh Cup fourth-round action to look forward to on Sgorio this weekend and it’s a big derby day between Bangor City and Caernarfon (Saturday 7.30pm).

It’s an interesting game. Bangor were relegated for off-the-field reasons last term while Caernarfon are having an unbelievable campaign.

There will be a big crowd and there will be a great atmosphere.

Caernarfon have to be heavy favourites. Bangor are doing well in the league below their opponents. but they will have to be at their best.

I will have to turn up with a couple of helmets being a former Bangor player, and I did say on my podcast at the start of the season than I fancied Caernarfon to get relegated.

That has come back to haunt me and they will not be shy in letting me know.

It saddens me for Bangor and the fans to see them out of the top-flight, obviously I played for them before moving to Swansea, and I am sad for the league too because of the fanbase they have.

It’s a low point for them and they have a lot of rebuilding work to do in the long term, but this provides the chance for some short-term success and bragging rights.

Catch Owain’s interview with club legend Leon Britton on Mwy o Sgorio, which will be shown tonight (Wednesday) at 6.30pm, and tomorrow night (Thursday) at 11pm, on S4C. You can also watch the episode on the S4C Clic catch-up service.

JD Welsh Cup Fixtures


Bangor City v Caernarfon Town (7.30pm – live on S4C)
Llangefni Town v Llandudno (2.30pm)
Carmarthen Town v Connah's Quay Nomads (2.30pm)
Haverfordwest County v Bala Town (2.30pm)
Barry Town United v Cefn Druids (2.30pm)
Airbus UK Broughton v The New Saints (2.30pm)
Cambrian & Clydach BGC v Rhyl (2.30pm)
Aberystwyth Town v Cardiff Met (2.30pm)

Listen to OTJ’s regular podcast - The Longman's Football World Podcast – on iTunes, PodBean and all good podcast apps.
You can also follow OTJ on Instagram and Twitter.


Lenny yn ysbrydoli

Dw i eisiau dechrau blog yr wythnos yma drwy edrych yn ôl ar y gêm elusennol nes i chwarae ynddo ar ddydd Sul ym Mhort Talbot, ar gyfer Lenny Johnrose.

Yn amlwg, mae’n gyfnod anodd dros ben iddo ac mae’r salwch yn un dychrynllyd. Ond roedd gweld y wên ar ei wyneb yn hollol ysbrydoledig.

Mae’r ffaith bod Lenny yn ceisio codi ymwybyddiaeth am Glefyd Motor Neurone a helpu eraill yn adrodd cyfrolau amdano. Roedd o’n wych gweld gymaint o gyn-chwaraewyr yno, oherwydd mae’n bwysig i wneud unrhyw beth y gallwn ni i helpu. Mae’n achos arbennig ac roedd o’n codi calon i weld gymaint o bobl yno i gefnogi hefyd.

Mae pobl Abertawe yn edrych ar ôl cyn-chwaraewyr yr Elyrch yn dda. Doedd Lenny ddim yn y clwb yn hir iawn, ond mi chwaraeodd mwy na 40 gwaith dros y Swans ac fe sgoriodd un gôl allweddol yn erbyn Hull, felly mi ddaru o adael ei farc.

Hat-trick James Thomas hawliodd y penawdau'r diwrnod hwnnw, ond mi wnaeth Lenny gyfraniad hollbwysig ar daith y Swans i Uwch Gynghrair Lloegr, a gaiff hynny byth ei anghofio.

Fe sgoriodd Leon Britton dair gwaith penwythnos diwethaf, ond dw i’n synnu cafodd o unrhyw sylw efo Lee Trundle ac Andy Robinson o gwmpas. Roedden nhw’n dangos eu hunain ac yn farus dros ben gyda’r bêl wrth ei draed. Maen nhw ‘di rhoi enw drwg i Lerpwl!

Swans yn brwydro i aros ar drywydd y gemau ail-gyfle

Ar adegau'r tymor hwn ar ôl ryw golled siomedig, mae rhai pobl wedi mynnu bod y gemau ail-gyfle allan o gyrraedd Abertawe.

Ond yn y Bencampwriaeth, mae pob tîm yn eu tro yn cael rhediadau cryf a rhai sâl, ac mae hynny’n dod a phawb yn reit agos yng nghanol y tabl. Fydd y rhan fwyaf o glybiau yn credu bod ganddyn nhw gyfle i gyrraedd y gemau ail-gyfle gyda rhediad cryf tua diwedd y tymor - ac mae’r Swans yn un o’r clybiau hynny.

Y gobaith rŵan yw bod y fuddugoliaeth bwysig dros Sheffiled United yn gallu sbarduno rhediad da. Roedd o’n ganlyniad gwych, a fydd na ddim llawer o dimoedd wedi cymryd chwe phwynt oddi ar dîm Chris Wilder y tymor hwn.

Mae ‘na dimau mwy ffasiynol yn y gynghrair, fel Leeds a Norwich, ond bydd y fuddugoliaeth hon yn golygu y bydd y Swans yn ennyn parch ymysg timoedd eraill yn y gynghrair.

Doedd hi ddim yn glasur, ond mae 'na foddhad arbennig pan mae’ch tîm yn brwydro i ennill 1-0. Mae’n hwb anferth i’r tîm, ac un sy’n atgoffa’r chwaraewyr eu bod yn gallu ennill gemau tynn.

Mae’r Swans wedi gweld lot o ddrama y tymor hwn, a dyw’r ddrama ddim wastad wedi bod er budd yr Elyrch, felly mae ‘na rywbeth braf am allu dal gafael ar dri phwynt a llwyddo i gwblhau’r job o ennill gêm.

Amynedd Carter-Vickers yn talu ffordd

Yr unig siom i’r Swans oedd gweld Joe Rodon yn cael ei anafu. Mae o ‘di bod yn wych yn ei dymor gyntaf ar y lefel hon.

Ond mae Cameron Carter-Vickers wedi bod yn amyneddgar ac yn broffesiynol iawn. Mae’n gallu bod yn anodd bod yn chwaraewr ar fenthyg, efo disgwyliadau o chwarae ym mhob gêm.

Mae’n gallu cael effaith ar dy hyder os ‘di hynny ddim yn digwydd, ond mae ei agwedd amyneddgar wedi bod yn wych i weld. Pan mae o wedi chwarae, mae o wedi gadael argraff dda.

Mae o’n hyderus, yn dda yn yr awyr ac yn bresenoldeb dibynadwy. Falle bod hon yn gyfle iddo gael rhediad yn y tîm, a chyfle i Joe gael seibiant cyn rhediad hegar o gemau ar ddiwedd y tymor.

Y cwestiwn yw; pe bai Mike van der Hoorn neu Carter-Vickers yn cael ei anafu hefo Rodon eisoes wedi ei anafu, a fyddai hynny’n gorfodi’n clwb i fuddsoddi mewn amddiffynnwr arall ym mis Ionawr?

Atgofion melys o herio’r Gills

Fy mhrofiad cyntaf o Gillingham oedd mynd yna am gêm a gafodd ei gohirio oherwydd eira, ond mae gen i un atgof arbennig o ennill dyrchafiad yno yn 2008.

Ond un peth sydd heb newid yn yr 11 mlynedd ers hynny, yw bod o’n lle anodd i chwarae.

Does ganddyn nhw ddim lot o enwau mawr yno, ond un peth sy’n sicr ydi bod nhw’n dîm sy’n gweithio’n galed. Ac fel ddaru Caerdydd ddarganfod yn y Cwpan FA eleni, os nad ydych chi ar eich gorau, mi allen nhw eich cosbi.

Mae gan eu rheolwr, Steve Lovell, gysylltiad amlwg efo Abertawe. Ond mi ydw i’n falch mai yn y Liberty mae’r gêm – mi fyddai hi’n gêm gwbl wahanol petai hi’n cael ei chwarae yn Gillingham.

Rwy’n gobeithio y bydd Abertawe yn dangos eu gallu a’r agwedd benderfynol er mwyn osgoi llithro ar y croen banana hwn. Os na wnawn nhw, mi allai o fod yn brynhawn hir i’r Swans, ond mi fydd Graham Potter yn sicr o eisiau adeiladu ar y momentwm a pharhau â’r rhediad da.

Diwrnod darbi yng Nghwpan Cymru

Ym mhedwaredd rownd Cwpan Cymru JD, mae ‘na lot i edrych ymlaen ato ac mae 'na un darbi mawr sy’n sefyll allan, rhwng Bangor a Chaernarfon (nos Sadwrn, 7.30).

Mae’n gêm ddiddorol. Disgynnodd Bangor o’r Uwch Gynghrair oherwydd materion yn ymwneud â gweinyddu’r clwb oddi-ar y cae, tra bod Caernarfon yn cael tymor anhygoel eleni.

Mi fydd na dorf fawr yno ac mi fydd na awyrgylch ffantastig yno. Caernarfon yw’r ffefrynnau, ac er bod Bangor yn gwneud yn dda yng nghynghrair Huws Gray, fydd rhaid iddyn nhw fod ar eu gorau i ennill.

Fel cyn-chwaraewr Bangor, efallai fydd rhaid i mi wisgo helmet yn ystod y gêm, yn enwedig arbôl i mi ddarogan yn fy mhodlediad, cyn dechrau’r tymor, y byddai Caernarfon yn disgyn o’r gynghrair. Dydy dilynwyr y Caneris heb fod yn swil wrth f’atgoffa i am hynny!

Ym Mangor oeddwn i cyn symud i Abertawe wrth gwrs, ac mae’n drist nad yw’r Dinasyddion yr Uwch Gynghrair pellach, ac yn siom enfawr i’w cefnogwyr ac i’r gynghrair.

Mae’n adeg anodd i’r clwb ac mae ganddyn nhw gryn dipyn o adeiladu i’w wneud, ond mae’r gêm yma yn rhoi’r cyfle iddyn nhw fwynhau ychydig o lwyddiant tymor byr a gwawdio eu cymdogion.

Gwyliwch gyfweliad Owain gydag un o arwyr Abertawe, Leon Britton ar Mwy o Sgorio, heno (nos Fercher) am 6.30pm, neu nos fory (Nos Iau) am 11pm, ar S4C. Bydd y rhaglen hefyd ar gael i’w wylio ar alw, ar S4C Clic.

Gemau Cwpan Cymru JD

Dydd Sadwrn

 Bangor v Caernarfon (7.30pm - yn fyw ar S4C)
Llangefni v Llandudno (2.30pm)
Caerfyrddin v Cei Connah (2.30pm)
Hwlffordd v Y Bala (2.30pm)
Y Barri v Derwyddon Cefn (2.30pm)
Airbus UK v Y Seintiau Newydd (2.30pm)
Cambrian a Clydach v Y Rhyl (2.30pm)
Aberystwyth v Met Caerdydd (2.30pm)