Ton Pentre

Ton PentreALTHOUGH the present club was established in 1935, a side bearing the name Ton Pentre F.C. was founded in 1903 and, between the years 1909 and 1915, played in the Southern Football League. Following the first war, Ton Pentre rejoined the Southern League and stayed until 1923 when they took up membership of the Welsh League.
Down the years the club has won several honours, of which their victory in the Welsh Amateur Cup final in 1951/52 is a major highlight. On that occasion, Ton Pentre defeated Chirk AAA by 6-2 in the final played at Aberystwyth. The previous club actually reached the final of the Welsh Cup back in 1922 before going down 2-nil to Cardiff City. Other successes have included winning the South Wales Senior Cup in 1948, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1984 and 1993.
Prior to joining the League of Wales in 1993, Ton Pentre were champions of the Welsh League on five occasions, taking the trophy to their Ynys Park home in 1957/58, 1960/61, 1973/74, 1981/82 and 1992/93. Many people in Welsh soccer circles were surprised by The Bulldogs’ decision not to apply for a place in the newly-formed League of Wales in 1992. Following that Welsh League championship success in 1993, however, Ton Pentre accepted promotion to the national league where they played for the next four seasons.
1993/94 was a most successful campaign and Ton Pentre were still pushing for the championship in mid-March 1994. Indeed, before Christmas the side lost only one game. A final place in the top three was well-deserved and this was repeated the following season. Ton’s reward for finishing third in 1994/95 was a place in the new UEFA InterToto Cup. Here they faced tough opponents in Heerenveen (Holland), Bekescsabai Elore (Hungary), Uniao Leira (Portugal) and Naestved of Denmark. Perhaps not surprisingly, all four games were lost and, indeed, Ton’s foray into the competition had serious repercussions. The costs involved strained their finances to such an extent that they withdrew from the League of Wales at the end of the 1996/97 season.
The next five seasons brought nothing but success for the Ynys Park outfit. Five successive Welsh League championships followed, double the number won between 1922 and 1993, and during this unprecedented run of success, Ton Pentre won a staggering 124 league games (out of 174), scoring 474 goals in the process!
Ynys Park
Ton Pentre's old but atmospheric Ynys Park.
Amongst other notable success stories in the past, Ton Pentre can count a 2-0 Welsh Cup victory over Newport County at Somerton Park in 1978/79, when Newport were a Football League club, and an impressive run to the first round proper of the F.A.Cup in 1986/87. That season, in front of a crowd of 2,700 at Ynys Park, Ton put up a great performance against Football League neighbours Cardiff City.
The Welsh Cup has provided highlights for The Bulldogs in recent years, too. Ton Pentre reached the semi-final in 2002 where they met League of Wales champions Barry Town. A great performance took the tie to extra-time but two goals from The Dragons’ Jamie Moralee ended Ton’s hopes. Undaunted, they battled through to the following year’s semi-final stage where their opponents were Cwmbran Town. This time it was Ton who scored first but, just when victory was in their grasp, two goals in the last eight minutes brought another Welsh Cup disappointment for the club.
A considerable amount of work has taken place at Ynys Park in recent times in order to bring facilities up to the standard required for Ton Pentre to have another crack at the Welsh Premier League, but they are still well short of the target and, despite winning the Welsh League in 2004/5, the top flight is still outside their grasp. If and when that day arrives, there is little doubt that the Bulldogs will return to the national league with just as much bite as bark.

Club histories and stats based on information compiled by David Rapson.