Football: Another day in the doghouse: Duncan Gardner on the rough end of the week that falls on Thursdays

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The Independent Online
THERE is a Wednesday in Europe this season and, even after Saturday's reversal, there is a chance that next season there will be some Thursdays as well.

Certainly the 300 spectators and the obligatory dog at the Penypound Stadium have sampled success and the European football community was beckoning.

Penypound is the home of Abergavenny Thursdays, Abacus League winners for the last two seasons and named, like the Sheffield side, after the half-day off on which they originally played.

Could they repeat their triumphs in the new League of Wales, which kicked off after an 18-month battle and gives direct access to Euro- glory? The opposition was Bangor City, who have been in Europe before. Had away goals counted in 1963, they would have dismissed Napoli in the Cup Winners' Cup.

Abergavenny and Bangor suffered in the close season, their players feeling that the new league, despite the glamorous carrot, did not match the English system.

Thursdays lost their entire team, City all but one, but City did acquire as manager the wise and wizened Ernie Walley, ex-Chelsea, Crystal Palace, and Watford.

Walley watched in growing gloom as his side footled their finishing and met, in Steve Morris, a capable goalkeeper. City seemed unable to capitalise on playing for 40 minutes against 10 men after Ian Jolosa was dismissed, but they scored the only goal, in injury time, when even Morris could not reach a header from the substitute Neil Hughes.

It was Jolosa, incidentally, who walked free from court earlier this month with an 18-month conditional discharge after breaking a rival player's jaw. He was told by the judge to watch Gary Lineker videos and clean up his game. Yesterday, the 6ft 4in striker who will be banned for two weeks, said: 'It is bad being the first player sent off in the new league, but I was a marked man right from the start.'