MANY expected Llandudno Junction to struggle when they won promotion to the Huws Gray Alliance, and this proved to be the case.

The Railwaymen lasted just one season in the second tier after a difficult spell, where they won just once in 28 league contests and finished bottom of the pile with seven points.

It was a turbulent season that began with a host of high-profile additions in the squad during the summer, with the acquisitions of Dean Seager, Leigh Craven, Keighan Jones and Joe Morgan giving them plenty of cause for encouragement under manager Iain Bennett.

Given the strength operating within the HGA it was always going to be a tough ask, and although they turned in a number of encouraging performances throughout they were left counting the cost of some silly mistakes that often get punish when you ply your trade at this level.

Seager and Craven departed the scene for Conwy Borough which was a significant blow, especially when you consider how well the former began the season.

To score double figures for a struggling side before the New Year is no mean feat, and Seager’s nous in front of goal and work rate from the front was sorely missed during a critical time of the season.

Their struggles also resulted in Bennett stepping down and replaced by Chris Morrell, who was tasked with guiding a depleted squad through their remaining fixtures when the writing was on the wall in terms of their relegation.

He did a very admirable job under the circumstances, and if Junction can take one positive from their one-season stay in the division it is the performance of the young players who were thrown in at the deep end against vastly older and more experienced opposition.

This showed not only is their youth system reaping its rewards, but this experience is going to stand them in extremely good stead as they look to re-establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in Lock Stock Welsh Alliance Division One.

Of course they would have liked to have done better, but the performances from the likes of Jack Nettleton can give them great encouragement for the future as they move back to a division that is more befitting of their budget and overall ambitions.

They were right to grasp the opportunity presented to them when Glantraeth failed to take up the opportunity of second tier football, and although it resulted in relegation Junction can be proud of the level of commitment shown in difficult circumstances.