BODEDERN Athletic’s disappointment at losing an FAW Trophy semi-final is a testament to how far the club has come in such a short space of time.

The Lock Stock Welsh Alliance Division One side have enjoyed a phenomenal campaign to date, punching well above their weight in what is their first season back within the third tier.

Ricky Williams’ side finished second to Division Two champions Prestatyn Sports last term in order to secure promotion and they have simply not looked back, producing a series of exceptional displays to put them in surprise title contention.

While many wrote them off, as they tend to do with newly promoted sides, at the start of the campaign, there was a quiet confidence within the group that they could surprise many and go on to achieve something special, and it is this belief that has put them just one behind championship favourites Llangefni Town ahead of what is sure to be a pulsating run-in.

That in itself is an achievement, but Williams will not allow his side to rest of their laurels and think they have already secured their pre-season objectives, and the squad have all bought in to his ethos and style of play that has been a joy to watch for the majority of the campaign.

It does help that they have talent such as Steven Whittaker and Aden Clarke at their disposal. Both have shown their class this season and they can win a game on their own when they turn on the style, but Athletic are not about individuals and their rise to prominence has been a collective effort that they can all be enormously proud of.

Whether or not they can win a fairy tale Division One title or not remains to be seen, but there is little doubt that they are now one of the standout performers within the third tier and they will now have a bullseye on their back from here on out.

With games against Llandyrnog United, Greenfield, Prestatyn Sports, Llanrug United and Barmouth and Dyffryn United in their immediate future, there are plenty of challenges ahead, and their clash at current pacesetters Llandudno Albion on April 20 is another eye-catching contest that will have a significant impact on their overall fortunes once their fixtures have concluded.

Regardless of where they finish and the fact they didn’t make the FAW Trophy final, the future is incredibly bright for an Athletic side that have been a revelation so far this season, and you get the feeling there is plenty more to come from this group of players and their talented young boss.