CARMARTHEN Town recognised the opening of their long-awaited new 3G surface at Richmond Park with this friendly fixture against Welsh League side Cwmamman United on Monday night (Sept 25).
Overall, it was hardly an exhibition of sparkling, celebration football befitting the occasion despite Town fielding a very strong side against a team that currently lies in the lower half of WL Division One.
However, the Old Gold began promisingly as they enjoyed a lengthy spell of pressure, virtually camped in the visitors’ half albeit without managing any initial serious goal threat. Then at last, on 12 minutes, they went close to taking the lead – a Kieran Lewis corner found Liam Thomas who, from 15 yards, struck a fierce volley that ‘keeper Rob Jones turned away with a smart save.
Then after 18 minutes Lewis received the ball just inside the penalty area and dispatched a crisp angled drive that Jones kicked away to safety. Moments later another corner from Lewis was met by Thomas, rising high above defenders, but his header flew narrowly over the bar.
Almost immediately, Town’s influential midfielder set up another chance when he played a fine pass through to Thomas who raced into the penalty area then drove the ball across the face of the goal where Tyler Brock cleanly struck a close-range shot that was blocked on the goal-line by a defender.
To round off this frenetic sequence of goalmouth activity, on 25 minutes Thomas timed his run perfectly to reach yet another corner from Lewis only to see his 10 yard header graze the top of the bar and land safely behind.
During that spell of Old Gold ascendancy Cwmamman had managed, with worrying ease, to pierce the home defence a couple of times with fast counter-attacks along the wings, spoilt only by poor finishing – and when the visitors broke forward again on 35 minutes Carmarthen were made to regret their own profligacy in front of goal. A slick passing move through the centre channel sliced open the Town defence and finished with Ryan Thomas running clear into the penalty area and from 6 yards he slid the ball past ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the net.
The Old Gold, shaken by that setback, went in search of an equaliser and were close on 40 minutes when a neat interchange of passes between Lewis, Kyle Williams and Thomas finished with Brock releasing a close-range angled strike that Jones, with a fine reaction save, turned over the bar.
However, in the 42nd minute Town eventually found success – but they needed significant help from the opposition defence to achieve it. A hopeless back-pass from a defender was easily intercepted by Kostya Georgievsky who raced forward to the edge of the penalty area then dispatched a rasping drive beyond the ‘keepers’ reach and into the back of the net.
After the interval Carmarthen wasted no time in taking the lead – within 90 seconds of the start they had forced a corner and from Lewis’ perfect delivery Lee Surman powered his header home from close range.
But rather than herald a period of dominance by the Old Gold, that goal served to inspire United into greater effort and urgency as they sought to restore parity.
Although for a lengthy spell the play was fairly evenly balanced with no serious goalmouth action at either end of the pitch, increasingly the WL side were stretching the home defence – and eventually on 66 minutes a piercing pass found Ryan Hurlow sprinting into the penalty area where he struck a 15 yard shot only to be denied by Idzi, racing quickly out of his goal, who produced a stunning reflex save.
Cwmamman continued to threaten with fast, determined breaks from midfield but without success until at last, in the 88th minute, Town’s defence was breached as they failed to deal with a left-wing cross deep into the goalmouth where Hurlow was well placed to stab the ball past substitute ‘keeper Stephen Hall and into the net – a just reward for the visitors’ spirit and persistence.
The Old Gold, however, were simply left to reflect on their failure to capitalise on their early pressure and scoring opportunities, due as much to poor finishing as outstanding defending by the WL side.
Carmarthen now look forward to their first competitive fixture on the new 3G surface on Saturday, September 30, (k/o 2.30pm) when they face Welsh Premier League champions The New Saints, no strangers to such a surface – that should be a real test for the Old Gold.
Blacks go marching on
New Dock Stars • 10
Burry Port • 21
BURRY PORT travelled to local rivals New Dock Stars last Saturday (Oct 7) and booked their place into the next round of the WRU Bowl.
It was the home side who got off to the better start keeping the ball for long periods and putting the Burry Port try line under some pressure but just couldn’t get over the white wash.
Burry Port looked dangerous when in possession and with strong running centre Knox opening the scoring with a fine run Burry Port got into their game and took control of the first half.
Knox soon crossed for his second and was quickly followed by another try this time by Flanker Rich Parker all converted by Ceiron Thomas to make the score 21-0 at half time.
The Blacks had more opportunities to increase the lead but a combination of good defence and a couple of mistakes at the last moment denied the away team.
New Dock put plenty of good work in themselves and were really effective at keeping the ball with forwards working hard off 9 and after a long phase of play were awarded a penalty on the Burry Port 22 which was kicked by Jason Baxter to make the score 21-3.
The rest of the half saw New Dock trying to get back in the game but Burry Port controlled territory and wouldn’t let the home team anytime in the attacking half.
The final score went to New Dock after a promising Burry Port attack and a chance of another try the ball was intercepted by the New Dock winger Kieron James who raced in for a try under the posts, converted by Baxter to make the final score 21-10.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday (Oct 14) in the league when Burry Port will be the hosts and can expect another tough game.
Nant hold off Quins
Pembroke Dock Quins • 12
Nantgaredig • 28
NANTGAREDIG withstood a second half fight back from a spirited Pembroke Dock Quins side to book their place in the third round of the WRU Bowl last Saturday (Oct 7).
The high flying Division 3B side won the game 28-12 but the Quins dominated the second half and were unlucky not to score more points.
The visitors could not have got off to a better start when Outside Half Dafydd Lewis slotted over a penalty after just two minutes, and on 10 minutes Scrum Half George Gleeson slipped over for a try which was converted by Dafydd Lewis.
With a 0-10 advantage for the visitors it looked like it was going to be a tough afternoon for the Quins.
On the Half Hour the Quins were dealt a hammer blow when Right Wing Gethin Davies touched down for a Unconverted Try wide out to put his side 15 points to the good.
The Quins though, responded magnificently, with one of the best tries they have scored this Season.
After some fine ball retention Outside Half Lewis Davies powered through a gap in a stretched defence to score half way out, he converted himself to put the Quins back in the hunt.
With five minutes of the half remaining the Quins laid siege to the visitors’ line, but unfortunately for the Quins they could not crack the visitors defence.
The Quins had it all to play for as the second Half started but with just five minutes of the half gone Dafydd Lewis punished a Quins indiscretion to put his side into a 7-18 lead.
From here on in it was all Quins as they seemed to be encamped in the visitors 22, but no matter what they tried it just did not seem their day.
Just on the hour mark an interception try by Dafydd Lewis was a cruel blow to the Quins after all the effort they had put in, he failed to convert his own try from wide out.
The Quins were soon back inside the visitors 22, with replacement Hywel Baker showing a never say die attitude after coming off his sick bed, but the Quins could not force a score, with some outstanding defence by the visitors coming to the fore.
Nantgaredig grabbed a fourth try when a chip over the top bounced straight into Dafydd Lewis’ hands and the Outside Half did the rest for an unconverted try.
The Quins had the last say when replacement Prop Martin Culley powered over from close range for an unconverted try.
Cefneithin beat All Blacks
Neyland • 3
Cefneithin • 25
CEFNEITHIN knocked out opposition from Pembrokeshire for a second time as they beat Neyland 25-3 to make it through to the third round of the WRU Bowl last Saturday (Oct 7).
The Carmarthenshire side knocked out Milford in the first round and put in another good display to beat Neyland.
They started this game well and went ahead with a try from Nathan Harbright and a second try from Dion Thomas gave them a 10-0 lead.
James Gronow and Jonathan Morgan also claimed tries while Richard Watts added one conversion and one penalty.
All Neyland had to show for their efforts was a solitary penalty from Mark Riley but it could have been a much different score line had the home side taken some of their chances.
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