CARMARTHEN Town made it through to the fourth round of the JD Welsh Cup on Saturday (Dec 2), as they beat local rivals Ammanford 3-2 in a thoroughly entertaining game.
The Old Gold made the short journey to Welsh League Division 2 side Ammanford knowing that progress in the Welsh Cup would provide a major boost to the Club at a time when Welsh Premier League performances, so far, have generally been so disappointing.
After a keenly contested match, during which fortunes swung back and forth, Town achieved exactly that aim to the delight and relief of the numerous supporters in attendance who helped generate a truly “local derby” atmosphere.
After a brief opening period of fairly unproductive midfield exchanges between the teams, the game sprang into life on 7 minutes when Luke Cummings made a powerful run along the right flank before firing a cross-field pass to Liam Thomas who cut past a defender then struck a crisp 20 yard shot that ‘keeper James Kirkwood denied with a fine full-length save.
But in the 10th minute the Old Gold, having continued to keep the home defence under pressure, took the lead when Kieran Lewis, from 25 yards, dispatched a promising free-kick that helpfully took a deflection off a defender and finished in the corner of the net.
From then on the match quickly developed into a competitive end-to-end affair with Ammanford, who seemed to be adapting to the heavy, unpredictable surface much better than the visitors who this season have been far more accustomed to playing on 3G pitches, looking especially lively going forward from midfield.
Carmarthen, however, were resisting that pressure quite comfortably with the central defensive pairing of Dave Vincent and Jordan Knott, in particular, performing with great awareness and composure.
Indeed, it was only in the 16th minute that the home side forced ‘keeper Lee Idzi into any anxious, meaningful action – Rhys Davies from wide on the right flank fired the ball high into the goalmouth but as it drifted towards the goal Idzi reacted swiftly, stretching high to turn it narrowly over the bar.
The rest of his first-half was limited to dealing with a number of crosses and corner-kicks, which Town’s experienced custodian accomplished with his customary confidence and safe handling.
However the Old Gold were still creating more chances and on 33 minutes Lewis, with another smart free-kick, saw the ball crash against the bar then bounce safely away.
Moments later he again sent a free-kick deep into the goalmouth where Vincent, rising above a pack of defenders, watched his close-range header fly just too high.
In the 39th minute they stretched their lead when, almost predictably, Lewis delivered a free-kick from wide on the left flank that reached Liam Thomas deep inside the penalty area and he instantly struck a fierce drive that left Kirkwood well-beaten.
With this goal, his 77th, Liam Thomas becomes the Old Gold’s top all-time goal scorer in all competitions surpassing the previous best, jointly achieved by Tim Hicks and Danny Thomas.
After the interval the Welsh League side immediately began playing with commendable spirit and determination as they launched a series of penetrating attacks which the Town defence struggled to contain.
Within just five minutes of the re-start they were awarded a penalty following what seemed to be a tame infringement by Kyle Bassett – Matthew Fisher stepped forward and drove the spot-kick past Idzi and into the net.
Spurred by that early success Ammanford continued to take the initiative and as the pitch began cutting-up badly they seemed to relish those conditions, while the Old Gold laboured.
Remarkably, after another spell of enterprising attacking play the hosts got back on level terms – in the 61st minute a long cross-field pass reached Fisher and he quickly threaded the ball through to Gavin Jones who raced clear into the penalty area before confidently firing home.
Carmarthen, shaken by having now lost a comfortable two-goal lead within the space of ten minutes, were now on the back foot as Ammanford pressed for a goal that would have taken them into the lead.
They felt they should have had a penalty soon after when an Ammanford player appeared to be brought down just inside the box but the referee instead awarded a free kick on the edge of the box.
The resultant free kick was blocked and Carmarthen began to strike back and put the home defence under pressure.
In the 72nd minute they regained the lead – Cummings, with a strong run and determined challenge, won possession off a defender near to the corner flag then fired a searching cross towards the goalmouth where Liam Thomas claimed the ball and swiftly struck a rasping drive that flew beyond Kirkwood’s reach and into the corner of the net.
Ammanford had no answer to that as the Old Gold proceeded to protect their lead with some solid defensive work and industrious midfield activity which starved the resolute Welsh League side of further scoring opportunities.
In fact Carmarthen produced the only genuine late chance when, on 90 minutes, Bassett burst past three defenders to reach the penalty area then drove the ball into the goalmouth where substitute Tyler Brock hit a crisp close-range shot that was blocked by a defender right in front of the goal.
So, with Town’s continuing interest in the Welsh Cup secured by this hard-earned victory, they now return to the more pressing business of WPL survival on Saturday (December 9 (k/o 2.30pm) when they entertain Llandudno at Richmond Park.
West Wales Cup first round preview
THIS Saturday the West Wales Cup gets underway once more with teams hopeful of a successful run to the Liberty Stadium for the final.
Merlins Bridge are the holders after they beat Carew in the final earlier this year and both have been given byes into the second round this season.
Last year marked the first time that two Pembrokeshire sides reached the final but will that happen again or will another team look to bring the county’s recent dominance to an end.
Goodwick United, Hakin United, Kidwelly Town and Tumble United are some of the other sides to receive byes to the second round.
Pembrokeshire League Champions Monkton Swifts begin their campaign away to Carmarthenshire Premier Division side Loughor Rovers.
The Swifts have made an unbeaten start to their league campaign while the Rovers have four wins from their opening seven games.
Carmarthenshire Premier League champions Trallwm host Swansea Division 1 side Penclawdd.
Both sides have had mixed starts to their season and will be keen to get their cup run going.
Neath League Division 1 side Cilfrew Rovers are the visitors to Fishguard on Saturday with both sides enjoying a good start to their respective seasons.
Clarbeston Road host Swansea League Division 2 side Cwmfelin Press and Neath Division 1 side Resolven are the visitors to Haverfordwest Cricket Club.
Pembrokeshire Division 2 side Herbrandston host Carmarthenshire Premier side Pengelli United.
Herbie have just one league win to their name so far this season while Pengelli have four wins from their opening seven games.
Swansea Division 1 outfit Morriston Town will visit Division 2 Hundleton in what will be a good test for the Pembrokeshire side.
Neyland host Neath Division 2 side Clydach Sports having sealed their first win of the season last weekend.
In two Pembrokeshire versus Carmarthenshire league ties, Letterston are at home to Evans and Williams while Pennar Robins host Dafen.
Dafen are second in Division 1 while the Robins are without a win so far this season.
Elsewhere, Kilgetty travel to Celtic Neath while Lawrenny travel to Bryn.
Division 2 Carmarthenshire side Abergwili host Division 1 FC Carmarthen while Carmarthen Town United host Wern.
Bancffosfelen were heavily beaten at the weekend and they will look to put that result behind them when they travel to Bonymaen Colts.
Premier Division Burry Port host Swansea League Division 3 side Cwm Albion Colts.
Bwlch have only had one win in the league this season and they host Neath Premier Division side FC Clydach who themselves only have two wins to their name so far.
Carmarthen Stars host Pontardawe while Pembrey host Cambrian.
Felinfoel earned a win in their last game in Division 1 and they go up against Carmarthen Premier side Pontarddulais.
Trostre are also at home as they take on Jersey Marine while Seaside travel to Sandfields.
St Ishmaels are away as they take on Gorseinon Athletic, Milford United travel to Murton Rovers and Narberth host Ynystawe.
Good luck to all sides involved.
Raining goals in Ammanford
IT’s raining goals in Ammanford and their reserve team were determined to show that they are a force to be reckoned with and ready in the wings should they be needed to support their first team.
Saturday’s (Oct 5) opponents could be forgiven in thinking that storm Lorenzo had passed but they were blown away literally by a heavy defeat which ended with a full time score of 9-1.
Bancffosfelen found themselves a goal down after just five minutes played when Ammanford’s Ryan Foschi scored with a tap in.
Ammanford took a 4-0 lead into the half time break.
The second half started the same as the first when in the 50th minute Ammanford scored again to make it 5-0.
Ammanford added two more goals in quick succession to make it 7-0. Bancffosfelen did pull a consolation goal back to make it 7-1.
However, Ammanford added a further two goals to wrap up the game with a thumping win. Man of the Match for Ammanford was Alex Arnold.
Ammanford Manager Christian Lloyd was full of praise for his team’s all round performance.
For the record the Ammanford scorers were Ryan Foschi, Ben Edwards, Alex Arnold with a brace, Shaun Williams also with a brace, Rhodri Davies, Aaron Butler and Chris Gregory Evans
Cwm win a thriller
Cwmamman Utd 4-2 Caerau Ely
A VERY damp Grenig Park saw a thrilling clash on Saturday (Oct 5) between two sides who have been struggling to find some form but subsequently played out an exciting end to end match.
Cwmamman started really well and could have been one up in the first minute when an Oly Dymond header was blocked on the line by the Careau keeper.
With both sides competing for every ball there was a melee on 11 minutes but it was mainly a case of handbags and the referee took control.
Then on 21 mins Luke Williams cut inside from wide out and fired an unstoppable shot to make it 1-0 to the Cwm.
Caerau then had a period of pressure and strong defending by Nathan Mcneill and Gareth Howarth ensured danger was averted.
With both sides counter attacking it was on 37mins when a quick Caerau corner caught the Cwm defenders and a strong header made it 1-1 at half time.
Cwm came out firing in the second half and a darting run from Luke Williams and short pass created havoc in the goalmouth and Ryan Thomas poked it home for 2-1 to the Blues.
Ten minutes later another cross from Williams saw the keeper parry a Chrissy Allen attempt but only to Oli Dymond who headed home.
Caerau kept going and a close range shot on 60 mins escaped James Kirkwood as he grabbed the slippery ball and the Caerau striker tapped it in to make it 3-2 and all to play for.
Both sides were creating and Chrissy Allen was injured as he fired an excellent chance over the bar from closed range.
The Blues kept attacking and the killer blow came on 74 mins as a through ball from Williams saw Ryan Thomas get his second with a calm finish.
Both sides saw half chances created and Cwm with Calem Rees, Liam Berner and Ben Thomas supporting attacks were looking for a fifth.
Cwm then suffered a blow as Ross Morgan who had worked so hard in midfield received a red card after a second yellow which had a lot to do with the slippery conditions.
The Blues managed to see it through for a 4-2 win and a very welcome three points. On Friday night (Oct 11) at 7.30pm they welcome Pontypridd Town to Grenig Park for another critical match.
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