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Reds hit back to beat Blues

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Report by Alan Evans

GRENIG Park has proved to be something of a graveyard in the past for the Reds, but in their penultimate league game of the season on Wednesday (May 9), they defied the odds, and came away with a creditable win, although they were pushed to the limit by their opponents.

All the goals came in the first half, with the hosts taking the lead through Craig Spring, before some top class finishing by Chris Jones, Jordan Follows and James Loveridge eased the visitors into a half time advantage.

However, they have goalkeeper Craig Morris to thank in the second period as he pulled off a number of important saves which kept the Cwm attack at bay, while Rob Jones in the home goal was seldom tested.

After an early Loveridge effort was diverted for a corner, Cwm went ahead on 14 minutes when the ball was circulated to the right where Spring despatched a speculative attempt across the face of goal, and it struck the inside of the far post and into the net.

The lead was short-lived, as within three minutes a Reds move involving Lee Trundle and Joe Clarke ended with Jones striking a superb 25 yard shot which rocketed low past the keeper.

When the home side countered, Chris Allen lofted his finish over the top when he was found in space, before the visitors struck again in the 21st minute following a delivery by Loveridge which was met by Follows on the volley to comprehensively beat Jones.

The Reds were well on top at this stage, and increased the lead further after 34 minutes when a typical piece of Trundle magic saw him nutmeg a defender with a backheel which found Clarke, and he in turn played in Loveridge who fired home.

With a two goal cushion at the break, the visitors were probably confident of adding to the tally, but the second period proved to be something of an anti-climax with their opponents mainly dictating play, and Morris was by far the busier of the two keepers.

His first save was a block to deny Rhys Morgan when he found himself unmarked close to goal, and then did even better by pushing over a close range header by Allen following a free kick into the goalmouth.

Robert Thomas brought off a timely tackle on Colin Harris when he threatened to break through on the Reds` goal, and he was a thorn to the visitors throughout, playing in Allen who was again thwarted by Morris who got down to divert his finish for a corner.

Cwm were now in the ascendancy, pegging back their opponents who were being confined to long range attempts, with Follows curling one just wide and then being closed down in the box by Gareth Howarth when Clarke set up the chance.

Kyle Ashford was the next home player to offer up a threat, but again Morris was equal to the task, keeping out his near post shot.

The visitors` made a number of changes, with Liam Samuel, Ross Jones and Luke Morgan replacing Kyle Graves, Clarke and Loveridge respectively, but the contest ended with Morris again in action, this time saving from Spring when he directed a close range header goalwards following a Jack Medwin free kick.

The Reds finish their league campaign on Saturday (May 12), when they travel to Cwmbran Celtic.

Cwmamman still have two league games to play starting on Saturday when they take on Goytre away. That is followed by their final game at home on Wednesday, May 16, against Cwmbran Celtic.

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Sport

Reds stunned by Nomads

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Report by Alan Evans

A SOBERING welcome back to the JD Welsh Premier League for the Reds resulted in a crushing home defeat at the hands of opponents who are one of the favourites for the league title this season, and in an efficient demolition job, boasted their credentials.

The Nomads, packed with players having a wealth of ex-football league experience displayed a ruthless streak from the off, and the home side were hard put to live with the almost constant pressure, finding themselves three goals down after just 25 minutes.

The Reds were well contained as an attacking force, and John Danby in the visitors` goal was barely tested throughout, the nearest threat coming early on when Jordan Follows was brought down outside the box, with the subsequent free kick by James Loveridge being cleared by the defensive wall.

Nomads almost snatched the lead when former TNS striker, Michael Wilde, was played through the middle before directing his finish beyond the onrushing Oliver Davies in the home goal, but James Parry came to the rescue by clearing out of the goalmouth.

Photo by Darren Harries

This turned out to be a brief respite and a foretaste of things to come, as the visitors opened their account in the 8th minute when some poor home defending allowed Wilde to meet a cross from the left and head past Davies.

Seven minutes later, the lead was doubled following another ball by Ryan Wignall lofted to the far post which was headed home by Michael Bakare.

Even at this early stage in proceedings, it was obvious the Reds had their hands full to prevent a humiliating outcome, with damage limitation seemingly the order of the day, but again they were exposed with another through ball which Wilde picked up, but this time Carlos Indja did just enough to shepherd it over for a goal kick.

A rare home attack saw Follows meeting a Loveridge driven cross and directing it towards the far post, but it was hacked clear by a Nomads defender.

On 25 minutes, events took an even worse turn for the home side after Declan Poole was found in space on the edge of the area, although his final finish took a wicked deflection off Scott Tancock before beating Davies.

Loveridge made ground down the right before his cross into the middle was pushed clear by Danby, with Laurence Wilson putting the rebound over for a corner.

Three goals down at the break, the Reds found themselves in even deeper trouble on 58 minutes following an effort by Wignall which again deflected off the unfortunate Tancock and into the net.

Five minutes later matters got even worse for the Reds when their opponents racked up a fifth success, when a melee in front of goal following a corner culminated in Michael Parker netting from close range.

Barely four minutes had elapsed before the Nomads turned the screw even further, with Bakare notching up his brace by heading home a Wignall delivery.

Davies pushed away a fiercely struck Nathan Woolfe free kick, and then did well to divert another attempt by the same player for a corner.

However, in stoppage time he was beaten again when the Nomads completed the rout through Laurence Wilson, who drove home his finish low into the bottom corner.

A sobering return to the top flight for the Reds, and they will certainly have to improve on this showing if they are to have any hope of survival in the long months which lie ahead.

On Saturday (Aug 18), the Reds travel to meet Cefn Druids with a coach leaving Stebonheath at 8am.

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Sport

Welsh Premier League season begins

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THE 2018/19 JD Welsh Premier League season kicks off tonight (Aug 10), with three exciting games in prospect.

Carmarthen Town begin their campaign away to Bala in a game that will be streamed live on S4C’s Facebook page.

Aberystwyth Town are also in action as they host Llandudno at Park Avenue. Friday’s other game sees Cardiff Met play Newtown.

Photo by Darren Harries

The 27th season of the JDWPL welcomes back two names synonymous with Welsh football, as Caernarfon Town and Llanelli Town return to the top flight after a number of years out.

Both clubs are rooted into the heart of their respective communities and will be hoping for great support as they kick off their campaigns at home to Cefn Druids and Connah’s Quay Nomads respectively.

Llanelli Town begin their season on Sunday (Aug 12) with a home game against Connahs Quay Nomads (KO 14:30).

The league has been recognised a number of times through the BBC Price of Football Survey as being the most affordable top-flight league in the UK, a validation of clubs’ commitment to keeping the live football experience open to everyone within their local areas. With the most expensive ticket price once again, being no more than £10, that commitment will continue into this season and beyond.

The League launched digitally this year on all JD Welsh Premier League social media platforms, and was accompanied by music from Cardiff band Himalayas, as part of the FAW’s partnership with the BBC Cymru Wales Horizons project.

Gwyn Derfel, JD Welsh Premier League Secretary, encouraged people to give the league a go, saying: “It is important that people give the JD Welsh Premier League a chance as, when people do come, they do tend to come back, which shows that we have a good, authentic, family-friendly product which is affordable to all.”

So, whether the football experience you’re looking for is affordable, family-friendly, authentic, good quality or all of the above, you’ll find it in your local community, at a JD Welsh Premier League club.

It begins. Get involved!

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Sport

Llangennech seal promotion

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LLANGENNECH secured promotion back to Division 1 of the South Wales Cricket Association as they beat Morriston by six wickets on Saturday (Aug 4).

Morriston won the toss and chose to bat first but Llangennech showed their qualities as they restricted their opponents to 166-9 in their 50 overs.

Openers Peter Lynn and Jay Wittram had earlier shared 42 runs for the opening wicket but that was broken when Lynn was caught by David Williams off the bowling of Simon Clement.

Wittram scored 36 but he was then trapped leg before by Matthew Jones and Stuart Jones scored 14 before he was also trapped leg before by Stuart Goddard.

Wickets were falling at regular intervals and Andrew Norton was also trapped leg before by Goddard.

Meilyr Powel was then stumped by Williams off the bowling of Bav Patel for a score of 1 and Morriston had slipped to 81-5.

Matthew Dardecker then fell in the same fashion as Powel on a score of 6 before a stand of 49 boosted Morriston’s position.

Photo by Darren Harries

Greg Handley scored 27 with two sixes but he was then run out and soon after Mark Whittaker was bowled by Matthew Jones on a score of 39.

Huw Knudson made a late score of 10 but he was then caught by Hedd-Wyn Jones off the bowling of Patel before Morriston limped to their total of 166-9.

Morriston struck early on as Llangennech began their reply when Hedd-Wyn Jones was caught by Lewis Francis off the bowling of Stuart Johnson for a third-ball duck.

Scott Lloyd and James Taube then shared 39 runs for the second wicket but that stand was broken when Taube was trapped leg before by Owen Francis on a score of 23.

Lloyd then shared another 61 runs with David Williams before the latter was caught by Huw Knudson off the bowling of Jay Wittram on a score of 43 that included nine fours.

Lloyd and Stuart Goddard then shared another good stand of 64 which took them to within touching distance of victory.

Goddard made 25 with four boundaries before he was bowled by Stuart Johnson.

Lloyd hit three fours as he finished not out on 40 to help his side back into Division 1 with victory.

It has been an excellent season for Llangennech and Saturday’s win was their eleventh of the season from fourteen games.

On Saturday (Aug 11), they will go again as they look to be crowned Division 2 Champions when they host bottom side Briton Ferry Town.

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