NOBODY said it was going to be easy, and the Reds continue to find that life in the Welsh Premier League is a continuous learning curve with each match throwing up different problems, particularly when players are not available due to suspensions, injury or unavailability.
This proved to be the case with the visit of a full-time TNS side on Friday (Sept 14), with the hosts stretched to field a team capable of standing up for the inevitable onslaught and ready for a backs-to-the-wall defensive effort.
To their credit, they achieved this aim to some extent, and the cricket-score forecasts by some pessimists did not materialise, although the visitors always seemed capable of turning their attacking prowess up a few notches if needed.
The Reds also have goalkeeper Oliver Davies to thank for a number of good saves, while the woodwork also played its part, twice coming to the rescue when the Saints got behind the home rearguard.
While Paul Harrison in the visitors` goal was a virtual spectator for large swathes of the game, he was the first to be called into action early on when he was forced to turn over a well struck free kick by James Loveridge.
That effort was about as close the Reds got to a breakthrough, as from then on their opponents dominated proceedings with constant attacks, spreading diagonal passes to either flank, causing endless problems for the overworked home defence.
It took just 9 minutes for the lead to be established when a slick move ended with Aeron Edwards slotting his finish beyond Davies.
This early success confirmed the pattern of play for the remainder of the half, with Daniel Redmond seeing Davies keep out his strike at the expense of a corner, while a cross from the left flank found Simon Spender at the far post, but his header rebounded off the post to safety.
When the home side were in possession of the ball, which was not too often, they were careless with their passing, conceding it back to their opponents far too easily.
A surging run by Adrian Cieslewicz took him into the home box before it was halted by a saving tackle, while the upright again came to the Reds` aid when Redmond unleashed a 30 yard rocket.
The same player then had his deflected shot on target turned around by Davies, but with the half time interval approaching, it appeared as if the home side would go in just trailing by the solitary goal.
However, with literally seconds remaining, Jon Routledge got to the byline before cutting the ball into the goalmouth, where it appeared to come off Reds` defender, Chris Thomas, and past Davies for an own goal.
With their task of taking something out of the game now made even harder, the hosts were subjected to more of the kind of relentless pressure they had endured in the first half following the restart, with Davies again standing between the Saints and further goals, denying Dean Ebbe when he was through.
A long range attempt by Tom Holland was fractionally off target when the visitors again pushed forward, before a rare home sortie arose from a Chris Jones pass which sent Loveridge clear, bur Harrison was quickly off his line to clear the threat.
A close range volley from Kurtis Byrne from a Routledge delivery whistled just over the top, and Davies again showed his mettle when he pushed clear a shot by Routledge, and then turned over a further attempt by the same player.
At the close, the Reds would be thankful the final tally was not higher, the only consolation being that they will not face teams of this calibre every week, although there appear to be no easy games at this level.
The Reds face the long trip to Caernarfon Town on Saturday (Sept 22), with a coach leaving Stebonheath at 8am.
Points deduction for Old Gold
CARMARTHEN Town have been deducted three points and fined £250 for fielding an ineligible player in their 2-0 win over Llanelli Town on New Years Day.
An FAW Disciplinary Panel met last week to hear the charge against Carmarthen Town AFC after Dave Vincent, who should have been suspended for the game on January 1, played in that match.
Vincent should have served a one match suspension from December 28, 2018 for accumulating five cautions.
A spokesperson for the FAW said: “Carmarthen were charged with a Disciplinary Offence as set out under FAW Rule 38.1.2, for the alleged breach of Rule 18 of the JD Welsh Premier League Rules 2018/19 for playing an ineligible player.
“The Panel found the charge against Carmarthen to be proven, and as a result the club will be deducted three points from their League playing record, and fined £250.
“Carmarthen have until the close of business on February 18, 2019 to lodge an appeal against this decision.”
The three-point deduction means that Carmarthen would be eight points off the bottom two and it would also harm their chances of finishing at the top of the Welsh Premiership Conference.
Carmarthen Town have been asked for a comment on the matter.
Young Borderers progress in Mike Fry Cup
WHITLAND Youth held off a spirited fightback from Milford Haven on Saturday (Feb 9) as they won 14-15 on the 3G surface at The Obs to progress to the semi-finals of the Mike Fry Under 17 Cup.
Owen Palmer, Iolo Rees and Brandon Williams all scored unconverted tries for Whitland as they moved into a 7-15 lead.
Harry Charnley had scored Milford’s earlier try and as the second half wore on they looked to get themselves back into the game.
A surging run set up Joel Yeomans to dive over near the posts and the conversion brought them to within one point of the junior Borderers.
Whitland looked to seal their progress and went looking for a fourth try but lost the ball in contact near the line.
Milford came forward but a wayward lineout prevented any further progress.
The home side won the ball back but Whitland turned the ball over as time ran out and they kicked the ball out of play to seal their passage to the next round.
The young Borderers will now look forward to their semi-final tie which takes place on Saturday, February 23.
Elsewhere, Tenby went through with a 12-3 win over Pembroke and Crymych beat Aberystwyth 25-10.
The game between Fishguard and Neyland was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and is due to be played on Sunday (Feb 17).
The final will be played on March 16 at Tenby.
Youthful Blacks stun Bont
BURRY Port travelled to Bont with an impressive eight youth players in their ranks, 5 of whom started the match and two making their senior debuts.
The selection had raised a few eyebrows in the week but the coaching staff fully believed the Youth players had earned their place and were excited to see how they went against a good Division 2 team.
The first half was a scrappy affair with both teams trying to play rugby but failing to hold on to possession at crucial times, the referee was happy for both teams to play and controlled the game very well.
The stalemate was not broken until the 30th minute when a break up field by the home backs got them into the Burry Port 22 and after a couple of quick phases they managed to power over out wide to lead 5-0.
As the half time approached Burry Port were camped on the home team’s try line, twice being held up over the line and after refusing a couple of easy shots at goal searching for a try would have been disappointed to come up short and go into half time 5 nil down.
In the second half, now playing into the wind, Burry Port upped the tempo and got their ball carriers into the game more. They simplified the attack and they got the rewards, Captain Andy Francis got the first try, running hard and straight through his opposite number to finish under the posts to take a 7-5 lead.
Burry Port now had their tails up and Bont were struggling to cope with the direct running of the Blacks ball carrying. A second try came after good approach play and a wonderful finish through live wire hooker Taran Galbraith to extend the lead to 12-5.
Bont knew they needed the next score but with the Burry Port defence dominating the contact area they failed to get any decent attacks going and from a turnover in mid field and some good hands saw flying wing Tom Davies cross in the corner to make it 17-5.
Burry Port brought on youngster Keelan Jewell at loose head to make it an all 18 year old front row and, with the addition of another two youth replacements Kingsley Powell and debutant Theo Barnes-Watson as well as scrum half Ben Williams, who all brought plenty of energy onto the field against a tiring home defence, meant the next try wasn’t long coming.
Centre Duane Evans found a gap and a lovely inside ball to supporting full back Adam Davies who dived over the line for the bonus point try.
Another try quickly followed as a 5m lineout attack from Burry Port was initially defended well but with Burry Port keeping the ball, replacement Powell barged over the line.
The game was won but Burry Port had one more score in them, with Adam Davies dancing around a few tired defenders to again cross under the posts to put the icing on a well-deserved victory for Burry Port.
Burry Port are next in action on Saturday (Feb 16) when they welcome St Clears to the Memorial Park, 2:30pm kick off.
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