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Ammanford get bogged down at the Lido

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JD Cymru South league
Afan Lido FC v Ammanford AFC

IT was a rain swept Marston Stadium home of Afan Lido FC that greeted both teams and a hardy set of supporters who braved the awful weather conditions.
Referee Ben Williams made an inspection of Lido’s pitch half an hour before kick off and having bounced and kicked a football across the ground deemed the match on.
The game got under way with both teams having to contend with the driving rain and gale force winds that swept in from the Aberavon sea front.
Players had to quickly adapt to the playing surface.
The Lido settled quicker of the two teams and took the lead after 11 minutes played when Kaid Mohamed crossed the ball into the Ammanford six yard area which was turned into the Ammanford net by striker Sean Hanbury 1-0
Ammanford should have equalised in the 23rd minute when striker Lee Trundle broke free on the right and played a pass to midfielder Mathew Fisher who could not control his shot and the chance went begging.
Three minutes later Ammanford’s pacemen combined to create another golden chance to equalise. Tristan Jenkins played a cross into Gavin Jones whose close range effort looked for all the world as if it was going into the Lido goal net but the ball seemed to stick in the mud on the goalline and was scrambled away to safety.
Half chances were falling to both teams as the art of defending was becoming more difficult as the game progressed. With over half an hour gone Ammanford were awarded a penalty kick and Lee Trundle stepped up to take it. Trundle fired his spot kick towards the goal but Lido Goalkeeper Steven Cann guessed to dive the right way and the ball hit is outstretched legs and rebounded high into the air and out of play to safety.
As the half time whistle went it was Lido with the 1-0 advantage but the visitors Ammanford were left ruing their missed chances.
The second half saw the home side more of a counter attacking force as Ammanford tried to push forward in search of the equaliser.
Lido could have increased their lead but for some off target shooting.On the hour mark Ammanford thought they had their equaliser when striker Lee Trundle controlled the ball, swivelled and shot the ball towards goal but the ball was only half stopped and the ball continued to roll its way to the back of the net but Lido Goalkeeper Cann managed a last ditch grasp of the ball and the ball was stopped agonisingly short of crossing his goal line. Ammanford appealed that the ball had crossed the goal line and the referee looked to his Assistant who confirmed that the ball had not crossed the line.
Ammanford made attacking substitutions by bringing on Andy Robinson, Craig Frater and Bruno Forkouh in an attempt to try and get something from the game.
Lido finally wrapped up the points with four minutes of normal time played when forward Kaid Mohamed latched onto a loose ball and unchallenged he lofted the ball over the Ammanford defence into the net 2-0.
Ammanford tried to push forward but were left frustrated in the end as Lido claimed the victory and ended Ammanford’s winning run.
Ammanford’s attention now turns to JD Welsh Cup action when they take on Ton Pentre at home in Round 2.

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Sport

World class Astro Turf pitch in Carmarthen

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A new state of the art Astro Turf pitch has opened at Carmarthen Leisure Centre.

The world class pitch welcomed its first players on Saturday with a hockey match.

It is part of a £1million, two-phase investment in the centre which will enhance current facilities, community provision and offer customers a better experience.

Carmarthenshire County Council is delivering the scheme.

Plans for the second phase will be to replace the current six-lane athletics track with an eight-lane one. This track will be the only one of its kind in West Wales.

Additional parking will also be provided to meet current demand and improvements will be made to ease traffic flow.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, the council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said more people than ever are using the council leisure centres.

He said “What a fantastic transformation. This new pitch is of such a high grade that it will be on par with the best pitches in the world. More people than ever are using the centres to get more active and healthy, so it is critical that we are able to provide them with modern facilities that compete with a busy private sector market. If we don’t invest we face the possibility of losing our customers which would have a long term effect on the viability of our leisure centres. We are pleased we are making this significant investment which will benefit our members and the local community and schools.”

Over £2 million is being ploughed into Carmarthen and Ammanford centres to ensure sport facilities are fit for the future.

Cllr Hughes-Griffiths added: “There will be some temporary upheaval whilst these works are underway, and we thank regular users for their patience whilst we await these brand new facilities.”

Pic: Andrew Sellick, Actif facilities manager, and Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, with QE High School pupils, testing out the new 2G pitch at Carmarthen Leisure Centre.

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Sport

Old Gold snatch vital draw

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JD Cymru Premier League
Penybont 1 – Carmarthen Town 1

AFTER an impressive performance to defeat Penybont at Richmond Park on Boxing Day, expectations among the Town supporters who travelled along the M4 for this Cymru Premier League return fixture. Glad tidings of great joy were, however, in short supply this time around.

An uneventful opening period saw play confined to the pitch’s middle third, neither side threatening much in the way of attacking threat.
In the 11th minute, Penybont carved open the Old Gold defence in clinical fashion.

Nathan Wood fired a dangerous cross towards the far post where Daniel Griffiths rose high above Alaric Jones to head the ball back into the goalmouth. Kostya Georgievsky reacted quicker than any defender and planted his close-range header past ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the net.

As Town appeared laboured and uncertain, on 31 minutes Penybont went close to stretching their lead when Wood released a fierce long-range drive that Idzi, with a flying full-length dive, turned narrowly wide of the post.

Carmarthen’s only significant goal threat during the entire first-half came in the 36th minute when a rasping effort from Luke Bowen was well-parried by home keeper Rhys Wilson.

The second half’s opening was no better than the quality of play in much of the first period. Both sides gave the ball away too easily, with careless misplaced passes a constant feature of their exchanges.

Midway through the second-half, Town gradually began to exert notable pressure on the Penybont defence.

On 77 minutes Declan Carroll fired a free-kick into the crowded penalty area where Jay Woodford, from 15 yards, curled a delightful shot over several defenders but saw Wilson produce a smart save to claim the ball.

Penybont defended deep in their own half while the Old Gold turned on the afterburners in search of an equaliser. Several powerful attempts on the Penybont goal were saved by the impressive Wilson. Against the run of play, Penybont squandered a late opportunity to make the game safe.

Having survived that scare, the Old Gold resumed their sustained assault on the Penybont goal – and they were duly rewarded.

Three minutes into added time Carroll sent a searching corner-kick into the packed goalmouth where Bowen saw his close-range header blocked on the goal-line by Wilson – but the experienced striker reacted immediately and positively by driving the loose ball past the ‘keeper and into the back of the net.

Once the Carmarthen players’ delirious celebrations had subsided the game restarted and then very soon afterwards the referee blew the final whistle, probably much to the relief of Town’s supporters!

Town’s next fixture, against Airbus UK at Richmond Park on Saturday, January 11 (k/o 2.30 pm) will be an important fixture if the Old Gold are to retain their Premier League status

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Sport

Match Report – Newtown v Carmarthen Town (14 December 2019) Newtown (1) Carmarthen Town (0)

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Yet another disappointing afternoon for Carmarthen supporters to endure – this time against
mid-table Newtown who took an early lead in a first-half that they largely dominated. And
while the Old Gold performed significantly better after the interval, they were simply unable
to pierce the resilient, well-drilled home defence.

As the opening stages of the match unfolded the Robins progressively controlled the play,
monopolising possession and launching a series of attacks that kept the visitors largely
pinned back inside their own half. Yet for a brief initial spell Town’s back-line, well-
marshalled by Lee Surman and Dave Vincent, coped well under that pressure while just
ahead of them further valuable defensive support was provided by the midfield unit, in
particular the combative Greg Walters. As a result goalkeeper Lee Idzi was never seriously
tested.

However in the 11 th minute Newtown went ahead, but only with considerable unwitting
assistance from Vincent. Joe Kenton, who had already featured in several early attacks, cut
in from the left flank and drove the ball low into the goalmouth where Town’s accomplished
central defender, in attempting to clear the danger, had the misfortune to slice the ball into his
own net.

The Robins, spurred by that decidedly dubious ‘success’, continued to enjoy the greater share
of possession but they were unable to penetrate the Carmarthen defence in any meaningful
way and certainly Idzi was never seriously tested – his involvement was confined principally
to dealing with crosses into the goalmouth which he accomplished with his customary safe
and secure handling.

Yet in the 37 th minute it was his instant reaction to an impending scoring opportunity that
prevented Newtown from extending their lead. Lifumpa Mwandwe sprinted forward to the
edge of the penalty area and slid the ball across to George Harry, in open space, but Idzi
raced out of his goal and bravely dived down at the striker’s feet to clear the ball safely away.
Meanwhile Town’s opportunities as an attacking force were practically non-existent despite
the enthusiastic efforts of experienced strikers Liam Thomas and Luke Bowen – on a few
occasions there were bursts of activity on the outskirts of the Robins penalty area but nothing
ensued to cause goalkeeper David Jones any anxiety.

After the interval, whatever Manager Kristian O’Leary had said to his players during the
break it certainly made a difference – Carmarthen soon began to look far more purposeful as,
thankfully, they at last began putting the Robins’ defence under notable pressure.

And their first significant scoring opportunity arose on 61 minutes. A long pass was played
forward along the right touchline which Thomas pursued – he then fired an inviting cross into
the goalmouth only for Declan Carroll to send a weak close-range shot wide of the goal.

Moments later Carroll fired a corner-kick into the packed goal area where Vincent, rising
high above defenders, directed his firm header narrowly outside the post.

While Newtown were still enjoying a fair amount of possession, they were unable to make
the same penetrative forward progress that they had managed in the first-half mainly due to
the need to combat the much greater pressure that their defence was now under from the
resurgent Old Gold.

And in the 75 th minute that threat was evident when Bowen, from near the centre-circle,
produced a superb long pass that Thomas, outpacing defenders, eagerly pursued into the
penalty area only for Jones to come swiftly out of his goal to claim the ball.
Then after 85 minutes Bowen again set up a good scoring chance when he sent a left-wing
cross into the penalty area only for Jay Woodford, from just 10 yards, to fire the ball straight
at Jones.

Carmarthen’s last chance to snatch a vital equaliser arose in the 89 th minute when Chris Jones,
from near the left touchline, fired a dangerous cross into the crowded penalty area where
Thomas struck a rasping 15 yard drive that the Robins’ experienced ‘keeper was well placed
to claim.

So, the Old Gold remain firmly rooted at the bottom of the Cymru Premier League with just
five matches to play before the end of the first-phase programme – the need for points is
becoming increasingly urgent if a repeat of the anxieties suffered last season in the escape
from relegation is to be avoided.

Town’s next fixture is at Richmond Park on Saturday December 22 nd (k/o 2.30pm) against
Caernarfon Town who currently lie in fourth place in the League table.

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