Nathaniel MG League Cup Quarter-Final
Carmarthen Town 0 – Aberystwyth 3
CARMARTHEN comfortably disposed of two Cymru South teams in the earlier rounds of this League Cup competition. Local CPL rivals Aberystwyth posed a far stiffer test for a place in the semi-finals. It was a challenge that the Old Gold never seemed likely to overcome.
Even before the match had begun, Town’s prospects looked grim.
Six of the current regular match-day squad were absent, injured, while Academy player Mabon Evans was given his first-team debut.
Manager Danny Thomas could name only two substitutes, both also from the Academy.
Early on, the play was evenly-balanced. Both teams enjoyed their fair share of possession. While both counter-attacked enthusiastically, there were no early scoring chances, as both defences coped with the intermittent pressure.
However, on 8 minutes the Seasiders created the first significant opportunity when Adam Hughes, on the half-way line, sent a fine pass through to Geoff Kellaway who from 20 yards dispatched a fierce volley that ‘keeper Lee Idzi turned aside with an impressive flying save.
Gradually, Aberystwyth took greater control of the game, progressively enjoying more possession and territory.
The Old Gold’s counter-attacking opportunities became even more sporadic and Liam Thomas increasingly looked isolated as the sole striker.
Even with the pressure, scoring chances for the visitors stayed elusive until the 29th minute, when Paulo Mendes hit a powerful long-range drive that Idzi was well-placed to claim.
On 43 minutes the Green Machine deservedly took the lead.
Wes Baynes made a determined run into the home penalty area to reach a long pass from Lee Jenkins but was promptly brought down under a clumsy challenge by Chris Jones. Matthew Jones stepped forward and confidently fired the spot-kick into the corner of the net leaving Idzi well-beaten.
After the interval, Carmarthen created an early scoring opportunity when Greg Walters sent the ball forward to the edge of the penalty area. Chris Jones laid off a neat header and Declan Carroll struck a fierce 20-yard drive that flew narrowly over the bar.
Moments later Walters was involved with another successful scoring opportunity; however, regrettably, this happened at the other end of the pitch.
Baynes sent a dangerous cross into the penalty area where Town’s combative midfielder, presumably attempting to clear the ball, only managed to divert it over Idzi and into the roof of the net.
With the Old Gold now in desperate need of a goal to salvage any chance of progressing to the Cup semi-finals, midfielder Chris Jones was sent forward to operate as a striker – but, curiously, this was not to partner Liam Thomas but to replace him since Town’s highly experienced, prolific, all-time record goal-scorer was pushed back to take over the now-vacant midfield role.
Sadly, it soon became evident that this strategy was having no positive effect.
The Seasiders continued to dominate possession, largely commanded the midfield, and swarmed forward at every opportunity. However, the Old Gold defence, well-marshalled by the experienced central partnership of Lee Surman and Dave Vincent, resisted the pressure – initially.
After 60 minutes Jenkins made a strong run from the half-way line before playing the ball on to Joe Phillips, just inside the penalty area, who fired a smart 15-yard drive narrowly over the bar.
Aberystwyth continued to increase the pace and intensity of their attacking and were soon carving through the overworked Town defence time and again.
In the 67th minute, Ryan Edwards threaded a fine pass through to Phillips who took the ball into the penalty area before clinically drilling it past Idzi and into the back of the net.
After their third goal, the visitors sat back to hold their advantage. While the Old Gold tried hard, late efforts by Jones and Carroll failed to put a dent in the scoreline.
This was a depressing performance; not just because it ended in defeat, but also because of its manner. It was a comprehensive defeat by a team that stands only two places above Carmarthen in the League table. With tougher challenges to come, the Old Gold will now aim at Cymru Premier League survival and better, more productive, performances.
Carmarthen sunk by seven-goal Barry blitz
JD Premier League
Barry Town Utd 7 – Carmarthen Town 1
OUT-THOUGHT, outrun and outclassed – Carmarthen went into this match desperately needing points to lift themselves out of the Cymru Premier League relegation places but they were simply overwhelmed by the slick attacking football that Barry produced.
The Old Gold were handicapped from the start due to the absence of experienced goalkeeper Lee Idzi and this season’s top goal-scorer Luke Bowen, both due to injury which, in Idzi’s case, occurred during the pre-match warm-up.
Carmarthen went close to opening the scoring. Declan Carroll, from near the half-way line, fired a long free-kick into the penalty area where Lee Surman headed the ball on to Liam Thomas who struck a close-range shot that hit the underside of the bar – the ball then rebounded onto the goal-line before a defender cleared it safely away.
Barry responded immediately to that scare by swarming upfield and when a pass was played towards the penalty area there was evident confusion amongst the visitors’ defence which allowed Jack Compton to head the ball across to prolific goal-scorer McLaggon who confidently drove it past Windsor and into the net.
Spurred by that success Barry went on to largely dominate the proceedings with some smart passing and rapid movement as they carved through the Old Gold defence all too often.
On 16 minutes, they increased their lead when Momodou Touray broke clear along the right flank then delivered a dangerous cross into the penalty area where McLaggon, worryingly unchallenged by any defenders, executed a perfect overhead kick to send the ball past Windsor and into the back of the net.
Very soon afterwards Barry extended their lead again when the Town defenders unwisely attempted to pass their way out of their own penalty area with the inevitable dire consequences. Theo Wharton easily robbed Jay Woodford of the ball on the edge of the penalty area and swiftly passed it across to Touray who neatly side-stepped Alaric Jones before firing a rasping drive that flew beyond Windsor’s reach and into the goal.
That three-goal blitz, coupled with Carmarthen’s seeming inability to make any real impression on the home defence, appeared to have settled to the outcome of this match inside the first 30 minutes.
To their credit, the Old Gold remained keenly competitive and in the 35th minute, they were rewarded when Callum Saunders, in his first appearance since recently signing for the Club, struck an impressive 20-yard free-kick over the defensive wall and into the top corner of the net to leave ‘keeper Mike Lewis well-beaten.
Moments later United restored their three-goal advantage. Jack Compton sent a searching corner-kick into the packed goalmouth where Windsor, under pressure from several players, mishandled the ball and Luke Cooper promptly stabbed it into the net.
There was further despair for Town on 41 minutes when Compton dispatched a superb 35-yard free-kick that left Windsor floundering and the net bulging as the ball flew into the top corner of the goal.
In the 70th minute, Barry extended their lead –former Carmarthen player Luke Cummings moved forward along the right-wing before firing the ball to the far side of the goalmouth where Touray headed the ball across to another former Carmarthen player, Clayton Green, who struck a close-range volley into the back of the net.
Barry continued to open up the Old Gold defence all too easily.
It was no surprise that as the match moved into added time Barry scored their seventh goal. Following a corner-kick, Touray released a fierce drive that struck the bar but saw Evan Press react quicker than any defender to claim the rebound and fire the ball into the net to conclude a truly miserable evening for Town supporters.
World class Astro Turf pitch in Carmarthen
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.
Old Gold snatch vital draw
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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