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Old Gold earn vital Boxing Day win

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Photo supplied by Gareth Hughes

CARMARTHEN produced easily their best performance for a long time to secure their first ever victory on Richmond Park’s new 3G surface on Boxing Day (Dec 26).

Indeed, it was their first home success since that memorable win against Welsh Premier League Champions TNS last February. As in that game, the result was settled by an outstanding goal from Town’s all-time leading scorer Liam Thomas.

After a quiet opening spell with the play switching briskly from end to end but with no glimmer of a scoring opportunity emerging, the game sprang to life in the 10th minute when Thomas received the ball on the right flank and swiftly cut inside to the edge of the penalty area then released a crisp angled drive that ‘keeper Chris Mullock, with a smart full-length save, turned around the post.

Shortly afterwards Jordan Knott, from the centre-circle, launched a long free-kick deep into the penalty area where Kyle Bassett saw his close-range shot cleared high over the bar by a defender – from the ensuing corner-kick Dave Vincent headed the ball narrowly too high.

Those incidents heralded a period of intensive and exciting Old Gold attacking activity – a most welcome and refreshing sight for their supporters in the large Boxing Day crowd, given how Carmarthen’s season has gone until now.

Aberystwyth, during this spell, managed a few promising counter-attacks but their only notable scoring effort arose on 18 minutes when Ashley Young sent a free-kick from the right touchline into the crowded penalty area only for John McKenna to volley the ball over the bar.

But largely the visitors were comfortably contained by the Town defence in which the central partnership of Vincent and Knott were in particularly commanding form, while they received impressive support from Luke Cummings and Dan Sheehan on the flanks – additionally, immediately ahead of them experienced defender Craig Hanford provided a valuable layer of support.

Behind those defenders ‘keeper Lee Idzi once more looked confident and secure, demonstrating his customary assured and safe handling whenever necessary.

With that security behind them Carmarthen’s midfield unit comprising Kieran Lewis, Ceri Morgan and Liam Walsh enjoyed the freedom to show greater urgency and conviction going forward and through their energy and vision, they created further opportunities for lively frontmen Thomas and Bassett to exploit.

The Old Gold were dominating this period of the game, monopolising possession and launching a series of rapid penetrating attacks – yet, disappointingly, while they forced countless corner-kicks, no significant goal threat that tested Mullock emerged.

All that changed in the 35th minute – as Morgan, on the edge of the penalty area, in typical committed fashion won a challenge for the ball it ran loose to Thomas who from 20 yards dispatched a stunning drive that flew beyond Mullock’s reach and into the far corner of the net.

Encouraged by that success the hosts poured forward again with another series of attacks spearheaded by Thomas who, with his pace and movement, was a constant threat to the Aberystwyth defenders.

On 43 minutes he went close to snatching a second goal. After Walsh had played a fine short pass through to him just inside the penalty area Town’s top scorer slipped neatly past two bewildered defenders but, as Mullock advanced from the goal, he slid the ball narrowly wide of the post.

Ceri Morgan lays on the winning goal. Photo by Gareth Hughes

After the interval the Seasiders began positively and put the home defence under significant pressure as they sought an early goal to restore parity.

In the 53rd minute they were denied only by a moment of excellence from Idzi. Young moved forward from the centre-circle then struck a powerful 30 yard drive only to see the experienced ‘keeper produce a remarkable flying save to turn the ball over the bar.

Despite now enjoying the greater share of possession and territorial advantage, Aberystwyth were struggling to penetrate the Old Gold defence, in which Vincent and Knott continued to excel, in any meaningful way.

However around 61 minutes they were grateful to see striker Craig Hobson, twice in quick succession, fire the ball high over the bar from decent positions inside the penalty area.

Gradually Carmarthen regained their earlier attacking momentum and on 64 minutes it seemed certain they would increase their lead.

Dazzling work by Walsh and Morgan along the right flank finished with a dangerous cross into the penalty area – the ball reached Lewis who, with Mullock now out of position at the near post, struck a 15 yard shot towards a seemingly empty net but, with a late and crucial intervention defender Declan Walker cleared the danger.

The play, now quite evenly balanced, continued at a frantic pace but neither side was able to create a significant scoring opportunity during these high-tension closing minutes and the Old Gold were delighted and relieved to finish with three valuable points.

However, the contest between these old rivals now continues, this time at Aberystwyth’s Park Avenue ground on New Year’s Day (k/o 2.30pm).

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Sport

Ammanford upset Penybont to reach MG Cup quarter finals

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Report by Ian Parfitt

AMMANFORD produced arguably the shock of the third round in the MG Nathaniel Cup with a 2-1 victory at Penybont, who currently sit third in the Cymru Premier League, on Tuesday night (Sept 20).

Penybont started the game well and looked dangerous with ex Ammanford player Kai Whitmore calling the shots.

Ammanford however were also playing some neat football themselves and this was quickly becoming a competitive contest.

Ammanford took the lead in the 28th minute when Brett Enoch took advantage of a moment of calamity in the Penybont defence to fire home.

As expected Penybont increased the pressure on the Ammanford goal in search of an equaliser but Ammanford held firm to go into the interval ahead.

Kyle Marsh in particular having a fine game in the Ammanford goal. Ammanford fans would have been expecting a long 45 minutes after the break but it only took a minute for Penybont to find the equaliser, Mael Davies scoring with a firm header.

Penybont were hungry for more goals and looked especially dangerous from the flanks. The Ammanford defence, who were superb throughout held firm under a barrage of high balls into the box.

Ammanford were also keen to get a second and looked dangerous on the counter attack, both Jordan Langley and Callum Silcox going agonisingly close to restoring the visitors’ lead.

The Ammanford defence continued to form a formidable wall at the back which Penybont were unable to breach.

This fantastic rearguard action was rewarded in the 81st minute when Callum Thomas scored what turned out to be the winner for Ammanford, running through on goal and producing a composed finish to slot the ball past Penybont keeper Alex Pennock.

Ammanford players continued to put their bodies on the line to preserve the lead, epitomised by Tom Pratt who took one on the head in the six yard box.

Lee Trundle spurned a glorious chance to make the game safe for Ammanford with a couple of minutes remaining but it mattered not as the final whistle produced jubilant scenes in the away camp.

Ammanford progress to the Fourth round on what was a glorious night for the club.

Photos by Lawrence Molloy
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Sport

Strong Ammanford performance seals Cup win over Whitland

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AMMANFORD got their Division 1 Cup campaign off to an excellent start on Saturday (Sept 17) as they beat Whitland 42-13.

Ammanford built up a 17-3 lead and increased that further to 8-29 before pulling away in the closing stages.

Geraint Jones scored a penalty for Whitland and unconverted tries from Gino Setaro and Lewis Gibby followed.

Captain Alex Davies was named as Ammanford’s man of the match as he lead his side to a bonus point win.

The scrum half was among the try scorers as were Morgan Plimmer, Rhodri Jones, Liam Smith, Carwyn Richards, Mathew Lemon and Tiaan Evans.

Ryan Williams added four conversions and one penalty for the visitors.

The next round of Cup fixtures is scheduled for October 15. Ammanford host Newcastle Emlyn while Whitland travel to Tondu.

Ammanford return to action in League 1 West Central on Saturday, September 24 as they host Birchgrove.

Whitland are also back in league action in League 1 West as they visit Pembroke.

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Howell’s strike takes the points for Cwm

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CWMAMMAN United earned their first three points of the season with an impressive all round performance as they overcame Cardiff Darconians through a sublime Gwion Howell finish at Grenig park on Saturday (Sept 17).

Cwm started on the front foot and their passing and movement was excellent and they twice came close early with Gwion Howell clipping the outside of the post while Sion Dafydd Williams pounced on a back pass but could just not quite get enough leverage on his attempt.

They then saw a 25th min goal by Williams ruled out for a tight offside. With Charlie Davies and Scott Jewell having strong games in the middle of the park Cwm looked the likeliest to score but there was a real scare when a defensive slip required a superb save from Kai Rees in the Cwm goal to keep it goalless.

Kyle Ashford and Keiran Richards continued to run hard at the Dracs defence causing problems but the first half remained goalless.

The strong second half push back that Cwm expected from the Cardiff side didn’t materialise and Cwm continued to have the better of the play. Grant Rees and Callum Dougal were strong at the heart of the defence while Leon Coucher and the ever threatening Cory Saunders were launching attacks from out wide.

Eventually the goal came when some neat interplay saw Howell with his back to goal and the ball at his feet. A superb turn moved the ball to one side and he then fired it across the keeper to the opposite corner..

Great celebrations before Cwm immediately settled determined to see this one through. With Davies continuing to push his team forward and subs Alex Giardelli and Harrison Thomas stretching the Dracs side Cwm saw it through without too much worry.

An excellent performance of which manager Paul Lewis said: “Great to get that first win with the boys who applied our team plan superbly today and they really deserved that result.”

Cwm now look forward to another challenge as they travel to play near neighbours Garden village on Friday evening (Sept 23).

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