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Reds slump to disappointing defeat

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Report by Alan Evans

TO say the Reds underperformed on Saturday (Feb 24), against opponents who were on a decent unbeaten run would be an understatement – they were awful, and while the visitors themselves were no great shakes, they were certainly far better than their hosts.

At least they tested Craig Morris in the home goal, whereas the shot-shy Reds` attack did not manage a single effort on target throughout.

Any ambitions of promotion to the Welsh Premiership look to be pie-in-the-sky on the evidence of this particular game, although the writing has been on the wall with only a point to show from the last three games, with a home defeat to Afan Lido, and a fortunate draw at lowly Monmouth Town.

The frustrating aspect to this dip in form is that, on their day, they are capable of holding their own with the best, but a collective lethargy seems to have enveloped the squad, and needs to be rectified sooner rather than later.

It was a depressing spectacle to watch with both sides struggling to put together any form of worthwhile moves, with possession being conceded far too easily and a distinct lack of any kind of flair to lift the contest out of mediocrity.

An utterly forgettable 20 or so minutes signalled what would come for the remainder of the clash, the only incident of note coming from the visitors when Dan Jarman forced Morris to turn his near post attempt for a corner.

A run by Tom Wright up the flank ended with Morris safely gathering his cross, while the Reds` keeper brought off a fine save to keep out a close range header following a Cai Smith corner.

Undy continued to be the far more menacing of the two sides, and a shot on the turn from Ryan Dorrion flew just off target before a further chance fell to Gareth Cullimore when Marcus Power found him in space, but he shot wide from a good position.

The half time interval arrived with neither side able to break the deadlock, but the Reds finally created virtually their first real chance with Jordan Follows sending his finish beyond the far post when set up by Luke Jones.

Undy, however, were still looking the more likely of opening the scoring, with a ball across the box by Ben Lawrence failing to pick out a colleague.

Ross Jones headed a cross by Follows on to the roof of the visitors` net, before the best chance to date fell to Undy`s Jamie Coombes, who had replaced Jarman, when he was put clear and rounded Morris, but then took too long over his finish and was forced wide, before managing to find Power who then attempted to return the compliment only for Coombes to be flagged offside.

It was becoming increasingly obvious the longer the game progressed that in the unlikely event of a goal being forthcoming, it would turn out to be the winner, and this proved to be the case when Undy finally got the breakthrough on 76 minutes through Paul Clayton, when a clutch of players went up to meet a corner and he found the net via the underside of the bar.

James Smallcombe in the Undy goal had barely been troubled by the toothless home attack, before he was finally called into action to divert a Follows effort for a corner.

Morris, who had been by far the busier keeper, made a good save to deny Chris Parry when an initial run by Coombes created the chance.

Just before the close, probably the Reds` best opportunity of getting something out of the contest fell to Luke Jones when he met a Follows delivery a few yards out, but even then his header failed to find the target.

A dispiriting display by the home side, and with some difficult fixtures still to come, a lot of hard work is needed if the aim of promotion is to be achieved.

On Saturday (Mar 3), the Reds make the short journey to meet Cwmamman United, kick off 2.30pm, while on Wednesday, March 7, they have a vital home game when they entertain Penybont, kick off 7.30pm.

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Ryan Giggs quits as Wales manager with ‘immediate effect’

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EX Man-Utd winger has left his position as the manager of the national football team with ‘immediate effect’.

Giggs stepped back from his role in November 2020 following after being arrested.

49-year-old Giggs has been charged with assault and using controlling behaviour towards an ex-partner. A claim that Giggs has denied.

In a heartfelt statement on his decision, Giggs said: “After much consideration, I am standing down from my position as manager of the Wales men’s national team with immediate effect.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to manage my country, but it is only right that the Wales FA, the coaching staff and the players prepare for the tournament with certainty, clarification and without speculation around the position of their head coach.

“I do not want the country’s preparations for the World Cup to be affected, destabilised or jeopardised in any way by the continued interest around this case.

“I am sad that we cannot continue this journey together because I believe that this extraordinary group will make the country proud at our first World Cup since 1958.

“It is my intention to resume my managerial career at a later date.”

Following Giggs arrest in 2020, former Wales captain Robert Page took over as interim manager.

Under Page Wales beat Ukraine to earn themselves a place at Qatar World Cup for the first time in 64 years.

Giggs faces one charge of using controlling and coercive behaviour August 2017 and November 2020, one charge of assault causing actual bodily harm of his ex-girlfriend Kate Greville on November 1, 2020.

He also faces a charge of common assault on the victim’s sister.

Giggs denies all charges against him and will stand trial on August 8.

The trial is expected to last five days.

Following the announcement, a FAW spokesperson said: “The FAW places on record its gratitude to Ryan Giggs for his tenure as manager of the Cymru men’s national team and appreciates the decision he has taken, which is in the best interests of Welsh football,

“The full focus of the FAW and the Cymru men’s national team is on the Fifa World Cup in Qatar later this year.”

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Wanderers seal win over Gorseinon

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CARMARTHEN Wanderers secured a much-needed win on Saturday (Jun 11) as they beat Gorseinon by 98 runs.

Gorseinon won the toss and elected to field and they watched on as the Wanderers reached 211-8 from their 50 overs.

Owain Davies and Ifan Knott got the Wanderers going with an opening partnership of 78 runs in which Knott raced to his half century.

Davies reached a score of 16 but he was stumped by Greg Fisher off the bowling of Matthew Roberts.

Binding then fell to John Mann as the Wanderers lost a couple of quick wickets.

Knott had hit nine fours in his score of 57 but he was then caught by Fisher off the bowling of Roberts.

Gareth Thomas was then bowled by Rhys Barlow as the Wanderers slipped to 94-4.

Robbie Crawford and Tom Davies got their side going again as they shared 45 runs for the fifth wicket.

Crawford hit a four and a six in his score of 28 but he was bowled by Gafyn Donald. Moments later Davies fell on a score of 13 to Kieran Howells.

Mann then bowled Owen Bailey before Daniel Jones and Liam Rogers shared 43 runs for the eighth wicket.

Rogers smashed two fours and two sixes in his score of 30 from 16 balls but he was out to the bowling of Howells.

Jones finished unbeaten on 26, having hit two sixes, while Carmarthen’s score was also helped along by 28 extras.

Gorseinon slipped to 34-3 early in their reply as Chris Turrell claimed two wickets.

Christopher Morgan and Gafyn Donald shared 39 runs for the fourth wicket but when Morgan was trapped leg before by Iestyn Scourfield on a score of 16, Gorseinon’s innings began to fall apart.

Donald then fell in similar fashion on a score of 36 and Scourfield then had Chris Mee caught by Ifan Knott and Jamie Mann caught and bowled.

That left the home side on 97-7 and Owain Binding then got in on the act as he had Greg Fisher caught by Liam Rogers.

Alex Lang fell for a score of 12 to Gareth Thomas before Binding bowled Rhys Barlow to bring the game to a close.

It meant that Gorseinon were bowled out for just 113, giving the Wanderers a big victory.

On Saturday, June 18, the Wanderers travel to Chepstow.

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Council pays tribute to Welsh rugby legend Phil Bennett

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council Leader Cllr Darren Price has paid tribute to Welsh rugby hero Phil Bennett who has sadly passed away after a long illness.

Regarded as one of world’s greatest rugby players, the sporting legend from Felinfoel in Llanelli, died on Sunday, aged 73.

Benny, as he was affectionately known, won 29 caps for Wales from 1969 to 1978, played for his beloved Scarlets 413 times and starred for the Lions on two tours, to South Africa in 1974 and as Captain in New Zealand three years later.

He was awarded the OBE in 1979 for his services to sport and inaugurated into World Rugby’s Hall of Fame in 2005.

Cllr Price, speaking on behalf of the council, said: “Phil Bennett was a true rugby icon, and an inspiration to us all. He was a global superstar of the golden era of Welsh rugby, and will be remembered not just for his immense skill on the rugby pitch, but for his enthusiasm and passion for local sport, and his valued contribution to the local community.

“Phil worked as part of the council’s community sports development team for a number of years, and made a huge impact on both our young and older people across Carmarthenshire.

“He will be greatly missed by all, and our thoughts and condolences are with Phil’s family and friends at this sad time.”

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