By Jonathan Twigg
SWANSEA City continued their Emirates FA Cup run on Tuesday (Feb 27) when they defeated Sheffield Wednesday 2-0, progressing to the Quarter Final stage for the first time since 1964 thanks to goals from substitute striker Jordan Ayew and winger Nathan Dyer.
The Owls were also defeated in that nostalgic cup run at Hillsborough, as were footballing giants Liverpool at Anfield and Stoke City, before the Swans succumbed to Preston North End in the Semi Final at Villa Park.
This game at the Liberty Stadium saw the home fans in the crowd of 8198 warmed not only by the result but also the gesture of the club offering free hot drinks to warm the cockles of their heart on a Baltic night.
Manager Carlos Carvalhal was at his unequivocal best post-match against a side to whom his endearment is visible, despite their parting of ways in December, as he looked with positivity towards the remaining three months of the season.
It took 20 minutes to create an opportunity as players were content to play the ball across the pitch as opposed to taking the game to the opposition, Ki and Carroll combing from a free kick, which kick-started a purple patch for the Swans in terms of possession, to no avail as Nordfelt in goal made a double save with fifteen minutes of the half remaining.
Clucas made an acrobatic attempt to open the scoring when perhaps a simple header back across goal may have put Abraham in, as the on loan Chelsea striker nearly manufactured an opening for Dyer, making his three hundred and second appearance for the whites.
Ki had the penultimate offering for a breakthrough in an uninspiring half, departing at half time as Carvalhal boldly changed personnel with Martin Olsson and Jordan Ayew appearing, their impact immediate in upping the tempo of play in the twenty ninth meeting between the two sides.
Ten minutes into the half the stalemate was broken, Carroll driving forward hit a rasping drive from edge of the box, hitting both posts for the ball to skew into Ayew’s path for a tap in from ten yards, the Wednesday defence looking at sixes and sevens since the Ghanaian’s arrival.
Ayew’s ninth goal of the season had also ignited Abraham, his a sixty first minute shot saved by Pope before six foot six inch Kosovan Atdhe Nuhiu made an appearance.
Wednesday may have reached the final on five occasions, the last in 1997 and lifted the prestigious trophy three times lacked any fruitful response, where cup football is all about putting the ball in the net, which Swansea did and kept a pleasing clean sheet, as Van De Hoorn was dominant at the back alongside youngster Cameron Roberts.
The second and decisive goal came from Dyer after Abraham set him up with a slick through ball and the winger nutmegged Pope from ten yards out, his final action of the night as fans favourite Leon Britton returned to action for the first time in 2018.
Ayew had an opportunity to add to the Swans tally of thirteen goals in the cup campaign with two minutes of referees Stuart Attwell’s watch remaining, Carvalhal immediately turning his focus to a crucial Premier League encounter on Saturday (Mar 3) when West Ham United visit the Liberty Stadium with just three points separating the sides in the battle for survival in the Premier League.
Unlike Greenfield FC player coach Keith Ainsworth, who was goaded into brandishing a pitchfork in the dugout of their game at Barmouth last weekend, Carvalhal can wallow safe in the knowledge he has the support of the Jack Army as he fulfils both his and their dreams of being happy, one win from Wembley and Tottenham Hotspur the visitors on Saturday (Mar 17) for the Quarter Final tie.
Cwmamman United Juniors host end of season event
CWMAMMAN United juniors held their end of season event at Clwb Godre’r Mynydd Ddu Glanamman.
As they celebrated throughout the day with their different age groups from Under 6 to Under 14 it looked as if almost every child in the Cwm had attended at some point.
The Juniors section at the club has grown to around 150 children over the last couple of years and with a dedicated and enthusiastic group of committee, coaches and volunteers behind them the club is excitedly anticipating further growth.
A fantastic time was had by all with all age groups proudly having their moment in the sun.
Robert Griffiths the Clubs Junior Chairman said: “I have to thank all our fantastic people at the club that get the kids out playing whether sorting games, coaching, fund raising or organising events such as our club parties and awards such as these.
“We continiue to grow and if your child would like to be part of a safe, healthy and fun environment they are most welcome here.”
Depleted Ammanford beaten by seven wickets
A DEPLETED Ammanford lost by seven wickets to Bridgend Town in a rain affected match at windswept Newbridge Fields on Satuday (Jun 25).
With the start delayed by over an hour because of rain, the match was reduced to 39 overs before a ball was bowled, and the toss immediately became the crucial factor in deciding the game’s outcome.
Bridgend won it and, predictably enough, put Ammanford in to bat.
The writing was on the wall as the visitors lost two wickets for 9 runs on an unpredictable wicket which was one of the first bowler-friendly tracks encountered this season.
Only four batters reached double figures as wickets fell at regular intervals. Top scorer was 14 year old wicket-keeper Gruffudd Owen (19no) who took the game to the visitors and looked capable of scoring many more had he not run out of partners.
Ammanford were all out for 90 inside 30 overs.
Tea was taken early as more heavy rain swept across Newbridge Fields, but unfortunately for Ammanford the sun made a reappearance and play eventually resumed.
The Bridgend batters did not have it all their own way, quickly losing both openers to opening bowler Owen Davies.
Davies removed a further wicket in a good spell of 3 for 15, but Thomas Cogbill (43no) and Luke Humphries (18) saw Bridgend safely home without further trouble inside 24 overs.
Next week, Ammanford welcome second placed Swansea to the Park, the memory of their 700+ run clash at St Helen’s still fresh in their minds.
Thirds beat Pontardawe by a single run
Ammanford thirds beat Pontardawe by a single run in a rain adjusted match at the Rec.
Batting first, Ammanford reached 132 all out, thanks mainly to their captain Carl Griffiths (41) and Dafydd Wyn Jones (21).
Rain meant that Pontardawe’s reply was restricted to just 16 overs, during which they had to score 53 runs.
They came very close, but two wickets each from Oliver Pallot and Iwan Matthews interrupted their progress and they fell short by a single run, finishing on 51 for 5.
The victory moved Ammanford into the top half of SWCA’s Division 6.
Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay to visit Carmarthenshire
JOIN in the excitement as Carmarthenshire welcomes the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay on Friday, July 1.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held from July 28 until August 8 and the Queen’s Baton Relay is currently travelling across the Commonwealth in an epic journey to all 72 nations and territories.
The journey brings together and celebrates communities across the Commonwealth during the build up to the Games.
The Queen’s Baton will arrive in Anglesey on June 29 as part of its five-day tour across Wales and will travel down the country and across South Wales providing the opportunity for communities to experience the excitement for Birmingham 2022, as the 11 days of showstopping sport nears ever closer.
A busy schedule of activities and events are planned and hundreds of Batonbearers, each with inspiring backgrounds and stories, will have the honour of carrying the Baton during the journey through Wales.
More than 150 schoolchildren will be at Pembrey Country Park on the afternoon of July 1 to welcome the Baton to Carmarthenshire along with Council Chairman Cllr Rob Evans, before being transported via toboggan, skis, bike and beach wheelchair to Cefn Sidan beach and into the safe hands of the RLNI who will take the Baton by boat to Burry Port Harbour.
The Baton will arrive at Burry Port Harbour at around 3.20pm to be handed to the Silver and Gold Sports Young Ambassadors from Carmarthenshire’s secondary schools who will take it in turns to run and cycle just over three miles along the Millennium Coastal Path arriving in North Dock in Llanelli at 4.15pm.
Here the Baton will be welcomed by Council Leader Cllr Darren Price along with a number of inspiring Carmarthenshire athletes who will be representing Wales at the Commonwealth Games.
Residents are being encouraged to get involved with the celebrations and embrace the arrival of the Baton, with a range of activities taking place at North Dock, organised by the council’s Actif sports and leisure team.
The fun will go on throughout the afternoon until 7pm with various activities to promote health and wellbeing including a junior aquathon, stand-up paddleboarding, aquafit classes, spin classes and beach-lifesaving sessions.
Council Leader Cllr Darren Price said: “We look forward to welcoming the Queen’s Baton Relay to Carmarthenshire and I am sure local communities will join in the celebrations as the Baton travels from Pembrey Country Park to Llanelli’s North Dock.
“It is guaranteed to be an exciting day, especially with the Baton travelling to Burry Port Harbour by boat and then on to North Dock where there will a host of sporting activities to take part in.
“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in organising such a momentous day for Carmarthenshire and its residents, again showcasing our beautiful county and what it has to offer to the world.”
Further information, including the timetable for the Queen’s Baton Relay in Carmarthenshire, can be found on the council website newsroom.carmarthenshire.gov.wales
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