Report by Alan Evans, photos by Darren Harries
THE Reds’ dream of promotion to the promised land of the Welsh Premier League became more of a reality with the defeat of their only serious rivals to the title, with goals by Chris Jones and Lee Trundle settling the issue before a record attendance of 504.
The win opens up a twelve point gap between the sides, and on the face of it, the championship is now the Reds’ to lose.
Both teams, however, have difficult end-of-season run-ins, with the Reds having just one more home game, followed by five successive trips, while Haverfordwest face an even more daunting prospect, with one home and seven away fixtures to fulfil
Fielding the same starting line-up as that which faced Cwmbran Celtic, the home side were the first to threaten, with Trundle forcing Conah McFenton in the visitors` goal to divert his shot on the turn around the post.
A short corner involving Antonio Facciuto and Jones led to the latter delivering a cross into the box, where a glancing header was turned over by McFenton.
It took just 7 minutes for the Reds to eventually go ahead after Trundle gained possession in the area from a Lee Bevan clearance and laid the ball into the path of Jones, who displayed some nice skills by turning a defender prior to firing across the keeper into the bottom corner.
Stung by this early setback, the Bluebirds retaliated with Alaric Jones finding Steff Williams with a low pass at the near post, and Craig Morris was forced to turn his finish around for a corner.
The visitors went close again, when Danny Williams met a deep diagonal cross on the volley, sending it just off target.
At the other end, Trundle was closed down by the attentions of two defenders as he attempted to get away his shot, and when James Loveridge became involved, his cross was headed clear.
Loveridge, it was, who came closest to doubling the Reds` lead when his free kick rebounded off the crossbar with McFenton beaten.
Narrowly ahead at the break, the hosts were off the pace after the restart, with their opponents, too, seemingly affected, and the contest drifted along without any notable goalmouth action at either end.
The pace did pick up somewhat as the game entered its final stages, with the Reds looking the more likely to chalk up another success, with McFenton called into action twice to deny Trundle when he got close to goal.
Liam Samuel, who had been introduced on 64 minutes in place of Kurtis March, was the next to threaten the visitors` goal when he was played in by Trundle, but his shot deflected off Bluebirds` defender, Tim Hicks, and inches past the upright.
With the contest in stoppage time and the home side just about hanging on to their slender lead, once again it was that man Trundle who applied the coup-de-grace when he accepted a long clearance from Bevan before holding off the attentions of a solitary defender and bursting clear with a run towards the target, before calmly slotting his finish past McFenton to seal the win and another three crucial points.
With the destiny of the title now firmly in their grasp, the Reds need to show some steely resolve in their remaining games to cap another outstanding season.
On Wednesday (Apr4), the Reds travel to meet Cwmamman United, kick off 6.30pm, while on Saturday (Apr 7), they welcome Monmouth Town to Stebonheath in their final home league game of the season, kick off is at 2.30pm.
On Tuesday, April 10, they defend their League Cup title when they take on Cwmbran Celtic in the semi-final of the competition at Afan Lido’s ground, with a 7.45pm start.
Mumbles win well against Ammanford seconds
AMMANFORD seconds suffered a heavy 125 run defeat at the hands of Mumbles at Marespool.
Winning the toss, Ammanford invited Mumbles to bat first, and a terrific 188 run partnership for the second wicket, featuring Ben Jones (94) and Stuart Seaton (77), helped the home team to a healthy 221 for 4 in 45 overs.
Several Ammanford batsmen got into double figures but none were able to stay long enough to make any impression on the run chase. Eirian Morgan top-scored with 25, but the Ammanford innings finished disappointingly on 96 all out.
Gethin Morgan and Phil Roche each took three wickets for Mumbles.
Thirds beaten by Landore
Ammanford thirds travelled to Landore only to lose their match by 50 runs.
Ammanford skipper Carl Griffiths put Landore in to bat, and the home team scored 148 for 9. Landore
skipper Terry Summerfield top-scored with 33.
Ammanford’s Tom Davies was chief wicket-taker with 4 for 38.
Despite a solid 30 from opener and man-of-the-match Tom Davies, Ammanford failed to get anywhere near the required target and folded their innings on 98 inside 34 overs.
The defeat dropped them out of the top half of division six on the SWCA.
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.
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