BEFORE a ball was kicked on Friday evening (Mar 29) at the Recreation Ground, the Committee, Players and Supporters of Ammanford AFC extended a very warm welcome to “Football Ground Hopper” Mr John Stancombe who was visiting his 1707th Ground.
John, who is totally blind, had travelled from his home in Lowestoft in East Anglia to be at the game.
Sadly, John lost his sight back in 2006 but this hasn’t stopped him from embarking on his favourite past time.
John fell in love with the beautiful game when his Dad took him as a youngster to watch Wimbledon Football Club at Plough Lane and his love affair with football has continued to this day and he doesn’t allow his disability to interfere with his passion.
John asks detailed questions about every Ground he visits and will meticulously record the facts of his visit and requests photos to add to his extensive collection.
Ammanford Chairman Rob Thomas guided John around the Recreation Ground and provided the dimensions for John’s statistics.
Rob also provided John with commentary on the match against Briton Ferry Llansawel.
John enjoyed his visit to Ammanford AFC and thanked everyone for their hospitality and wished the club continued success for the future.
Well over 700 spectators have watched Ammanford’s last three home games – a tremendous achievement in keeping with the club’s ongoing ground improvements.
Ammanford AFC are in a good run of form and their last outing against Haverfordwest County saw a highly entertaining game with the home side producing a fine performance to earn a well deserved victory.
Ammanford Club Captain Rhys Fisher summed up the season so far by saying: “The season has been a bit of a rollercoaster. The first 3 games we didn’t win and people wrote us off but soon as that first win the whole spirit changed!
“We are going in to tonight on the back of probably our best team performance and we are just loving playing in front of our crowds. Big buzz around the club so hoping to carry it on through till the final game and see where it takes us”.
Carl Shaw’s Briton Ferry Llansawel arrived at the Rec on the back of a defeat to leaders Penybont and were looking to get back to winning ways.
The game turned out to be in stark contrast to the last few home games at Ammanford as both sides produced a stalemate of a first half with both goalkeepers having very little to do.
It wasn’t until the latter end of the first half that Ammanford produced their best attacking chances of the game.
Ammanford’s Richard Lewis picked up the ball and weaved his way past the visitors defence and unleashed a shot that was just narrowly wide of the goal.
A few minutes later a Craig Frater shot looked goalbound all the way but a timely deflection took the ball just over the crossbar.
In the second half both teams endeavoured to break the deadlock but with quarter of an hour gone it was the visitors who broke away on the right flank with Stephen Davey showing his electric pace. He fired in a fierce low driven cross which took a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Ammanford centre back Nick Arnold who tried to clear but the ball veered off his foot into his own net.
Minutes later, the visitors nearly doubled their advantage when again Stephen Davey raced away and put in a pin point cross which was met by striker Gareth Jones who saw his headed attempt sail over the bar.
The visitors were beginning to take control of the game and Davey was the dangerous outlet for their attacking play.
Ammanford Manager Gruff Harrison reacted and used all his three substitutes in an attempt to get back into the game.
It nearly worked when Mathew Fisher shot from the edge of the box and it looked for all intense and purposes that it was beating visitors keeper Conah McFenton but the ball struck the back legs of substitute Bruno Forkouh and rebounded to safety.
It summed up an evening of frustration for the home side.
The Briton Ferry Llansawel defence well marshalled by Rob Thomas held firm and it was the visitors who celebrated at the final whistle.
Ammanford are next in action on Wednesday, April 10, when they travel to Llantwit Major.
Old Gold impress in win over Major
CARMARTHEN opened their new season home programme with an impressive performance against last season’s Cymru South League champions Llantwit Major having beaten the same opponents away from Richmond Park only 10 days earlier in the League Cup.
Town took the initiative from the start by launching a series of rapid attacks that kept the visitors defending deep inside their own half but it was not until the 11th minute that any notable scoring chance arose – Noah Daley made a strong run along the left flank before driving the ball across to Kaid Mohamed who from 20 yards struck a fierce volley that goal-keeper Rhys Jones turned aside.
Moments later Matthew Delaney, from just outside the penalty area, fired a free-kick that was blocked by defenders – however the ensuing scramble for the loose ball finished with Mohamed, from 10 yards, powering it past Jones and into the back of the net.
[Note: Kaid last scored a League goal for Carmarthen on 20th January 2007 at Richmond Park against Airbus UK when he scored both goals in a 2-1 victory. In all, he scored 25 goals finishing overall top scorer that season including, memorably, twice in the Welsh Cup Final victory.]
Carmarthen continued to press forward and on 15 minutes Bradley Gibbings embarked on a strong run along the right-touchline before driving the ball into the goalmouth where Liam Thomas, arriving at speed, narrowly failed to connect for an inviting tap-in opportunity.
Then on 28 minutes Daley embarked on a breakaway sprint from the half-way line which finished with a stunning 25 yards low strike that Jones, at full-length, before defenders cleared the ball to safety.
The Old Gold maintained their domination of the play and after 33 minutes Gibbings sent a fine pass through to Daley just inside the penalty area – the lively striker released a promising angled drive but saw Jones turn the ball around the near post.
Still the hosts searched for that allusive second goal – on 37 minutes Mohamed made a strong run from the half-way line, outstretching several defenders, to reach the corner of the penalty area before dispatching a stunning angled drive that Jones, with smart reactions, turned aside at the base of the post.
Yet eventually, in the 42nd minute, Town secured that richly deserved second goal. A delightful passing move inside the penalty area between Thomas, Jamie Rickard and Daley finished with the sturdy striker powering the ball past the hapless ‘keeper and into the back of the net.
After the interval Llantwit made a bright start and showed far more positive intent than at any earlier stage of the match – and on 49 minutes Joel Woodington, the liveliest of their strikers, broke free into the penalty area and dispatched a fierce low drive that ‘keeper Ifon Knott was quickly down to claim.
The visitors continued to be more competitive but for a while they struggled to penetrate the Old Gold defence. Yet eventually, in the 71st minute, they capitalised on a moment of poor defending when Owain Edwards was allowed the time and space to reach a well-flighted cross and, from close-range, head the ball beyond Knott’s reach and into the net.
However, Town were quick to respond to that setback and once more put the opposition defence under serious pressure – and they eventually, after 89 minutes, restored the comfort of their two-goal advantage. A fine cross-field move finished with Mohamed sending an inviting pass to Jac Walters who, from just inside the penalty area, struck a fierce shot past Jones and into the back of the net.
Then, deep into added time, the Old Gold made the score-line even more emphatic when a smart passing move between Walters and Mohamed finished with the returning striker crowning the event with a stunning 15-yard volley, that flew beyond the goal-keeper’s reach and into the roof of the net.
This is a promising start to Carmarthen’s home League programme – clearly stronger opponents await but, for the moment, at least this performance helps erase thoughts of the previous match at Cambrian & Clybach.
Town’s next Cymru South League match is at Richmond Park against Swansea University on August 13, k/o 2.30pm.
Ammanford reach T20 knockout semis
AMMANFORD reached the semi-final of the SWCA T20 knockout as they beat Llanelli by 43 runs at Stradey on Friday evening.
Opener Kurtis Marsh was once again in fine fettle, stroking 89 from 54 deliveries which included 13 fours and 2 sixes.
Callum Croft and Josef Davies chipped in with 22 each, as Ammanford closed on 157 all out.
Despite 35 from veteran opener Iwan Rees, Llanelli were never up with the run rate, and wickets fell quickly as they tried to catch up.
They were all out for 114 in the penultimate over.
Rhys-Huw Davies took three wickets while Owen Davies, Josef Davies and Callum Croft bagged two each.
Ammanford earn narrow win over Cardiff
A YOUNG Ammanford team gained a season-defining 18 run victory at Cardiff which, barring miracles or disasters, pretty much guarantees their continued presence in next season’s top flight.
Batting first, Ammanford opener Kurtis Marsh maintained his blistering form with 79, supported early on by skipper for the day Dan Roberts (21) and Xavier Clarke (42).
At 156 for 3, Ammanford looked set for a dominant total, but unfortunately none of the middle order was able to stick around for long enough to dominate the bowling.
Rhys Davies (26), Josef Davies (18) and Gruffudd Owen (16) looked good at the wicket, but got out when it looked as though they were ready to cut loose.
Ammanford closed their innings on a creditable 248 for 9, but the received wisdom around the ground was that this was 20-30 runs short of what was needed.
For Cardiff, Tom Barry marked his first wickets of the season with 5 for 46.
The received wisdom looked to be correct as Cardiff cruised past the hundred mark before losing opener James Meggit (47).
And even more correct as they reached 185 for 2, Glamorgan’s Prem Sisodiya bowled by Xavier Clarke for 32.
It was when their other opener Umar Malik was bowled by Callum Croft for 101 that things started to go wrong for them.
Tight bowling and excellent fielding kept the pressure on Cardiff’s batsmen as wickets tumbled at gratifyingly regular intervals. The last 8 wickets fell for 45 runs as Cardiff slumped to 230 all out.
Dan Roberts, Jo Davies and Xavier Clarke took three wickets each for Ammanford, but the entire team deserved the credit for keeping the pressure on Cardiff throughout and forcing the errors which led to a superb victory.
Ammanford remain in the bottom half of Premier 1, but this win moves them 44 points clear of bottom club Clydach who lost to Bridgend, next week’s visitors to the Park.
Ammanford seconds crush Gorseinon
Ammanford seconds smashed records galore as they crushed visiting Gorseinon by 228 runs at the Park.
Batting first, an opening stand of 168 between the two Tiaans, Evans and Sparrow, set the tone before Evans was dismissed for 64.
Sparrow went on to a terrific double century, losing his wicket at the end of Ammanford’s innings having scored 221.
Ammanford closed on an insurmountable 383 for 6.
Despite a defiant 69 from captain Chris Richards, Gorseinon knew they didn’t have a hope, and fell meekly to 155 all out inside 40 overs.
Chief wicket taker was Iestyn Jones with 4 for 25.
Ammanford third XI beaten soundly
Ammanford thirds were soundly beaten by 7 wickets at Pontarddulais.
Batting first, they could only manage 125 all out, thanks to opener Toby Davies (42), Steffan Williams (26) and Llyr Morgan (26).
They were destroyed by the bowling of Thomas Edwards who took 6 for 7 in 5 overs.
Bont made short work of passing Ammanford’s total for the loss of just three wickets, keeper Cai Gealy scoring an unbeaten 69.
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