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Old Gold held by young Swans

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CARMARTHEN continued their pre-season programme with this attractive fixture against Swansea City’s Under 23 team on Saturday (Jul 20).

They produced an impressive performance against the Championship club’s talented youngsters, having held the lead until just the closing seconds of the match.

Remarkably this was achieved with a relatively weakened squad since key experienced players Lee Idzi, Lewis Harling, Luke Bowen and Jordan Knott were all absent.

During the opening stages of this match that outcome seemed highly unlikely since City proceeded to monopolise possession and dominate the play as they launched a series of spirited attacks that kept the Town defence under notable pressure.

Even so, it was not until the 7th minute that the first significant scoring opportunity arose when Kieran Evans played the ball forward along the right flank to Liam Cullen who instantly crossed it into the penalty area where an unnamed trialist struck a fierce 15 yard drive that Jordan Vickers blocked in front of goal before the ball was cleared safely away.

Gradually the Old Gold began competing more effectively in midfield and showing some welcome signs of attacking intent – and on 9 minutes, with their first scoring effort, they went close to taking the lead.

Vickers made progress along the right-wing before sending a long pass through to Josh Bull near the corner of the penalty area – he slid the ball out to Chris Jones who hit a promising angled strike that ‘keeper Steven Benda palmed against the underside of the bar then recovered to claim the ball on the goal-line.

The visitors responded immediately – Evans, close to the by-line, played the ball back to Cullen who dispatched a rasping shot that Greg Walters, well placed near the post, guided to safety.

Shortly afterwards the industrious midfielder, once again very effectively deployed in a defensive role, was instrumental in Town’s next scoring effort on 17 minutes.

He fired a long free-kick to the far side of the penalty area to reach Jay Woodford who neatly set the ball up for Liam Thomas only for the all-time top goal-scorer to see his crisp 15 yard drive blocked on the goal-line.

City, however, continued to enjoy the greater share of possession and territorial advantage but without, by this stage, managing to seriously breach the home defence or stretch Carmarthen’s stand-in ‘keeper Josh Gould (curiously, ‘loaned’ from Swansea U23s for the first 60 minutes of the match!) – whenever called on, his handling and positioning was exemplary.

The Old Gold once more went close after 24 minutes when Jones, from the half-way line, produced a superb pass that set Thomas racing clear into the penalty area but he was denied when Benda came quickly out of his goal to smother the striker’s scoring effort.

However they were soon rewarded for their spirited recovery having withstood the visitors’ early domination.

On 28 minutes Elliott Scotcher, in the centre-circle, threaded a delightful pass through to Bull who burst free into the penalty area and, as Benda advanced from his goal, the lively striker calmly and confidently drove the ball past the stranded keeper and into the empty net.

A further spell of City pressure was successfully resisted by the home defence, well marshalled by the experienced central pairing of Lee Surman and Dave Vincent, before Town launched another promising attack in the closing moments of the first-half.

In the 42nd minute they fashioned a stunning five-man passing move, initiated by Ceri Morgan in the centre-circle and finishing with Woodford firing a right-wing cross deep into the penalty area where from 12 yards Bull headed the ball over Benda’s outstretched arms but saw the ball clip the bar and bounce safely behind.

After the interval the pattern of play developed in much the same way as in the first-half with the visitors methodically building pressure and probing the Carmarthen defence but with no tangible success.

The first notable threat arose on 64 minutes when Ollie Cooper sent a fine pass into the penalty area for Simon Paulet to pursue only to be denied by Town’s substitute ‘keeper Thomas Windsor who was quickly off his goal-line to claim the ball.

Moments later Cooper, on the edge of the penalty area, rolled the ball back to Jacob Jones who struck a promising curling shot which Windsor carefully watched fly narrowly outside the far post.

In the 73rd minute the Old Gold interrupted this early spell of City pressure when Scotcher, from just outside the penalty area, dispatched a stunning free-kick that cleared the defensive ‘wall’ but was turned against the post by substitute ‘keeper Josh Hutchings and bounced safely behind.

Shortly afterwards Vincent, with a smart pass, set Walters racing along the left-wing before sliding the ball across to Woodford who dispatched a fierce angled drive that Hutchings, with an impressive flying save, turned aside.

As the match went into the closing stages City pressed forward with even greater intent and were close to drawing level on 89 minutes when their trialist burst infield from the left-wing before hitting a crisp volley towards the goalmouth – Surman, in attempting to head the ball clear, managed only to divert on to the near post but thankfully it bounced safely away.

Cruelly the Old Gold were not so fortunate moments later – just 60 seconds from the final whistle they conceded an equaliser when Jacob Jones, on the left flank, fired the ball across the face of the goal and saw Cullen stab it home at the far post to the great dismay of the Town players and supporters.

However, despite that disappointment, on the overall balance of play a draw was certainly a fair result after this entertaining encounter.

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Amman earn first win of the season

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AMMAN United claimed their first win of the season after an opening-day draw, and a cup defeat at Haverfordwest last weekend.

However, you would have been hard pushed to imagine a 50-point final-score when, just before half time, the score remained 0-0.

But two injury time scores had then given Amman an unlikely 12-0 interval lead against the Bulldogs.

A bright opening from United saw centre Gavin Lewis, on yet another comeback, show his trickery with a nice run and offload early on. Hooker George Clark had a fine game and was in the thick of everything, as were fellow forwards Iwan Davies, Dan Jones, Rhydian Jones and captain Alun Lewis.

Bynea suffered a very early blow, losing Corey Butler to an untimely injury, and they were later to also see Jamie Thomas limp off before half time.

These injuries meant a large period of added-time, and the Bulldogs’ valiant defence cracked during the injury-time as Joel Foster and Alun Lewis combined to put in flanker Rhydian Jones for the opening try, which Tom Caddell converted.

A frustrating couple of minutes for the visitors was compounded when a quick tap and go penalty from scrum half Foster saw him smuggle over the try line for a second try on the stroke of half time.

The Reds continued in good heart after the restart, and after some good play,Foster and and Dan Jones were involved before Rhydian Jones slipped a fine offload to skipper Alun Lewis who went under the posts for another converted try.

Another “vet” came on, Adrian Thomas off the bench as the home side largely dominated with their pack in the ascendency, Cian Lewis, Jason Knell and Rhys Phillips having put in a good shift throughout.

The Bulldogs then had a purple patch for a while,centre Jack Mal almost finishing off a fine move, before more calamity struck for them as Jake Sam was sadly stretchered off.

Amman capitalised and grabbed a bonus point try when the excellent George Clarke went over for another score to make it 24-0.

But the dogged visitors were always a threat, and carved out an excellent try for their efforts as wing Nathan Baker finished off a well-worked team move, which outside half Finlay Cook converted.

Amman hit back when the back row combined well before Dan Jones went over the whitewash for a try.

A very young Bynea side battled to the end,and some more excellent play was rewarded with a try for Tom Badger, converted by Cook.

However, the home side had the last word and grabbed a very late injury time try as the industrious Rhydian Jones crossed for the final score of the game.

Amman face a tough trip to Tumble on Saturday, October 1, while Bynea are home against New Dock Stars.

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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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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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