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TOWN LOSE GROUND IN PLAY-OFF PUSH

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Bangor City 1

Carmarthen Town 0

CARMARTHEN continued their largely unproductive Welsh Premier League second-phase programme with another generally disappointing performance at Bangor who snatched victory with a goal midway through the second-half that owed more to a moment of woeful Town defending than inspired attacking play.  Yet the Old Gold began quite brightly and with the benefit of a strong following wind they put the City defence under pressure for a lengthy spell but without, initially, looking capable of creating any serious goal threat.

Then with ten minutes on the clock Chris Ham from the right touchline sent a searching cross deep into the goalmouth where Cortez Belle stretched to stab the ball goalwards only to be denied by ‘keeper Connor Roberts with a fine reflex save.  Moments later Craig Hanford launched a long free-kick into the penalty area but Belle, rising high amongst several defenders, directed his header over the bar. Then after 23 minutes Liam Thomas chased a long forward pass to the by-line before crossing the ball to the far side of the penalty area where Kyle Bassett cleverly set up a wonderful chance for Belle but, from 15 yards and in clear space, he wastefully volleyed too high.  Up to that point the hosts had been confined to just occasional counter attacks but Town’s defence, featuring the central partnership of Hanford and Chris Thomas with Luke Cummings and Jordan Knott on the flanks, were playing with composure and discipline and the only notable scoring effort had been a speculative long-range drive by Sion Edwards that ‘keeper Lee Idzi dealt with comfortably.

But from now on City, having resisted that early pressure, began to enjoy a greater share of possession and look more of a threat going forward.  On 28 minutes Lee Healey cut inside from the right touchline and drove the ball towards the goalmouth where Liam Caddick connected with a smart close-range shot that was diverted wide of the post by Chris Thomas’ timely challenge. Then after 35 minutes Healey again raced down the right-wing and slipped past Hanford to reach the edge of the penalty area only for his crisp angled strike to fly over the bar.   Too often during the first-half the play was confined to uneventful midfield exchanges with neither side apparently possessing sufficient flair and invention to raise the entertainment level of the match to anything more than minimal – and after 45 minutes 0-0 was an entirely fitting score-line.

Following the interval the Old Gold had an early opportunity when Idzi sent a huge free-kick deep into the penalty area to reach Belle who headed the ball back to Liam Thomas but he saw his promising 20 yard drive blocked in front of goal by a defender. Bangor, now able to take advantage of the strong wind, held the initiative and were gradually building a worrying attacking momentum. Town meanwhile were forced to defend deeper and rely on their only apparent outlet, persisting with their earlier uninspiring ‘routeone’ strategy of pumping long balls upfield towards Belle in the hope that with his height and strength something favourable might happen – it never did.

In fact their best chance, on 58 minutes, began with an astute lofted pass by Sacha Walters which set Bassett free to burst forward from the halfway line in typically robust style but, having outpaced two defenders, as he reached the edge of the penalty area he took one touch too many on the ball and lost possession as Connor Roberts, advancing off his goal-line, dropped down smartly and smothered it. City immediately responded with defender Chris Roberts surging through the centre before releasing a fierce longrange drive that Idzi turned over the bar with a stylish save.

But they soon went ahead when on 65 minutes as Edwards sent an inviting cross into the goalmouth where, despite the presence of three defenders, Callum Morris was allowed the time and space to control the ball and drill it into the corner of the net from 8 yards leaving Idzi well beaten. Spurred by that success Bangor proceeded to control the rest of the game although they managed very few decent scoring chances.

In the 89th minute Healey raced forward to the corner of the penalty area but saw his sharp strike fly just wide of the post – then deep into added time he was involved again playing a fine pass through to Sam Faulkner who was in clear space and from 20 yards he tried to lift the ball over Idzi as he advanced from his goal but Town’s experienced ‘keeper stretched high to claw it away to safety. Carmarthen have now seen the comfortable nine point advantage that they held over Rhyl at the start of the WPL second phase reduced to nil with their rivals now occupying, on goal difference, the vital UEFA qualifying play-off place.

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Ammanford well beaten by Port Talbot

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AMMANFORD slipped closer to the foot of Premier One with a high-scoring defeat to Port Talbot Town at The New Mansel.

Ammanford were put in to bat on a glorious afternoon and made hay while the sun shone with an opening partnership of 61 between Matthew Fisher and Alun Evans.

When Fisher departed for 40, Daniel Evans took over and his partnership with his skipper took the score to 155 before Roberts was caught on 49.

When Evans fell for an anchoring 86, the Davies brothers, Rhodri (28no) and Rhys (22no) saw out the Ammanford innings, taking their total to a formidable 259 for 4.

Formidable it may have been, but Port Talbot’s batsmen were up to the challenge.

Glamorgan’s Nick Selman led the charge before he was dismissed by Fisher for 47.

The main partnership of 123, however, came between Joseph Voke (84) and Matthew Thompson (74no).

There were still three overs remaining when Port Talbot cruised past the Ammanford total for the loss of 3 wickets.

Things won’t get much easier for Ammanford next week when Newport visit the Park.

Ammanford seconds v Ynystawe

Ammanford seconds continued their miserable sequence of defeats with a 4 wicket loss to Ynystawe at the Park.

A promising start from Eirian Morgan (13) and David Lumb (17) preceded a middle order collapse which was rescued by a terrific individual performance from captain Jamie Evans, whose 76 helped Ammanford reach 167 all out.

Ynystawe’s middle order by contrast kept the scoreboard ticking over, an undefeated partnership between Rowan Evans (31no) and Arun Maurya (26no) taking them past Ammanford’s total with four wickets and 16 overs to spare.

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Ammanford march on in Welsh Cup

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AMMANFORD progressed smoothly into the next round of the Welsh Cup by beating Pembroke Dock by 91 runs at the Park on Sunday (Jun 6).

The Pembrokeshire League Division 2 side were playing in the competition for the first time in 15 years and were excited for the game.

Ammanford batted first and amassed 161 for 9. Their main scorers were Owen Davies (36), Matthew Davies (21) and Rhodri Davies (24).

Nick Daley finished with excellent figures of 4-23 while George Smith took 2-28.

Pembroke Dock were never up with the required rate, and despite a defiant 34 from Billy Wood, they were dismissed for 92.

Tom Grimwood added 10 and Archie Hillier-Wood added 11 but it wasn’t to be for the Dock.

Llyr Morgan and Iestyn Jones took three wickets each, backed by Matthew Fisher with 2 for 4.

Next Sunday, Ammanford are away to Carmarthen Wanderers in the SWCA T20 Knockout, whilst their Third XI play at the Park in the Intermediate Cup.

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Walters’ century sees off Ammanford seconds

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CARMARTHEN Wanderer’s Leighton Walters scored a century to help his side to victory over Ammanford seconds on Saturday (May 22).

Ammanford’s first XI saw their game rained off at the Park but the seconds were able to play twenty miles away in Carmarthen.

It wasn’t to be Ammanford’s day though as they lost by 115 runs.

Batting first, Wanderers amassed an impressive 218 for 3 in their 40 overs.

The highlight was undoubtedly a century from opener Leighton Walters which included 12 fours and 4 sixes.

He was well supported by Andrew Edwards (45no) and Liam Rogers (22).

Ammanford had no reply, with only three of their batsmen creeping into double figures.

They were dismissed for 103 inside 30 overs.

Kai Summers (4-17) and Steffan Jones (3-13) were the home team’s chief wicket takers.

Next week, Ammanford’s firsts entertain early league leaders Cardiff at the Park.

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