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Old Gold denied win by late penalty

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Pontypridd Town 1-1 Carmarthen Town

CARMARTHEN TOWN, since their relegation from the Cymru Premier League, had been waiting for the first opportunity to begin their campaign to restore their top tier status – and, having taken the lead late in this match against a competitive Pontypridd side, it seemed that they had made a perfect start.

But, sadly, deep into added time the home side were awarded a hotly disputed penalty and the Old Gold had to settle for a share of the points in this their first ever Cymru South League match.

However even before the start of the match the gathering of Town supporters were delighted to see the presence of a very familiar face in the pitch-side dug-out, namely that of Mark Aizlewood who had just been appointed Head Coach – a role similar to that which he had held on three earlier occasions often coinciding with times of some notable success for the Club.

In the early stages of the game it quickly became clear that these two teams were quite evenly balanced but while the play switched quickly from end to end, no serious scoring chances emerged.  At the heart of the visitors’ defence Lee Surman and Lewis Rocke were strong and assured while on the flanks Michael George and Corey Saunders gave them firm support – goal-keeper Scott James was never troubled during this spell.

At the other end of the pitch strikers Liam Thomas and Noah Daley could make little early impression on the Pontypridd defence, prominent within which were long-term Town defenders Dave Vincent and Jordan Knott.

But eventually the game livened up and on 19 minutes the first notable scoring opportunity arose for the hosts when Sam Johnson, from the corner of the penalty area, released a fierce angled drive that James watched carefully slip wide of the post.  Then moments later Aiden Lewis struck a stunning 30 yard free-kick that flew comfortably over the bar.

Pontypridd continued this spell of pressure when the ball reached Luke Gullick inside the penalty area – he turned sharply then fired a crisp volley that James turned aside with a smart reflex safe.  Then on 26 minutes Lewis threatened the visitors’ goal once more when he dispatched a promising 20 yard strike that James denied with a stunning full-length save.

The Old Gold at last managed to threaten the home goal in the 34th minute when Jordan Vickers sent a fine pass through to Thomas just inside the penalty area – from a very sharp angle Town’s all-time top goal-scorer drove the ball beyond the reach of ‘keeper Morgan Davies but, sadly, into the side-netting.

Yet the final action of the first-half was at the other end of the pitch – after 40 minutes Lee Baldock fired a long free-kick into the crowded penalty area where Drew Fahiya struck a fierce volley that James carefully watched safely fly over the bar.

After the interval Carmarthen began far more positively but apart from a Rocke header on 60 minutes that flew just over the bar following Keiran Howard’s corner they had nothing to show for their efforts – the hosts failed to achieve even that meagre “success”.

However as the match seemed to be drifting to a goal-less conclusion an unexpected frenzy of activity erupted.

On 88 minutes Thomas released a fierce drive that struck the post and the ball rebounded out – it was promptly returned into the goalmouth where Daley, reacting quicker than several other players, stabbed it into the net from close-range.

That setback seemed to galvanise the hosts into frenzied activity and as the match drifted into added time they were rewarded when the referee decided that Vickers’ clumsy challenge on the edge of the penalty area merited a spot-kick.

Baldock stepped forward and fired the ball beyond James’ reach and into the corner of the net.  A few minutes later the referee blew the final whistle.

Town’s next fixture is against Llantwit Major on Tuesday, July 27, k/o 7.30pm at Richmond Park, while on the following Saturday, July 31, k/o 2.30pm Risca United visit Richmond Park – both are Cymru South League matches.

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Cefneithin hold off Cwmgors for second win

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Cwmgors 22-31 Cefneithin

LOOKING for their first WRU Bowl victory since the restart, Cwmgors welcomed Cefneithin to Parc y Werin, the hosts kicking off playing towards Ysgol y Waun.

The visitors notched the opening score with an early converted try, before Andrew Mason sent a penalty over after 12 minutes for the home side.

The Cherries scored an excellent try on 20 minutes, a fine break from the impressive “Owz” resulting in a well-worked try; the resulting conversion unluckily came off the post, but ‘Gors led 8-7.

Some great work by the forwards brought due reward as Cwm grabbed a second touch down which Mason converted; but before the interval, Cefneithin hit back with a try of their own, to leave them trailing by just a point at the break.

Cefn then took the lead early in the second half with a penalty, and missed another minutes later, before breaching the Cwmgors defence to record a third try of the afternoon on 50 minutes.

Minutes later, the ever-industrious “Owz” popped up again, another clinical break and good support which saw Ioan Jones crash over the whitewash for the try; Andrew Mason’s conversion meant Cwm were just two points adrift.

But, ten minutes from the end, home hopes soon evaporated by a late try from the visitors which gave the Cherries too much to do and they ultimately went down to a valiant defeat.

Cwmgors travel to Tumble this Saturday (Sept 25) while Cefneithin host Amman United.

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Amman United too good for Betws

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AMMAN United earned their fourth win of the campaign on Saturday as they beat Betws 43-13.

After a short delay following the late arrival of the referee, it was Betws who opened the scoring when outside half Aled Rees Jones slotted an early penalty.

But the home side were soon on the attack; backrow man Alun Lewis’ jinking run opened the defence and his perfect pass put in supporting scrum- half Alex Williams to grab the try.

Following Dan Jones’ excellent run, Betws were penalised, and outside half Tom Caddell made no mistake with the resulting kick. A well struck penalty from the boot of Betws placekicker Jones made it 8-6 after 17 minutes.

Newly-married Iwan Davies showed no sign of flagging and was in the thick of things as his superb run typified his all-round effort, along with impressive centre Hacuna Bezzara.

Craig Ratliffe’s break then created space, and Rhodri Lewis’ pass put in Dan Jones for try number two, Caddell’s conversion making it 15-6.

Amman’s purple-patch continued as wing Eurig Morgan crossed for a fine corner try, but Betws showed their sheer grit, despite being down a man by now, peppering the Amman try-line before Rory McGhee forced his way over for a deserved try which Aled Rees Jones converted on the stroke of half time.

A gallant Betws defence was breached early in the second half as Iwan Davies’ pass put in centre Bezzara for a Caddell-converted try.

A superb individual try from Alex Williams which saw him sidestep in for another Amman try began taking the match out of the visitors’ grasp on the hour mark.

Eurig Morgan’s ‘try’ was then ruled out for a forward-pass, just before Alex Williams incurred the referee’s wrath, yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle.

Betws almost took advantage of the 14 men as scrum half Ryan Tancock, who had a solid game, made a searing midfield break which sadly earned no end reward.

Betws’ tiring defensive legs conceded a further score as Alun Lewis provided a try on a plate for replacement Liam Poole to gallop over with minutes remaining.

Caddell’s conversion completed the scoring on an entertaining encounter.

Amman make the trip to Cefneithin on Saturday (Sept 25), while Betws are next in action on October 2.

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Ynys prove one hill too far

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Cwmamman Utd Reserves 2-4 Ynysygerwn

AFTER two 5-1 wins Cwmamman Reserves, playing their second game in 3 days, put up a brave fight against an Ynysygerwn team with lots of first team experience while also having to play 70 mins of the match with ten men.

The last thing they needed on tired legs was the dismissal of Brieg Matthews after 18 mins for an off the ball incident and it had been a tight match to that point.

But then on 23mins a through ball to Rhys Brewer saw him open the scoring for Ynys.

The 10 men of Cwm fought hard and Ashley Twigg was causing problems on the flank while Olly Dymond was brought down for a strong penalty shout but the referee waved play on.

Grant Rees and Stuart Dunn were strong at the centre of defence. Then just on half time a failure to clear at a corner saw Josh Davies slot it home for the equaliser for CWM.

The second half saw Ynysygerwn increase their possession as Cwm tired and in the 50th minute Tom Phillips flicked in a corner which was quickly followed by a goal in the 53rd minute when a ball over the top saw Charlie Farrell make it 3-1 for Ynys.

Again Cwm came back with Rhys Williams and Rhydian Jones making strong runs and Cam Isaac who had been a safe pair of hands for Cwm in goals but playing out for the last 15 mins score a great individual goal for 3-2.

Cwm pressed and had another strong penalty appeal before themselves conceding a penalty in the last minute which was converted by Nathan Davies to seal a hard fought 4-2 win for Ynysygerwn.

Cwm will enjoy the week’s rest before entertaining Briton Ferry next Saturday (Sept 25).

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