TWO weeks ago Carmarthen opened their Cymru South League home programme with a very disappointing defeat against Llantwit Major.
They returned to Richmond Park to face Taffs Well, a team that had finished the previous season (2019-20) close to the relegation places.
However, if the faithful gathering of Town supporters were hoping to see a much improved performance from their side leading to a comfortable victory then sadly, despite creating a number of scoring opportunities, that never materialized.
The match began brightly with both sides breaking forward at every opportunity – yet with the defences looking quite comfortable under pressure there was no early threat to either goal.
However after 7 minutes the Old Gold went close to opening the scoring when ‘keeper Scott James launched a huge clearance upfield which reached Liam Thomas deep inside the penalty area – Town’s top all-time goal-scorer, from a very sharp angle, struck a fierce drive which clipped the base of the post before a defender cleared the ball to safety.
Then on 12 minutes the visitors responded when a fine pass from midfield set Jan Maertins free just inside the penalty area – but while his smart strike flew beyond James’ reach, the ball went just wide of the post.
Soon afterwards Town again went near to taking the lead – Kieran Howard, from the right flank, sent a searching free-kick into the packed goalmouth where Lee Surman rose highest and saw his powerful close-range header take a slight deflection before ‘keeper Eddie King managed to claim the ball on the goal-line.
For the remainder of the first-half the match continued as an open, end-to-end affair conducted at a fast pace on Richmond Park’s accommodating 3G surface. Carmarthen’s experienced midfielders Greg Walters and Howard were particularly influential in driving the hosts forward at every opportunity but despite the impressive pace and movement of strikers Thomas and Noah Daley they were unable to penetrate the visitors’ defence, in which Lathan Garrett excelled, in any meaningful way.
After the interval the same pattern of play quickly emerged yet the Old Gold created the better early chances. On 52 minutes Walters fired an inviting cross to the edge of the penalty area where Dion Phillips struck a smart drive which King expertly turned over the bar.
Shortly afterwards Tom Dyson, from the right flank, sent his free-kick into the packed goalmouth but saw Daley contrive to fire his close-range shot too high. And then Daley once more failed to find the back of the net when his 20 yard strike was deflected over the bar by a defender.
Then Taffs Well responded and went close to taking the lead in the 61st minute when Jamie Owen drifted in from the left-wing to the corner of the penalty area before releasing a delightful curling shot that defeated James only for the ball to strike the post and bounce safely away.
Moments later it seemed inevitable that the visitors would score when Maertins found himself in clear space well inside the penalty area with only James to beat – however Surman, arriving with immaculate timing, produced a remarkable sliding tackle and cleared the ball to safety.
That was just one of many instances already this season when Carmarthen have been thankful for the presence of the burgeoning central defensive partnership of Surman and Lewis Rocke – a partnership of contrasts. The pairing of the highly experienced Surman, so powerful in the tackle and in aerial challenges, alongside Rocke, not long out of the youth set-up but positionally alert and quick on the ground, is working well – so far.
The Old Gold were soon putting the opposition defence under pressure once more – on 69 minutes Jordan Vickers sprinted along the right-wing before firing the ball invitingly into the goalmouth where Daley’s close-range effort was comfortably claimed by King.
From there on the match drifted along to its almost inevitable goal-less conclusion with neither side managing any worthwhile scoring opportunities.
Carmarthen’s next fixture is away against near neighbours Llanelli Town on Frida, August 20, k/o 7.30pm; then the following fixture is against Goytre United at Richmond Park, on Tuesday, August 24, k/o 7.30pm. Both are Cymru South League matches.
FC Carmarthen earn a point against Felinfoel
TWO late goals for FC Carmarthen earned them a point against Felinfoel on Saturday (Dec 4) as their game finished 2-2.
Felinfoel are yet to lose a game this season and it looked like they were on course for another win but goals in the 74th and 85th minutes of the game earned a point for the visitors.
Chris James had put the Division 1 leaders ahead in the first half as he scored from the penalty spot.
He then doubled Felinfoel’s lead on 58 minutes and they looked set to go on and earn their thirteenth win of the season.
FC Carmarthen had other ideas though and they pulled a goal back through Osian Thomas.
Thomas then completed the comeback five minutes from the end.
Both sides looked for a winner but were forced to settle for a point apiece.
On Saturday, December 11, Felinfoel are at home to Camford Sports while FC Carmarthen travel to Kidwelly Town.
PHOTO by Darren Harries
Amman United earn first win
AMMAN United claimed their first Division 3 West victory of the season with a hard-fought success on a bitingly cold afternoon at Penygroes.
Very little of note happened during the opening quarter as errors and knock-ons spoiled the flow.
Then, the visitors drew first blood on 20 minutes when, out of the blue, a well-worked move from a midfield break saw centre Steff Davies cut in to score under the posts, outside half Tom Caddell converting.
Amman had a strong wind at their backs in the first half, and with lock Jason Knell making some good yardage, they shaded the territory.
Penygroes were winning in the lineouts, but were squandering some good possession.
Try-scorer Davies limped off, to be replaced by Liam Poole, and, a wind-assisted Caddell long range penalty before halftime gave the Reds a 10-0 interval lead.
The boot of Tom Caddell stretched the lead after the restart to 13-0, but the home side were starting to get more joy in attack, prop Ben Jackson impressing with his workrate, and, after he was tackled short of the line, lock Dan Rees gathered and went over for the try, full back Nicholas Morris adding the conversion.
Caddell kept Amman’s score ticking along with another penalty, and, in the final quarter, the visitors brought on their very own “bomb squad” as Rhys Phillips, Harley Davies and Rhydian Jones entered the fray, with great effect.
With much more cohesion in attack, Jones impressed around the pitch particularly, and with some ten minutes left, full-back Joel Foster’s excellent work put the try on a plate for backrow man Jac Isaac to cross the line for a converted score.
George Clarke also featured with some telling Amman runs as they continued to press, Penygroes only threatening sporadically, full back Nicholas Morris the pick of their backs; but they lacked a real cutting edge to finish off their good work.
United’s win was rubber-stamped when scrum half Alex Williams gleefully divebombed over for a third Amman try with minutes left.
To their credit, the home side battled manfully to the end, and were rewarded with a try with the final move of the game as Rhys Gealey scored as the final whistle was blown.
Amman will be at Cwmamman Park on Saturday, December 11, when they entertain New Dock Stars.
Risca earn win over Ammanford
AMMANFORD travelled to Ystrad Mynach on Friday night (Dec 3) to face Risca United on their artificial pitch.
The Valley mist was slowly rolling across the sky and hovering just above the pitch. A healthy crowd sat in the large stand waited for the teams’ arrival.
Ammanford were in their green kit whilst Risca were in their usual black and white striped shirts.
The visitors got off to the perfect start with only ten minutes played when Ammanford captain Lee Trundle skilfully turned on the edge of the Risca penalty area and slotted the ball into the corner of the Risca net.
Both sides pressed each other but Ammanford’s lead lasted until minutes before half time when the home side were awarded a penalty.
Risca’s Leon Thomas duly despatched the spot kick into the Ammanford net to level it up at 1-1.
The second half saw both sides pressing for that second goal with no quarter given by either side which kept the referee busy in the production of several yellow cards.
It was Risca that made the breakthrough in the 68th minute of the game when their substitute Harvey Selway assisted team mate Leon Thomas to get his second goal of the game as he broke through the middle of the Ammanford defence and placed his shot past Ammanford keeper Craig Morris to give his side the lead.
Ammanford did their best to respond and Brett Enoch came the closest with a couple of attempts in the last ten minutes of the game.
It wasn’t enough for Ammanford as final whistle blew and it was Risca who celebrated the victory.
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