CARMARTHEN TOWN snatched a point late on in their game with Cwmbran Celtic on Saturday (Sept 11).
A decent number of Town supporters decided to make the journey east along the M4 for this first-ever fixture with Cwmbran Celtic no doubt encouraged, in part at least, by the quality of their team’s performance last weekend in their Welsh Cup tie.
And for the first 45 minutes of this match that decision was fully justified as the Old Gold largely dominated the game with some impressive, fast attacking play and plenty of scoring opportunities – the only disappointment was their inability to convert any of those chances.
From the start the match soon developed into a fast-paced, end-to-end affair but the critical difference was that while Carmarthen were frequently penetrating deep into the home penalty area, Celtic were unable, in any meaningful way, to breach the Town defence, expertly marshalled by experienced central pairing Scott Tancock and Lee Surman – goalkeeper Scott James was never noticeably tested in these early stages.
And ahead of them the midfield unit led by Greg Walters, alongside Tom Dyson and Matthew Delaney, not only provided a further valuable layer of defence but also displayed the energy and vision to launch a series of promising attacking moves.
In addition during these early stages it was clear that defender Jordan Vickers, with his lightning pace and sharp movement, was easily able to torment the opposing defenders and open up attacking opportunities along the right flank.
However, despite being under pressure for most of the first-half the Cwmbran defence, usually reinforced by several midfielders, performed with impressive resistance although there were several occasions when goalkeeper Andrew Larcombe was called into action.
As for the Old Gold’s few notable scoring chances, in the 22nd minute Dyson fired a crossfield pass out to Adam John on the left flank who raced forward before sending a searching cross into the goalmouth where Liam Thomas, under pressure from defenders, saw his close-range shot diverted narrowly past the post.
Then on 33 minutes Dyson, from 25 yards, struck a stunning free-kick that Larcombe, at full-stretch, turned just over the bar. There were further scoring efforts from Noah Daley, John, Delaney and Thomas in the closing stages of the first-half but none, sadly, challenged the heavily reinforced Celtic defence.
After the interval Cwmbran immediately began far more positively and poured forward in numbers at every opportunity, clearly intent on overwhelming the Town defence – and they were very soon rewarded for that ambitious strategy.
In the 50th minute Josh Hinwood fired a long free-kick towards the edge of the penalty area where Tom Meecham, having been allowed worrying time and space by the Town defence, struck a stunning low drive that flew past James and into the corner of the net.
The Old Gold, stunned by that setback, poured forward in search of an early equaliser – and on 53 minutes they went near to doing so when Trystan Jones, on the left flank, sent a long pass across to Walters who moved into the penalty area then, from a sharp angle, fired a crisp shot that Larcombe blocked before the ball was cleared to safety by a defender.
The game quickly developed into a fast paced, end-to-end affair but both teams were guilty of wasting scoring opportunities with wayward finishing.
After 77 minutes Cwmbran went close to increasing their lead. Meecham, from the left touchline, fired a long free-kick into the goalmouth where James, uncharacteristically, mis-handled the ball – however, thankfully, Tancock, was alert to the danger and headed the loose ball away to safety before any nearby opponent could react.
Then on 85 minutes a smart interchange of passes between Adam John and Dyson on the left-wing finished with the ball being threaded through to Liam Thomas just inside the penalty area but his instant shot was blocked and the ball cleared to safety by a defender.
As each closing minute passed, no doubt the Old Gold supporters were fearing the prospect of another defeat in this, so far, disappointing season.
Then in the 90th minute Town won a corner-kick – John directed the perfect delivery into the heavily congested goalmouth and Surman produced the perfect finish as he forced the ball into the net. And just moments later the referee blew the final whistle.
Carmarthen’s next fixture is against Cambrian & Clydach on Saturday, September 18, k/o 2.30pm and then the following fixture is against Risca United on Tuesday, September 21, k/o 7.30pm – both are Cymru South League matches and both are at Richmond Park.
Cefneithin hold off Cwmgors for second win
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.
Amman United too good for Betws
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.
Ynys prove one hill too far
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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