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Penalty heartache for Old Gold

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CARMARTHEN, having already overcome one Cymru Premier League team to reach this stage of the Welsh Cup, now faced an altogether tougher challenge in the form of the runaway CPL leaders and most recent Cup holders The New Saints. 

Yet the Old Gold, undaunted by this prospect, produced a highly-committed performance against their full-time professional opponents to remain on level terms at the final whistle – only the uncertainties of a penalty shoot-out could separate the teams.

From the outset the Saints slipped straight into their familiar game pattern, dominating possession and patiently building pressure before incisively probing the Old Gold defence.  However in the earliest stages Town coped well and the first notable scoring effort arose at the other end of the pitch – on 5 minutes Tom Dyson won possession off a TNS defender inside the penalty area then slid the ball across to Ben Steele who saw his close-range drive blocked and cleared to safety.

Moments later the visitors threatened when Danny Redmond raced along the left touchline to the corner of the penalty area then sent the ball across the goalmouth only to see Dean Ebbe fire his shot narrowly past the post and into the side netting.

Then in the 14th minute Chris Marriott sent a corner-kick into the crowded penalty area which led to a fair degree of chaos with three close-range shots being blocked before defender Trystan Jones finally cleared the ball safely away.      

As the pace of the game noticeably quickened the Old Gold defence came under increasing pressure yet their back-four, as usual well organised by experienced central defenders Lee Surman and Scott Tancock with Jones and Jordan Vickers on the flanks, remained sound and secure – and ahead of them midfielders Greg Walters, Dyson, Matthew Delaney and Adam John frequently gave them valuable support. 

Throughout the first-half Carmarthen were sadly unable to create any significant sustained attacking pressure.

Steele and Dion Phillips were generally tightly marshalled by the Saint’s well-drilled defensive unit and while Vickers, in particular, produced some typically rapid bursts along the right touchline none led to any notable concern for the opposition.

After the interval TNS took the early initiative and put the Old Gold defence under sustained pressure.

In the 52nd minute Adrian Cieslewicz moved inside from the left touchline and struck a fierce 20 yard drive that Scott James, with an impressive full-length save, turned past the post.

From the ensuing corner-kick Keston Davies rose high amongst a crowded goalmouth but sent his close-range header narrowly over the bar.

The Saints again went close on 61 minutes when, from another corner-kick, Leo Smith’s smart header went beyond James’ reach only for the ball to be headed clear by Tancock’s timely intervention.

Then moments later Cieslewicz again cut infield from the touchline but saw his angled shot from the corner of the penalty area slide across the goalmouth and beyond the far post.

The visitors’ lively winger was again involved in the 76th minute when he took advantage of a mix-up between Vickers and James and crossed the ball into the empty goalmouth where Dean Ebbe, under no pressure, inexplicably sent his header high over the bar. 

Straightaway James was again involved when Louis Robles outpaced Jones to reach the edge of the penalty area only for the experienced ‘keeper to bravely dive down and claim the ball at the striker’s feet.

Despite being under fairly prolonged pressure in the closing stages the Old Gold were still managing to create occasional scoring opportunities.

On 77 minutes Jones sprinted towards the penalty area and from 20 yards struck a promising volley that flew narrowly too high.

This led to a welcome, albeit short, spell of pressure for Carmarthen during which the Saints were reduced to 10 men when Chris Marriott, after a bad challenge on Vickers, was sent-off having received his second yellow card.

Soon afterwards the referee blew the final whistle and accordingly, under new regulations, the match went straight into a penalty shoot-out – for the second successive Welsh Cup tie for Carmarthen.  But sadly on this occasion they were the losers.

While Ben Steele, Matthew Delaney, Trystan Jones and Jordan Vickers converted their spot-kicks, Tom Dyson saw his effort saved by the Saints ‘keeper Connor Roberts – in reply all five penalties were converted.

Despite that outcome the Old Gold can reflect on having held TNS to a draw over the 90 minutes.

Only one team in the Cymru Premier League has done that so far this season – the Saints are otherwise unbeaten!   

Carmarthen’s next fixture is at Richmond Park against Briton Ferry on Saturday, October 23, k/o 2.30pm while the following fixture is away at Afan Lido on Saturday, October 30, k/o 2.30pm – both are Cymru South League matches.

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Sport

FC Carmarthen earn a point against Felinfoel

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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

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Amman United earn first win

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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.

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Risca earn win over Ammanford

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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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