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Old Gold extend unbeaten run with win over Port Talbot



CARMARTHEN TOWN extended their impressive unbeaten run in the Cymru South League to nine matches with this victory against old rivals Port Talbot who have been firmly rooted at the bottom of the League table since the start of this season having lost all of their matches.

However, if Town supporters were hoping for a comfortable victory that prospect was soon dispelled as the first-half progressed.

The Old Gold, facing a fierce blustery wind, began promisingly when on 2 minutes Adam John raced along the right-wing and crossed the ball into the goalmouth where Liam Thomas, under pressure from defenders, sent his angled drive narrowly wide of the far post.

The hosts responded immediately and forced a corner-kick – this was sent into the packed penalty area where Teejay Vickery struck a promising close-range shot that Lee Surman, well placed on the goal-line, blocked and cleared away upfield.

Straightaway Town launched another attack when Thomas sprinted along the left-wing then sent a fine cross-field pass that reached Noah Daley – he took the ball to the corner of the penalty area then fired a smart drive across the face of the goal, beyond the reach of ‘keeper James Donnelly, only for it to slide just beyond the far post.

The play continued to switch back and forth with plenty of misplaced passes and crosses from both teams as the players struggled to come to terms with the uncompromising weather conditions.        

Yet on 16 minutes John made a strong run along the right flank to reach the by-line then drove the ball into the goalmouth where Daley saw his close-range shot blocked by a defender then cleared to safety.

Soon afterwards Daley delivered a fine long cross-field pass to Thomas on the edge of the penalty area but Town’s top goal-scorer, while driving his low shot beyond Donnelly’s reach, saw the ball slip narrowly outside the post.

Then in the 35th minute John embarked on another determined run from the half-way line to the edge of the edge of the penalty area, passing four bewildered defenders on the way, only to spoil the move by finishing the move with a weak shot that Donnelly comfortably claimed.   

During that spell the home side continued to probe the Old Gold defence but, as so often this season, the experienced central pairing of Surman and Scott Tancock organised the defensive unit so effectively that on only a very few occasions was ‘keeper Scott James called into serious action.

In particular, on 39 minutes Manny Maloney sent a free-kick into the packed penalty area to find Daryl Hughes who struck a fierce 10 yard volley that James, with a spectacular flying save, turned around the post.

After the interval, with the weather conditions worsening but now marginally in Town’s favour, they straightaway began probing the home defence. On 49 minutes John produced a stunning 35 yard drive that Donnelly, at full-stretch, turned around the post.

Then after 59 minutes Trystan Jones fired a long free-kick deep into the crowded Port Talbot penalty area where Surman leapt highest only to head the ball narrowly over the bar.

By now the home defence was under sustained pressure with the Carmarthen midfield unit operating well upfield.

On 66 minutes Walters, on the corner of the penalty area, struck a fierce angled shot that the increasingly busy Donnelly impressively turned aside.

Still the Old Gold could not manage to score the goal that their increasing pressure deserved – until, that is, the 73rd minute when all-time top scorer Liam Thomas reminded Town’s supporters of his predatory instincts for scoring goals.

Kieran Howard, from the right-wing, sent a fine cross into the goalmouth where Thomas, ahead of several defenders, timed his arrival perfectly and headed the ball firmly past Donnelly into the roof of the net.

Then after 77 minutes he scored again.  Matthew Delaney, from near the touchline, crossed the ball towards the goalmouth and Tom Dyson headed it over the reach of Donnelly at the near post leaving Thomas with the opportunity of nodding the ball into the empty net.

Carmarthen went on to dominate the closing stages of the match. On 81 minutes John played a fine pass through to Thomas who had a clear run towards the penalty area – but Donnelly raced out to challenge him and did enough to force him to fire the ball into the side netting.

However Thomas was not yet finished in his thirst for goals. In the 88th minute John struck a fierce 20 yard volley that defeated the overworked Donnelly but struck the bar – Thomas, alert to the opportunity, pounced on the rebounding ball and fired it into the empty net to complete his third competitive hat-trick in the Old Gold colours.

What a special achievement this was for Liam to have marked this day, his 30th birthday, in this manner.

There was further good news from Richmond Park as Town Reserves won their match against Goytre United Reserves and now stand in joint first place in the FAW Cymru Reserve League South West.

Carmarthen’s next match is at Richmond Park against Trefelin on Saturday, November 19, k/o 2.30pm, while they play the same opponents in the away match on Saturday, December 4, k/o 2.30pm – both fixtures are for Cymru South League matches.

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Ammanford return with win over Port Talbot



A CROWD in excess of 300 plus turned out to watch Ammanford AFC take on the Steelmen of Port Talbot Town in the resumption of the JD Cymru South league after the easing of restrictions by the Welsh government.

It was a very chilly Recreation Ground and hot drinks were very much in demand on Friday evening (Jan 21) under the lights.

Ammanford AFC faced a very different Port Talbot Town team to the one they inflicted a heavy defeat earlier in the season.

Port Talbot Town had added more steel to their team and were determined to give a good account of themselves in this return fixture.

The first half was very much an evenly fought contest with Port Talbot Town’s centre back Joel Queni marshalling his defence whilst Captain Lewis Robinson was trying to match up to Ammanford’s Anthony Finselbach.

Port Talbot’s Ryan Garland came close to opening the scoring in this game but placed his effort over the bar.

However it was Ammanford who got the break through in the 32nd minute when Richard Lewis burst forward from full back and latched onto a through ball pass played into the heart of the Port Talbot penalty area. Lewis was clear of the defence and flicked the ball passed the advancing goalkeeper into the net. 1-0.

The first half ended with Ammanford holding a slender advantage.

The second half saw Ammanford more on the front foot and pushing on for the second goal. It eventually came when Ammanford’s Captain Lee Trundle played in fellow striker Tristan Jenkins in on goal and he slotted his effort passed Port Talbot’s goalkeeper Elisangelo Queni to double his team’s lead 2-0.

The game was wrapped up in the 63rd minute when Ammanford’s Brett Enoch played team mate Mathew Fisher in on goal and he placed his shot into the Steelmen’s net to make it 3-0.

The Steelmen never gave up to their credit but it was Ammanford who claimed the deserved win at the final whistle.

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Hendy hold off Whitland to earn third win



HENDY earned their third win of the season on Saturday (Jan 15) as they beat Whitland 22-15 in League 1 West.

A strong first half from the home side saw them take a 17-5 lead into the break.

Liam Evans, Ben Batcup, Josh Davies and Dean Courtney all scored tries for Hendy while Rhydian Morris added the extras with the boot.

Whitland hit back in the second half and brought themselves back to within one score (try) of their opponents.

They came close but Hendy held on and the win sees them move up to fourth place in the table.

Whitland picked up a losing bonus point for their efforts and they now sit seventh in the table.

The sides are next in action on Saturday, January 29, when Whitland host Penclawdd while Hendy travel to Pembroke.

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Athletic prove too strong for Bont



CARMARTHEN ATHLETIC remain top of League 2 West after they beat Pontyberem 39-11 away from home on Saturday (Jan 15).

Gethin Phillips, Iestyn Richards, Morgan Morse, Logan Davies and James Newnian all scored tries for the Athletic.

Tom Gravell added four conversions and two penalties as they secured their fifth win in six games.

Tom Lloyd scored Pontyberem’s only try of the game with the rest of the points coming from Dominic Sauro who scored a penalty and a drop goal.

On Saturday, January 22, Carmarthen Athletic are at home against Tycroes.

Pontyberem’s next game is set for January 29 when they travel to Tenby United.

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