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Late goal preserves Old Gold’s unbeaten run

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CARMARTHEN TOWN went into this match intent on extending their impressive run of nine unbeaten Cymru South League fixtures without defeat – and at the end of this keenly contested match they had achieved that objective albeit due to a late goal from second-half substitute Bradley Gibbings.

Yet the Old Gold perhaps should have taken the lead as early as the 2nd minute – Liam Thomas made a strong run along the right flank before sending a fine cross into the penalty area only for Adam John, from a good position 10 yards out and under no pressure from any defenders, sent his glancing header over the bar.

The visitors were quick to respond.  On 4 minutes Jamie Latham’s deep cross from the right-wing reached Damon Thomas near the far post – his header flew across the face of the goal before ‘keeper Scott James, at full-stretch, turned the ball aside.

The end-to-end pattern of play continued while the pace of the game noticeably quickened and developed into an absorbing affair yet still there were only a few decent scoring opportunities.

For the Old Gold the central defensive pairing of Scott Tancock and Lewis Rocke (standing in for the suspended Lee Surman) looked sound and secure, while Matthew Delaney and Trystan Jones gave them valuable support on the flanks. Behind them the experienced James demonstrated safe-handling and good positioning whenever he was called upon.

In addition, ahead of the defensive unit were midfielders Greg Walters, Kieran Howard and Tom Dyson who, with their industry and vision, eagerly provided a further layer of defensive cover whenever necessary, while always alert to any opportunity for breaking forward and launching an attack.

Notably, it was Walters who began Carmarthen’s next promising move in the 9th minute – having won possession in a midfield challenge, he sent the ball through to Thomas who quickly slid it across the edge of the penalty area where Dion Phillips struck a fierce drive that Trefelin goalkeeper Chris Curtis managed to claim.

While the play continued to switch quickly from end to end, for a long spell neither team was able to manage a worthwhile scoring opportunity.

However, at last on 40 minutes the visitors pierced the Town defence when Jordan Davies sprinted into the penalty area only to be brought down by Jones’ desperate challenge. Joe Clarke stepped forward and confidently drove the spot-kick beyond James’ reach and into the back of the net.

After the interval Trefelin began brightly and went close to extending their lead in the 54th minute when Damon Thomas struck a fierce 20 yard drive only for James to produce an impressive flying save to turn the ball around the post.    

Soon the Old Gold began to enjoy the greater share of possession as they sought to get back on level terms.

On 63 minutes Howard sent a fine lofted pass over the visitors’ defence which substitute Bradley Gibbings eagerly pursued to the edge of the penalty area – as Curtis came out of his goal the young striker neatly lobbed the ball over the stranded ‘keeper but saw it go narrowly wide of the post.

Moments later Gibbings again outpaced defenders to reach the corner of the penalty area – he then released a promising angled drive that defeated Curtis but struck the foot of the post before the ball rolled across the face of the goal and went out of play.

Still Town maintained the pressure – on 67 minutes John moved across the edge of the penalty area then released a stunning volley that substitute goalkeeper Keenan Bailey turned over the bar in spectacular fashion.

But eventually, in the 81st minute, the Old Gold secured the goal that their effort and persistence fully deserved.  A long ball was played out of the Carmarthen half which Gibbings swiftly claimed – he then sprinted away from Trefelin defenders to reach the edge of the penalty area before driving the ball beyond Bailey’s reach and into the back of the net.

Town, sensing the possibility of securing a late winning goal, swarmed upfield – however the nearest they came to scoring in these closing minutes was in added time when late substitute Alexander Thomas took the ball across the edge of the penalty area but struck his volley narrowly too high.     

So the Old Gold had to settle for just one point from this highly competitive match.

Carmarthen’s next match is away against Trefelin on Saturday, December 4, k/o 2.00pm, while the following match is at Richmond Park against Port Talbot on Saturday, December 11, k/o 2.30pm; both fixtures 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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Sport

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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