HAVING already suffered a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of their opponents on the opening day of the season, Llanelli Town came off even worse in the return at the Rec on Saturday (Apr 30).
In their final game, after a fairly even first half the Reds wilted badly, allowing the home side to assume complete charge in the second period, and in the process easily ensuring their league survival.
Needing a win and for other clubs in the relegation fight to drop points, Ammanford achieved their aim in some style, condemning Risca United to the drop along with Undy and Port Talbot Town.
It was almost an old boys` club reunion, with the home squad containing no fewer than six players who had previously worn the famous red shirt, with Craig Morris, Richard Lewis, Tristan Jenkins and Lee Trundle all starting, while Liam Samuel and Lee Bevan were named on the bench.
An early attack by the hosts forced Exauce Dimonekene in the Reds` goal off his line to head clear when Trundle lofted a ball towards the area, and when Jenkins attempted a shot on target, a deflection took it over the top.
Having survived these opening threats, the visitors almost snatched the lead following a Callum Saunders free kick into the Ammanford box which was met by Louis Gerrard whose header rebounded off the underside of the bar, although Morris might also have got a touch.
Overall, the Reds were managing to keep their opponents at bay although were also guilty of gifting the ball away with some careless passing, and it took a saving tackle close to goal to scramble it clear at the expense of a corner.
Ammanford were still dictating matters, but the opening goal was a soft one on 25 minutes when a Brett Enoch corner was met by Euros Griffiths with no decent challenge from the defenders, allowing him to guide his finish past Dimonekene.
The home side grew even more threatening as the half progressed as they sought to increase the advantage, and it took good block in the box by Dimonekene to deny Jenkins when he was played into a scoring position.
Although outplayed, the Reds did at times put together some decent moves, one of these involving two or three players and culminating in Gerrard being offered a shooting chance from the edge of the box which he fired inches wide of the intended target.
Despite their overall supremacy, the home side only found themselves leading by the solitary goal at the break, although only some last-ditch defending by the visitors had led to this outcome.
The second half proved to be a far different affair with Ammanford at last finishing off their almost constant attacks by notching up a further four successes, with the second arriving just six minutes after the restart when some poor midfield play by the Reds gifted away possession before being seized upon by Owyn Airey, and his superb through ball found Jenkins who made no mistake b slotting his finish past the helpless Reds` keeper.
In an attempt to somehow shore up a contest that was slipping away from their grasp, the visitors made a couple of changes with Owain Phillips-Taylor and Josh Newman replacing Gerrard and Fraser Finlay respectively, but they proved to be ineffective as the hosts assumed complete control of the
contest, and went further ahead on 61 minutes when Trundle notched up his inevitable goal, brushing aside the attentions of a couple of defenders before firing into the net just inside the near post.
Ammanford then also rang the changes with Enoch being replaced by Callum Thomas, while the Reds brought on Chris Thomas for Saunders.
It was now a case of damage limitation for the visitors, but it took another fine save by Dimonekene to prevent matters becoming worse when he kept out a close range header following a corner, but five minutes from time he was beaten again after Dylan Williams failed to cut out a through ball allowing Jenkins to gain possession and notch his brace with a clinical finish.
A rare Reds attack forced Morris to divert over a near post deflection following a run by Miles John, before Ammanford completed the demolition when Ryan Kostromin notched up his debut goal for the club, heading home after Dimonekene had parried a vicious Trundle free kick in stoppage time.
A thoroughly deserved win for the hosts which assured both clubs will be locking horns again when the 2022/23 season gets underway.
Old Gold impress in win over Major
CARMARTHEN opened their new season home programme with an impressive performance against last season’s Cymru South League champions Llantwit Major having beaten the same opponents away from Richmond Park only 10 days earlier in the League Cup.
Town took the initiative from the start by launching a series of rapid attacks that kept the visitors defending deep inside their own half but it was not until the 11th minute that any notable scoring chance arose – Noah Daley made a strong run along the left flank before driving the ball across to Kaid Mohamed who from 20 yards struck a fierce volley that goal-keeper Rhys Jones turned aside.
Moments later Matthew Delaney, from just outside the penalty area, fired a free-kick that was blocked by defenders – however the ensuing scramble for the loose ball finished with Mohamed, from 10 yards, powering it past Jones and into the back of the net.
[Note: Kaid last scored a League goal for Carmarthen on 20th January 2007 at Richmond Park against Airbus UK when he scored both goals in a 2-1 victory. In all, he scored 25 goals finishing overall top scorer that season including, memorably, twice in the Welsh Cup Final victory.]
Carmarthen continued to press forward and on 15 minutes Bradley Gibbings embarked on a strong run along the right-touchline before driving the ball into the goalmouth where Liam Thomas, arriving at speed, narrowly failed to connect for an inviting tap-in opportunity.
Then on 28 minutes Daley embarked on a breakaway sprint from the half-way line which finished with a stunning 25 yards low strike that Jones, at full-length, before defenders cleared the ball to safety.
The Old Gold maintained their domination of the play and after 33 minutes Gibbings sent a fine pass through to Daley just inside the penalty area – the lively striker released a promising angled drive but saw Jones turn the ball around the near post.
Still the hosts searched for that allusive second goal – on 37 minutes Mohamed made a strong run from the half-way line, outstretching several defenders, to reach the corner of the penalty area before dispatching a stunning angled drive that Jones, with smart reactions, turned aside at the base of the post.
Yet eventually, in the 42nd minute, Town secured that richly deserved second goal. A delightful passing move inside the penalty area between Thomas, Jamie Rickard and Daley finished with the sturdy striker powering the ball past the hapless ‘keeper and into the back of the net.
After the interval Llantwit made a bright start and showed far more positive intent than at any earlier stage of the match – and on 49 minutes Joel Woodington, the liveliest of their strikers, broke free into the penalty area and dispatched a fierce low drive that ‘keeper Ifon Knott was quickly down to claim.
The visitors continued to be more competitive but for a while they struggled to penetrate the Old Gold defence. Yet eventually, in the 71st minute, they capitalised on a moment of poor defending when Owain Edwards was allowed the time and space to reach a well-flighted cross and, from close-range, head the ball beyond Knott’s reach and into the net.
However, Town were quick to respond to that setback and once more put the opposition defence under serious pressure – and they eventually, after 89 minutes, restored the comfort of their two-goal advantage. A fine cross-field move finished with Mohamed sending an inviting pass to Jac Walters who, from just inside the penalty area, struck a fierce shot past Jones and into the back of the net.
Then, deep into added time, the Old Gold made the score-line even more emphatic when a smart passing move between Walters and Mohamed finished with the returning striker crowning the event with a stunning 15-yard volley, that flew beyond the goal-keeper’s reach and into the roof of the net.
This is a promising start to Carmarthen’s home League programme – clearly stronger opponents await but, for the moment, at least this performance helps erase thoughts of the previous match at Cambrian & Clybach.
Town’s next Cymru South League match is at Richmond Park against Swansea University on August 13, k/o 2.30pm.
Ammanford reach T20 knockout semis
AMMANFORD reached the semi-final of the SWCA T20 knockout as they beat Llanelli by 43 runs at Stradey on Friday evening.
Opener Kurtis Marsh was once again in fine fettle, stroking 89 from 54 deliveries which included 13 fours and 2 sixes.
Callum Croft and Josef Davies chipped in with 22 each, as Ammanford closed on 157 all out.
Despite 35 from veteran opener Iwan Rees, Llanelli were never up with the run rate, and wickets fell quickly as they tried to catch up.
They were all out for 114 in the penultimate over.
Rhys-Huw Davies took three wickets while Owen Davies, Josef Davies and Callum Croft bagged two each.
Ammanford earn narrow win over Cardiff
A YOUNG Ammanford team gained a season-defining 18 run victory at Cardiff which, barring miracles or disasters, pretty much guarantees their continued presence in next season’s top flight.
Batting first, Ammanford opener Kurtis Marsh maintained his blistering form with 79, supported early on by skipper for the day Dan Roberts (21) and Xavier Clarke (42).
At 156 for 3, Ammanford looked set for a dominant total, but unfortunately none of the middle order was able to stick around for long enough to dominate the bowling.
Rhys Davies (26), Josef Davies (18) and Gruffudd Owen (16) looked good at the wicket, but got out when it looked as though they were ready to cut loose.
Ammanford closed their innings on a creditable 248 for 9, but the received wisdom around the ground was that this was 20-30 runs short of what was needed.
For Cardiff, Tom Barry marked his first wickets of the season with 5 for 46.
The received wisdom looked to be correct as Cardiff cruised past the hundred mark before losing opener James Meggit (47).
And even more correct as they reached 185 for 2, Glamorgan’s Prem Sisodiya bowled by Xavier Clarke for 32.
It was when their other opener Umar Malik was bowled by Callum Croft for 101 that things started to go wrong for them.
Tight bowling and excellent fielding kept the pressure on Cardiff’s batsmen as wickets tumbled at gratifyingly regular intervals. The last 8 wickets fell for 45 runs as Cardiff slumped to 230 all out.
Dan Roberts, Jo Davies and Xavier Clarke took three wickets each for Ammanford, but the entire team deserved the credit for keeping the pressure on Cardiff throughout and forcing the errors which led to a superb victory.
Ammanford remain in the bottom half of Premier 1, but this win moves them 44 points clear of bottom club Clydach who lost to Bridgend, next week’s visitors to the Park.
Ammanford seconds crush Gorseinon
Ammanford seconds smashed records galore as they crushed visiting Gorseinon by 228 runs at the Park.
Batting first, an opening stand of 168 between the two Tiaans, Evans and Sparrow, set the tone before Evans was dismissed for 64.
Sparrow went on to a terrific double century, losing his wicket at the end of Ammanford’s innings having scored 221.
Ammanford closed on an insurmountable 383 for 6.
Despite a defiant 69 from captain Chris Richards, Gorseinon knew they didn’t have a hope, and fell meekly to 155 all out inside 40 overs.
Chief wicket taker was Iestyn Jones with 4 for 25.
Ammanford third XI beaten soundly
Ammanford thirds were soundly beaten by 7 wickets at Pontarddulais.
Batting first, they could only manage 125 all out, thanks to opener Toby Davies (42), Steffan Williams (26) and Llyr Morgan (26).
They were destroyed by the bowling of Thomas Edwards who took 6 for 7 in 5 overs.
Bont made short work of passing Ammanford’s total for the loss of just three wickets, keeper Cai Gealy scoring an unbeaten 69.
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