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Old Gold keep European hopes alive

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Carmarthen Town 1

Haverfordwest County 0

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 09.25.53CARMARTHEN secured a narrow, but vital, victory over old rivals Haverfordwest in this typically keenly-contested local derby thanks to a sparkling late goal from Dan Sheehan that stood out in stark contrast to the rest of this generally uninspiring affair.

Town made a positive start to the match, putting the visitors’ defence under immediate pressure with a series of swift attacks – but sadly there was little evidence of any serious goal threat emerging as all too often the ‘final pass’ lacked direction and penetration.

It was not until the seventh minute that the first notable scoring chance arose when Dwaine Bailey’s long ball into the penalty area found Mark Jones who instantly rolled it back to Ceri Morgan and he struck a fierce 25 yard volley that drew a smart response from ‘keeper Craig Morris.

The Old Gold continued to hold the early initiative and on 22 minutes they were awarded a penalty when Morgan was brought down as he burst into the area. Jones, no doubt confident having scored twice from the spot only a few games ago, stepped forward but fired the ball narrowly over the bar.

Then moments later, following a Kyle Bassett corner-kick, the ball reached Lewis Harling who played it neatly back to Kieran Lewis and he dispatched a stunning 30 yard drive that Morris resisted with an excellent flying save.

While Town maintained their ascendancy with a display of impressive energy and commitment, gradually County began to enjoy more possession and pose an occasional threat going forward. But initially they were unable to pierce the Carmarthen defence, in which the central pairing of Bailey and Dave Vincent along with Sheehan and Jordan Knott on the flanks remained composed and resilient under pressure, and ‘keeper Lee Idzi was never seriously tested.

However after 31 minutes the visitors went close to taking the lead when Ricky Watts finished a strong run down the right touchline with a low cross into the goalmouth that was met by Declan Carroll at the far post but from close range he stabbed the ball just wide of the target.

Apart from a couple of goalmouth scrambles that created an element of panic amongst the home defence this fairly unmemorable first-half petered out to a welcome close.

After the interval little changed in terms of the quality and excitement on offer although it soon became clear that the ‘competitive’ nature of the game was escalating – an early flurry of yellow cards was testimony to that.

Haverfordwest did at last manage a shot on target in the 75th minute but it was a tame effort from 20 yards that Idzi collected comfortably. The Old Gold responded moments later when Knott launched a long throw into the packed goalmouth where Harling rose high to produce a promising header that was denied only by a skilful reflex save from Morris.

Then just as a goal-less draw was looking increasingly inevitable Town went ahead on 81 minutes with a goal worthy of winning any match. As they broke quickly out of defence on the counter-attack, Harling delivered an outstanding cross-field pass into the path of Sheehan who was racing upfield along the right flank – he took the ball forward then released a spectacular 25 yard drive that flew into the top corner of the net leaving Morris well beaten.

While County staged a spirited revival in search of a late equaliser, the home defence extinguished any hope of that occurring to ensure that the Old Gold captured the three valuable points which preserve their hopes of overhauling Bangor City and securing the coveted UEFA play-off qualifying place at the end of the Welsh Premier League season.

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Late goal sees Lido beat Ammanford

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Report and photo courtesy of Ian Parfitt

AMMANFORD suffered the heartbreak of late defeat at Afan Lido on Friday night with an 87th minute winner from Liam Griffiths securing a 2-1 win and all three points for the hosts.

Afan Lido started the match on the front foot and Ammanford were clearly struggling with the pace on Lido’s flanks. A foul in the box led to a penalty for Lido in the 11th minute which was dispatched by Chris Jones.

Afan Lido were largely on top in the first half however were unable to add to their goal. Ammanford were restricted to half chances although Callum Silcox did hit the post with an angled shot.

Ammanford would have hoped for an early goal in the second half and that’s exactly what they got in the 48th minute, the excellent Jordan Langley spotting the keeper off his line and hitting a looping shot into the net from 30 yards.

This goal clearly settled Ammanford and spurred on by a vociferous away support went in search of a second goal.

Afan Lido rode their luck in the 63rd minute when Owyn Airey smashed a shot against the bar.
Callum Silcox then forced Lido keeper Steve Cann into an excellent save in the 74th minute with a rasping, long range effort.

Ammanford looked the most likely team to score and had several other opportunities which they failed to convert.

Ammanford were playing well with Morgan Clarke particularly influential in midfield.

Just when it looked as if a hard fought contest was heading for a draw Griffiths swept home from close range in the 87th minute following a Lido corner.

Ammanford frantically went in search of a second equaliser in the time that remained but this eluded them and the final whistle brought about feelings of what could have been for the away team.

Ammanford will look to put things right in their next match, a home encounter against Goytre Utd on Friday (Sept 30).

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Williams’ wonder strike sinks Village

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CWMAMMAN United came away from a hard fought match at near neighbours Garden Village in front of a large crowd with the three points following a powerful strike from Sion Dafydd Williams.

It was the second win on the trot for Cwm and manager Paul Lewis will have been especially pleased with a second consecutive clean sheet.

Cwm started well and dominated the first half that saw a Cory Saunders inswinging corner beat everyone and bounce out off the far post while Williams then later saw his shot agonisingly trickle past the post.

A high ball in to the Village box then hit the defender’s hand and Cwm had a penalty. Kyle Ashford struck it well but it was a tad too high and Wyn Walters made an excellent save. Charlie Davies then had an opportunity following a great move but fired just wide.

Ross Morgan, Ashford and Davies were dominating midfield while Grant Rees and Callum Dougal in the heart of the defence were controlling the Village attacks.

The goal was coming but not expected as spectacularly as it did when in the 39th minute a cross into the box saw Sion Dafydd Williams leaving Walters with no chance as he rocketed the ball into the net from the edge of the box as he seemed to be facing away from goal.

As the first period Garden Village will have been relieved to see half time just a goal down and will have been happy that they were still in it.

The second half saw a more even game with Walters again making excellent saves from Keiran Richards and from a Williams header. Village were now breaking more and Kai Rees who had tidied up excellently behind the Cwm defence throughout had to make a great finger tip save in the 70th minute.

Both sides then had to make changes due to injury with Cwm losing Leon Croucher, Williams and Richards to be replaced by Harrison

Thomas, Jordan Sullivan and Alex Giardelli returning to his old club.

Cwm seemed to be seeing the game out comfortably but had a late scare when Giardelli was given a red card for a reckless challenge in the 98th minute and nervously had to defend one last free kick.

An important win in the context of the season and Cwm now entertain Treharris Athletic on Saturday, October 1, at Grenig Park, 2.30pm

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Amman earn first win of the season

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AMMAN United claimed their first win of the season after an opening-day draw, and a cup defeat at Haverfordwest last weekend.

However, you would have been hard pushed to imagine a 50-point final-score when, just before half time, the score remained 0-0.

But two injury time scores had then given Amman an unlikely 12-0 interval lead against the Bulldogs.

A bright opening from United saw centre Gavin Lewis, on yet another comeback, show his trickery with a nice run and offload early on. Hooker George Clark had a fine game and was in the thick of everything, as were fellow forwards Iwan Davies, Dan Jones, Rhydian Jones and captain Alun Lewis.

Bynea suffered a very early blow, losing Corey Butler to an untimely injury, and they were later to also see Jamie Thomas limp off before half time.

These injuries meant a large period of added-time, and the Bulldogs’ valiant defence cracked during the injury-time as Joel Foster and Alun Lewis combined to put in flanker Rhydian Jones for the opening try, which Tom Caddell converted.

A frustrating couple of minutes for the visitors was compounded when a quick tap and go penalty from scrum half Foster saw him smuggle over the try line for a second try on the stroke of half time.

The Reds continued in good heart after the restart, and after some good play,Foster and and Dan Jones were involved before Rhydian Jones slipped a fine offload to skipper Alun Lewis who went under the posts for another converted try.

Another “vet” came on, Adrian Thomas off the bench as the home side largely dominated with their pack in the ascendency, Cian Lewis, Jason Knell and Rhys Phillips having put in a good shift throughout.

The Bulldogs then had a purple patch for a while,centre Jack Mal almost finishing off a fine move, before more calamity struck for them as Jake Sam was sadly stretchered off.

Amman capitalised and grabbed a bonus point try when the excellent George Clarke went over for another score to make it 24-0.

But the dogged visitors were always a threat, and carved out an excellent try for their efforts as wing Nathan Baker finished off a well-worked team move, which outside half Finlay Cook converted.

Amman hit back when the back row combined well before Dan Jones went over the whitewash for a try.

A very young Bynea side battled to the end,and some more excellent play was rewarded with a try for Tom Badger, converted by Cook.

However, the home side had the last word and grabbed a very late injury time try as the industrious Rhydian Jones crossed for the final score of the game.

Amman face a tough trip to Tumble on Saturday, October 1, while Bynea are home against New Dock Stars.

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