Pre Season Friendly Match Reports.
Match Report – Cwmamman United v Carmarthen Town (1 July 2017)
Cwmamman United (0) Carmarthen Town (3)
Carmarthen opened their pre-season programme against Welsh League side Cwmamman United with a squad that comprised almost all the regulars that appeared last season (only Lewis Harling was unavailable due to the injury problems that plagued him for much of the last term, while of course Mark Jones, Kyle Bassett and Declan Carroll have now left the Club.
In addition there were first appearances for new signings Kostya Georgievsky (who played for Aberystwyth against the Old Gold last season) and former Welsh League players Adam Jenkins (Port Talbot) and Kyle Williams (Risca and Goytre), while Scott Delaney (a triallist from Goodwick in the Pembrokeshire League) also appeared. And additionally there was a first outing for Town’s new vibrant blue and white striped away kit!
The opening stages of this game were fairly uninspiring and uneventful with the play largely confined to midfield exchanges and neither side looking able to penetrate the opposition defence. During this spell this resembled little more than an opportunity for some welcome passing practice after the players’ summer break.
But gradually the Old Gold, despite facing a strong wind down the length of the pitch, began showing more promise and adventure going forward and on 20 minutes they fashioned the first notable chance of the match when Rhodri Cole finished a decent run down the left-wing with an inviting cross into the goalmouth where Williams’ soft close-range header sadly presented ‘keeper Robert Jones with a comfortable save.
Meanwhile Town’s defence looked sound and secure in dealing with Cwmamman’s occasional attacking bursts ensuring that ‘keeper Lee Idzi was never seriously tested. In particular, young towering central defender Delaney displayed commendable confidence and composure, undoubtedly benefiting from the constant encouragement and guidance provided by experienced co-defenders Lee Surman, Craig Hanford and Dan Sheehan.
Then in the closing stages of the first-half Carmarthen increased the tempo of their game still more. After 39 minutes influential midfielder Kieran Lewis, from the right-wing, directed a long cross-field pass towards Cole on the far side of the penalty area but he saw his fierce angled strike fly just wide of the near post. Moments later Danny Thomas slid a fine ball through to Matthew Thomas on the edge of the penalty area only for Jones, with a smart save, to turn the young striker’s promising drive around the post.
However in the 43rd minute Town deservedly went ahead. Lewis launched a huge lofted pass from the half-way line that reached Matthew Thomas just inside the penalty area and he cleverly headed the ball over Jones, who had advanced well out of his goal, and into the unguarded net.
Straightaway the Old Gold poured forward once more and were close to increasing their lead when Danny Thomas neatly set up a chance for Lewis who released a sharp 20 yard effort that defeated Jones but slid narrowly wide of the post.
After the interval Town struck again within 60 seconds of the start. A woeful back-pass from a Cwmamman defender was easily intercepted by Liam Thomas, ever-alert to a scoring opportunity, and from 8 yards he clinically swept the ball past substitute ‘keeper Luke Harris and into the net.
The Old Gold continued in rampant attacking fashion with Luke Cummings and Georgievsky using their pace along the wings to stretch and harass the United defence. And on 51 minutes Cummings embarked on a typically surging run along the right flank before delivering a searching cross into the penalty area only for Georgievsky, from 10 yards, to volley the ball just over the bar.
Moments later a slick interchange of passes between Cummings and Liam Griffiths just outside the penalty area ended with the adventurous full-back dispatching a crisp angled drive that drew an impressive reflex save from Harris.
Yet despite Town’s predominance the Welsh League side still managed the occasional break forward, albeit usually comfortably suppressed by central defensive pairing Dwaine Bailey and Dave Vincent. But after 61 minutes United won a free-kick and from 25 yards Jordan Vickers struck a fierce shot which Idzi, with a flying full-length save, turned aside – his first serious activity of the match and, as it would transpire, his only such involvement as the Old Gold went on to control proceedings.
A further significant feature of Carmarthen’s second-half performance was the dominance of industrious midfielders Ceri Morgan and Jenkins who with timely interventions and lively challenges so often halted United’s progress and, in turn, launched Town’s immediate attacking response.
On 70 minutes Georgievsky was again influential when he played the ball neatly across to Griffiths who released a fierce 20 yard strike that Harris expertly forced beyond the post. Cummings sent the ensuing corner into the packed goalmouth where Bailey turned sharply and hit a sharp close-range shot that was blocked on the goal-line by Harris.
Then in the 78th minute Cummings, from another corner-kick, played the ball short to Georgievsky – he instantly crossed it into the goalmouth to find Liam Thomas who, rising high above defenders, planted his header firmly past Harris into the roof of the net. Town’s record WPL goalscorer is straight back to doing what he does best!
While this was hardly the sternest of challenges for the Old Gold, it served to ease the players back into the routine and discipline of match play while giving their faithful band of travelling supporters a taste of things to come in the season ahead.
Team (effectively two different sides for each half):
[first-half]: Lee Idzi; Dan Sheehan; Lee Surman; Scott Delaney; Craig Hanford; Jordan Ellis; Kieran Lewis; Kyle Williams; Danny Thomas; Matthew Thomas; Rhodri Cole;
[second-half]: Lee Idzi; Luke Cummings; Dwaine Bailey; Dave Vincent; Jordan Knott; Ceri Morgan; Adam Jenkins; Kyle Williams (sub Rhodri Cole 69); Liam Griffiths; Liam Thomas; Kostya Georgievsky;
Goals: Matthew Thomas 43; Liam Thomas 46, 78;
Match Report – Cambrian & Clydach v Carmarthen Town (5 July 2017)
Cambrian & Clydach (1) Carmarthen Town (4)
Carmarthen continued their pre-season programme with a competitive, entertaining match against Welsh League side Cambrian & Clydach that finished with a comfortable victory for the Old Gold thanks largely to a couple of late goals as they dominated the closing stages with some adventurous attacking play.
Yet the opening period was much more sedate and uneventful as the play swung back and forth although neither side looked capable of breaching the opposition defence – Town, in particular, were often guilty of spoiling some attractive approach work with a poor “final ball”.
However after 17 minutes the game sprang into life. Striker Liam Griffiths raced deep into the penalty area to reach a long through ball only for his close-range shot to be turned aside by ‘keeper Leighton James. Kieran Lewis drove the ensuing corner-kick low towards the near post where Griffiths deftly stabbed the ball home from close range.
Town immediately began to press forward with more freedom and purpose, driven largely by the energy and vision of midfielders Luke Cummings, Ceri Morgan and Lewis. On 26 minutes Jordan Knott, after a determined run along the left flank, sent a searching cross into the penalty area and while this was blocked by a defender, the ball went straight to Kostya Georgievsky who instantly struck a 20 yard drive only narrowly wide of the post.
Then in the 36th minute Dan Sheehan, from the right touchline, lifted an inviting cross deep into the penalty area where Griffiths headed the ball to Lewis but from 15 yards, and under pressure from defenders, he volleyed just over the bar.
After the interval Carmarthen took the early initiative and increased their lead in the 49th minute when Lewis, with another corner-kick, floated the ball high into the penalty area where Dwaine Bailey rose above a crowd of defenders and from 10 yards planted his firm header into the roof of the net leaving substitute ‘keeper Morgan Davies well beaten.
Moments later Cummings launched a huge cross-field pass towards Georgievsky on the far side of the penalty area – he slipped the ball across to Danny Thomas who set it up nicely for Kyle Williams but his 12 yard strike flew marginally too high. Then on 52 minutes Lewis followed a strong run along the left touchline with a fine cross into the penalty area where Danny Thomas saw his 15 yard effort rise narrowly over the bar.
For over an hour Cambrian & Clydach had competed well and enjoyed a fair amount of attacking football without noticeably troubling the Old Gold defence. But after 64 minutes they at last forced Lee Idzi into meaningful action when Chris McDonald struck a fierce 35 yard free-kick that the experienced ‘keeper turned over the bar.
Then on 68 minutes they reduced the deficit when Eliajah Chilewka’s surging run into the penalty area was halted by Knott with a challenge which the referee decided to penalise - Richard French drove the spot-kick firmly beyond Idzi’s reach.
Yet Town responded to this setback positively and they immediately embarked on a period of sustained pressure. In the 83rd minute Williams produced a dazzling 30 yard run down the right flank to reach the edge of the penalty area before releasing a rasping drive which Davies, at full length, punched away.
And on 85 minutes Craig Hanford’s searching cross into the penalty area found Matthew Thomas who turned sharply past his marker and from 15 yards fired a low drive that took a deflection which sent the ball looping over Davies and into the back of the net.
Moments later the home side went close to scoring again after a rare break forward when Chilewka raced into the penalty area but he was denied a scoring opportunity when Idzi dived bravely down at the winger’s feet and claimed the ball.
However the Old Gold were able to add a further gloss to the score-line in the 90th minute when Dan Sheehan’s well-flighted right-wing cross into the penalty area reached Danny Thomas who from 12 yards struck a sublime volley past Davies and into the roof of the net.
Team (effectively two different sides for each half):
[first-half]: Lee Idzi; Dan Sheehan; Lee Surman; Dave Vincent; Jordan Knott; Luke Cummings; Kieran Lewis; Ceri Morgan; Liam Griffiths; Liam Thomas; Kostya Georgievsky;
[second-half]: Lee Idzi; Luke Cummings (sub Jordan Knott 55, sub Dan Sheehan 76); Scott Delaney; Dwaine Bailey; Craig Hanford; Kyle Williams; Adam Jenkins; Kieran Lewis (sub Ceri Morgan 69); Danny Thomas; Matthew Thomas; Kostya Georgievsky (sub Liam Griffiths 69);
Goals: Liam Griffiths (17); Dwaine Bailey (49); Matthew Thomas (85); Danny Thomas (90);
Match Report – STM Sports v Carmarthen Town (8 July 2017)
STM Sports (1) Carmarthen Town (3)
Carmarthen returned to STM Sports for the third successive year as they continued their pre-season programme but unlike those previous encounters when they overwhelmed their opponents (winning convincingly 9-0 and 7-1) this time Town faced a more challenging test from the spirited Welsh League Division Two side.
Yet the Old Gold made a positive start as they launched a series of swift attacks that kept the home defence under early pressure – while a couple of chances were squandered with shots off target, they went close to taking the lead after 6 minutes when Kieran Lewis rolled a short corner-kick to Dan Sheehan who lifted the ball invitingly into the packed goalmouth where Jordan Knott hit a crisp close-range volley that ‘keeper James Packham managed to block on the goal-line.
But on 8 minutes Town went ahead. While two STM defenders in the centre-circle hesitated over dealing with a long clearance out of the visitors’ defence, Matthew Thomas got behind them and pounced on the loose ball then raced forward to the edge of the penalty area where, with great composure, he slipped neatly around the onrushing Packham and confidently drove the ball into the unguarded net.
Spurred by that success, the Old Gold continued to pour forward at every opportunity and in the 12th minute they were twice close to extending their advantage. First, Lewis curled a delightful 20 yard free-kick around the defensive ‘wall’ only to see Packham produce a superb flying save to turn the ball around the post. Then from the ensuing corner Lewis sent the ball into the crowded penalty area where Lee Surman rose high above defenders but planted his glancing header narrowly beyond the far post.
On 20 minutes Sheehan surged down the right flank before sliding the ball through to Liam Thomas just inside the penalty area but he saw his crisp angled drive deflected marginally wide of the goal by a defender.
Throughout this spell of Town pressure STM were enjoying their fair share of possession – and winger Lamin Conteh in particular, with his pace and movement, was a frequent outlet for them on the counter-attack. However they were unable to make any serious impression on the visitors’ defence, featuring Dave Vincent, Dwaine Bailey and Surman, which looked secure and disciplined. And behind them Lee Idzi was never really tested.
Carmarthen again threatened after 25 minutes when Ceri Morgan sent a left-wing cross deep to the far side of the penalty area to find Sheehan who headed the ball back into the goalmouth where Liam Thomas released a smart close-range strike that Packham turned around the post.
Then on 34 minutes Knott delivered a long cross-field pass to Lewis who instantly played the ball across the edge of the penalty area enabling Morgan to fire a stunning volley that flew narrowly too high. Moments later the industrious Lewis again was involved, sending a fine ball through to Liam Thomas who turned sharply past his marker and from 10 yards hit a fierce drive that Packham resisted with a marvellous reflex save.
Town’s sustained first-half pressure presented a severe test for the Welsh League side’s defence and on the balance of play they really should have been more than just one goal ahead after 45 minutes.
After the interval the Old Gold started with a much-changed line-up – but this formation too immediately began with positive intent and within five minutes of the restart had increased their slender first-half lead. Kyle Williams made a determined run along the right touchline then crossed towards the goalmouth where Luke Cummings dispatched an angled shot that, despite the intervention of substitute ‘keeper Chris Golton, finished in the back of the net.
Sadly, Carmarthen were unable to enjoy the comfort of a two-goal advantage for long. STM increased the tempo of their game and, playing with impressive spirit and adventure, stretched the visitors’ defence with several penetrating attacks.
And in the 55th minute they reduced the deficit when a long cross-field pass from the half-way line reached the lively Conteh who had raced clear beyond Town’s back-line – he took the ball forward to the edge of the penalty area and swerved neatly past Idzi, who was well out of his goal, before firing into the empty net.
Yet while the second-half continued to be a more evenly-balanced affair, the Old Gold were still creating the better scoring chances. On 72 minutes Williams finished another strong burst along the right-wing with a searching cross into the goalmouth where Liam Griffiths, under pressure from a defender, volleyed the ball just over the bar.
Shortly afterwards a promising break through the centre by Danny Thomas was halted by a defender on the edge of the penalty area only for the loose ball to run straight to Cummings who released a fierce 20 yard drive that drew an impressive save from Golton.
Then in the 86th minute Sheehan surged forward down the right flank before firing the ball into the goalmouth, finding Griffiths who saw his firm glancing header well held by Golton at full stretch.
But in the closing seconds Carmarthen extended their lead to better reflect the overall balance of play during this match – Lewis threaded a fine pass through to Williams on the wide edge of the penalty area and the young winger crowned a productive 45 minutes by driving the ball into the far corner of the net from the tightest of angles.
Lee Idzi; Dan Sheehan (sub Kyle Williams 46); Dave Vincent (sub Lee Surman 71); Dwaine Bailey (sub Luke Cummings 46); Lee Surman (sub Craig Hanford 46); Jordan Knott (sub Dan Sheehan 80); Kieran Lewis (sub Danny Thomas 46); Adam Jenkins; Ceri Morgan (sub Kieran Lewis 80); Liam Thomas (sub Liam Griffiths 46); Matthew Thomas (sub Kostya Georgievsky 46);
Goals: Matthew Thomas (8); Luke Cummings (51); Kyle Williams (90);
Match Report – Goytre United v Carmarthen Town (15 July 2017)
Goytre United (1) Carmarthen Town (4)
Carmarthen produced another encouraging performance as they continued their winning sequence in this latest pre-season fixture against Welsh League side Goytre United who presented a stern challenge in this entertaining encounter.
Town began brightly, forcing the home side back on defence with a series of spirited attacks. And after just 4 minutes they took the lead following a sweeping move instigated by Jordan Knott who finished a determined run along the left flank with a neat pass through to Liam Thomas – he instantly played the ball into the path of Danny Thomas who from 20 yards released a fierce low drive into the far corner of the net to leave ‘keeper Luke Martin well beaten.
Then on 9 minutes Dan Sheehan, from the half-way line, threaded a precise long pass through to Liam Thomas who turned sharply past his marker before hitting a 25 yard shot that Martin claimed with an impressive save.
But moments later the Old Gold capitalised on this early spell of pressure by extending their advantage – a poor back-pass from a United defender was easily intercepted by the ever-alert Matthew Thomas who resisted another defender’s challenge and then raced forward into the penalty area where he cleverly slotted the ball past Martin and into the back of the net.
Yet gradually Goytre were becoming more competitive, enjoying a decent share of possession and counter-attacking with some freedom as the game developed into a fast-paced end-to-end affair. Yet while Carmarthen were looking quite sharp, decisive and penetrative going forward, the Welsh League side were unable to breach the visitors’ well-drilled defence behind which ‘keeper Lee Idzi remained relatively untested.
However after 19 minutes the home side at last went close to reducing the deficit – following a corner there was an anxious scramble for the ball in the crowded goalmouth that finished with Sheehan hooking it to safety off the goal-line.
But United were successful in the 21st minute when a long ball from the half-way line found Jamal Roberts racing clear beyond the Town back-line and as Idzi charged well out of his goal to challenge him the lively striker calmly lifted the ball over the stranded ‘keeper and into the unguarded net.
Stung by that setback the Old Gold quickly resumed their assault on the home goal. On 26 minutes Matthew Thomas won possession off a defender then sped into the penalty area only to see his crisp angled strike fly narrowly too high. Then after 33 minutes Liam Thomas, with a precision pass from midfield, created a fine opening for Kyle Williams but his smart 25 yard drive slid just wide of the post.
However in the 41st minute Town restored their two-goal advantage – substitute Liam Griffiths took the ball off a hesitant defender and instantly dispatched a spectacular 30 yard shot that left the net bulging and Martin floundering.
After the interval, at which time Town fans saw new signing Liam Walsh (from Wrexham) making his first appearance, the same open pattern of play soon resumed with both sides seeking to break forward at every opportunity. The first notable chance arose on 52 minutes when Idzi’s huge clearance reached Liam Thomas and he headed the ball on to Kostya Georgievsky who raced clear into the penalty area – but Martin was quickly down to smother the winger’s 10 yard effort.
Goytre responded immediately with Tom Walters gathering a long through ball then hitting a powerful angled drive that Idzi resisted with a marvellous reflex save. Yet the Old Gold soon increased their lead when in the 57th minute Georgievsky once more broke through the home defence and into the penalty area only to fall under Martin’s challenge – from the resultant spot-kick Liam Thomas confidently drove the ball into the corner of the net.
Thomas was again involved on 60 minutes when he neatly side-stepped two defenders before firing the ball across the goalmouth where Georgievsky stabbed it marginally wide of the post. Then after 75 minutes Williams made a lightning break along the right-wing before crossing the ball into the penalty area – while this was blocked by a defender, the ball fell nicely for Griffiths who struck a 20 yard shot that Martin claimed with a smart full-length save.
Moments later Liam Thomas, enjoying a particularly productive match, cut inside from the left-wing and from the corner of the penalty area released a fierce angled drive that a defender managed to deflect just past the post. From the ensuing corner Williams found Luke Cummings in the packed goalmouth but his close-range header went fractionally too high.
However the final notable action of the game, on 87 minutes, saw United striker Jandir Zola produce a powerful 30 yard strike that defeated Idzi’s flying save but flew narrowly wide of the target.
Given that missing today from Town’s squad were four key players (Lee Surman, Kieran Lewis, Ceri Morgan and Lewis Harling) who undoubtedly/hopefully will play a significant role in the season ahead, this was a very encouraging performance against a strong Welsh League side.
Lee Idzi; Dan Sheehan; Dave Vincent; Craig Hanford; Jordan Knott; Kyle Williams (sub Danny Thomas 88); Luke Cummings; Danny Thomas (Liam Walsh 46); Kostya Georgievsky; Liam Thomas; Matthew Thomas (sub Liam Griffiths 35);
Goals: Danny Thomas (4); Matthew Thomas (10); Liam Griffiths (41); Liam Thomas (57);