Carmarthen Town (2) Bangor City (3)

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Bangor City (11 March 2017)

 

Carmarthen Town (2)  Bangor City (3)

 

Carmarthen, having last week endured the agony of conceding a late goal and dropping vital points against Cardiff Met, fared even worse in this match – despite having twice held the lead, they saw Bangor snatch two breakaway goals in the final minutes to be denied a stunning victory over the big-spending North Wales side.

 

Both sides made a cautious start and with the play being largely confined to midfield exchanges and the defences looking untroubled, no serious early scoring threat emerged. Yet all that changed in the 14th minute when the Old Gold took the lead with the first decent chance of the match – Luke Cummings, from wide on the right flank, crossed the ball into the crowded penalty area where Kyle Bassett headed it on to Matthew Thomas who skilfully struck a close-range volley past ‘keeper Connor Roberts and into the back of the net for his first Welsh Premier League goal.

 

Yet City were soon back on level terms, albeit in highly controversial circumstances.  On 19 minutes Yalania Baio received the ball just inside the penalty area then, with Kieran Lewis in the vicinity, he theatrically fell to the ground convincingly enough to persuade the referee, some 20 yards away, to award a penalty despite the fervent protestations of Town’s players.  Daniel Nardiello stepped forward and comfortably converted the spot-kick.

 

From there onwards the match quickly developed into a much more open, faster-paced, end-to-end affair although initially the Old Gold were enjoying the greater share of possession and territorial advantage.

 

After 22 minutes Bassett sent an inviting corner-kick deep into the packed goalmouth where Matthew Thomas produced a firm close-range header that Roberts managed to claim just under the bar.  The hosts maintained the pressure on the City defence with a series of further corners and on 29 minutes they fashioned another promising opening when following a smart exchange of passes between Matthew and Liam Thomas inside the penalty area the ball was played back to Declan Carroll who struck a crisp 20 yard drive that slid only narrowly wide of the post.

 

A significant element of Town’s drive and competitiveness was the performance of Ceri Morgan who was producing a masterful midfield display – with boundless energy and spirit he was continually chasing and confronting the opposition and dismantling their attacks with well-judged tackling, strong aerial challenges and timely interceptions.  And Morgan’s contribution allowed his midfield partners, Lewis and Carroll, the opportunity to do what they do best, using their vision and craft to stretch the Bangor defence in an effort to restore Carmarthen’s goal advantage.    

 

And in the 42nd minute they went close to achieving that aim.  Bassett fired a searching ball deep into the penalty area that found Lewis who turned sharply past his marker but saw his fierce angled shot deflected marginally outside of the post.

 

After the interval the visitors began with far more positive intent, putting immediate pressure on the Old Gold defence with a series of quick raids.  On 51 minutes Dean Rittenberg raced unmarked into the penalty area only to be denied a clear scoring chance by Dave Vincent’s late but perfectly executed intervention, robbing him of the ball. 

 

Soon afterwards Nardiello, from the corner of the penalty area, hit a smart low drive that Vincent, just yards in front of goal, deflected upwards forcing ‘keeper Lee Idzi to produce a sensational reflex save and tip the ball over the bar.  From the resultant corner the ball was cleared but only as far as Brad Jackson who struck a stunning 30 yard drive that Idzi, diving full-length, turned around the post.  Then moments later Baio broke clear through the home defence and into the penalty area but from 15 yards he wastefully fired too high.

 

Yet the Old Gold soon recovered from that early spell of City pressure and the play once again became more open and evenly balanced.  And in the 60th minute they restored their lead – Morgan added further gloss to his impressive display when he won possession off a defender then sent a dangerous cross into the crowded goalmouth and saw Liam Thomas arrive with his customary keen anticipation and flawless timing to sweetly glide the ball past Roberts and into the corner of the net.

 

[With this goal, his 54th for Carmarthen in the WPL, Liam Thomas has now gone ahead of Tim Hicks to stand in second place in the Club’s all-time list of League goalscorers – while current player/coach Danny Thomas heads the list with 56 goals, given Liam’s rich scoring form over the past few weeks, there is a real chance that he will take over the top spot before the end of the season.  But he’s unlikely this season to get ahead of those two players at the top of Club’s overall goal-scoring table (League, Cups and UEFA games) where remarkably both Danny and Tim are equal with 76 goals – although some more goals for Liam in our end of season UEFA play-off match(es) would do it!!]

 

Then on 70 minutes Town went close to extending their lead when Liam Thomas made a strong run forward from the half-way line then fed the ball neatly through to Matthew Thomas and with an instant short pass he set it up for Carroll who from 30 yards unleashed a rasping shot that Roberts did well to resist, turning it around the post at full stretch.  From the ensuing corner Lee Surman headed the ball across the face of the goal where substitute Liam Griffiths executed an overhead kick that went narrowly over the bar.

 

As the match entered its closing stages Bangor noticeably increased the tempo of their attacks and after 86 minutes they were rewarded – Nardiello, who had been a constant threat to the home defence throughout much of the game, weaved across the edge of the penalty area then struck a fierce drive that flew beyond Idzi’s reach and into the corner of the net.

 

The Old Gold responded immediately, pushing players forward in an attempt to take the lead for a third time – but that ambitious strategy left them vulnerable to a swift counter-attack and as the match went into added time it ultimately proved fatal.  Jackson surged forward from well inside his own half and reached the penalty area where he rolled the ball across to Nardiello who fired it home from 6 yards to complete an impressive hat-trick.

 

Carmarthen must now shrug off the disappointment of conceding costly late goals in successive games and hope for better fortune in their next fixture on Saturday (18th March k/o 2.30pm) when they entertain Connah's Quay at Richmond Park.

 

Team:

 

Lee Idzi;  Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman;  Luke Cummings;  Craig Hanford;  Declan Carroll;  Ceri Morgan;  Kieran Lewis;  Kyle Bassett (sub Liam Griffiths 60);  Liam Thomas;  Matthew Thomas; 

 

Unused subs:  Lewis Harling;  Dan Sheehan;  Danny Thomas;  Iwan Roberts; 

 

Cards:  (Y)    Ceri Morgan (53); 

 

Goals:  Matthew Thomas (14);  Liam Thomas (70);

 

Cardiff Met (2) Carmarthen Town (2)

Match Report – Cardiff Met v Carmarthen Town  (4th March 2017)

 

Cardiff Met (2) Carmarthen Town (2) 

 

Carmarthen continued their impressive start to their Welsh Premier League second-phase programme with another remarkably spirited and committed display in which they deservedly held the lead for most of the last hour only to be robbed of a precious victory deep into added time just seconds before the final whistle when Cardiff Met snatched a scrambled equaliser.

 

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.  It was not until the 15th minute that Town managed the first notable scoring chance when Kyle Bassett sent a corner deep into the crowded goalmouth where Lee Surman rose high above surrounding defenders only to see his firm close-range header punched away off the goal-line by ‘keeper Will Fuller.

 

Increasingly the Old Gold were enjoying more possession and creating greater pressure with their attacking momentum – but clear-cut opportunities remained elusive as the well-drilled Met defence continued to perform soundly.

 

Yet on 32 minutes the visitors were rewarded for their enterprise and determination – from the half-way line Kieran Lewis dispatched a long free-kick into the penalty area to reach Liam Thomas who from a wide position hooked the ball high towards the goalmouth where Surman, this time, headed it past Fuller and into the roof of the net.

 

While the home side responded, continuing as before making decent progress upfield, they were again unable to make any impression on Town’s well-organised and resilient defence in which the now familiar central partnership of Surman and Dave Vincent, on this occasion supported by the towering Dwaine Bailey just ahead of them, were again in commanding form.

 

In fact, so complete was their influence that the Met failed to produce a single serious scoring effort during the entire first-half – ‘keeper Lee Idzi’s primary involvement was confined to handling, with his customary competence, a number of occasional crosses and corners.

 

Then in the closing minutes the Old Gold went close to increasing their lead when from another threatening break from midfield the ball was played forward to marauding full-back Dan Sheehan who from 30 yards unleashed a fierce drive that drew a smart save from Fuller.

 

After the interval Cardiff began positively and they soon got back on level terms when in the 49th minute Adam Roscrow, from the corner of the penalty area, drove the ball low into the goalmouth where it bounced around dangerously amongst a crowd of players before Chris Baker eventually fired it home from 10 yards.

 

Stung by that setback Town immediately pressed forward with Bassett and Thomas in particular using their explosive pace and mobility to stretch the home defence.  And on 57 minutes they restored their lead – Lewis, from well inside his own half, launched a huge free-kick to the edge of the penalty area where Vincent leapt high to deftly head the ball onwards and saw Thomas react instinctively, pouncing on it and crisply hitting an angled drive beyond Fuller’s reach and into the far corner of the net for his tenth goal of the season.

 

In contrast to the first-half, this match was becoming a much more open and faster paced affair as the play swung quickly from end to end.  Yet strangely, despite a fair amount of goalmouth activity, clear scoring chances remained a rarity as the defences continued to dominate the proceedings.

 

After 83 minutes substitute Declan Carroll finished a strong run down the right flank by sliding a fine pass through to Sheehan who instantly delivered a searching cross into the goalmouth where Thomas arrived with great anticipation and perfect timing only to see his looping header claimed by Fuller directly under the bar.

 

As the match went into added time with the Met, despite increasing pressure, still looking no nearer to scoring another goal, the referee punished Bailey with his second yellow card of the game and inevitably sent him off.  This proved to be a pivotal moment.

 

The loss of such a key defender immediately upset the balance and effectiveness of Town’s hitherto well-organised defensive formation and, naturally, handed the home side a numerical advantage at this crucial stage of the match.

 

Moments after that incident Jordan Lam sent a free-kick into the packed goalmouth where Harry Owen failed to take advantage of his opponents’ disarray by planting his close-range header over the bar.

 

But in the 5th minute of added time Emlyn Lewis fully profited  from the chaos of a goalmouth scramble by stabbing the ball home, shortly after which the referee ended the match leaving the Old Gold’s players and supporters hugely disappointed at having been denied success so late and in such circumstances.  The only (modest) comfort is that Town still remain in fifth place in the WPL three points above Cardiff Met.

 

Carmarthen will be wishing for better fortune in their next fixture on Saturday 11th March (k/o 2.30pm) when they entertain Bangor City at Richmond Park.

 

 

Team:

 

Lee Idzi;  Luke Cummings;  Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman;  Dan Sheehan;  Dwaine Bailey;  Kyle Bassett (sub Matthew Thomas 69);  Ceri Morgan;  Kieran Lewis;  Liam Griffiths (sub Declan Carroll 76);  Liam Thomas (sub Craig Hanford 90+3);   

 

Unused subs:  Lewis Harling;  Danny Thomas; 

 

Cards:  (R)  Dwaine Bailey 90+1 (2 x Y – 65 and 90+1);     

 

(Y)   Lee Surman (44); 

 

Goals:  Lee Surman (32);  Liam Thomas (57)

 

Carmarthen Town (0) Bala (1)

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Bala (18 February 2017)

Carmarthen Town (0)  Bala (1)

Carmarthen’s outstanding start to their Welsh Premier League second-phase programme, along with their six-match unbeaten run, were brought to an abrupt halt with this narrow defeat against a strong Bala side who lie in second place in the League and are themselves enjoying a sequence of just one defeat in 17 games.

Yet the Old Gold were far from disgraced and the outcome of this match could have been so different if they had not made such an awful start, conceding a poor goal in the opening stages – after that shock they soon recovered and for the remaining 75-80 minutes the play was far more evenly balanced with both sides enjoying spells of pressure.

From the outset the visitors swarmed forward, putting immediate and sustained pressure on the Town defence which looked uncharacteristically hesitant and disorganised.  And after only 2 minutes Bala took the lead when David Thompson’s huge throw-in caused confusion in the crowded penalty area where Kieran Smith took advantage to fire the ball crisply past ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the net.

[This was the first goal conceded by Carmarthen since Cardiff Met’s Adam Roscrow scored in the 10th minute on 31st December – 352 minutes ago. That time-span has only been bettered once before by the Old Gold in their LoW/WPL history when as long ago as 2000/01 over the course of six matches and 461 minutes highly-regarded goalkeeper Rob Fitzgerald was never beaten.]

The Lakesiders again went close on 4 minutes – Anthony Stephens’ corner was met by Stuart Jones who saw his firm header deflected just wide of the post.  But from thereon Town gradually began to find their customary rhythm, spirit and discipline.  The defence, and in particular the formidable central pairing of Lee Surman and Dave Vincent, increasingly showed greater composure and resilience, while in midfield key players Kieran Lewis, Ceri Morgan and Declan Carroll were using their energy and vision both to disrupt the visitors’ attacking momentum and create opportunities for lively strikers Liam Thomas and Liam Griffiths to exploit with their pace and movement.

Throughout the rest of the first-half the game was more open and evenly balanced with the play shifting briskly from end to end – but with both defences performing soundly there were very few clear scoring chances.

However on 25 minutes the hosts narrowly avoided conceding again when a low cross from Ryan Wade took a huge deflection off a defender that sent the ball dangerously high towards the goal only for Idzi to produce a stunning reflex save, clawing the ball onto the top of the bar and safely behind.

The Old Gold’s first notable effort arose in the 31st minute when Carroll slid a fine pass through to Griffiths who raced forward to the edge of the penalty area and turned smartly past his marker before hitting a fierce drive that flew marginally wide of the post.

Then on 35 minutes Carroll’s corner-kick into a packed goalmouth reached Thomas who from 8 yards cleverly chipped the ball over several defenders but ‘keeper Ashley Morris stretched high to claim it just under the bar.

After the interval the same pattern of play quickly emerged but for a long period the game was fairly uneventful and rather scrappy.  Then midway through the second-half manager Mark Aizlewood made his intentions clear when, in a 10 minute spell, he brought on three attack-minded substitutes Luke Cummings, Kyle Bassett and Matthew Thomas to inject more pace and flair into Town’s search for an equaliser.

And in the 79th minute that was almost achieved – Cummings launched a long throw into the penalty area to find Morgan who from 10 yards drilled the ball through a crowd of players only for Morris to react instinctively and kick it off the goal-line to safety.

With the Old Gold pressing forward so enthusiastically, Bala were now looking more of a threat on the counter-attack and on 85 minutes they went close to extending their fragile lead – Wade cut inside from the right flank and drove the ball across the face of the goal but saw Bassett, alert to the danger, race back into the goalmouth and make a timely clearance.

Then after 91 minutes Town’s flying winger demonstrated his searing pace at the other end of the pitch when he burst through the Bala defence and into the penalty area only for Morris to rescue his side once more by quickly coming out of his goal and diving down to block Bassett’s 15 yard angled drive.

But deep into added time the visitors again threatened when, with the Old Gold defence stretched, Wade raced clear to the edge of the penalty area and as Idzi, who had clearly been hampered by a leg injury for some time, struggled to come out to challenge him the striker fired towards the unguarded goal only for the ball to drift just wide of the far post.

While this result was disappointing, Town’s performance (after the initial disastrous lapse) was certainly not – and to have secured 6 points in their opening second-phase fixtures against unquestionably the three strongest teams in the WPL was both highly commendable and unexpected.

Carmarthen, currently occupying fifth place in the League, next have an important away fixture against sixth-placed Cardiff Met on Saturday 4th March (k/o 2.30pm).  A repeat of their stunning victory there on New Year’s Eve would be both very welcome and a big step towards securing that League position at the end of the season.    

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Dan Sheehan (sub Luke Cummings 59);  Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman;  Craig Hanford;  Declan Carroll (sub Kyle Bassett 66);  Dwaine Bailey (sub Matthew Thomas 71);  Ceri Morgan;  Kieran Lewis;  Liam Griffiths;  Liam Thomas; 

Unused subs:   Danny Thomas;  Iwan Roberts;  Rhodri Cole; 

Cards:  (Y)   Liam Griffiths (86); 

Match Photos on our Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/pg/CarmarthenAFC/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1767081900276985

Next-up

Saturday 8th April 2017
DAFABET WELSH PREMIER LEAGUE
Bala Town v Carmarthen Town
Maes Tegid
Kick-off: 14:30

Gallery

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