Uwchgynghrair Cymru - Welsh Premier League
After the interval Town manager Mark Aizlewood brought on new loan signing Scott Quigley for his first appearance and he had an immediate explosive impact. Receiving the ball after just a minute on the pitch, he surged into the penalty area and swerved past his marker before crashing in a shot which Rushton could only block; before any defenders could react to the rebound Liam Thomas pounced to stab the ball home from close-range. The visitors almost regained the lead immediately when after a swift move Chris Rowntree, who was left unmarked in front of goal, attempted to chip the ball over Town ‘keeper Kerry Nicholas as he raced out to challenge but only succeeded in clearing the bar.
Carmarthen responded once more on 53 minutes with McCreesh moving forward from the half-way line before lobbing a fine pass through to Hood who took on his marker and from a very sharp angle drove the ball across the face of the goal and, rebounding off the far post, into the net. But Town’s celebrations were quickly extinguished when Ricky Evans was allowed to take the ball forward unchallenged into a dangerous position on the edge of the penalty area from where he fed the unmarked Healy who comfortably fired home for the equaliser. By this time Evans seemed untouchable and he crowned a splendid performance when, on 62 minutes, he cut in from the right wing and went past Craig Hanford all too easily before driving the ball through a crowd of players and beyond the unsighted Nicholas.
Over the remaining 30 minutes of this game Connah's Quay were dominant. They were quicker to the ball, stronger in the tackle and seemed altogether more committed and inventive. While Town failed to create a single scoring opportunity in this period, at the other end shots rained in from all angles and distances; fortunately most were either off-target or comfortably held by Nicholas but on 84 minutes the visitors scored the goal which their spell of sustained attacking deserved and which encapsulated perfectly all that had happened in this period. Jamie Petrie received the ball on the half-way line and ran strongly and purposefully towards the home goal with no serious challenge from any of the defenders that he passed on his way; his finish from 15 yards was fierce and precise, leaving Nicholas with no chance. Then, to cap a miserable afternoon for the Old Gold, in the closing minutes McCreesh was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
It is vital that Town quickly turn their season around and start winning games because failure to do so will surely leave them in the bottom six when the first phase fixtures are completed. If that occurs then all the memories of last season’s struggles to avoid relegation will revisit the Club. And that is not a prospect which, given the undoubted strength and depth of this squad of players, Carmarthen Town should be contemplating.
Kerry Nicholas; Corey Thomas; Matthew Rees; Ian Hillier (Danny Thomas sub 79); Craig Hanford; Neil Smothers (Scott Quigley sub 46); Paul Fowler; Liam McCreesh; Jonathan Hood; Liam Thomas; Leon Jeanne (Nicky Palmer sub 69);
Unused subs: Tim Hicks; Sam Wilson; Iestyn Evans;
Cefnogwyr ifanc Y Dre - Town Young supporters
Ben Alexander celebrating his birthday with friends
Ben Alexander yn cael hwyl pen blwyd gada’i ffrindiau
eRhaglen - eProgramme
Uchafbwyntiau Sgorio TV Highlights >>
Carmarthen’s wretched run of Welsh Premier League results continued, leaving their impressive victories in the two opening games now only a distant memory. For much of this match Connah's Quay showed more urgency and purpose than their hosts and Town can have no complaints about the outcome which drops them into the relegation places with only Afan Lido below them.
Yet E H Factors & Clothing sponsored Town started quite well. After two wayward shots from Jonathan Hood and Corey Thomas the game really came to life on 13 minutes when Hood played Liam Thomas through on the edge of the penalty area and he sweetly curled the ball around goalkeeper John Rushton only for it to strike the foot of the post; Liam McCreesh, following up, was just unable to connect with the rebound. However the visitors were quick to respond with Craig Jones heading over the bar from close range after a long throw-in.
For a long spell the play was moving rapidly from end to end with both teams attacking with some freedom. After 22 minutes the ever alert Liam Thomas anticipated a defender’s weak back-pass but from an acute angle he could only hit the side netting. Shortly afterwards Rhys Healy, the visitors’ pacy striker who was to cause problems for Town’s defence throughout the game, turned sharply on the edge of the penalty area and fired just wide. But on 34 minutes Connah's Quay made the breakthrough when Alan Hooley’s deep free-kick found Mark McGregor completely unmarked beyond the far post and he headed the ball back across the goal and into the net.
In the closing minutes of the first-half Town pressed forward again and Corey Thomas inadvertently came close to equalising when his intended cross almost drifted into the top corner of the goal only to be denied by Rushton’s fingertip deflection. Then in added time Hood lofted a long ball over the defence which Liam Thomas controlled perfectly before unleashing a shot which Rushton, at full-stretch, saved well.
Swyddogion y gêm / Match Officials
Kevin Moore, Paul Berry, Ross Dunlop (referee) and Steven Campbell
(Cymru/Wales) (Gogledd Iwerdon/Northern Ireland).
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