CARMARTHEN eventually progressed quite comfortably to the next round of the League Cup although Goytre made the game competitive with frequent bursts of attacking football that demonstrated why they currently top the Welsh League averaging more than three goals a game.

Town went into this match with their already small squad seriously depleted due to injuries and suspension, while against them there were the familiar faces of a few former Carmarthen players in the Goytre line-up including Luke Prosser who in the corresponding Cup tie last season scored a remarkable five goals for the Old Gold.

The match began at a frantic pace with the play switching quickly from end to end but with neither side finding it possible to penetrate the opposing defence there was no significant early goalmouth activity.

Yet gradually Town began increasing the pressure and in the 9th minute they managed the first scoring chance when Kyle Bassett sent a corner-kick into the crowded penalty area to reach Declan Carroll and he weaved neatly past two defenders only to prod the ball just wide of the post from close range.

Moments later Mark Jones raced forward to the edge of the penalty area then slipped the ball across to Matthew Thomas who turned sharply to evade his marker and struck a crisp angled drive that was blocked in front of goal by a defender. Then on 17 minutes Carroll, from the right-wing, lifted a fine cross into the penalty area where Liam Thomas sent a 15 yard header narrowly over the bar.

However the hosts' persistence was at last rewarded in the 20th minute – a flowing passing move between Carroll, Jones and Liam Thomas ended with the ball reaching Kieran Lewis just inside the penalty area and from a sharp angle he produced a delightful curling shot that went beyond the reach of 'keeper Nick Thomas and, with help from defender Aaron Garrett failing in an attempted clearance, the ball finished in the net.

The Old Gold were now enjoying a spell of dominance, attacking with urgency and conviction – and on 30 minutes they increased their lead. Another incisive move involving Carroll and Liam Thomas carved open the visitors' defence allowing Matthew Thomas to burst forward to the edge of the penalty area then confidently drive the ball past the 'keeper and into the corner of the net for the young striker's first competitive goal in Town's colours.

Yet against the run of play Goytre managed to trim their deficit with a goal after 37 minutes – Matthew Prosser sent a huge free-kick from the half-way line into the crowded penalty area where Carmarthen's defenders, once again showing a worrying fallibility in such circumstances, misjudged the flight of the ball allowing it to reach Sam O'Sullivan who gratefully drilled it past 'keeper Lee Idzi and into the back of the net.

Spurred by that success the Welsh League side began to show their attacking instincts in the closing minutes of the first-half but without producing any further threat to the home goal

Spurred by that success the Welsh League side began to show their attacking instincts in the closing minutes of the first-half but without producing any further threat to the home goal.

After the interval the Old Gold immediately took the initiative and on 48 minutes they restored their two-goal lead. Lewis delivered a searching free-kick into the goalmouth where Dave Vincent rose highest amongst a crowd of players and planted his header firmly into the roof of the net.

Shortly afterwards Jordan Knott made a strong run down the left-wing then played the ball forward to Matthew Thomas who from the by-line crossed it into the goalmouth where Jones saw his promising close-range header blocked on the goal-line by a defender.

Goytre were still posing problems on the counter-attack and after 67 minutes Lewis Sommers, who had only come on as substitute, drifted into the penalty area from the right-wing and struck a smart angled drive that was defeated by Idzi, diving quickly down to claim the ball.

But in the 75th minute Town further increased their lead, effectively ending the contest. A fast break down the right-wing finished with Ceri Morgan firing the ball into the goalmouth where Jones drove it home leaving Nick Thomas well beaten. Moments later Bassett's corner was met by Liam Thomas but his close-range header was well held by the 'keeper.

The visitors continued to show some spirited resistance and on 80 minutes Dan McDonald's 25 yard free-kick somehow evaded a crowd of players in the penalty area only to slide marginally wide of the far post. Then deep into added time Simon Ritter sent a deep cross into the goalmouth where an aerial challenge between Vincent and Sommers finished with the loose ball falling nicely for Josh Brown who fired home from 15 yards.

While this late goal made no effective difference to the result, it produced a narrower margin of victory than the Old Gold deserved after such a commanding performance. And Luke Prosser? He was unable to manage a single shot or header on target, never mind replicating last year's heroics, all due to an accomplished display by Vincent and his fellow defenders.

Town now have a 10-day break, during which hopefully most of their injured players will recover, before the next Welsh Premier League match at home to Newtown on Saturday 15th October k/o 2.30pm.

CARMARTHEN TEAM Lee Idzi, Kyle Bassett, Dan Sheehan, Dave Vincent, Jordan Knott, Declan Carroll (Danny Thomas 76), Kieran Lewis (Luke James-Raymond 86), Ceri Morgan, Matthew Thomas, Mark Jones, Liam Thomas (Rhodri Cole 83).
Unused subs Neil Smothers, Iwan Roberts.
Cards (Y) Declan Carroll (54), Danny Thomas (80).
Goals Aaron Garrett (og) (20), Matthew Thomas (30), Dave Vincent (48), Mark Jones (75).

John Collyer

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