IF Carmarthen are to lift themselves out of the relegation places any time soon then Prestatyn, going into this match standing just one position higher in the Welsh Premier League table with only one win this season, should have been a most likely place to start getting more points.
However having somehow, against the general run of play, managed to secure a slender first-half lead, Town proceeded to surrender that advantage by conceding two late goals, one from a penalty for a needless infringement and the other through slack defending deep into added time. As a consequence, due to this and other results elsewhere, they have dropped to the very foot of the League table.
The match began in poor conditions with persistent driving wind and rain blowing down the length of the pitch and with those elements in their favour Prestatyn soon began pressing forward with a series of quick attacks. Initially the Old Gold, set up with a generally defensively-minded formation, comfortably resisted that pressure – but after 10 minutes the hosts managed their first scoring effort when following a slick exchange of passes the ball reached Noah Edwards who struck a fierce 25 yard shot that flew just wide of the post.
Yet Town reacted immediately with a brisk counter-attack that finished with Liam Thomas, from the centre-circle, threading a fine pass through to Kostya Georgievsky who raced clear of defenders and into the penalty area only to be denied by ‘keeper Carl Jones as he sprinted out of his goal to clear the ball.
The Seasiders soon resumed their assault on the visitors’ goal – on 14 minutes Jack Lewis propelled a huge throw-in towards the packed goalmouth where Dave Vincent, under pressure from several opponents, mis-headed the ball just marginally over his own bar. And moments later James Stead produced a dangerous in-swinging corner-kick that ‘keeper Lee Idzi acrobatically resisted, clawing the ball away from under the bar.
During this entire opening spell the Old Gold were seriously struggling to make any meaningful progress beyond the half-way line but then remarkably, in the 23rd minute, they managed the most telling response. Dan Sheehan, just inside the centre-circle, sent a pass through to Georgievsky who slipped past Reece Fairhurst then from wide in the penalty area he drove the ball towards the goalmouth where Thomas, arriving with immaculate timing, got ahead of his marker and from 8 yards clinically swept it into the back of the net.
However sadly, Carmarthen’s lead was short-lived. On 28 minutes a loose clearance was gathered by Lewis who immediately fired an excellent long-range, curling shot into the top corner of the net leaving Idzi well beaten. Spurred by that success Prestatyn straightaway intensified their attacking momentum although, as in the earlier stages of the game, they were frustrated by some sound and disciplined Old Gold defending.
Then, incredibly, Town once more defied expectations by re-taking the lead with another breakaway goal. In the 45th minute Georgievsky (again, impressively, a critical part of the build-up) won possession off a defender then played a short pass through to Luke Cummings who surged forward along the right-wing to reach the by-line and then chipped an inviting cross into the goalmouth where Liam Griffiths leapt high to head the ball firmly past the ‘keeper and into the roof of the net.
After the interval Carmarthen suffered an early blow when the influential Georgievsky, for the third occasion in the match, required treatment for a foot injury which this time ended his game with Liam Walsh coming on as substitute.
From then on, as in the first-half, the Seasiders began to monopolise possession and largely dominate the play despite now having to face the unfavourable weather conditions. Yet, as before, they were finding it difficult to penetrate the Old Gold defence which was being well-marshalled by experienced central defender Lee Surman who was clearly relishing the physical and tactical challenge.
But eventually on 59 minutes the home side managed to forge a scoring chance – Noah Edwards, on the edge of the penalty area, sent a short pass across to Alec Williams who from the right flank struck a promising angled drive that Idzi expertly turned over the bar.
Yet Town’s resilience to Prestatyn’s almost relentless pressure was at last broken in the 74th minute when Sheehan was penalised for pulling back Jack Higgins inside the penalty area – Higgins exacted immediate revenge by firmly drilling home the spot-kick.
Shortly afterwards they once more went close when on 79 minutes a corner from Zyaac Edwards reached Lewis who saw his firm close-range header denied by Idzi’s impressive reflex save. Then after 84 minutes Noah Edwards, who had been a constant threat throughout the game with his pace and dazzling footwork, burst into the penalty area and drove the ball across the face of the goal where Jack Kenny applied a neat touch only for Vincent to clear it off the goal-line.
While the Old Gold attempted to again take the lead with some spirited counter-attacks during the closing minutes, other than providing late substitute Kieran Lewis with some corner-kick practice no real goal threat emerged from those efforts.
And in the event, as the game went into added time it was the Seasiders who claimed victory when Alec Williams raced along the right-wing before firing the ball into the goalmouth where, despite the presence of defenders, Kenny stabbed it home from close range.
So Carmarthen’s awful WPL form continues with this seventh defeat in eight matches. After that performance, the hardy quartet of loyal Carmarthen fans who made the long, miserable journey home were left with plenty of time to reflect on what better use they could have made of their day rather than travel the length of Wales (and back) only to stand in the wind and rain watching this disaster – plenty of attractive options will doubtless have sprung to mind!!
Thankfully they will endure no such journey for Town’s next WPL fixture at Richmond Park on Saturday October 14th (k/o 2.30pm) when Connah’s Quay are the visitors.
Team: Lee Idzi, Luke Cummings, Dave Vincent; Lee Surman, Jordan Knott; Dan Sheehan; Craig Hanford, Ceri Morgan (sub Kieran Lewis 76), Kostya Georgievsky (Liam Walsh 49), Liam Griffiths, Liam Thomas.
Unused subs: Lewis Harling, Tyler Brock, Danny Thomas.
Cards: (Y) Ceri Morgan (43), Dan Sheehan (65), Liam Griffiths (67), Craig Hanford (77).
Goals: Liam Thomas (23), Liam Griffiths (45).