CARMARTHEN at last managed to avoid defeat at home in the Welsh Premier League this season at the sixth attempt with this well-earned draw against Llandudno although their mystifying inability to score goals (just a single penalty during that time) still remains.
But this modest reward from a match of few chances for either side has to be regarded as progress towards the increasingly necessary upturn in fortunes if Town are to climb out of the relegation zone and secure their WPL survival.
Yet Llandudno made the brighter start with a series of penetrating attacks that kept the home defence under pressure. And on 6 minutes they went close to taking an early lead when a cross from James Joyce reached Danny Hughes on the edge of the penalty area but the visitors’ top goalscorer saw his fierce drive resisted by ‘keeper Lee Idzi who, with an impressive flying save, turned the ball around the post.
During this opening spell the Old Gold seemed unable to maintain any meaningful possession and failed to make a real impression on the Seasiders’ defence – but gradually, largely through the drive and vision of midfielders Luke Cummings, Kieran Lewis and Ceri Morgan, they became much more competitive going forward and this led to Town’s first significant scoring effort in the 21st minute.
Kyle Bassett, after a typically determined run towards the penalty area, was brought down - Lewis, from 25 yards, fired the ensuing free-kick neatly over the defensive ‘wall’ and beyond the reach of ‘keeper Paddy Rutter only to see the ball crash against the inside of the post and bounce across the face of the goal before being cleared to safety by a defender.
Although the game by now had become more evenly balanced with the play switching briskly from end to end, very few decent scoring opportunities were emerging. The Old Gold’s best chance of this spell arose when, following a goalmouth scramble the ball was cleared but only as far as Lewis who struck a fierce 30 yard volley that Hughes headed aside – Dave Vincent stretched high to reach the loose ball and produced a subtle looping header that Rutter punched off the goal-line before the action eventually petered out.
The only other notable effort to arise in this fairly uneventful first-half occurred on 42 minutes when Toby Jones, from the left touchline, delivered a long free-kick into the crowded goalmouth where Marc Williams rose above nearby defenders only to direct his close-range glancing header just beyond the far post.
After the interval Carmarthen immediately suffered a blow when influential defender Jordan Knott was forced off through injury. However substitute Liam Walsh, with his first touch of the ball on 50 minutes, made an immediate impression – he embarked on a powerful run along the right-wing and, shrugging off two defenders, reached the by-line then fired an inviting cross towards the goalmouth where Bassett, under pressure from Rutter, stabbed the ball marginally wide of the near post.
Shortly afterwards, Kostya Georgievsky set up another decent chance when he drove the ball across the edge of the penalty area only for Walsh to send his rasping drive narrowly too high.
There then followed a lengthy period of decidedly uninspiring midfield attrition which did much to make a goal-less draw an almost inevitable outcome. Yet while the closing ten minutes saw the emergence of some welcome frantic activity from both teams, the only genuine excitement arose close to the end of the game well into added time – following a Llandudno corner-kick the ball fell nicely for Ryan Edwards who struck a promising angled volley that Idzi, with a stunning reflex save, clawed away to safety.
While naturally one point from this match was better than none, the Old Gold simply have to find a way of scoring goals on a regular basis – their next opportunity to do so is on Friday 15th December (k/o 7.45pm) when Barry Town United are the visitors for a WPL fixture at Richmond Park.
Team: Lee Idzi, Dan Sheehan, Dave Vincent, Lee Surman, Jordan Knott ( Liam Walsh 50), Luke Cummings, Kieran Lewis, Ceri Morgan, Kyle Bassett, Liam Thomas, Kostya Georgievsky.
Unused subs: Craig Hanford, Tyler Brock, Liam Griffiths, Danny Thomas.
Cards: (Y) None.