WPL Matchday 4

 

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Cardiff Met (1 September 2018)

Carmarthen Town (2) Cardiff Met (0)  

Carmarthen deservedly secured their first win of the season thanks to a well-balanced display of resolute, stubborn defending coupled with frequent rapid and clinical counter-attacking – not only was this enough to comfortably subdue the  Met’s normally sharp attacking play, but on occasions their defence was made to look unusually fragile.

Yet the visitors began the match in their customary fashion, enjoying the greater share of possession and methodically making progress upfield.  However they were unable to make any serious early impression on the Town defence which, being well marshalled by the towering Lee Surman, remained disciplined and secure.

Despite that initial pressure, it was not until the 9thminute that the Met managed their first scoring effort when Dan Spencer, on the right flank, crossed the ball into the crowded penalty area where Sam Snaith hit a smart 15 yard volley that ‘keeper Lee Idzi carefully watched fly safely over the bar.

The Old Gold meanwhile were frequently able to break forward from deep positions inside their own half and on 13 minutes they fashioned a decent chance when Luke Cummings surged forward along the right-wing before delivering a searching cross deep into the penalty area where Greg Walters produced a close-range header that ‘keeper Esa Aalto was well-placed to gather safely.

And Town, usually through the craft and determination of Mael Davies, Walters, Ceri Morgan and Cummings, continued to launch penetrating counter-attacks which frontmen Luke Bowen, Liam Thomas and Jordan Vickers eagerly pursued.

While several broke down in the face of some solid Met defending, eventually the Old Gold took the lead in the 35thminute through a smart piece of goal-poaching by Liam Thomas – from the right-wing Cummings sent another fine cross into the penalty area where Town’s all-time top scorer neatly stole the ball off a hesitant defender then from close-range instantly struck an angled volley past Aalto and into the far corner of the net.

Stung by that setback, the visitors were quick to respond – on 37 minutes Spencer raced forward from midfield then struck a rasping 20 yard drive that Idzi, with an impressive full-length save, turned against the top of the post before the ball bounced safely away.

And in the closing moments of the first-half Spencer again surged upfield to reach the by-line then fired an inviting cross towards the far post but saw Snaith wastefully plant his close-range header wide of the goal.

After the interval the Met immediately pressed forward in search of an early equaliser – but through a combination of weak finishing and, more particularly, determined (occasionally desperate) Old Gold defending the home goal was never under serious threat during this spell.  The only notable effort arose on 64 minutes when Will Evans released a speculative long-range strike that Idzi, at full length, turned aside.

However the visitors’ commitment to scoring left them vulnerable to counter-attacks which Town, primarily through the pace and mobility of strikers Thomas and Bowen, were well equipped to exploit.  And in the 64thminute they fully capitalised on this in clinical fashion.

With Carmarthen breaking swiftly out of defence, Walters headed the ball forward to Thomas who sprinted determindely into the penalty area then, after shrugging off a defender, he struck a fierce angled drive that Aalto could only manage to force against the bar – as the ball fell loose Davies was the quickest to react and from close-range he gratefully stabbed it into the unguarded net.

The Met once more launched a series of attacks which, as before, the Old Gold defence successfully withstood – and just ahead of them the industrious midfield unit willingly dropped back to provide a further valuable layer of defensive cover whenever necessary.  As a result, only rarely was Idzi seriously tested and on each occasion the experienced ‘keeper, displaying his customary safe and assured handling, confidently resisted any threat to his goal.

While the play in the closing stages was largely confined to Carmarthen’s end of the pitch, they did produce one notable late counter-attack when on 80 minutes the ball reached Walters just outside the penalty area but he saw his smart 20 yard volley fly narrowly outside the post.

However Town’s primary concern was to protect their lead and secure three valuable points which they comfortably managed.  And it has to be hoped that this encouraging performance, against one of the stronger teams in the WPL, can be repeated and ideally improved on in forthcoming fixtures as Neil Smothers’ new-look side further settles and progresses.

Carmarthen’s next fixture is on Saturday September 8th(k/o 2.30pm) when Newtown visit Richmond Park.

          

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Luke Cummings;  Lee Surman; Jordan Knott;  Sean Hanbury (sub Dave Vincent 71);  Jordan Vickers (sub Declan Carroll 68);  Greg Walters;  Ceri Morgan; Mael Davies (sub Craig Hanford 87); Luke Bowen;  Liam Thomas;

Unused sub:  Jay Woodford; 

Goals:  Liam Thomas (35);  Mael Davies (64);  

Cards:  (Y)   Greg Walters (43);  Lee Surman (60);    

 

 

 

MG NATHANIEL CUP ROUND 1

 

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Goytre (28 August 2018)

Carmarthen Town (5) Goytre (0)  Nathanial MG League Cup R1

Carmarthen progressed to the second round of the League Cup with this fairly comfortable victory over Welsh League Division One side Goytre who, despite the score-line, provided stern opposition particularly throughout the second-half.

Town made a refreshingly positive start, dominating the midfield and launching a series of rapid, penetrating attacks that kept the visitors’ defence fully occupied. Initially, often due to a poor ‘final pass’, several of those attacks broke down before any scoring opportunities arose yet eventually, after 10 minutes, the hosts went close to taking the lead.  

Luke Cummings directed a long pass through to Luke Bowen just inside the penalty area but from a wide position and with a defender close-by the experienced striker fired the ball narrowly outside the post and into the side netting.

The Old Gold continued to dictate the game with midfielders Mael Davies and Greg Walters, with their pace and vision, particularly influential.  And on 18 minutes a delightful flowing move from the half-way line tore open the Goytre defence.  Possession passed rapidly from Jay Woodford through Walters and out to Cummings on the right-wing – he surged forward then delivered a fine cross into the goalmouth where Bowen saw his powerful close-range header turned aside by ‘keeper Joseph Massaro with a smart reflex save.

It seemed unlikely that the visitors’ goal would survive much longer and, predictably, in the 22ndminute Town went ahead with another sublime, incisive move. From the half-way line Liam Thomas threaded a long pass through to Bowen who raced forward into the penalty area then, unselfishly, set up a fine chance for Walters – he struck a powerful drive that took a huge deflection off a defender but as the ball looped high close to the goal Jordan Vickers, alert to the opportunity, headed it firmly into the roof of the net.  Moments later, after another surging run along the right-wing, Cummings played the ball forward to Thomas just inside the penalty area – he turned sharply past a defender then released a rasping angled shot that Massaro resisted with an impressive point-blank save.

Throughout this spell Goytre, with commendable effort and determination, began to make progress upfield – but they were simply unable to pierce the Old Gold defence in any meaningful way and ‘keeper Lee Idzi was never seriously troubled.

And it was from a huge clearance out of defence that Town extended their lead after 32 minutes – the ball reached Bowen who burst forward along the left flank before sending a precision pass across the edge of the penalty area where Walters arrived with perfect timing and dispatched a stunning drive that left Massaro floundering and the net bulging.

Shortly afterwards the hosts went further ahead.  Thomas, with a masterful pass that split the opposition defence wide open, set Davies racing into the penalty area – he cleverly side-stepped a defender then crisply drilled the ball beyond Massaro’s reach and into the far corner of the goal.

Straightaway Carmarthen, and Davies in particular, were back on the attack – the young midfielder, from the right touchline dispatched a perfectly measured cross into the goalmouth where Bowen, rising high above his marker, sent his close-range header just wide of the post.

By now the Old Gold, displaying irresistible pace and penetration, were in virtually complete command of the game.  And in the 39thminute they added a fourth goal.  Cummings fired a corner-kick deep into the packed goalmouth where Bowen made a timely arrival to rise above defenders and head the ball past Massaro and into the roof of the net.

Then on 43 minutes Cummings again surged forward along the right flank before producing a well-judged cross that reached Thomas, in clear space inside the penalty area, but Town’s top scorer struck his angled volley marginally wide of the goal.

After the interval Carmarthen resumed their domination of the game.  In the 50thminute Davies cut inside from the left flank, effortlessly slipped past a defender then released a smart angled drive that Massaro turned aside with an impressive full-length save. 

The Old Gold continued to press forward and threatened to create scoring chances but they seemed now to have lost their sharpness and confidence in and around the penalty area which had served them well beforehand – slack passing and wasteful finishing led to frustration and disappointment on and off the field.

On 67 minutes a fine pass from Vickers set Woodford racing forward to the edge of the penalty area but his crisp strike flew just wide of the post.  Straightaway Cummings fired a right-wing cross low into the goalmouth only for Bowen to shoot wide from a good position.

Yet in the 75thminute Town did manage to extend their lead – from Declan Carroll’s corner-kick into the packed goalmouth Dave Vincent leapt high above defenders at the far post and planted his close-range header into the roof of the net.

Yet more wayward passing ensued and the urgency and positivity of the Old Gold’s refreshing first-half performance was clearly missing.  Further scoring chances that would quite likely have been converted earlier were now being squandered.

This lacklustre period allowed Goytre the opportunity to press forward much more often, albeit with no evident likelihood of penetrating the home defence – and scoring even a late consolation goal seemed out of the question.

And Lee Idzi?  After being kept fully occupied by TNS throughout the League match on Saturday, he was probably grateful for the chance of a rest this evening!

[Note:   This is the first time in twelve seasons since five different Carmarthen players have scored in a match – the last occasion when this occurred was on April 28th2007 in a WPL fixture at Caernarfon when Town won 5-3 with one of the goals being scored by a certain Danny Thomas!  

 

And the last (possibly only) time that goal-scoring feat was bettered was on October 1st2005 in a Welsh Cup tie at Cardiff Corinthians when Town demolished the home side 11-0 with no less than seven players on the scoresheet two of whom, Mattie Davies and Gary Lloyd, scored hat-tricks – and in two other League matches that season five different players had scored. But that season was notable for something even more significant in Carmarthen’s history – the memorable UEFA Cup matches against Longford Town.    Happy Times!!]

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Luke Cummings;  Dave Vincent; Jordan Knott (sub Craig Hanford 63); Sean Hanbury;  Greg Walters (sub Declan Carroll 63);  Mael Davies;  Jay Woodford; Jordan Vickers;  Luke Bowen;  Liam Thomas;

Unused subs:  Lee Surman; Ceri Morgan;  

Goals:  Jordan Vickers (22);  Greg Walters (32);  Mael Davies (35);  Luke Bowen (39);                    Dave Vincent (75);            

Cards:  (Y)   Liam Thomas (65); 

 

WPL Matchday 3

 

Match Report – The New Saints v Carmarthen Town (25 August 2018)

The New Saints (6)  Carmarthen Town (0)  

In most recent seasons, while Carmarthen have travelled to The New Saints and suffered defeat they have at least performed creditably enough to keep the score-line respectable – sadly, this was not one of those days.

From the outset the League Champions slipped straight into their familiar game pattern, dominating possession and patiently building pressure before incisively probing the Old Gold defence.  Yet for a while they faced disciplined resistance from the visitors – notably, the central defensive pairing of Lee Surman and Dave Vincent were performing particularly soundly, while behind them ‘keeper Lee Idzi, as usual, demonstrated safe and secure handling whenever necessary.

For those reasons it was not until the 15thminute that the hosts managed their first serious scoring chance – Simon Spender, from wide on the right flank, sent an inviting cross into the crowded goalmouth where Dean Ebbe produced a sharp, close-range header that Idzi, showing remarkable reflexes, punched away.  

The ball was cleared yet fell nicely for Tom Holland – he instantly threaded an excellent pass through to Jamie Mullan who was in clear space inside the penalty area but Idzi was quickly out of his goal to bravely claim the ball at the winger’s feet.

Shortly afterwards the Old Gold fashioned a promising counter-attack which finished with Liam Thomas, on the left flank, firing the ball across the edge of the penalty area to find Declan Carroll who turned smartly past his marker then released a fierce angled volley that flew narrowly beyond the far post.

But that was a fairly isolated moment of Town adventure and it was soon followed by the Saints taking the lead.  On 23 minutes Spender once more burst down the right-wing then delivered the ball into the goalmouth and saw Redmond, completely unmarked, send a powerful header past Idzi and into the roof of the net.

Moments later Mullan, who would continue to torment the visitors’ defence during the rest of the match, sent a neat pass across to Aeron Edwards who hit a stunning 20 yard volley that Idzi, at full-stretch, smartly turned over the bar.

Yet after 29 minutes the Old Gold once more went close to scoring – arising from a rare excursion into the home penalty area the ball was cleared though only as far as Carroll who instantly released a rasping drive that slid just wide of the post.

But once again a Carmarthen opportunity was soon followed by a TNS goal.  On 34 minutes an excellent pass from Daniel Redmond sent Mullan racing free beyond the last defender and into the penalty area – as Idzi advanced from his goal he neatly side-stepped the stranded ‘keeper and, from a very tight angle, cleverly fired the ball into the empty net.

Then as the first-half stretched into added time the hosts went further ahead.  From the half-way line Adrian Cieslewicz fired a long pass forward to Ebbe who sprinted beyond Town’s defensive line to reach the corner of the penalty area – Idzi again was left isolated and, as he advanced, the lively striker lobbed the ball neatly into the unguarded net.

After the interval the earlier pattern of play quickly resumed with the Saints enjoying both the greater share of possession and territorial advantage.  And if the Old Gold had harboured any thoughts of getting back into the game with a quick goal, they were soon dispelled when on 54 minutes TNS went further ahead in clinical fashion.

The visitors’ defence was simply carved wide open when Redmond sent a fine pass forward to Chris Marriott who raced on towards the by-line before delivering a searching cross into the goalmouth where Greg Draper rose high at the far post to head the ball firmly into the roof of the net – opposition players were helpless to intervene.

With another smart passing move after 68 minutes the hosts went close to scoring again – and once more Redmond was involved when he played the ball across the edge of the penalty area where Draper released a fierce volley which Idzi, with a smart save, turned over the bar.

Throughout, Town’s players could not be faulted for their effort and commitment – commendably, they displayed that in abundance.  But that was simply not enough.  All too often their only outlet was to fire the ball upfield towards Luke Bowen who for long spells was operating as a lone striker (since Liam Thomas frequently and necessarily dropped back to assist with defensive duties) but on the few occasions that it reached him, he was easily contained by the Saints’ impressive defenders. 

And the Old Gold went further behind on 71 minutes following yet another incisive raid.  A well-judged, long-range pass from Kurtis Byrne set Mullan racing free along the right touchline – he then fired a dangerous cross into the goalmouth where Cieslewicz, completely unhindered by any defender, had the time and space to easily head the ball past Idzi and into the back of the net.

Then on 79 minutes Town’s defence was again equally accommodating as TNS secured their sixth goal – the ball was fed through to Mullan on the right-wing and he surged forward before lifting an inviting cross deep into the goalmouth to find Draper who, with plenty of time and space, comfortably converted his close-range header.

Thankfully Carmarthen will not have to face teams as strong as the League Champions too often but, having scored just one goal in 270 minutes of football so far this season, it is abundantly clear that this aspect of their game has to be improved – and soon. 

Whether this can be rectified in their next WPL match on Saturday September 1st(k/o 2.30pm) at Richmond Park remains to be seen but, unhelpfully, this is against Cardiff Metropolitan University who currently occupy third place in the League table.  Worryingly, in the only three previous home League fixtures between these teams the Old Gold have failed to score on each occasion!        

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Luke Cummings;  Dave Vincent; Lee Surman;  Sean Hanbury;  Declan Carroll (sub Jordan Vickers 73);  Greg Walters (sub Jay Woodford 78);  Ceri Morgan; Mael Davies;  Luke Bowen (sub Craig Hanford 89);  Liam Thomas;

Unused subs:  Danny Thomas; Neil Smothers;  

Cards:  (Y)  Craig Hanford (90+2); 

 

WPL Matchday 2

 

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Llandudno (18 August 2018)

Carmarthen Town (0)  Llandudno (0)

Carmarthen’s first Welsh Premier League match of the season at Richmond Park may have finished goal-less but it more than compensated for that failing by providing a highly entertaining display of attacking football between two well-matched sides that  produced plenty of goalmouth action and a host of scoring chances.    

From the outset the match quickly developed into a fast-paced, end-to-end affair with both sides looking to break forward at every opportunity.  And after only 3 minutes the visitors managed the first scoring chance when a poor clearance out of the Town defence went straight to Leo Smith who struck a sharp 20 yard drive which flew narrowly over the bar.

But Town responded positively with a series of penetrating counter-attacks, the most promising arising on 7 minutes when Greg Walters initiated a swift, incisive move from the half-way line – having won possession, he played a fine pass through to Luke Bowen who sent the ball out to Jordan Vickers and he raced forward along the right-wing before firing a searching cross deep into the goalmouth where Llandudno defender Ieuan Hewitt, under serious pressure from Bowen, headed the ball just marginally over his own bar to safety.

While the match continued to flow from end to end, for a spell the hosts created the better scoring opportunities largely due to the energy and vision of the midfield quartet Vickers, Mael Davies, Ceri Morgan and Declan Carroll – and they received valuable support from full-backs Luke Cummings and Aidan O’Kelly who eagerly broke forward along the flanks whenever possible.

And it was Davies, hugely impressing on his debut in the Old Gold colours, who engineered another fine chance in the 19thminute.  He took the ball off an opponent near the centre-circle then slipped a neat pass out to Bowen on the right-wing who delivered a measured cross into the penalty area where Liam Thomas released a smart curling shot that went around a defender but slid just wide of the far post.

Although the play remained quite evenly-balanced, Town again went close to taking the lead on 32 minutes when Walters, from well inside his own half, produced a sublime defence-splitting pass that sent Bowen surging towards the penalty area - having outpaced a defender, he struck a fierce drive beyond the reach of ‘keeper Shaun Pearson but saw the ball fly narrowly wide of the goal.

During this time Llandudno had continued to pose a threat with frequent penetrative raids and after 38 minutes they went close to taking the lead.  Following a corner-kick into the packed penalty area the ball reached Hewitt who produced a firm close-range header that defeated ‘keeper Lee Idzi but struck the foot of the post before Thomas, well-placed on the goal-line, cleared the danger. 

Yet the Old Gold produced the final chance of the first-half in the 43rdminute when Lee Surman began a fine sweeping move from deep in defence by firing the ball forward to O’Kelly – he, in turn, sent it neatly across to Thomas, just outside the penalty area, who hit a rasping strike that took a slight deflection off a defender, enough to send the ball marginally wide of the goal.

After the interval the opening period was fairly quiet and uneventful with the play confined to the midfield.  But the game came to life once more when on 60 minutes a superbly measured long pass from Carroll set Bowen racing clear into the penalty area who was denied only by Pearson’s sharp reactions, diving quickly down to claim the ball at the striker’s feet. 

Shortly afterwards, Cummings sent a long cross-field pass to Carroll and he instantly set up a fine chance for Davies who from 20 yards dispatched a stunning angled drive that flew just narrowly beyond the far post.

Immediately Llandudno responded – Hewitt broke forward into the penalty area and hit a fierce shot that took a deflection off a defender which Idzi, demonstrating impressive reflexes, turned aside at full length.

But then in the 79thminute the game, which had been competitive but nothing worse or unusual, suddenly erupted when a confrontation involving several players from both sides arose.  Once that had calmed down, there was a further delay while O’Kelly, prostrate on the ground with a seemingly bad injury, received lengthy treatment before being helped off the field.

The closing stages of the match were, by contrast, fairly uneventful.  While both sides pressed forward in search of a late winning goal, the only decent chance arose on 86 minutes when Walters embarked on a strong run from the half-way line before playing the ball out wide to Carroll – he sent an inviting cross into the crowded goalmouth only to see Pearson smartly punch the ball clear to deny strikers Thomas and Bowen, both close by, a golden scoring opportunity. 

So the Old Gold, while certainly showing distinct improvement in terms of their overall performances, are still searching for that elusive victory to help boost their prospects for a better and more productive opening period of the WPL programme than they experienced last year.  Their next match on Saturday 25thAugust (k/o 2.30pm) would be a good, if unlikely, time to start – they visit perpetual League champions The New Saints.

Then on the following Tuesday (28thAugust k/o 7.45pm) at Richmond Park they entertain Welsh League side Goytre in the Nathaniel MG League Cup 1stRound.                       

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Luke Cummings;  Greg Walters; Lee Surman;  Aidan O’Kelly (sub Jay Woodford 85);  Jordan Vickers (sub Sean Hanbury 71);  Mael Davies;  Ceri Morgan; Declan Carroll;  Luke Bowen;  Liam Thomas;

Unused subs:  Dave Vincent; Craig Hanford;  

Cards:  (Y)  Luke Cummings (85);  Aidan O’Kelly (85); 

 

 

 

WPL Matchday 1

 

 

Match Report – Bala v Carmarthen Town (10 August 2018)

Bala (2) Carmarthen Town (1)

 

Carmarthen began the new Welsh Premier League season with a very tough encounter against Bala who only a few weeks ago were playing in the Europa League, having finished fourth in the WPL last season – and, in addition, over the summer they have strengthened their squad by signing several experienced players.

From the outset the match soon developed into a fast-paced, end-to-end affair although, with both defences looking quite secure, no serious early scoring chances arose.  Bala were clearly enjoying the greater share of possession and territorial advantage but the Old Gold were quick to launch a series of counter-attacks, exploiting the pace and mobility of strikers Luke Bowen and Liam Thomas.

And it was the visitors, on 12 minutes, who first went close when Aidan O’Kelly played the ball across to Thomas who sent an inviting cross towards the far side of the goalmouth where Jordan Vickers, from a difficult angle, volleyed into the side-netting.

However the hosts straightaway responded with a spell of sustained pressure and after 19 minutes Henry Jones fired a long free-kick into the crowded penalty area only to see Anthony Miley, from a good position, direct his close-range header over the bar.

But in open play Carmarthen’s defence, and in particular the central pairing of Lee Surman and Greg Walters, presented stern resistance and ensured that ‘keeper Lee Idzi was never seriously tested during this spell.

And once again, they were near to opening the scoring when on 25 minutes, from a swift counter-attack led by Luke Cummings, they won a free-kick by the right touchline – Tyrrell Webbe’s searching delivery reached Thomas, rising high above defenders, but from close-range he sent his glancing header just wide of the post.

The earlier pattern of play continued with Bala, despite their possession and attacking flair, looking unlikely to score - meanwhile Town, with a series of counter-attacks, were sadly not sufficiently clinical when opportunities arose.

It seemed that the game needed a moment of something special to break the deadlock and bring it to life – and in the 36thminute Henry Jones provided just that.  He raced into the penalty area, slipped effortlessly past O’Kelly then from close to the by-line produced a remarkable piece of footwork to cross the ball to the far post where Steven Tames arrived, completely unmarked, to send his close-range header into the roof of the net.

The only other notable scoring chance in the first-half arose on 44 minutes when Jones struck a fierce long-range free-kick that Idzi carefully watched slide just outside the post.

After the interval Bala began confidently – but despite enjoying spells of possession, they achieved very little due to the continuing determined resistance of the Old Gold defence.  Town, meanwhile, once more relied on swift, incisive counter-attacking and they went close to snatching an equaliser in the 66thminute when Vickers broke away from the midfield before sending a fine pass through to Bowen who took the ball into the penalty area then struck a rasping angled drive that flew narrowly wide of the post.

Shortly afterwards, the visitors again threatened the Lakesiders’ goal.  From the centre-circle Thomas began a delightful sweeping move when he sent the ball across to Ceri Morgan who in turn slid it out to Webbe as he surged along the left-wing – he then fired a dangerous cross into the goalmouth where Bowen planted his close-range header just beyond the far post.

However that brief spell of Carmarthen pressure was abruptly terminated on 67 minutes when Tames won possession of the ball well outside the penalty area then raced forward and released a smart 20 yard shot that went beyond Idzi’s reach and into the corner of the net.

Stung by that further setback the Old Gold straightaway pressed forward with greater frequency and intensity with influential midfielder Morgan, at his competitive best, always at the heart of the action.

After 69 minutes Bowen surged forward, shrugging off his marker, to reach the penalty area then struck a stunning drive that ‘keeper Ashley Morris resisted with a sharp, reflex save.

Yet with the visitors now pouring upfield more often, their defence began to look more vulnerable – a situation that Bala sought to exploit with occasional counter-attacks.  And on 80 minutes they should have gone further ahead. Kieran Smith took possession off Walters near to the by-line then slid the ball invitingly across the face of the goal where Tames, just two yards out and completely alone, contrived to stab it wide.

That seemed to spur the Old Gold into even greater efforts in their search for a goal – and in the 84thminute their persistence was rewarded.  Bowen played a wonderful pass through to Thomas who raced forward into the penalty area – then as Morris came out of his goal to challenge him, Town’s top scorer neatly threaded the ball across to Sean Hanbury who had the simple task of tapping it into the back of the empty net.

Now, for the first time in the match, Bala were pinned back on defence in a desperate effort to protect their slender lead as Carmarthen swept forward relentlessly.  And on 87 minutes they were close to conceding a second goal.  Webbe raced along the left flank then sent the ball forward to Bowen who fired a dangerous cross deep into the packed goalmouth, eventually reaching Thomas who, sadly, saw his close-range effort cleared off the goal-line by a defender.

But that was the final thrilling moment of an entertaining match – and despite this defeat the Old Gold can be satisfied with their overall performance against a strong, experienced side that will surely be again challenging for honours this season, just as they have done over recent seasons.

Town’s next match is at Richmond Park on Saturday 18thAugust (k/o 2.30pm) when Llandudno make the long journey south for a WPL fixture.      

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Luke Cummings;  Greg Walters; Lee Surman;  Tyrrell Webbe;  Jordan Vickers (sub Sean Hanbury 73);  Declan Carroll;  Ceri Morgan; Aidan O’Kelly;  Luke Bowen;  Liam Thomas;

Unused subs:  Dave Vincent; Craig Hanford;  Jay Woodford;       

Cards:  (Y) Greg Walters (7); 

Goal:  Sean Hanbury (84); 

It is with regret that CTAFC announce the death of Tudor Rees 83 years of Cynwyl Elfed.
Tudor had supported the Club for the past 30 years and when in good health regularly attended our matches both home and away. The players loved him and his company such was his Sense of humour and loyalty to them. He was a faithful supporter and frequently used his craftsman skills to good effect in maintenance work at Richmond Park.
He was also a match sponsor and supported the club in every possible way. His daughter Dawn James is also a town supporter.

Funeral details of Tudor Rees - public Funeral on Thursday 2nd August 11.30 am at Bethel Chapel Cynwil Elfed

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MATCH 6

 

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Llanelli (4 August 2018)

Carmarthen Town (1)  Llanelli (1)

Carmarthen completed their pre-season schedule with this attractive fixture against local rivals Llanelli, the Welsh League champions who are back in the Welsh Premier League for the first time since 2012/13.

In the early stages the visitors enjoyed a significant amount of possession but without making any meaningful forward progress, seemingly content to play simple passes across the field mostly inside their own half.  

The Old Gold, by contrast, showed clear attacking intent on the few occasions that they had the ball and on 4 minutes they produced the first scoring chance of the match.  A swift counter-attack along the right flank finished with Luke Cummings delivering a searching cross deep into the goalmouth where Luke Bowen rose above his marker but saw his firm header crash against the bar before bouncing safely away.

After that brief but welcome moment of excitement the game continued to meander along with the teams largely cancelling each other out in midfield and creating nothing in open play that would stretch the opposition defence – or arouse the crowd.

And, almost inevitably, it was from a set piece that the next chance arose – after 19 minutes Joe Clarke, an increasingly influential figure in Llanelli’s midfield, struck a fierce 25 yard free-kick that ‘keeper Lee Idzi, diving swiftly down at full-length, impressively turned around the post.

Yet it was the Old Gold that eventually took the lead – in the 23rdminute Jordan Vickers delivered a dangerous free-kick into the goalmouth where Greg Walters, rising highest amongst a pack of players, produced a smart header that hit ‘keeper Oliver Davies on the goal-line only for top marksman Liam Thomas, typically alert to a scoring opportunity, to pounce on the rebound and stab the ball into the net.

But even that failed to lift the tempo and pattern of the game which continued to flow back and forth with very few scoring chances emerging.  The visitors were still enjoying the greater share of possession yet, equally, still failing to make much productive use of it.

On 35 minutes Clarke hit a stunning long-range drive that Idzi resisted but failed to claim – yet while the ball rebounded nicely for the unmarked Jordan Follows, from 12 yards he badly squandered the inviting scoring chance.

Then again, in the 43rdminute, another long-range effort from Clarke was blocked by Idzi – this time the rebound went straight to Ross Jones who from 15 yards dispatched a rasping strike that Town’s experienced ‘keeper, recovering swiftly, managed to turn safely aside.

After the interval Llanelli again quickly began to dominate possession – but in contrast to the first-half they showed far more urgency and positive intent and were soon threatening the home goal.  On 48 minutes Chris Jones slid a fine pass through to Kurtis March who burst into the penalty area and slipped neatly past two defenders only to spoil this incisive move by wastefully firing the ball well over the bar from 15 yards.

Moments later Jones, set up another decent scoring opportunity, this time for Follows who had broken clear into the penalty area – but the former Carmarthen striker was denied by Idzi who dived smartly down to smother his angled shot.

During this spell the Old Gold were struggling to get beyond the half-way line in any meaningful way but in the 55thminute they at last managed a scoring effort when Declan Carroll’s long throw-in set Bowen racing forward along the right-wing – he then played the ball inside to Vickers who from the edge of the penalty area dispatched a crisp drive that flew just wide of the post.

But Llanelli’s pressure was close to relentless and they kept the hosts pinned back on defence for significant periods.  On 59 minutes Ross Jones sent a right-wing cross deep into the crowded goalmouth and while the ball was cleared, it went straight to March who again was woefully off-target from 20 yards.

Then after 67 minutes Chris Jones, on the right flank, directed a dangerous free-kick towards the far post to find Clarke rising high above defenders at the far post – he produced a strong close-range header which Idzi resisted with a remarkable reflex save before the ball was cleared to safety.    

  

With Town being forced to defend in depth in the face of such sustained pressure, it seemed improbable that they could contain the visitors much longer – and in the 84thminute Llanelli at last secured a well-deserved equaliser.  James Loveridge, with a fine pass, set Jamie Owen racing clear beyond the defensive line and into the penalty area before neatly slotting the ball beyond Idzi’s reach and into the corner of the net.

The Old Gold, stung by that setback, launched an immediate response – Jay Woodford surged forward along the left-wing then played the ball invitingly across the edge of the penalty area only to see Vickers, from a good position, fire well off-target.

Then deep into added time Aidan O’Kelly’s measured pass sent Cummings charging upfield before he crossed the ball inside to Bowen – he then cleverly side-stepped a defender and set up a wonderful chance for Vickers who released a fierce angled drive that substitute ‘keeper Scott McCoughlin, with a smart full-length save, turned over the bar.              

Carmarthen’s awakening and more urgent, positive play was too little, too late – adopting that approach much earlier in the match might well have resulted in a more favourable outcome.  When valuable points are at stake in the forthcoming Welsh Premier League fixtures this will be crucial.

And the Old Gold’s first WPL fixture is next Friday (10thAugust k/o 7.45pm) when they travel to Bala Town.   

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Luke Cummings;  Greg Walters (sub Jordan Knott 81);   Lee Surman;  Tyrrell Webbe (sub Craig Hanford 81);  Jordan Vickers;  Declan Carroll (sub Jay Woodford 81);  Ceri Morgan; Aidan O’Kelly;  Luke Bowen;  Liam Thomas (sub Sean Hanbury 54);       

Goal:  Liam Thomas 23;  

 

MATCH 5

 

Match Report – Cinderford v Carmarthen Town (28 July 2018)

Cinderford (1)  Carmarthen Town (1)

Carmarthen returned to Cwmbran Stadium for the second time in this pre-season programme but on this occasion they faced Cinderford from the Southern League Division One (South) - the fourth tier of the English Non-League system.

Only three days beforehand Town supporters had been treated to an entertaining goal-laden performance at a delightfully sunny Richmond Park – however any prospect of that being repeated was soon dispelled.  

The match began in miserable weather conditions with a fierce, swirling wind making ball control, and anything beyond the shortest of passing moves, distinctly challenging – occasional downpours, particularly in the second-half, served to make circumstances even more difficult for both sets of players and much less attractive for the few spectators who had misguidedly imagined that this would be a match worth watching.

The opening stages of this contest were quiet, scrappy and uneventful with the play largely confined to midfield exchanges – there was minimal goalmouth action and neither goalkeeper was seriously tested during this spell.  In fact, Lee Idzi had to wait until the 14thminute for his first meaningful touch of the ball when he had to deal with a rather wayward back-pass from Jordan Knott.  

But just moments later Cinderford took a surprise lead – Old Gold defenders failed to deal with what seemed to be a fairly routine cross from the right-wing and allowed Matt McDonald to reach the ball and fire a close-range angled drive past Idzi and into the back of the net.  And worryingly, that would prove to be the first of several occasions during this match when opposing players would be allowed time and space inside Town’s penalty area. 

However it was not long before Carmarthen were back on level terms.  On 25 minutes, after Luke Cummings was brought down just outside the penalty area, Tyrrell Webbe stepped up to fire an impressive 20 yard free-kick over the defensive ‘wall’ and into the top corner of the net to leave ‘keeper Alex Harris well-beaten.

Yet the hosts soon responded and went close to regaining the lead when after 31 minutes another deep cross into the goalmouth was met by McDonald but this time his smart close-range shot was cleared off the goal-line by Jordan Vickers, intervening with sharp anticipation.

By now the pattern of play had become quite settled with Cinderford managing, despite the conditions, to pass the ball around with more accuracy and purpose, while the Old Gold seemed more disjointed and laboured and lacking invention.

Also, the flow of the game was interrupted, all too often, by an over-fussy referee who even saw fit to show yellow cards to four players for relatively minor infringements – in a pre-season friendly!!

In the second-half very little changed, other than a worsening of the weather conditions.

Cinderford, enlivened by the energy and commitment of six early substitutions, were increasingly enjoying the greater share of possession and territorial advantage – and they were putting noticeable pressure on the Old Gold defence which frequently looked overstretched.

Yet occasional relief was secured through some determined counter-attacking.  On 74 minutes Vickers, from deep inside his own half, embarked on a surging run upfield to reach the corner of the penalty area then dispatched a crisp drive that a defender, just in front of goal, headed safely away.  

Moments later Cummings, with a quickly taken free-kick, put Webbe in clear space and he burst powerfully forward before releasing a rasping 25 yard strike that Harris turned smartly past the post.

But those were rare moments for the visitors to savour.  In the closing stages of the match the play was confined to Carmarthen’s half of the pitch, in and around the penalty area with more desperate defending and several goal-line clearances – on 86 minutes a 20 yard free-kick slid narrowly wide of the post.

However possibly the best moment of the entire match arose in the 90thminute – Cinderford striker Lewis Bamford cut inside from the right-wing, drifted past two defenders then from the corner of the penalty area produced a stunning drive that Idzi, with a quite spectacular flying save, turned over the bar.

This was a match best forgotten!!

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Jordan Vickers;  Jordan Knott (sub Liam Thomas 61);  Lee Surman; Sean Hanbury;  Luke Cummings;  Greg Walters; Ceri Morgan; Jay Woodford (Craig Hanford79);  Luke Bowen; Tyrrell Webbe;       

Goal:  Tyrrell Webbe 25;  

 

 

 

MATCH 4

 

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Ton Pentre (25 July 2018)

Carmarthen Town (8)  Ton Pentre (1)

Carmarthen continued their pre-season schedule by welcoming Ton Pentre to Richmond Park for a match that initially developed into a fairly evenly-balanced affair before the Old Gold produced an astonishing second-half blitz of seven goals inside 22 minutes that overwhelmed the Welsh League side. 

The match began at a lively pace with both sides keen to break forward from midfield – and Town fashioned the first notable chance after just 3 minutes when Luke Cummings sent an inviting right-wing cross into the penalty area only for Jordan Vickers, with time and space, to fire the ball over the bar.

But that disappointment was soon remedied when in the 8thminute Vickers embarked on a determined run along the right flank, outpacing his marker, before firing the ball into the goalmouth where Luke Bowen, arriving with perfect timing, headed it powerfully past ‘keeper Tom Bodger and into the roof of the net.

The visitors responded positively to that early setback and, having kept the Old Gold defence under a short spell of pressure, they snatched an equaliser on 13 minutes.  Lively striker Sam McArthy raced forward to the edge of the penalty area then slipped past Lee Surman rather too easily before neatly sliding the ball beyond the reach of ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the far corner of the net.

In quick succession Town went close to restoring their lead.  After 18 minutes Aidan O’Kelly set up a fine chance for Cummings who saw his rasping 25 yard drive fly narrowly wide of the post – then moments later Tyrrell Webbe’s well-flighted corner-kick reached Bowen beyond the far post and he headed the ball back into the crowded goalmouth where Declan Carroll saw his smart close-range header denied by Bodger’s excellent reflex save.

Meanwhile Ton Pentre, spirited and competitive in midfield, regularly continued to mount counter-attacks, in the face of which the home defence often looked decidedly shaky.  Yet all the significant goalmouth action was occurring at the other end of the pitch.

On 31 minutes Sean Hanbury’s searching left-wing cross was met by Bowen but his promising close-range header was resisted by Bodger, producing another impressive save to turn the ball against the bar.  Shortly afterwards a slick passing move between Webbe and Hanbury produced a further fine chance for Bowen but his glancing header went narrowly off-target. 

And in the closing minutes of the first-half Cummings drove a dangerous right-wing cross towards the near post where Ceri Morgan saw his diving header fly just wide of post.   

After the interval Town quickly began to dominate the play – while enjoying the greater share of possession and territorial advantage, they kept the visitors’ defence under pressure and scoring opportunities soon ensued.

On 53 minutes Morgan surged forward from the centre-circle before releasing a fierce 25 yard drive that left Bodger well beaten but rattled the bar and the ball bounced safely away. 

However shortly afterwards they deservedly regained the lead with a delightful seamless move.  Liam McCreesh, appearing in the Old Gold colours for the first time in five seasons, played a searching long pass forward to Bowen who instantly sent the ball infield to Cummings – he, in turn, fired a dangerous low cross into the goalmouth where Morgan swept the ball home.

Just 60 seconds later the ball was back in the Ton Pentre net again.  Hanbury surged along the left-wing then delivered an inviting cross into the goalmouth to find Cummings arriving with perfect timing to stab the ball past Bodger.

Town’s pressure was relentless – more goalmouth mayhem led to a scramble for the loose ball amongst a crowd of players from which eventually Webbe emerged to drive it into the net from 8 yards. 

Even a flurry of substitutions failed to interrupt the Old Gold’s rhythm and on 63 minutes Liam Thomas slid a short pass through to Hanbury who from 15 yards fired an impressive angled shot into the far corner of the net leaving Bodger well beaten – straight afterwards he was replaced in goal by George Jones, perhaps an act of compassion by the Ton Pentre manager rather than tactical necessity?  

However, only a minute later Jones was picking the ball out of the net – Hanbury, from the left-wing, sent a fine cross into the packed penalty area where a poor defensive clearance was pounced on by Morgan who hit a rasping strike into the far corner of the net.

Still Carmarthen’s relentless pressure continued and in the 76thminute they further extended their lead when O’Kelly finished a strong run towards the penalty area with a neat cross to Carroll who from 15 yards released a crisp volley that flew past Jones and into the net.

Moments later Webbe, on the left flank, made a typically robust run from the half-way line then threaded the ball across the edge of the penalty area and saw Liam Thomas complete this incisive move with a stunning drive that Jones was powerless to resist.

With the goal-fest now complete the final notable action of the match featured McCreesh – still eagerly demonstrating his “competitiveness” even in this pre-season fixture, after a confrontation with a Ton Pentre midfielder he (along with the other player) was forcibly substituted by the referee!!

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Jordan Vickers (sub Craig Hanford 61);  Greg Walters;  Lee Surman (sub Jordan Knott 61);  Tyrrell Webbe (sub Jay Woodford 61);  Declan Carroll (sub Liam McCreesh 46, sub Jordan Vickers 88);  Ceri Morgan (sub Declan Carroll 75);  Aidan O’Kelly;  Sean Hanbury (sub Tyrrell Webbe 75);  Luke Cummings;  Luke Bowen (sub Liam Thomas 61);    

Goals:  Luke Bowen 8;  Ceri Morgan 55, 67;  Luke Cummings 56;  Tyrrell Webbe 58;  Sean Hanbury 63;  Declan Carroll 76;  Liam Thomas 77;      

 

MATCH 3

Match Report – Merthyr Town v Carmarthen Town (16 July 2018)

Merthyr Town (1)  Carmarthen Town (3)  

Carmarthen’s third fixture of their pre-season programme, against Merthyr who operate in the Southern Premier League (the third tier of the English Non-League system), proved to be the most entertaining so far with the Old Gold overturning a one goal deficit and scoring three times inside fifteen astonishing second-half minutes.

The match, on an accommodating 3G surface, quickly developed into a swiftly-flowing, end-to-end affair but with both defences coping quite well under the intermittent pressure no serious goal threat emerged from the initial exchanges.

It was not until the 8thminute that the first chance arose when Merthyr’s Tom Meechan made good progress along the right flank before bursting into the penalty area and firing a sharp angled drive which ‘keeper Lee Idzi resisted, diving smartly down to claim the ball.

Scoring opportunities remained scarce – the earliest threat from the Old Gold arrived after 12 minutes when from their first corner of the match Tyrrell Webbe sent a curling delivery into the packed goalmouth which somehow evaded all players and flew just marginally beyond the far post.

While the home side had initially enjoyed a greater share of possession, from the mid-point of the first-half Carmarthen gradually began building pressure with industrious midfielders Ceri Morgan, Greg Walters and Luke Cummings noticeably influential at the heart of their attacking progress.

On 21 minutes Cummings, on the right-wing, played the ball inside to Walters who raced forward then from 25 yards struck a fierce shot that ‘keeper Kevin Webb spilled – while Luke Bowen was quick to reach the loose ball, from close-range he stabbed it narrowly wide of the goal.

Then in the 31stminute Cummings, again from the right-wing, fired a deep searching cross into the goalmouth where Bowen headed the ball back to Liam Thomas who turned neatly past his marker then hit a crisp, low shot that Webb, at full length, forced around the post. 

Merthyr, having survived that spell of pressure struck back in the later stages of the first-half. On 36 minutes Lee Price, from wide on the right flank, drove a dangerous low cross into the goalmouth but Idzi, alert to the danger as several forwards closed in, dived bravely down to punch the ball clear.

And in the 45thminute the Old Gold’s experienced ‘keeper, who had a spell at Merthyr several years ago, denied his former club once again when Kerry Morgan released a stunning 30 yard strike only to see Idzi turn it around the post with a spectacular flying save.

After the interval the visitors began brightly and fashioned an early scoring chance on 50 minutes when Jordan Vickers lifted a long pass forward to Bowen who shrugged off a defender before dispatching a rasping 20 yard drive that substitute ‘keeper Ed Hewitson claimed on the goal-line.

Moments later Thomas embarked on a determined run infield from the left touchline then played the ball across to Vickers who saw his smart angled volley resisted by Hewitson with another full-length save.

By now, what had easily been Carmarthen’s most fiercely ‘competitive’ encounter of this pre-season had become increasingly confrontational – what might be regarded as useful experience for the season ahead for both teams.  And Ceri Morgan, at the heart of the visitors’ midfield, was in his element!!

Yet in the face of some frequent bursts of attacking play by the hosts the Old Gold defence was, for the most part, performing with confidence and composure – but all that changed in the 59thminute.  Some collective misjudgement and weak passing from several defenders in and around the penalty area allowed Ian Traylor to take possession and slide a 10 yard angled shot past Idzi and into the far side of the net.

However this galvanised Carmarthen into a remarkable resurgence that ended with a comfortable victory.  On 68 minutes Webbe delivered another dangerous corner-kick into the packed goalmouth – the ball rebounded amongst several players before Bowen pounced to smash a close-range volley into the back of the net.

Then after 75 minutes Vickers, from wide on the left flank, slid the ball inside to Bowen who turned smartly past his marker then set up a fine chance for Morgan who from 12 yards released a powerful strike that flew beyond Hewitson’s reach and into the far corner of the goal.

And in the 83rdminute victory was assured.  From deep inside his own half Morgan launched a superb long pass upfield to set Thomas racing forward along the right-wing – he then fired a searching cross into the goalmouth where Bowen arrived with perfect timing to convert a marvellous close-range header before Hewitson could react.

In the remaining time up to the final whistle Carmarthen comfortably protected their advantage.   

This was decent performance against quite a strong side and, perhaps tellingly, it was achieved for the most part with just 12 players – a few absentees, due to injury, will hopefully soon return to strengthen the playing unit for the remaining pre-season fixtures by which time Town supporters will have a good idea of the likely WPL matchday squad and its potential.          

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Luke Cummings;  Dave Vincent (sub Lee Surman 46);  Jordan Knott; Tyrrell Webbe; Greg Walters (sub Ryan Foschi 88);  Ceri Morgan; Aidan O’Kelly;  Jordan Vickers;  Luke Bowen;  Liam Thomas;  

Cards:  None

Goals:   Luke Bowen 68, 83;  Ceri Morgan 75;     


 

 

 

MATCH 2

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Pontypridd (14 July 2018)

Carmarthen Town (1)  Pontypridd (2)

After the relatively comfortable victory which Carmarthen enjoyed in their opening pre-season friendly against Cwmbran, they faced a much sterner challenge from Welsh League Division One side Pontypridd who demonstrated the value, particularly in the second-half, of converting chances whenever they arise.  And in the end the Old Gold were left to reflect on all the decent scoring opportunities they squandered, while the visitors will surely have applauded the outstanding performance of goalkeeper Dave Burnett.

Manager Neil Smothers was able to select from the majority of the squad that appeared at Cwmbran with, in addition, striker Luke Bowen who had made such a significant impact in last season’s WPL second-phase following his January transfer from Port Talbot.

The opening stages of the match were fairly quiet and uneventful with the play confined largely to midfield exchanges.  Carmarthen eventually fashioned the first scoring opportunity on 5 minutes when Aidan O’Kelly threaded the ball through to Jordan Vickers but his optimistic 30 yard strike was comfortably gathered by Burnett.

The visitors responded after 8 minutes, forcing a corner that Danny Hooper delivered into the packed penalty area where Luke Gullick saw his smart close-range header fly just wide of the near post.  Moments later Vickers, from the right flank, sent a dangerous cross into the goalmouth but with Tyrrell Webbe racing in for a simple tap-in opportunity Burnett just managed to punch the ball safely away.

The roles were then reversed in the 16thminute when Webbe finished a determined run along the left wing with a deep cross to the far side of the goalmouth only for Vickers, though well-placed, to blaze the ball high over the bar.

Although during the rest of this half the play generally remained quite evenly-balanced with the teams largely cancelling each other out in midfield, the Old Gold were enjoying slightly more possession and territorial advantage – and they were looking the more likely side to score.

On 36 minutes Luke Cummings orchestrated a fine attack down the right flank which finished with Ceri Morgan’s astute pass setting up a chance for O'Kelly but from 25 yards he fired the ball wastefully high.

Then in the 42nd minute Jordan Knott, from inside his own half, began a delightful sweeping move involving Cummings, Greg Walters and eventually Liam Thomas who struck a rasping 20 yard drive that Burnett, at full length, turned around the post. Webbe sent the resultant corner into the crowded goalmouth only for Morgan to direct his close-range header narrowly wide.

And in the final minute of the first-half Cummings made another typically storming run along the right-wing before firing a searching cross into the congested penalty area where Thomas, from 12 yards, leapt high above defenders only to direct a fine glancing header beyond Burnett’s reach but just over the bar.

After the interval, however, the pattern of the game changed with Pontypridd quickly getting into their stride and putting early pressure on the home defence with a series of penetrating attacks.

And they soon found success when on 55 minutes Aidan Lewis sent a corner deep into the packed goalmouth where Gullick rose above several defenders to plant his firm close-range header past ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the back of the net.

Shortly afterwards the visitors’ lively striker went close again when he burst forward and struck a fine 20 yard drive that Idzi resisted with an impressive full-length save.

Yet their persistence was eventually rewarded in the 62ndminute when they again exploited Carmarthen’s apparent vulnerability defending corners with Lee Hartshaw finding space inside the crowded goalmouth and forcing the ball into the net.

Stung by that further setback the Old Gold, commendably, were quick to retaliate – moments later Thomas played a sublime through-ball to Bowen who from 20 yards hit a stunning shot that Burnett, with a fine save, turned around the post.  Moments later Vickers sent a right-wing cross deep into the goalmouth where Bowen saw his promising close-range header forced aside by Burnett’s excellent reflex save.

The match had by now opened up and developed into an enthralling end-to-end affair.

On 74 minutes Webbe, after a quickly-taken corner, received a smart pass from O'Kelly and fired an angled drive that flew just marginally too high.  And the hosts went on to force numerous corners none of which, sadly, were used to good effect.

But from another set-piece they did threaten the visitors’ goal – twice.  O'Kelly struck a fierce 25 yard free-kick which was beaten out by Burnett but the ball went straight to Walters who immediately sent it back into the goalmouth where Thomas produced a smart header which the increasingly busy ‘keeper managed to turn around the post.

Moments later Thomas won possession in midfield and instantly played the ball out to Bowen on the right-wing – he burst forward then sent an inviting cross into the penalty area where Thomas had continued his run and, arriving with perfect timing, he dispatched a crisp drive that narrowly skimmed the bar.

Yet eventually, in the 89thminute Town were rewarded for their effort and persistence.  After a strong run by Knott along the left-wing he slid the ball across to O'Kelly on the edge of the penalty area who instantly sent it over to Thomas on the far side of the goalmouth – he in turn headed it back to Bowen who clinically powered the ball past Burnett and into the corner of the net.

But this was too little, too late and the Old Gold slumped to a disappointing defeat.  While results in pre-season fixtures are of no real importance, performances certainly are – and with the start of the WPL season just four weeks away some evidence of progressive improvement during in the forthcoming PSF matches would be very welcome.  

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Luke Cummings (sub Jordan Knott 70);  Dave Vincent; Lee Surman;  Jordan Knott (sub Luke Bowen 46);  Greg Walters (sub Ben Jones 57);  Ceri Morgan (sub Ryan Foschi 84);  Aidan O’Kelly;  Jordan Vickers (sub Greg Walters 79);  Liam Thomas;  Tyrrell Webbe (sub Craig Hanford 82);      

Cards:  None

Goal:   Luke Bowen 89;     

 

 

 

 

MATCH 1

Match Report – Cwmbran v Carmarthen Town (9 July 2018)

Cwmbran (0)  Carmarthen Town (4)

Carmarthen opened their pre-season programme against Cwmbran, a club that for many years performed with distinction in the League of Wales and the formative years of the Welsh Premier League (notably, among their former players are Carmarthen Town managers past and present!!).  The club were eventually relegated from the top tier at the end of the 2006/7 season and they now operate in the Gwent County League Division One.  

Town’s squad for this fixture comprised almost all the regulars that appeared during the relatively successful second-phase programme last season (only Luke Bowen was absent while Lewis Harling was unavailable due to the continuing injury problems that have plagued him for much of the past two seasons – and of course Kieran Lewis, Dan Sheehan, Clayton Green and Mark Jones have now left the Club.  

In addition there were first appearances for new signings Declan Carroll, Greg Walters, Tyrrell Webbe and Jordan Vickers (Sean Hanbury and Lewis Baldwin were absent) – two triallists, Ben Jones (from Newport) and Jay Woodford (from AFC Llwdcoed), were given starts along with Ryan Foschi from Town’s development squad.    

 

The opening stages of this game were fairly uninspiring and uneventful with the play largely confined to midfield exchanges and though the Old Gold were immediately looking the more positive side, they were initially unable to penetrate the opposition defence. During this spell this resembled little more than an opportunity for some welcome passing practice after the players’ summer break.

 

But gradually Carmarthen began showing more promise and adventure going forward and 

on 13 minutes they fashioned the first notable chance of the match when, from one of a series of corners, Luke Cummings’ searching delivery was met by Liam Thomas who saw his smart glancing header slide narrowly wide of the far post.

Then after 20 minutes Tyrrell Webbe, who had already on several occasions demonstrated impressive pace and strength on the ball, produced a speculative long-range shot that ‘keeper Luca Bullock just managed, at full-stretch, to claim at the top corner of his goal.

Shortly afterwards, much less commendably, Bullock raced out of his penalty area and recklessly brought down Thomas who had broken clear through the home defence – on any occasion other than a pre-season friendly this would surely have merited a ‘red card’ but in the event the ‘keeper, after lengthy treatment for an injury sustained in that challenge, had to be substituted.

And perhaps justice was done when substitute ‘keeper Namir Queni’s first involvement was to pick the ball out of his net after Declan Carroll had converted the free-kick with an impressive fiercely-driven strike.

Up until this stage the Old Gold had looked sound and secure in dealing with Cwmbran’s occasional attacking bursts, ensuring that ‘keeper Lee Idzi was never seriously tested.  In particular the familiar central pairing of Jordan Knott and Lee Surman were performing with confidence and composure, while on the flanks Ben Jones and Webbe coupled sound defensive work with a willingness to burst forward with good effect at every opportunity.    

 

Yet directly after conceding that goal the hosts managed their first genuine scoring chance when on 30 minutes Kofi Rowe raced unmarked into the penalty area only to fire a weak shot from 15 yards that Idzi comfortably gathered. 

 

Then in the closing stages of the first-half Town increased the tempo of their game still more, driven by the energy and vision of midfielders Ceri Morgan, Cummings, Carroll and Greg Walters.  And in the 42ndminute they went close to extending their lead when Carroll fired the ball into the penalty area where Aidan O’Kelly turned smartly past two defenders before releasing a sharp drive that defeated Queni but slid narrowly outside the post.    

After the intervalmanager Neil Smothers made multiple changes to the line-up yet the same pattern of play, with the Old Gold largely dominating proceedings, soon emerged.

And, almost inevitably, on 62 minutes they secured a well-deserved second goal – O'Kelly, from wide on the right flank, delivered a searching cross deep to the far post where Jay Woodford rose high above his marker and directed a firm header over Queni and into the top corner of the net.

More Town pressure led to further scoring opportunities.  After 66 minutes Webbe embarked on another surging run to the edge of the penalty area before playing the ball neatly across to O'Kelly who dispatched a crisp 20 yard strike that flew just marginally too high. 

Then on 75 minutes, following another raft of substitutions, Carroll again found the net when from 25 yards he produced a delightful curling shot that sailed into the top corner leaving Queni well beaten.      

And, commendably, the Old Gold continued to press forward in the face of some fairly resolute Cwmbran defending until they managed a further late goal – in the 87thminute Jordan Vickers made a determined run along the left wing, outpacing defenders, then cleverly sent the ball across the edge of the penalty area where Thomas was arriving with perfect timing to hit a stunning drive that left Queni floundering and the net bulging - Town’s all-time record goalscorer is straight back to doing what he does best!

 

While this was hardly the sternest of challenges for the Old Gold, it served to ease the players back into the routine and discipline of match play while giving their faithful band of travelling supporters a taste of things to come in the season ahead.

Carmarthen’s next pre-season match is against Pontypridd Town at Richmond Park on Saturday 14thJuly (k/o 2.30pm).

 

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Ben Jones (sub Craig Hanford 46);  Jordan Knott (sub Lee Surman 68);  Lee Surman (sub Dave Vincent 46);  Tyrrell Webbe (sub Ryan Foschi 68);  Luke Cummings (sub Ben Jones 73);  Ceri Morgan (sub Declan Carroll 68);  Greg Walters (sub Jay Woodford 46);  Declan Carroll (sub Jordan Vickers 46);  Liam Thomas; Aidan O’Kelly (sub Greg Walters 68);     

Cards:  None

Goals:   Declan Carroll 29, 75;  Jay Woodford 62;   Liam Thomas 87;      

WALKING FOOTBALL
 
One of our community initiatives has been to start Walking Football. It has proven to be extremely popular with a good core of players attending every week. Josh Edwards has taken it upon himself to arrange, coach and look for games, no mean feat for a 15 year old. 
 
This has reached a new high this week with Huw Williams and Michael Alves being successful in their Welsh Trails. Both will be in the Welsh squad's who play against England at the end of the year before moving on to the Euro's and World Cup. 
 
A fantastic achievement to represent club and country, and everyone at Carmarthen Town Football Club wishes them every success. 
 
If you are interested in keeping healthy and socialising, please pop down to Richmond Park on a Sunday evening at 7pm to have a go. We know you will enjoy. 
 
Josh can be contacted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions. 
 
Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 22.27.19.pngScreen Shot 2018-06-13 at 22.35.53.png
Pictured. Huw Williams & Michael AlvesScreen Shot 2018-01-17 at 22.23.06.png
 
 
 

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