“It is with sadness that we inform you of the death of Gareth Jones. As you know Gareth had been our long serving Secretary and was, up until his illness a hard working Director of Carmarthen Town AFC.

His commitment to the Club, together with his help to all in his genial courteous way was an example to us all.

He never lost his humour during a difficult and painful illness, indeed he died as he had lived thinking of and helping others.

Our thoughts and sympathies are extended to Meinir and his family.”

Game 1 JD Welsh Premier League

Match Report – Aberystwyth v Carmarthen Town (16 August 2019)

Aberystwyth (3)  Carmarthen Town (2)  

Carmarthen opened their Cymru Premier League season with a disappointing defeat at old rivals Aberystwyth despite having taken an early lead – but a number of defensive errors allowed the hosts to seize the initiative and eventually win the match quite comfortably.  And although a Luke Bowen goal very late in the game made the final score-line look quite respectable it could not disguise Town’s failings over much of the game.

After a brief early spell of fast-paced but fairly unproductive midfield activity the match sprang to life in the 11th minute when Lewis Harling produced a superb long diagonal pass that set Bowen sprinting forward and into the penalty area only to be clumsily brought down by ‘keeper Terry McCormick – inevitably the referee awarded a spot-kick which Liam Thomas, demonstrating his customary clinical accuracy from 12 yards, drove the ball into the corner of the net. 

Aber responded positively as they began enjoying far more possession and putting greater pressure on the visitors’ defence although initially they were unable to fashion any meaningful scoring chances.  Too often passes were misplaced or possession was carelessly surrendered  – failings which the Old Gold were equally guilty of on the few occasions that they were able to break upfield on the counter-attack.

However on 26 minutes the Seasiders went close to levelling the score when Wes Baynes, on the right flank, sent a long pass through to Paulo Mendes who took the ball forward to the by-line before crossing it into the penalty area where Marc Williams struck a smart15 yard drive that slid just wide of the far post.

But eventually after 39 minutes they were successful – Mathew Jones from the left-wing fired the ball into the goalmouth where Williams, despite the close presence of several Town defenders, was able to find the time and space to plant his close-range header into the top corner of the net.

And shortly afterwards the hosts had another decent chance when following a corner-kick Stuart Jones connected with a subtle glancing header that ‘keeper Lee Idzi blocked with an impressive flying save before defender Jordan Knott, well placed in front of the goal, cleared the ball safely away.

After the interval the Old Gold started brightly and kept pressure on the home defence albeit without seriously testing McCormick – but on 52 minutes he was needed when Elliot Scotcher, near the right touchline, fired a free-kick into the packed goalmouth where Dave Vincent rose high above home defenders and produced a promising close-range header that the veteran ‘keeper turned smartly around the post.

Yet a goal did soon arise, but unfortunately at the other end of the pitch.  In the 55th minute a huge clearance from McCormick landed just outside the opposition penalty area and should have been comfortably dealt with by Town’s defenders – it wasn’t.  Lee Surman, under no real pressure, attempted to head the ball back to Idzi who had naturally advanced well out of his goal to take possession – but the experienced defender’s header was so woefully weak that it was easily intercepted by Williams who gratefully fired the ball into the empty net. 

However Carmarthen responded well to that setback – on 57 minutes Scotcher’s corner-kick reached Ceri Morgan on the edge of the penalty area and the lively midfielder dispatched a stunning volley that flew beyond McCormick’s reach but, sadly, narrowly over the bar.  

Yet that resurgence was short-lived.  After 68 minutes Town’s defence failed to deal with a routine right-wing cross played towards the far corner of the penalty area, allowing the ball to reach Boundford – several defenders then seemed content to simply watch the prolific striker cut inside to a more central position before promptly dispatching a powerful angled volley that left Idzi well-beaten.

To their credit the Old Gold continued to press forward and a flurry of substitutions helped liven-up their progress – but the home defence comfortably resisted the few scoring efforts that emerged until the 90th minute when Jordan Vickers fired a right-wing cross towards the goalmouth where Gwion Howell’s glancing header was spilled by McCormick to present Bowen with the simple task, from close-range, of tapping the loose ball into the unguarded net.  However that was too little, too late.

So a game that started so promisingly for Carmarthen with an early goal soon sadly degenerated as passes were carelessly misplaced while possession was surrendered all too easily – and, eventually, some unwelcome moments of miserable Town defending effectively settled the result in the opposition’s favour.  And, with that, the Old Gold’s thrilling 6-2 victory over Aberystwyth in the final match of last season has now become a very distant memory.

 

Carmarthen’s next fixture is against Newtown at Richmond Park on Friday 23rd August (k.o 8.00pm) in a match that is to be televised live on S4C – then on Bank Holiday Monday 26th August (k/o 2.30pm) Town travel north to Connah's Quay. 

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Greg Walters;  Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman;  Jordan Knott;  Chris Jones (sub Gwion Howell 84);  Ceri Morgan;  Elliot Scotcher (Jordan Vickers 75);  Lewis Harling;  Liam Thomas (sub Josh Bull 75);  Luke Bowen; 

                                                                                                                                       

Unused Subs:  Declan Carroll;  Craig Hanford;  Tom Windsor (GK);  

Goals:  Liam Thomas (pen 12);  Luke Bowen (90);  

Cards:  (Y)   Jordan Knott (76);  Lee Surman (91);      

 

Game 2 JD Welsh Premier League

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Newtown (23 August 2019)

Carmarthen Town (1)  Newtown (2)  

Carmarthen began their home programme of the new Cymru Premier League season with a disappointing defeat against Newtown in a match that was televised live on S4C – a result which, on the overall balance of play, the visitors fully deserved.

Right from the start the Old Gold were put under pressure by the lively visitors who, with slick passing, were quick to break forward through the midfield – and after only 3 minutes they went ahead with a goal that owed much to some poor Town defending.  Alex Fletcher propelled a huge throw-in towards the packed goalmouth and, while defenders failed to clear the danger, striker Nick Rushton got ahead of Elliot Scotcher and from close-range stabbed the ball past ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the net. 

Yet thankfully Carmarthen reacted positively to that setback and began to compete much better in midfield – the match straightaway developed into a more evenly-balanced contest as the play switched quickly from end to end.  But with both defences performing quite soundly no decent scoring opportunities initially emerged.

Gradually this led to a phase when the Old Gold posed the greater goal threat.  After 25 minutes Scotcher sent an inviting corner beyond the crowded goalmouth to find Greg Walters who instantly drove the ball just wide of the post and into the side netting.

Then on 27 minutes, as the pace of the game began to quicken, a long pass from Liam Thomas on the half-way line was chased by Luke Bowen who outpaced Kieran Mills-Evans to reach the corner of the penalty area – he then dispatched a rasping drive that Jones blocked with a smart reflex save before Craig Williams cleared the ball safely away.

Yet in the 36th minute Town got back on level terms when Scotcher delivered a perfect corner into the packed goalmouth and saw Dave Vincent rise high above the Robins’ defenders and head the ball powerfully into the roof of the net.

So after a shaky start to this match when Carmarthen’s midfielders, who it seemed were sorely missing the energy and combative presence of the absent Ceri Morgan, struggled to compete with and contain the opposition, gradually improved their performance.  However, worryingly, familiar failings that emerged during the defeat at Aberystwyth last week were again in evidence – namely, careless passing and surrendering possession all too easily. 

And soon after the interval one such incident led directly to Newtown regaining the lead.  In the 49th minute Naill Flint intercepted a hopelessly misdirected cross-field pass from Walters and then straightaway threaded the ball through to Ian Sheridan who held off Vincent’s challenge and from just inside the penalty area slid the ball past Idzi and into the bottom corner of the net. 

The Old Gold responded positively to that setback when on 60 minutes Scotcher launched a huge pass upfield that set Bowen sprinting forward and into the penalty area but, after neatly weaving around Mills-Evans, he sent his close-range angled strike just wide of the near post.

Then on 67 minutes Town fashioned another decent chance – Scotcher fired a right-wing cross towards the goalmouth which Bowen, with a deft touch, diverted across to substitute Josh Bull who from 8 yards struck a promising shot that, sadly, was blocked in front of goal by Williams.

The match continued at a frantic pace with the play flowing back and forth.  In the 68th minute Lifumpa Mwandwe burst clear of nearby defenders and into the penalty area but Idzi, alert to the danger, raced quickly out of his goal and expertly blocked the striker’s shot.

And on 77 minutes Newtown wasted an excellent chance to put their victory beyond doubt when Mwandwe fired a right-wing cross into the goalmouth only to see Ian Sheridan, from close range, stab the ball high over the bar. 

For the remainder of the match the Robins seemed content to protect their narrow lead, while Carmarthen were unable to do anything to alter it in their favour.

The Old Gold have now started this season with two disappointing performances against teams that finished last season in mid-League positions – worryingly, their next two matches are against clubs that finished in the top three.  A rapid improvement in Town’s performances and points return would be very welcome if the anxieties of prospective relegation that were suffered through most of last season are to be avoided in the coming months.                 

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Jordan Vickers;  Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman (sub Gwion Howell 83);  Jordan Knott;  Chris Jones (sub Declan Carroll 65);  Lewis Harling;  Elliot Scotcher;  Greg Walters;  Liam Thomas (sub Josh Bull 65);  Luke Bowen; 

                                                                                                                                       

Unused Subs:  Jay Woodford;  Craig Hanford;  Lewis Rocke; 

Goal:  Dave Vincent (36);  

Cards:  (Y)   (Lewis Harling 20);  Dave Vincent (65);  

   

Game 3 JD Welsh Premier League

Match Report – Connah’s Quay v Carmarthen Town (26 August 2019)

Connah’s Quay (1)  Carmarthen Town (1)    

Carmarthen, having lost both of their opening matches of the Cymru Premier League season following disappointing performances, travelled to North Wales to face a strong Connah’s Quay side and produced a very welcome and much improved display.  

Yet Neil Smothers had made only one change from the starting line-up that faced Newtown just three days earlier – he named experienced midfielder Chris Jones as a substitute and replaced him with lively striker Josh Bull for his first full appearance for the Old Gold.    

From the start the Nomads took the initiative with a series of penetrating attacks that kept the Town defence fully occupied but, despite a fair amount of activity in and around the penalty area, no serious scoring chances emerged. Crosses were often over-hit or comfortably cleared by the visitors’ defence while the few goal-scoring efforts that arose simply gave ‘keeper Lee Idzi the opportunity to demonstrate his customary safe and secure handling.

Then gradually the Old Gold, prompted by the industry and invention of midfielders Lewis Harling, Elliot Scotcher and Greg Walters, began pressing further upfield seeking to exploit the pace and movement of strikers Liam Thomas, Luke Bowen and Bull.  And in the 19th minute Town’s record goal-scorer was denied a promising chance when Bull neatly slid the ball through to him just inside the penalty area only for defender John Disney to produce a well-timed challenge and clear the danger.

Yet on 27 minutes the Nomads went close when Nathan Woolfe struck an optimistic long-range drive that Idzi carefully watched as it slipped narrowly outside the post.  Shortly afterwards Danny Holmes sent a right-wing cross into the goalmouth where Michael Wilde, from a good position, could only manage a weak header that Town’s experienced ‘keeper gratefully claimed – that epitomised the fairly miserable quality of the first-half finishing.

After the interval the game became more open and at last sprang to life in 53rd minute when Carmarthen took the lead.  Scotcher fired a free-kick high into the packed penalty area and while the ball was headed clear it went straight to Walters who struck a stunning 20 yard drive that Thomas, amongst a crowd of players, cleverly diverted to send the ball beyond the reach of ‘keeper Lewis Brass and into the back of the net. 

Shortly afterwards the Old Gold had the ball in the net again.  Jordan Vickers made a strong run to the corner of the penalty area before crossing the ball low into the goalmouth where Thomas saw his close-range shot expertly blocked by Brass – however the loose ball rebounded nicely for Walters, following up, who drove it into the unguarded net.  Yet only then, unfortunately, was it noticed by the elated Town players that the flag had been raised for an offside infringement.

Then on 68 minutes the Nomads virtually laid siege, briefly, to the Carmarthen goalmouth.  Callum Roberts burst into the penalty area then dispatched a sharp 15 yard angled drive that Idzi, on the goal-line, resisted with an impressive reflex save – as the ball ran free Callum Morris was quick to react and, from close-range, struck another follow-up shot that hit the bar then bounced down and out to Roberts who straightaway dispatched a powerful volley that Idzi denied with a second superb reaction save.

Yet moments later Declan Poole fired the ball into the goalmouth to create another chaotic scramble from which Morris emerged to stab it into the corner of the net. 

Town responded immediately to that setback.  A short pass from Thomas set Bowen sprinting into the penalty area just ahead of Danny Holmes – the powerful striker then fell as a result of the defender’s clumsy challenge from behind but the referee, close to the action, inexplicably ignored the incident.  

In the later stages of the match the hosts put the Old Gold defence under increasing pressure with Michael Bakare creating a particular threat with his pace and clever footwork.  Yet the Carmarthen back-four, by now augmented by substitute Craig Hanford along with midfielders Walters, Scotcher and Carroll, remained sound and secure.  But amongst that collective effort the performance of experienced central pairing, Lee Surman and Dave Vincent, was especially valuable since throughout the match they capably neutralized the threat normally posed by Nomads’ prolific strikers Wilde and Ryan Wignall.

However twice, late on, the hosts threatened to score a winning goal.  On 89 minutes Roberts raced into the penalty area and from close-range struck a smart shot that Vincent, with a timely intervention, blocked in front of goal.  And moments later Roberts again was involved when he moved into the penalty area only to be denied by Idzi racing well out of his goal to clear the ball safely away. 

On the overall balance of play Town certainly deserved this point against a strong Connah's Quay side that will surely finish high in the CPL table as they have done in recent seasons.

As for the Old Gold, continuing improvements in both performances and points returns would be very welcome.

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Jordan Vickers;  Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman;  Jordan Knott;  Greg Walters;  Elliot Scotcher;  Lewis Harling (sub Declan Carroll 60);  Josh Bull (sub Craig Hanford 77);  Liam Thomas;  Luke Bowen;  

                                                                                                                                       

Unused Subs:  Chris Jones;  Gwion Howell;  Jay Woodford; 

Goal:  Liam Thomas (53);  

Cards:  (Y)  Dave Vincent (64);  

Game 4 JD Welsh Premier League

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Barry Town United (30 August 2019)

Carmarthen Town (0)   Barry Town United (1)  

Carmarthen, fresh from their impressive performance against a strong Connah’s Quay side, faced another in-form team, Barry Town United who were joint top of the Cymru Premier League going into this match.  However, worryingly, it soon became clear that the Old Gold appeared to have reverted to the form displayed in their disappointing defeats in their two opening fixtures against Aberystwyth and Newtown.

Yet Town actually made a promising start as they put early pressure on the United defence with frequent raids through the midfield – but despite reaching the penalty area on several occasions the Old Gold, in the face of some resolute defending, were unable to produce any serious scoring chances.  And, worryingly, their progress was often hampered by an increasingly familiar failing this season – giving the ball away all too easily.

Gradually the visitors began competing more effectively and the match became more evenly balanced.  It was now the home defenders as well who were forced to cope with the pressure generated by Barry’s lively strikers and initially they were successful – and ‘keeper Lee Idzi was never really tested.

Indeed, their first worrying moment only arose after 25 minutes when a long pass upfield bisected the Town back-line and was chased by Kayne McLaggon – but Idzi raced swiftly well out of his penalty area and cleared the ball safely away.

United continued to press forward and probe the home defence with methodical passing patterns and sharp bursts towards the penalty area – but, again, they faced stern resistance from a well-drilled defensive unit expertly marshalled by experienced central defenders Lee Surman and Dave Vincent.

Then on 30 minutes Jack Compton sent a fine pass across to Drew Fahiya on the corner of the penalty area and he drove the ball into the goalmouth where Vincent, with a timely intervention, cleared the danger.  The consequent corner-kick created chaos in the packed goalmouth until Idzi dived bravely down at Callum Sainty’s feet to claim the ball on the goal-line.

The only other notable scoring opportunity in the first-half arose in the 38th minute when Jonathan Hood, on the left flank, sent a searching cross towards the goalmouth where McLaggon sent his close-range header just wide of the post with Idzi well-placed to ensure the safety of his goal.  

After the interval the play initially was largely confined to the midfield with no notable goalmouth activity at either end of the pitch to enliven the proceedings.  But then on 58 minutes Town went close to opening the scoring when Declan Carroll cut in from the right flank and dispatched a fierce 20 yard strike that flew narrowly past the post.

Barry responded positively with several swift breaks which the Old Gold seemingly struggled to resist until the 69thminute when Robbie Patten played a short pass across to Clayton Green (one of three former Carmarthen players in the visitors’ match squad) who moved forward and then struck a wonderful 30 yard shot that flew beyond Idzi’s reach and into the top corner of the goal.

Shortly after that Idzi called for treatment for what appeared to be a lower leg injury and from then on he clearly struggled for the rest of the match.

The Old Gold immediately went in search of an equaliser by launching a series of penetrating attacks that kept the United defence under a fair amount of pressure.  On 77 minutes Greg Walters, out wide on the left flank, fired a dangerous cross into the penalty area where Liam Thomas turned sharply past his marker and produced a stunning angled drive that ‘keeper George Ratcliffe, at full-stretch, turned around the post.      

Then after 84 minutes Vickers sprinted along the right-wing then sent the ball across the edge of the penalty area to reach Thomas who saw his promising 15 yard volley fly marginally too high.

Moments later Walters cut inside from the left touchline and struck a rasping 30 yard drive that crashed against the foot of the post and rebounded safely away.  And as the match went into added time Elliot Scotcher fired a free-kick into the packed penalty area – the ball was cleared but claimed by Walters who struck a 20 yard drive high over the bar.

Sadly the Old Gold, when they managed not to lose possession carelessly, failed to capitalise on several decent scoring chances which cost them a share of the points which, on the overall balance of play, they probably deserved.

Town, disappointingly, have now secured only one point from their opening four League matches but this is not their worst points return at this early stage of the season.  As recently as the 2017/18 season all four games ended in defeat – however the downside is that this was the season at the end of which Carmarthen finished in the relegation places only to be reprieved, of course, as a result of FAW Licensing Regulations in relation to another club. 

The Old Gold now return to Richmond Park for their next CPL fixture against Cardiff Met on Saturday 7th k/o 2.30pm.   

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Jordan Vickers;  Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman;  Jordan Knott;  Declan Carroll (sub Chris Jones 71);  Elliot Scotcher;  Greg Walters;  Josh Bull (sub Ceri Morgan 57);  Liam Thomas;  Luke Bowen;  

                                                                                                                                       

Unused Subs:  Lewis Harling;  Jay Woodford;  Craig Hanford;  Tom Windsor (GK);  Lewis Rocke;  

Cards:  (Y)  Jordan Vickers (49);  Dave Vincent (64);  

   

      

Game 5 JD Welsh Premier League

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Cardiff Met (7 September 2019)

Carmarthen Town (2)   Cardiff Met (2)  

Carmarthen are still struggling to secure that elusive first victory of the season despite producing several spells of impressive attacking football that earned them the lead on two occasions – but each time Cardiff Met, joint top of the Cymru Premier League going into this match, fairly soon got back on level terms. 

From the start the game quickly developed into a fast-paced, end-to-end affair although there was no early prospect of any serious goalmouth action since both defences were dealing quite comfortably with the intermittent pressure.

It was only after 9 minutes that Town posed a threat when Greg Walters sent a fine cross-field pass out to Jordan Vickers who surged forward to reach the by-line then fired a dangerous cross into the goalmouth but ‘keeper Alex Lang was swiftly out of his goal to claim the ball just as Luke Bowen leapt high to challenge for a close-range header.

Straightaway the Met responded – moving swiftly upfield they finished a smart sequence of passes that led to Mael Davies, from 20 yards, releasing a crisp shot that went just over the bar.

Moments later the hosts threatened again – Lewis Harling slid the ball through to Declan Carroll who reached the edge of the penalty area then dispatched a promising strike that flew narrowly too high.

By this stage, as the pace of the game continued to quicken, the Old Gold were clearly enjoying the greater share of possession and territorial advantage – yet while their attractive approach play often took them towards the Met penalty area, they too often failed to produce that significant “final pass” that would unlock the opposition defence.

However at last, in the 22nd minute, they took a deserved lead when Carroll moved smartly in from the right touchline before sliding a fine pass across to defender Jordan Knott who, from 25 yards, struck a stunning drive that flew beyond Lang’s reach and into the corner of the net – this extends an ‘annual event’ for the adventurous defender who has scored once in each of the past three seasons all, however, from very close range!

Town continued to press forward in search of further success, driven by the commitment and creativity of midfielders Carroll, Harling, Elliot Scotcher and Walters – but no scoring chances emerged in the short-term.  The only opportunity arose after 31 minutes when Scotcher fired a free-kick into the crowded goalmouth where Liam Thomas produced a subtle glancing header that was turned past the far post by a defender.

Throughout most of the first-half Cardiff, typically, engaged in plenty of their familiar passing drills but generally they failed to make any meaningful progress against Carmarthen’s defence which remained sound and disciplined, ensuring that ‘keeper Lee Idzi was never seriously tested.  

But then, just as the first-half went into added time, a badly misplaced pass by Walters back towards his own penalty area was easily intercepted by Jordan Lam and, as Dave Vincent advanced to challenge him, he slid the ball across to Will Evans who from 15 yards and completely unmarked comfortably fired it past Idzi and into the net.

So, one regrettable moment of carelessness had undone all the good work that had been achieved in the previous 45 minutes.

After the interval the Old Gold once again began brightly. On 52 minutes Vincent threaded an excellent pass through to Harling who raced ahead of a defender to reach the edge of the penalty area then struck a rasping drive that defeated Lang but went just beyond the far post.

Then on 57 minutes Thomas, from near the centre-circle, sent a long pass forward to Bowen who sprinted towards the corner of the penalty area then dispatched a powerful angled shot that Lang instinctively turned aside.                           

However moments later Town regained the lead with a truly outstanding goal. Harling, from inside his own half, produced a huge lofted pass that set Bowen racing clear of defenders and towards the penalty area – then, noticing that Lang had come well out of his goal, the experienced striker produced a sensational 30 yard lofted volley that sailed over the stranded ‘keeper and into the far top corner of the net.  

The Old Gold continued this very welcome spell of sustained attacking when on 64 minutes Carroll, near the left touchline, fired a huge cross deep into the goalmouth where Bowen, at the far post, rose high above his marker and produced a powerful close-range header that defeated Lang but, sadly, crashed against the bar and rebounded safely away.

Having luckily survived that latest threat on their goal, the Met began to press forward with greater intent than at any earlier stage of the second-half.  But initially they were again faced with some formidable Town defending, amongst which the experienced central pairing of Vincent and Lee Surman were particularly influential, and the visitors failed to trouble Idzi in any meaningful way. 

However in the 81st minute they at last levelled the score for the second time in this match.  From the left touchline Dion Phillips played the ball across to Davies who moved forward then from 25 yards struck an impressive drive that flew beyond Idzi’s reach and into the top corner of the net.

So for the second successive match a recent former Carmarthen player (the other was Clayton Green for Barry Town) has returned to Richmond Park to frustrate the Old Gold by scoring a late goal, incredibly from roughly the same distance in the same top corner of the same net!

While the Met continued to press forward in the final stages, they were capably resisted by the Town defence.

In recent successive matches Carmarthen have competed well against the current two top teams in the CPL and, similarly, before that against a consistently strong Connah's Quay side – two drawn games and one narrow defeat were the outcome.  In future matches however, if costly individual errors can be eradicated then surely a far healthier points return could be achieved.

Town’s next fixture is on Saturday 7th September (k/o 2.30pm) at Cefn Druids.

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Jordan Vickers;  Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman;  Jordan Knott;  Declan Carroll (sub Chris Jones 67);  Lewis Harling;  Elliot Scotcher;  Greg Walters (sub Ceri Morgan 81);  Liam Thomas;  Luke Bowen (sub Josh Bull 86);

                                                                                                                                       

Unused Subs:  Jay Woodford;  Craig Hanford;  Tom Windsor (GK);  Lewis Rocke;  

Cards:  (Y)  Elliot Scotcher (42);  Jordan Vickers (49);  

Goals:  Jordan Knott (22);  Luke Bowen (59);  

 

Additional Note:   Liam Thomas makes his 200th WPL appearance for Carmarthen Town  

 

This was the 200th WPL appearance (ie start) that Liam Thomas has made for Carmarthen Town – this is not only a landmark achievement in itself, but also it takes him above Paul Fowler (on 199) who has been at the top of the Club's all-time appearances list since the end of the 2014/15 season.

Liam first appeared for the Old Gold in a pre-season friendly against West End in July 2012 – he scored after just 8 minutes and went on to get a hat-trick.  And he has been scoring goals, prolifically, ever since. 

In his first WPL match that season, against Aberystwyth, he came on as a substitute in the 60th minute and scored the winning goal.

Later that season in his first League Cup match (against Bryntirion) he scored both goals in a 2-0 victory and a few weeks later in his first Welsh Cup match he repeated that feat when he scored twice in a 2-1 win at Holyhead.

At the end of the of the 2012/13 season Liam had scored 21 League and Cup goals and was Town’s top goal-scorer, an achievement that he has repeated in all but one of the six seasons ever since – in 2013/14 he scored 14 League and Cup goals but was eclipsed by Christian Doidge with 18 goals.

And, notably, last season was his most productive of all, finishing with a total of 26 goals (24 WPL plus 2 Welsh Cup).  If that were not impressive enough, on February 15th at Llanelli he scored his first ever competitive hat-trick – then, having waited for almost seven seasons and some 225 League and Cup matches to achieve that feat, he repeated it just seven games later against Aberystwyth in the final match of the season at Richmond Park.

Of similar significance that season was his goal against Llandudno in April which took his total to 19 thereby surpassing the previous, long-standing Carmarthen record for WPL goals in a single season held jointly by Danny Thomas (2007/08) and Richard Parker (1999/00).

   

And to cap (literally) his outstanding season Liam was awarded his first Wales ‘C’ international cap for the match against England ‘C’ in March.

In addition, it is worth noting that Liam has missed only one WPL match (due to suspension for a fixture at Cefn Druids in November 2016) in the past four seasons which is testimony to his impressive form and fitness over these years.

Game 6 JD Welsh Premier League

Match Report – Cefn Druids v Carmarthen Town (14 September 2019)

Cefn Druids (3)  Carmarthen Town (3)  

 

Carmarthen made the long trek to Cefn Druids in the knowledge that they travelled without a recognised goalkeeper due to Lee Idzi's withdrawal through injury and the unavailability of young Tom Windsor.  Fortunately, however, Town had an eager volunteer to stand in the keeper's role in defender Jordan Knott who being a keen cricketer displayed all his catching skills and showed a fair deal of confidence in his role throughout.

The recent improved form of Town's performances was very much in evidence as they displayed a determined approach,despite their shortcomings before the game, and for large parts of the game, the team initiated a series of flowing moves that had the Druids very much on the back foot throughout.

Town opened brightly and when in the 3rd minute Declan Carroll lofted a weighted diagonal pass to the overlapping Greg Walters who blazed over.

Knott wasn't needed until the 12th minute. when he quickly picked up a loose through ball on the edge of his box. Though it was only a minute later when he picked the ball out of his net after Ramirez Howarth caught everyone unawares when his snap shot from 20 yards flew into the corner of the goal.

Only two minutes later Town were awarded a penalty when the referee adjudged that Liam Thomas was pushed in the back trying to control a bouncing ball – Thomas dispatched the spot kick with his usual aplomb.

Town were looking dangerous as the game progressed and deservedly took the lead in the 19th minute when a lovely weighted cross from Elliot Scotcher was headed in by the onrushing Luke Bowen.

In the 28th minute, after quick footwork by Carroll, Thomas took the ball and slid in a sublime pass for Bowen who advanced on the home goal but, though beating the ‘keeper, saw his shot cannon off the post.

The Druids, try as they might, could not break through Town's defence which was superbly held together by Lee Surman and Dave Vincent at the heart and ably supported by full backs Walters and Jordan Vickers.

Knott was only needed on two occasions during the rest of this half when he collected a through ball before Pape Diakhite could profit from it and later when he did well to collect a low cross in a crowded goalmouth. 

Town started the second half as they had finished the first – in the 47th minute Bowen received a threaded ball from Thomas it looked ominous for the home side but Bowen, with only the ‘keeper to beat, slid his effort wide of the target.

The Druids team were growing in frustration as the match wore on in trying to get a foothold in the game and brought on the experienced Matty Owen and the effervescent Tyrone Ofori in the 52nd minute.

They only had to wait a short while for a change in the scoreline and in the 62nd minute Howarth showed quick feet in beating two would-be tackles, cut in from the right wing before unleashing a left footed 25 yard effort that nestled in the far corner of Town's goal.

Frustratingly and disappointingly for Town, the same player scored an almost copycat goal just a minute after to restore the home side's lead, very much against the run of play.

Rather than accept this fate, Town's midfield of Lewis Harling, Scotcher, Ceri Morgan and Carroll raised their game to another level and Scotcher was unlucky not to level the scores when put through by Bowen he fired over from 15 yards with an angled shot.

With their midfield almost in complete control Town continued to create chances and in the 77th minute deservedly drew level when a superb cross from substitute Chris Jones carved open the home defence leaving Bowen to gleefully bundle in at the far post.

Town again broke through the home defence when the grafting Thomas cut in from the right but saw his low cross to the far post, where two Town players were waiting, superbly cut out by Michael Jones in goal and the ball was hastily cleared for a corner before any Town player could react.

For Town, this really was an upbeat performance complemented by several players having undoubtedly their best performances of the season so far. It speaks volumes for the spirit in the squad when after being dealt a blow in going into the game with the loss of a regular ‘keeper, and then going behind on two occasions, they fought back to more than fully deserve their share of the spoils. 

Next Saturday (21st September k/o 2.30pm) they face reigning champions TNS at Richmond Park in a completely different type of challenge as they attempt to try and climb up from their current League position.

Team:

Jordan Knott;  Jordan Vickers;  Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman;  Greg Walters;  Declan Carroll;  Lewis Harling (sub Chris Jones 71);  Elliot Scotcher;  Ceri Morgan;  Liam Thomas;  Luke Bowen;

Unused subs:  Josh Bull;  Danny Thomas;  Craig Hanford;  Lewis Rocke;  

Cards:  None

Goals:  Liam Thomas (pen 15);  Luke Bowen (19, 77);  

Game 7 JD Welsh Premier League

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v The New Saints (21 September 2019)

Carmarthen Town (2)  The New Saints (6) 

For 15 glorious minutes after the start of this match, with Carmarthen’s spirited part-timers having already taken a two-goal lead over perpetual Welsh Premier League champions and full-time professionals The New Saints, the Town supporters were entitled to anticipate that something special was unfolding – but then, sadly, the harsh realities of life in this League quickly began to emerge and, despite a very commendable performance from the Old Gold, TNS eventually cruised to a comfortable victory.     

For the second successive match Town were without experienced goalkeeper Lee Idzi due to injury – deputising on this occasion was Academy player Tom Windsor making his first competitive appearance but far from being overawed by the occasion he produced an outstanding performance laced with a series of impressive saves.

From the outset the Saints slipped straight into their familiar game pattern, dominating possession and patiently building pressure before incisively probing the Old Gold defence.  But it soon became clear that Town were set up to counter that approach by defending deeply and packing the midfield with a five-man unit that not only provided a further defensive shield but also launched promising counter-attacks whenever the opportunity arose – consequently Luke Bowen, was effectively left to operate as the solitary nominal striker.

The first significant goalmouth action occurred on 6 minutes when Kurtis Byrne, from 15 yards, released a crisp shot that took a deflection off defender Lee Surman which forced Windsor into producing a superb reflex save before the ball was cleared safely away.

Yet soon afterwards, following a rare excursion deep into the TNS half, Town took a surprise lead when the ball was played into the penalty area where, inexplicably, neither goalkeeper Paul Harrison nor two defenders reacted to the danger but simply watched as Bowen capitalised on their collective indecision by gratefully firing the loose ball into the empty net.

And moments later, in the 11th minute, it got even better for the Old Gold – once more with some welcome help from the League champions.  Elliot Scotcher fired a free-kick into the crowded penalty area and saw Saints defender Jon Routledge divert the ball past Harrison and into the back of the net.

However that further setback for the visitors was soon remedied – on 16 minutes Adrian Cieslewicz burst past Jordan Vickers on the left flank and into the penalty area then crossed the ball invitingly into the goalmouth where Aeron Edwards, unmarked, had the simple task of heading it into the roof of the net.

The Saints continued their patient progress through the midfield yet, faced with the resilience and determination of the Old Gold defence, they struggled initially to create further clear-cut scoring chances.  But, after 23 minutes, following a right-wing cross from Kane Lewis the ball eventually reached Edwards just inside the penalty area and the lively striker dispatched a fierce angled volley that Windsor, with a spectacular flying save, turned safely away.    

Town were now eagerly counter-attacking at every opportunity and on 28 minutes they went close to extending their lead when Scotcher, from the centre-circle, launched a fine cross-field pass that Bowen chased to the by-line – he crossed the ball into the goalmouth where Liam Thomas arrived at speed but just narrowly failed to connect for a simple tap-in chance.       

Then in the 34th minute Town were again indebted to their young ‘keeper when Chris Marriott’s searching free-kick deep into the penalty area found Edwards who produced a smart close-range header that Windsor, with an impressive reflex save, tipped over the bar.

But shortly afterwards even he was powerless to prevent the visitors from levelling the scores. Marriott raced into the penalty area and drove the ball across the goalmouth where prolific striker Greg Draper, unmarked, stabbed it into the roof of the net.

After the interval TNS made a lively start and soon took the lead when Byrne sent a dangerous cross into the goalmouth where Draper, at the near post, reacted quicker than any defender and confidently fired the ball past Windsor and into the net.

They then proceeded to largely control the game as Town’s attacking opportunities became far less frequent, not least because they managed so few spells of meaningful possession. On 50 minutes the Saints looked certain to add a fourth goal when Draper raced clear of the Carmarthen back-four and into the penalty area only to be denied a straightforward scoring chance by Windsor who bravely dived down at the striker’s feet to claim the ball.  Then after 56 minutes Cieslewicz sent a corner-kick into the crowded goalmouth where Marriott saw his goal-bound header diverted against the bar by Vickers before the ball bounced safely away.

Shortly afterwards the Old Gold had a rare scoring chance when Lewis Harling, from the half-way line, opened up the Saints defence with a fine pass that set Bowen racing forward along the left-flank – but sadly his attempt to cross the ball to Thomas, arriving at speed on the edge of the penalty area, was badly misplaced and the chance was lost.

TNS, however, were far more clinical whenever opportunities arose.  On 66 minutes a clearance from the Town penalty area landed nicely for Byrne who instantly struck a stunning 30 yard drive beyond Windsor’s reach and into the top corner of the goal. 

And after 75 minutes they further extended their lead when a poor clearance by Surman was easily claimed by Marriott – he gave possession to Edwards who slipped all too easily past two defenders then neatly side-stepped Windsor and fired the ball into the empty net. It then got even worse for the hosts on 80 minutes when Edwards’ fine pass set Byrne sprinting clear and into the penalty area before drilling the ball past Windsor from close range.        

However the young goalkeeper saved the Old Gold from yet further embarrassment in the closing minutes of the match.  Firstly, a slick TNS passing move finished with Josh Bailey striking a close-range shot that Windsor expertly blocked on the goal-line – then moments later Ethan Short struck a fierce 20 yard drive that the youngster turned aside with another stunning flying save.  This concluded a busy, but highly impressive, first-team debut for the Academy ‘keeper – something for Town supporters to savour after this disappointing result.                                                                                                                       

Team:

Tom Windsor;  Jordan Vickers;  Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman;  Jordan Knott;  Greg Walters (sub Josh Bull 69);  Ceri Morgan;   Elliot Scotcher;  Lewis Harling (sub Lewis Rocke 87);  Liam Thomas;  Luke Bowen (sub Chris Jones 77);  

Unused subs:  Neil Smothers;  Danny Thomas;  Craig Hanford;   

Goals:  Luke Bowen (8);  OG [Jon Routledge] (11); 

MG NATHANIEL CUP R3

Match Report – Briton Ferry Llansawel v Carmarthen Town (24 September 2019)

Briton Ferry Llansawel (0)  Carmarthen Town (2) – Nathanial MG League Cup R3

Carmarthen progressed to the League Cup Quarter-Finals with a relatively comfortable victory over Cymru South side Briton Ferry thanks to two opportunist goals from lively striker Josh Bull who was making his first starting appearance since signing for the Old Gold in the summer.  And there was another start for Academy goal-keeper Tom Windsor who impressed on his debut just three days earlier against current WPL Champions The New Saints. 

Town started positively, dominating possession with some slick passing patterns and patiently building pressure on the home defence which, initially, remained secure.  However gradually the Reds began competing far better and the pace of game quickened as it soon developed into an entertaining end-to-end affair.  Yet still, no genuine scoring opportunities arose often due to a poor “final pass” or simply sound defending by the opposition.  

Then at last, on 22 minutes, Greg Walters pierced the Reds’ defence with a sublime pass that set Jordan Knott racing free into the penalty area only for defender Sam Baker to produce a remarkable late intervention and clear the ball safely away.

The home side eventually managed a scoring effort after 39 minutes but following Stephen Davey’s corner-kick Harri Horwood, from close-range, misdirected his looping header which Windsor carefully watched sail over the bar.

Moments later Ceri Morgan, after some neat footwork that bewildered his marker, sent the ball across to Bull who from wide in the penalty area struck a fierce drive towards the goalmouth that ‘keeper Callum Williamson scrambled clear from in front of goal.  And Bull, with his searing pace and startling mobility, would go on to torment the Reds defenders for the rest of the match.     

Then in the 42nd minute the Old Gold deservedly took the lead.  Chris Jones, from near the centre-circle, produced a perfectly judged lofted pass that Bull, having outpaced a defender, reached just on the edge of the penalty area – he then calmly and confidently fired the ball past Williamson and into the corner of the net.  

After the interval Town again took the early initiative and were soon rewarded with a second goal on 50 minutes.  Elliot Scotcher, from the half-way line, sent a searching pass forward to Bull who raced away from his marker with embarrassing ease and then, from just inside the penalty area, struck a stunning volley that flew past Williamson and into the roof of the net.

However, as earlier, the match soon became a more evenly-balanced affair although the hosts were still unable to penetrate the Old Gold defence in any meaningful way.

Indeed the next notable action arose on 63 minutes when Morgan played an exceptional long pass forward to all-time top scorer Liam Thomas who had only just come off the substitutes’ bench – he slipped effortlessly past his marker on the corner of the penalty area and then dispatched a rasping drive that Williamson blocked on the goal-line.  Bull, ever-alert to a scoring opportunity, pounced on the loose ball and from a very tight angle fired it across the face of the goal but saw it fly just beyond the far post.

Belatedly the Reds began again to compete more purposefully, launching a series of attacks led by former Carmarthen striker Mark Jones.  After 78 minutes Jones slipped neatly past both Walters and Dave Vincent on the edge of the penalty area then released a promising 15 yard drive that flew beyond Windsor’s reach but struck the foot of the post – the rebound went straight to Cameron Harris who instantly fired an angled shot that slid just beyond the far post.

The hosts continued to search for a late goal and on 87 minutes Jones played the ball across the edge of the penalty area only to see Harris send his sharp volley narrowly too high.

Yet the Old Gold were still very much searching for further goals and in the 89th minute Morgan, from well within his own half, produced an excellent through-ball that set Thomas sprinting towards the Reds’ penalty area before then dispatching a 25 yard strike that flew beyond Williamson’s reach but, sadly, marginally wide of the goal.

However the final action of the match was at the other end of the pitch – on 91 minutes Harris won the ball off Vincent on the edge of the penalty area then struck a fierce drive that Windsor, with a marvellous flying save, turned around the post.

Carmarthen have been drawn to face old rivals Aberystwyth in the Quarter-Final match which will be played at Richmond Park on a date yet to be arranged.  Further success there would leave Town just one step away from reaching the League Cup Final for the fifth time in the Club’s history.  

 

Team:

Tom Windsor;  Jordan Vickers; Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman (sub Lewis Rocke 84);  Jordan Knott (sub Cairan Smith 75);  Declan Carroll;  Ceri Morgan;  Elliot Scotcher (sub Liam Thomas 61);  Greg Walters;  Josh Bull;  Chris Jones; 

Unused subs: Luke Bowen;  Lewis Harling;  Danny Thomas;  Craig Hanford;   

Cards:  (Y)  Lee Surman (14); 

Goals:  Josh Bull (42, 50);    

Game 8 JD Welsh Premier League

Match Report – Airbus UK v Carmarthen Town (28 September 2019)

Airbus UK (1)  Carmarthen Town (0)  

Carmarthen, after a generally disappointing opening to this season, went into this match following on from much improved performances against Cefn Druids and The New Saints – not surprisingly this gave the loyal group of Town supporters who had made the long trip to North Wales good reason to believe that against Airbus UK, the team at the bottom of the Cymru Premier League, goals and valuable points would be secured.  How misguided they were!

From the start the game quickly developed into a fast-paced, end-to-end affair although there was no early prospect of any serious goalmouth action since both defences were dealing quite comfortably with the intermittent pressure.  In addition, a fierce swirling wind made playing conditions unpredictable.

But, worryingly, Town’s progress was also often hampered by a familiar failing from earlier this season – surrendering possession to the opposition all too easily.

And on 21 minutes this led directly to the only goal of the match.  Defender Jordan Vickers, with Airbus striker Andy Owens close-by, was near the corner of the penalty area moving towards his own goal and shielding the ball seemingly uncertain what to do with it – but Owens had no such uncertainty as he easily stole the ball from Vickers and promptly fired it past goalkeeper Lee Idzi and into the back of the net.  

The earlier pattern of the game straightaway resumed and as the play shifted quickly from end to end a number of half-decent scoring chances for both teams were created and squandered thus providing graphic evidence why these Clubs have remained at or close to the basement of the CPL this season. 

Yet eventually, in the closing stages of the first-half, the Old Gold actually enjoyed a spell of relative dominance.  In the 35th minute Greg Walters, who had only been on the field a few minutes as a substitute for the injured Elliot Scotcher, played the ball across to Jordan Knott who moved forward towards the penalty area then dispatched a fierce 25 yard drive that flew beyond the reach of goalkeeper Lewis Hall but went narrowly over the bar.

Shortly afterwards, Chris Jones fired a corner-kick into the crowded penalty area and although the ball was cleared it went straight to Knott who produced a long-range strike that flew marginally too high,

And on 45 minutes the adventurous defender slid a fine pass through to Luke Bowen who moved into the penalty area and swerved neatly past a defender but from a wide position he fired the ball into the side netting.

Soon after the interval Owens and Alex Darlington, with a neat interchange of passes deep inside the Old Gold half, forged an early chance that finished with the tall striker, on the edge of the penalty area, driving a rasping shot which Idzi carefully watched slide just beyond the post.

Then on 51 minutes Jones, from the left touchline, sent an inviting free-kick into the packed goalmouth where Bowen planted a strong close-range header into the back of the net only for the referee to curtail Town’s celebrations by disallowing the “goal” for an infringement on the ‘keeper.

After 64 minutes the Wingmakers went close to extending their lead when Vickers’ weak attempt to clear the ball allowed Ryan Edwards to take possession – his swift pass set Darlington sprinting into the penalty area before returning the ball to Edwards who struck a promising shot that Walters, with an exceptional intervention, managed to divert narrowly outside the post. 

However the Old Gold were still pressing forward in their increasingly desperate search for an equaliser yet even with the additional pace and mobility of substitute Josh Bull they continued to struggle against the resolute Airbus defence.

But, eventually, in the 78th minute they scored that elusive equaliser – or so it seemed.  Knott, on the left flank, sent a long cross-field pass to the edge of the penalty area to reach Bull who neatly slid the ball towards the goalmouth where Bowen, racing in, struck a crisp angled drive past Hall and into the back of the net.  However, once again the match officials intervened to spoil the visitors’ moment of success by ruling that Bowen had been off-side.

Carmarthen, undaunted, commendably persevered and deep into added time they had a final scoring opportunity when Bowen ambitiously attempted a long-range free-kick that flew some distance off-target.  That just about summed up a fairly miserable match that Town supporters had endured – and they still had a 3½ hour return journey home ahead of them!

The next fixture for the Old Gold is at Richmond Park on Saturday October 5th (k/o 2.30pm) when the visitors are Connah’s Quay.     

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Jordan Vickers;  Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman;  Jordan Knott;  Chris Jones (sub Josh Bull 69);  Ceri Morgan;  Elliot Scotcher (sub Greg Walters 31);  Lewis Harling;  Liam Thomas;  Luke Bowen;  

Unused subs:  Tom Windsor (GK);  Lewis Rocke;  Cai Smith;                                                                                                                                                                             

Cards:  (Y)  Danny Thomas (71);  

Game 9 JD Welsh Premier League

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Connah’s Quay (5 October 2019)

Carmarthen Town (1)    Connah’s Quay (2)  

After this narrow defeat Carmarthen are still waiting for their first win of the Cymru Premier League season.  However against a strong Connah’s Quay side they produced a refreshingly spirited performance that lacked essentially just one key ingredient – more consistent clinical finishing.  And that was despite Manager Danny Thomas starting with three recognised strikers.

In the opening stages the play was quite evenly-balanced and largely confined to the midfield – while the Nomads twice posed a threat with crosses into the Old Gold penalty area, on each occasion the home defenders comfortably protected their goal.

However in the 11th minute the match came to life when lively midfielder Greg Walters, from the centre-circle, threaded a sublime pass through to Liam Thomas who held off the challenge of defender George Horan as he sprinted into the penalty area and from 12 yards confidently drove the ball past ‘keeper Lewis Brass and into the back of the net.

But shortly afterwards Town suffered a significant setback when key central defender Dave Vincent sustained an apparently serious facial injury after an aerial challenge – following lengthy treatment he was substituted by midfielder Declan Carroll with Walters moving into a reorganised back-four.

And soon, on 25 minutes, the Nomads capitalised on that defensive disruption when Danny Holmes, from near the right touchline, delivered a free-kick into the crowded penalty area which the Old Gold defence failed to clear allowing Michael Bakare to fire the loose ball beyond the reach of ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the corner of the net.

While the visitors continued to look a threat with their rapid breaks from the midfield, particularly when Bakare utilised his pace and movement to good effect, Carmarthen too were eagerly swarming upfield at every opportunity where their triple spearhead of Luke Bowen, Thomas and newcomer Josh Bull kept the Nomads’ defenders fully engaged.

And after 22 minutes they went close to restoring their lead when Carroll’s prodigious throw into the packed penalty area was cleared but only as far as Walters – he then struck a 20 yard shot that was deflected towards Bull but his instant close-range effort was blocked by Brass on the goal-line. 

Yet in the 34th minute it seemed certain that the Old Gold would regain the lead.  Ceri Morgan, from the half-way line, sent a fine pass forward which Bowen chased to the edge of the penalty area – as Brass advanced from his goal the experienced striker neatly chipped the ball over the stranded ‘keeper and towards the invitingly empty net only to see Callum Morris race back to make a remarkable timely intervention and clear the ball safely away.

And Carmarthen continued this welcome spell of pressure when moments later Carroll lifted a long free-kick into the crowded penalty area where Lee Surman got ahead of his marker and planted a looping header narrowly over the bar.  

After the interval the Nomads started brightly – on 48 minutes Owen fired a long free-kick into the packed penalty area to find George Horan who headed the ball on towards the goalmouth where Michael Wilde connected with a close-range shot that Idzi was smartly down to claim.

And the visitors continued to increase pressure on the Town defence which, while initially coping well, eventually conceded a second goal in the 64th minute – Nathan Woolfe moved in from the right touchline then fired a high cross into the penalty area where, worryingly, Bakare found the time and space to control the ball on the edge of the goal area before driving it crisply past Idzi and into the corner of the net.

Stung by that setback the Old Gold began to look more competitive again although decent scoring opportunities, against a typically formidable Connah's Quay defence, were very limited.  However after 77 minutes Carroll’s smart pass set Lewis Harling racing along the right flank before he played the ball invitingly across the edge of the goal area where Bull, arriving at speed ahead of any defenders, narrowly failed to connect for a straightforward tap-in chance.          

And in the final few minutes Bull was presented with another opportunity but saw his smart close-range drive blocked in front of the goal by defender Callum Roberts.

So, after 9 CPL matches Carmarthen remain rooted at the bottom of the League table with just 3 points – the only team without a win so far.  Yet all but one of those six defeats have been by only a single goal margin and even the 6-2 loss against TNS flattered the League Champions and certainly did not reflect the overall balance of play on that day  – there is reason to hope! 

Town’s next fixture is at Bala on Saturday 12th October (k/o 2.30pm). 

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Jordan Vickers (sub Cai Smith 78);  Dave Vincent (sub Declan Carroll 20);  Lee Surman;  Jordan Knott;  Greg Walters;  Ceri Morgan;  Lewis Harling (sub Chris Jones 84);  Josh Bull;  Liam Thomas;  Luke Bowen;  

Unused subs:  Craig Hanford;  Tom Windsor (GK);  Lewis Rocke;            

Goal:  Liam Thomas (11);

Cards:  (Y)  Luke Bowen (31);  Jordan Vickers (49);  Lewis Harling (60);  Greg Walters (65);  Declan Carroll (68);   

Game 10 JD Welsh Premier League

Match Report – Bala Town v Carmarthen Town (12 October 2019)

Bala Town (2)  Carmarthen Town (1)  

Carmarthen, as so often in this Cymru Premier League season so far, once more produced another very competitive performance against a strong top six club but eventually suffered a narrow defeat largely due to their failure to capitalise on several decent scoring chances.

As the opening stages of the match unfolded Bala progressively dominated the play, monopolising possession and launching a series of attacks that kept the Old Gold largely pinned back inside their own half.  Yet their defensive back-line, well-marshalled by Lee Surman and Dave Vincent, initially coped well under that pressure while just ahead of them further valuable support was provided by combative midfielders Greg Walters and Ceri Morgan.  As a result no serious scoring chances emerged and ‘keeper Lee Idzi was never really tested.

However all that changed in the 13th minute when the Lakesiders took the lead following a moment of impressive approach play from Sean Smith – he received the ball from Kieran Smith just inside the penalty area then effortlessly swerved past Vincent and Morgan before sending the ball across to Louis Robles who from 15 yards struck a crisp shot that defeated Idzi and finished in the back of the net.

Stung by that setback, Town began to press forward with greater intensity seeking to exploit the pace and mobility of strikers Luke Bowen and Josh Bull.  And on 26 minutes they levelled the scores when a fine pass from Chris Jones reached Bull near the corner flag – he produced some stunning footwork that bewildered defender Smith and then sprinted into the penalty area before dispatching a rasping angled drive that flew past ‘keeper Ashley Morris and into the far corner of the net.   

The Old Gold maintained their renewed competitiveness in midfield and continued to probe the strong Bala defence but apart from having to make a couple of routine saves Morris was never put under serious pressure.

And then the balance of the match once more turned in the Lakesiders’ favour when in the 37th minute they regained the lead.  Smith moved towards the half-way line then played the ball forward to Robles on the wide edge of the penalty area – he then delivered a dangerous cross into the goalmouth where experienced striker Chris Venables arrived, completely unhindered by any Town defender, and volleyed the ball past Idzi and into the net.

After the interval Carmarthen had an early chance to score when on 55 minutes Surman launched a huge free-kick into the packed penalty area only for a home defender to slice an attempted clearance just wide of the post – Chris Jones then fired the resultant corner-kick deep to the far side of the goalmouth where Surman directed his close-range header narrowly over the bar. 

The end-to-end pattern of play continued when, after 65 minutes, Robles sent the ball forward to Henry Jones on the edge of the penalty area but his smart strike similarly flew too high.

Then on 74 minutes Morgan directed a long free-kick towards the penalty area where Bull neatly played the ball across to Bowen who instantly dispatched a smart volley that slid marginally wide of the near post.

[Note:  That was Bull’s final contribution in this, notably, his first starting appearance for Carmarthen in a League match.  Yet perhaps of greater significance is that the player he replaced, Liam Thomas, consequently failed to start a WPL match for the first time since November 13th 2016 at Cefn Druids (due to suspension) - since then he has started every one of Town’s 90 League matches which is testimony to his form, fitness and discipline over the past 3 years.  And there is no likelihood of this record being eclipsed in the very near future since of the current playing squad Lee Surman now holds this record with 31 consecutive starting appearances since October 20th 2018.]

Bala soon responded when in the 79th minute Henry Jones’ corner-kick into the packed goalmouth was met by Venables who produced a subtle glancing header that Idzi, diving quickly down, claimed on the goal-line. 

And then after 84 minutes Town’s experienced ‘keeper was called-on twice in quick succession as the hosts searched for another goal that would ensure victory.  First, Robles burst into the penalty area and struck a close-range shot that Idzi spectacularly turned around the post with an excellent reflex save – then moments later Henry Jones sent another inviting cross into the penalty area where Robles produced a promising 15 yard header that Idzi, again demonstrating impressive reactions, tipped over the bar.

Yet the Old Gold were equally anxious for a late goal that would earn them a valuable point.  On 88 minutes Walters’ long free-kick found Chris Jones on the far side of the penalty area and he promptly lifted the ball back beyond the goalmouth where Jordan Vickers, from a seemingly good position, volleyed it over the bar.

Then as the match went into added time Town threatened again when from Knott’s huge throw-in the ball reached Morgan out wide in the penalty area – he instantly released a fierce angled volley but saw Morris drop smartly down to claim possession.

So, while this result (yet another single goal defeat) lifted Bala into third place in the CPL table, Carmarthen remain firmly rooted at the bottom – only small margins between these teams on the field, but huge consequences off it!    

Town’s next fixture is against Aberystwyth on Friday 18th October (k/o 8.00pm) at Richmond Park – this match is to be televised live on Sgorio S4C. 

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Jordan Knott;  Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman;  Cai Smith (sub Jordan Vickers 73);  Greg Walters;  Ceri Morgan;  Lewis Harling; Chris Jones;  Josh Bull (sub Liam Thomas 76);  Luke Bowen; 

Unused subs:  Jay Woodford;  Craig Hanford;  Tom Windsor (GK);         

Goal:  Josh Bull (26);

Cards:  (Y)  Lewis Harling (22);  Greg Walters (59);  

 

HEAD OF COACHING

Carmarthen Town AFC invite applicants to our new 'Head of Coaching' Role within our club. As a club we see this as an exciting time and look forward to the new role developing and benefiting not only us as a club, but within the local community too. 

If you have any questions, please contact Sean Cresser who's details are at the bottom of this page. 

 Job Description 

Job title: 

Head of Coaching

Full Time/Part Time: 

 Full Time

Indicative Salary Range: 

Dependant on experience and qualifications

Location: 

Based at Richmond Park 

Responsible to: 

 Club Senior Officals, Academy Director and Academy Administrator

Valid from: 

Immediate Start

BACKGROUND TO THE JOB 

The FAW Academy programme represents the highest level of youth development football in the domestic game in Wales. The FAW Academy programme has developed through the UEFA Club Licensing scheme, which was introduced in the 2003/04 season. It is mandatory for the 12 JD Welsh Premier League Clubs to operate an accredited FAW Academy and to annually comply with the FAW Academy Regulations.  All 12 JD Welsh Premier League clubs can access annual funding from the UEFA Solidarity Fund for Youth Development and an element of this money has been ring fenced for the newly created role of Head of Coaching.

PURPOSE OF THE JOB 

·       To develop players &Increase the amount of better players in Wales 

·       To establish a sustainable system and approach to coach development within the Academy.

·       To develop coaches so that they improve and perform to the best of their potential and are consequently able to maximise the potential of the players that they work with.

·       To develop community links so that sustainable relationships are built and perform to the best of their potential.

COMPETENCIES REQUIRED

·       A strong background in football coaching, player development and coach education;

·       Knowledge and understanding of providing TNAs, formal feedback and development/delivery of CPD programmes;

·       Proven ability to implement and develop football programmes and philosophy;

·       Proven ability to develop and commission community based football initiatives; 

·       Strengths in planning and time management;

·       Experience in recruitment, relationship building;

·       Ability to form strong and operational teams; 

·       Excellent interpersonal and communications skills;

·       Experience in stakeholder and partnership management;

·       Proven leadership and supervisory management experience;

·       Strategy and policy development, implementation and reporting;

·       Ability to be self-directed and work on own initiative;

·       Appropriate IT competencies;

·       Ability to present/report effectively to Head of Academy and Board/Panel members;

·       Spoken and written Welsh desirable;

·       Willing to work unsociable hours and weekends;

·       Full driving licence.

QUALIFICATIONS 

Essential 

·       UEFA A Licence or Working Towards

·       FAW Accredited Tutor or Willingness to Working Towards

Desirable

·       Educated to Degree Level or Equivalent

·       Level 3 Accredited Tutor

·       Level 3 Mentor & Assessor

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTABILITIES (Academy Focus)

To work with the FAW Trust as a key strategic partner to deliver:

Coach Development 

·       Build relationships within the Academy and wider community. 

·       Deliver coach development support within the Academy and wider community. This could include:

-       Researching current trends of coaching/teaching, player development, and industry best practice to inform practice within the Academy as directed by the Academy Director

-       Training needs analysis of all coaches current and required level of performance in  conjunction with the Academy Director

-       Formal program of observation to provide effective feedback to include individual coach action plans in Liaison with the Academy Director

·       Development and delivery of an innovative CPD program for all coaching staff within the Academy under guidance of the Academy Director

·       Work as a FAW/UEFA Coach Educator within the FAW Trust Coach Education Strategy.

Player Development 

·       Work with the Head of Academy on the implementation and development of the Academy playing philosophy across all phases;

·       Work with the Head of Academy to manage player progression and retention, de-registration, and signing of new players;

·       Ensure the delivery of a robust games program across all phases;

·       Ensure the delivery of a robust Skill Acquisition Program for foundation U9 – U12 age groups.

 

Support Staff

·       Build effective relationships across the multi-disciplinary teams within the Academy; to include Analysis/Medical/Sport Science Support/Education & Welfare. 

·       Ensure effective working across multi-disciplinary teams through education and promoting relevant benefits. To include Analysis/Medical/Sport Science Support/Education & Welfare. 

Evidence Based Reporting

·       Report (within agreed timelines) to the Head of Academy on overall progress and development within the Academy and represent collective views on the future development and direction of the coaching programs.

·       Report (within agreed timelines) to the WPL Board/Panel on overall progress and development within the Academy. 

·       Agree to and fulfil all requirements of the FAW/FAW Trust/WPLA auditing process.

Talent I.D.

·       Create a process to ensure the best players in the area attend the Academy 

·       Understand and recognise the Talent ID Pathway within the FAW Trust/ FAW Programmes;

·       Create Talent ID working group within the Academy inclusive of all age groups Head Coaches;

·       Collate player lists for all Academy related age groups ready for Regional/ National nomination;

·       Attend ALL Talent ID related CPD workshops/ courses when required;

·       Liaise with the National Talent ID Manager on all aspects of Talent ID.

 

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTABILITIES (Community Links Focus)

To work with the FAW Trust as a key strategic partner to deliver:

 

Junior Grassroots Club Support

 

·       Working with the Area FDM build relationships with the local grassroots landscape, inclusive of clubs, fun football providers, junior leagues and the Area Association to ensure the player pathway is clearly understood. 

·       Development and implementation of agreed programmes in the community aligned to the area plan for football to support delivery on FAWT objectives.

·       Annually achieve the Fun Football Charter Mark to ensure quality delivery and the safeguarding of young people.

 

Develop/Support Schools Programs

 

·       Build relationships with identified local schools to support the implementation of football activities aligned with the Football in Schools FAWT Programme, this could include;

·       Mentoring the Play More Football Directors of Football to deliver in school football activity;

·       Delivering Teacher CPD in a cluster of schools to enhance the delivery of schools’ football and raise confidence in teachers (Primary and secondary, initial priority for staff who deliver girls PE and extra-curricular programmes who lack football confidence);

·       Delivery of Junior Football Leaders awards in school (14+) and follow up support/mentoring/deployment for the pupils.

·       Work with the Area FDM with agreed focus clubs to develop school club links to increase club membership at targeted age groups and genders according to need and latent demand, supporting pupils to transition into appropriate and quality assured exit routes;

·       Roll out of Premier League Primary Stars programme to expand into WPL Clubs.

 

Develop/Support Girls Programs

 

·       Implement and support girls only football ‘participation and engagement’ programmes as directed by the Strategic lead for Girls Football, for example Footy Huddle, Street Games programmes and holiday activities to engage non-club players into football in a social and fun format and transition in to further football activity. 

·       Work with the head of Academy to recruit workforce to support delivery of agreed programmes.

 

 

Develop/Support Grassroots Coach Education Programs

 

·       Work within the FAW Trust Coach Education Strategy. This could include;

-       Supporting local Grassroots Conferences;

-       Supporting level 1, 2 & 3 Coach Education; 

-       Support local coaches/teachers through CPD opportunities.

Continued Professional Development 

 

·       Attend all CPD events (up to a maximum of 20 days per year) 

Others

·       To organise and Run club festivals & camps

·       General Duties as agreed with club

 

 

Application Process:

Applicants are to send a copy of their CV, and completed application form to: 

Sean Cresser, 

Academy Director

at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Suitable applicants will be invited to an interview, where club officials and a technical representative from the FAW Trust will be in attendance. 

Closing Date:

10thMay 2019

Interviews: 

Within 14 Days of closing

COPIES CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE FOLLOWING:-

JOB APPLICATION FORM CAN BE DOWNLOADED FROM THE FOLLOWING LINK

https://www.dropbox.com/s/12nuaa8ps1x33f1/application%20Form%20final.docx?dl=0

JOB DESCRIPTION CAN BE DOWNLOADED FROM THE FOLLOWING LINK

https://www.dropbox.com/s/41c6h6la7cm03s3/Head%20of%20Coaching%20Job%20Description%20Final.docx?dl=0

 

Alternatively please contact our Academy Director for documents to be forwarded.

Sean Cresser

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel. 07714 430558

Match Report – Cinderford Town v Carmarthen Town (3 August 2019)

Cinderford Town (0)  Carmarthen Town (1) 

Carmarthen concluded their pre-season programme with a visit to Cinderford Townwho operatein the Southern League Division One South (the fourth tier) of the English Non-League Football pyramid – and after a keenly contested match the Old Gold secured a narrow victory thanks to a smartly-taken goal from Luke Bowen.

The opening stages of this game were fairly uneventful with the play largely confined to unproductive midfield exchanges and neither defence was subjected to any noticeable pressure – yet with players on both sides enthusiastically showing a refreshing commitment to this contest, there was certainly a welcome competitive ‘edge’ to enliven these proceedings.

It was not until the 18thminute that the first scoring opportunity arose when Lewis Harling won a free-kick just outside the penalty area –  however while Chris Jones neatly drove the ball around the defensive ‘wall’, he saw it fly narrowly past the far post.

Cinderford eventually went close to taking the lead on 28 minutes when Logan Bowkett struck a free-kick into the packed goalmouth where Ethan Moore connected with a close-range shot that ‘keeper Lee Idzi, with a smart reaction save, claimed at the foot of the post.

Yet moments later the Old Gold took the lead.  Josh Bull sprinted forward along the left flank then from near the corner flag he fired an inviting cross into the goalmouth where Bowen arrived with perfect timing and cleverly diverted the ball beyond the reach of ‘keeper Andy Hannah and into the far corner of the net.

At last the game had become more open with both sides showing welcome attacking flair.

After 38 minutes Lee Surman, from deep inside his own half, launched a huge clearance upfield which Bull eagerly chased to the corner of the penalty area before dispatching a rasping strike that flew across the face of the goal but went just outside the post. 

Then on 41 minutes Bull, continuing his impressive pre-season form, produced a delightful back-heel that set Bowen racing free along the left-wing – the experienced striker, from the wide edge of the penalty area, then struck a fine shot that slid narrowly beyond the far post.

After the interval Carmarthen produced an early chance in the 53rdminute when Harling received the ball from Greg Walters’ quick throw-in then released a stunning 30 yard drive that substitute ‘keeper Jordan Dibble turned aside with a superb flying save.

On 64 minutes Jones won the ball off a defender then played it forward to Bull who from just inside the penalty area instantly fired a crisp shot that went marginally wide of the post.

Even though the hosts were enjoying their fair share of possession during that period they failed to create any notable scoring chances, often due to wayward passing/crossing or indecision at critical moments.

But in the 77thminute they eventually broke through the visitors’ defence – Moore chased after a fine through-ball into the penalty area only to be denied by Idzi who sprinted quickly out of his goal and bravely claimed the ball at the striker’s feet.

Then shortly afterwards Josh Hunt produced a spectacular long-range drive that drew an equally impressive full-length save from Idzi. 

Yet the Old Gold again went close in the later stages of this match.  On 82 minutes Declan Carroll raced forward to the edge of the penalty area before releasing a crisp strike that went just wide of the post.  Then moments later Ceri Morgan enjoyed a smart interchange of passes with Carroll before he fired a close-range shot that Dibble superbly turned aside.

So Carmarthen’s pre-season campaign, while having begun with a disappointing display against Haverfordwest, soon progressed satisfactorily with particularly impressive performances against Swansea City U23s (in terms of the quality of the football they played against skilful, well-drilled opponents) and Llanelli (in terms of the clinical fashion in which they created and scored goals, albeit against weaker opposition).

Town’s next fixture is on Saturday 10thAugust at Richmond Park (k/o 2.30pm) when they entertain Cymru South side Cwmamman United in the Nathanial MG Cup (Round 2).    

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Greg Walters;  Dave Vincent (sub Jordan Vickers 63);  Lee Surman;  Jordan Knott; Chris Jones;  Ceri Morgan;  Lewis Harling;  Jay Woodford (sub Declan Carroll 73);  Luke Bowen (sub Gwion Howell 75);  Josh Bull;   

                                                                                                                                      

Goal:  Luke Bowen (27);

 

 

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Swansea City U23s (20 July 2019)

Carmarthen Town (1) Swansea City U23s (1)

Carmarthen continued their pre-season programme with this attractive fixture against Swansea City’s Under 23 team and produced an impressive performance against the Championship club’s talented youngsters, having held the lead until just the closing seconds of the match.

And remarkably this was achieved with a relatively weakened squad since key experienced players Lee Idzi, Lewis Harling, Luke Bowen and Jordan Knott were all absent.

Yet during the opening stages of this match that outcome seemed highly unlikely since City proceeded to monopolise possession and dominate the play as they launched a series of spirited attacks that kept the Town defence under notable pressure.  

Even so, it was not until the 7thminute that the first significant scoring opportunity arose when Kieran Evans played the ball forward along the right flank to Liam Cullen who instantly crossed it into the penalty area where an unnamed trialist struck a fierce 15 yard drive that Jordan Vickers blocked in front of goal before the ball was cleared safely away. 

But gradually the Old Gold began competing more effectively in midfield and showing some welcome signs of attacking intent – and on 9 minutes, with their first scoring effort, they went close to taking the lead.  Vickers made progress along the right-wing before sending a long pass through to Josh Bull near the corner of the penalty area – he slid the ball out to Chris Jones who hit a promising angled strike that ‘keeper Steven Benda palmed against the underside of the bar then recovered to claim the ball on the goal-line.

The visitors responded immediately – Evans, close to the by-line, played the ball back to Cullen who dispatched a rasping shot that Greg Walters, well placed near the post, guided to safety.

Shortly afterwards the industrious midfielder, once again very effectively deployed in a defensive role, was instrumental in Town’s next scoring effort on 17 minutes.  He fired a long free-kick to the far side of the penalty area to reach Jay Woodford who neatly set the ball up for Liam Thomas only for the all-time top goal-scorer to see his crisp 15 yard drive blocked on the goal-line.

City, however, continued to enjoy the greater share of possession and territorial advantage but without, by this stage, managing to seriously breach the home defence or stretch Carmarthen’s stand-in ‘keeper Josh Gould (curiously, ‘loaned’ from Swansea U23s for the first 60 minutes of the match!) – whenever called on, his handling and positioning was exemplary.

Yet the Old Gold once more went close after 24 minutes when Jones, from the half-way line, produced a superb pass that set Thomas racing clear into the penalty area but he was denied when Benda came quickly out of his goal to smother the striker’s scoring effort.

However they were soon rewarded for their spirited recovery having withstood the visitors’ early domination.  On 28 minutes Elliott Scotcher, in the centre-circle, threaded a delightful pass through to Bull who burst free into the penalty area and, as Benda advanced from his goal, the lively striker calmly and confidently drove the ball past the stranded keeper and into the empty net.

A further spell of City pressure was successfully resisted by the home defence, well marshalled by the experienced central pairing of Lee Surman and Dave Vincent, before Town launched another promising attack in the closing moments of the first-half.  In the 42ndminute they fashioned a stunning five-man passing move, initiated by Ceri Morgan in the centre-circle and finishing with Woodford firing a right-wing cross deep into the penalty area where from 12 yards Bull headed the ball over Benda’s outstretched arms but saw the ball clip the bar and bounce safely behind. 

After the interval the pattern of play developed in much the same way as in the first-half with the visitors methodically building pressure and probing the Carmarthen defence but with no tangible success.

The first notable threat arose on 64 minutes when Ollie Cooper sent a fine pass into the penalty area for Simon Paulet to pursue only to be denied by Town’s substitute ‘keeper Thomas Windsor who was quickly off his goal-line to claim the ball.

Moments later Cooper, on the edge of the penalty area, rolled the ball back to Jacob Jones who struck a promising curling shot which Windsor carefully watched fly narrowly outside the far post.

Yet in the 73rdminute the Old Gold interrupted this early spell of City pressure when Scotcher, from just outside the penalty area, dispatched a stunning free-kick that cleared the defensive ‘wall’ but was turned against the post by substitute ‘keeper Josh Hutchings and bounced safely behind.

Shortly afterwards Vincent, with a smart pass, set Walters racing along the left-wing before sliding the ball across to Woodford who dispatched a fierce angled drive that Hutchings, with an impressive flying save, turned aside. 

As the match went into the closing stages City pressed forward with even greater intent and were close to drawing level on 89 minutes when their trialist burst infield from the left-wing before hitting a crisp volley towards the goalmouth – Surman, in attempting to head the ball clear, managed only to divert on to the near post but thankfully it bounced safely away.   

     

Yet cruelly the Old Gold were not so fortunate moments later – just 60 seconds from the final whistle they conceded an equaliser when Jacob Jones, on the left flank, fired the ball across the face of the goal and saw Cullen stab it home at the far post to the great dismay of the Town players and supporters.    However, despite that disappointment, on the overall balance of play a draw was certainly a fair result after this entertaining encounter. 

Team:

Josh Gould (sub Tom Windsor 60);  Jordan Vickers;  Dave Vincent; Lee Surman;  Greg Walters;  Chris Jones (sub Lewis Rocke 86);  Ceri Morgan; Elliott Scotcher;  Jay Woodford;  Liam Thomas; Josh Bull (sub Gwion Howell 46): 

                                                                                                                                            

Goal:  Josh Bull (28);   

 

 

Match Report – Briton Ferry v Carmarthen Town (17 July 2019)

Briton Ferry (3)  Carmarthen Town (7) 

Carmarthen travelled to Welsh League side Briton Ferry as they continued their pre-season programme with this thoroughly entertaining match which provided not only a feast of goals but also a continuous stream of fast attacking and counter-attacking and plenty of goalmouth action.

And while on the balance of play Town’s impressive haul of seven goals was entirely merited, indeed there could easily have been more, worryingly their defending was far from convincing.  All too often defenders were guilty of indecision, poor marking (particularly at ‘set pieces’) and lack of pace at crucial times.  

Town largely dominated the early stages with experienced midfielders Ceri Morgan, Lewis Harling and Chris Jones, well supported by newcomer Elliott Scotcher, enjoying a lot of possession and driving the play forward looking to exploit the pace and movement of strikers Liam Thomas and Josh Bull.

And it was no surprise that the Old Gold took the lead on 10 minutes – Jordan Knott, on the left flank, sent a long pass upfield where Bull cleverly capitalised on the hesitancy of two defenders and took possession then raced into the penalty area only to be brought down by a clumsy challenge from ‘keeper Conor McFenton.  Thomas, unsurprisingly after his successes from 12 yards last season, comfortably converted the spot-kick.  

Moments later Jones moved forward along the right-wing before firing the ball across the edge of the penalty area to find Scotcher who struck a rasping 15 yard drive that defeated McFenton but crashed against the foot of the post and bounced safely away.

Then, in the 17thminute, Town increased their lead with a lightning move that covered the entire length of the field.  From a Briton Ferry free-kick ‘keeper Lee Idzi claimed the ball in his goalmouth and quickly threw it upfield to Thomas just inside the centre-circle – he sped beyond the half-way line then threaded an excellent pass through to Bull who took the ball into the penalty area, slipped smoothly around McFenton and fired it into the empty net.

Carmarthen, maintaining the fast tempo of their early play, continued to press the home defence and on 20 minutes Jones again, from wide on the right flank, delivered an inviting cross into the penalty area where Scotcher arrived with perfect timing to send a firm header beyond the reach of McFenton but, sadly, marginally wide of the post.

Yet that disappointment was soon remedied in the 27thminute when the experienced midfielder fired a corner-kick deep into the penalty area and saw Greg Walters instantly strike a rasping drive that flew into the far corner of the goal.

However the Welsh League side, who from the start had shown some keen counter-attacking play, were soon rewarded for their persistence albeit with a fair amount of assistance from a strangely static Town defence.  On 29 minutes a corner-kick was directed into the crowded goalmouth – Mark Jones made a strong, purposeful run to meet the ball and from close-range headed it powerfully past Idzi and into the roof of the net while several defenders stood still, seemingly discussing who should have been marking the former Carmarthen striker. 

Thankfully that set-back was soon remedied.  In the 37thminute Bull, yet again demonstrating his remarkable speed and mobility, burst forward along the left flank and into the penalty area where with some stunning footwork he effortlessly went past two bewildered defenders before being brought down by a third – the resultant spot-kick was, as usual, summarily dispatched by Thomas.

Four first-half goals were clearly not enough for Town and they went close to snatching another on 44 minutes when Jordan Vickers made a strong run along the right-wing before crossing the ball into the penalty area where Thomas held off a defender then struck a fierce drive that McFenton, at full length, turned past the post.  And moments later Morgan released an impressive long-range strike that the overworked ‘keeper resisted with another flying save.

After the interval, and several substitutions, Town took some time to settle – and the hosts capitalised on this with their first notable spell of pressure.  On 50 minutes Idzi did well to turn a long-range shot over the bar in spectacular fashion.  Soon afterwards Luke Jones broke clear from the half-way line and raced into the penalty area before side-stepping the on-rushing Idzi and then dispatching an angled drive that hit the post and bounced safely away.

Yet shortly afterwards Briton Ferry were deservedly rewarded for their efforts.  Carmarthen defenders again failed to deal with a routine right-wing cross, allowing it to reach Mark Jones at the far side of the goalmouth and he capitalised fully by directing a firm header past Idzi. 

Perhaps stung by that set-back the Old Gold began to counter-attack with more purpose and penetration and on 64 minutes they extended their lead.  Knott fired a long searching pass along the left flank which Luke Bowen, outpacing defenders, eagerly pursued – he reached the edge of the penalty area then cleverly went round substitute ‘keeper Ryan Fleming before slotting the ball into the empty net.  

After 70 minutes they went further ahead when Gwion Howell raced along the left touchline then drove the ball across the edge of the penalty area where Jay Woodford struck a smart drive that Fleming was powerless to resist.

Yet the hosts were still causing Town’s defence problems and they snatched another goal on 76 minutes – after a swift break along the left-wing a deep cross into the crowded goalmouth was, worryingly, allowed to reach Mark Jones who stabbed the ball home at the far post.

The Old Gold responded immediately – Woodford’s corner-kick was met by Lee Surman, amongst a pack of players, but his powerful close-range header rattled the bar and the ball bounced safely away.

But the final significant action in this ten-goal feast arose in the 81stminute when after good approach work by Thomas the ball reached Walters on the right flank – he sent a cross deep to the far post where Bowen stabbed the ball home from close-range.

Even at this early stage of the pre-season programme it seems likely that Jones, Scotcher and Bull will prove to be worthy additions to Town’s WPL squad.  It seems that both of the new signings yet to appear are defenders and, given the defensive frailties that have appeared in the two matches, it has to be hoped that they too will be similarly valuable.  

    

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Jordan Vickers;  Greg Walters (sub Lee Surman 46);  Dave Vincent  (sub Greg Walters 68);  Jordan Knott; Chris Jones (sub Liam Thomas 68); Ceri Morgan (sub Gwion Howell 46); Lewis Harling;  Elliott Scotcher (sub Ceri Morgan 68);  Liam Thomas (sub Luke Bowen 46);  Josh Bull (sub Jay Woodford 46);                                                                                                                                       

Goals:  Liam Thomas (10, 37 both pens);  Josh Bull (17);  Greg Walters (27);  Luke Bowen   (64, 81);  Jay Woodford (70);         

 

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Haverfordwest County (13 July 2019)

Carmarthen Town (1) Haverfordwest County (3)

Carmarthen opened their pre-season programme with an attractive fixture against near neighbours Haverfordwest who currently operate in the Welsh League after a long period as local rivals in the Welsh Premier League.

Town’s squad comprised most of the regulars that appeared during the relatively successful WPL second-phase programme last season while there were first appearances for new signings Chris Jones (from Llanelli), Elliott Scotcher (from Haverfordwest) and Josh Bull (from Blaenavon) – in addition several players from the Club’s Academy took part.  Notable absentees from last season’s regular match-day squad were Luke Bowen and Ceri Morgan (both unavailable) while Mael Davies and Luke Cummings have transferred to Cardiff Met and Barry Town respectively.

The opening stages of this game were fairly uninspiring and uneventful with the play largely confined to unproductive midfield exchanges and neither defence was subjected to any noticeable pressure – during this spell this “contest” resembled little more than an opportunity for some welcome passing practice after the players’ summer break.

 

However on 16 minutes County took the lead with their first serious scoring effort.  From close to the right touchline Ben Fawcett sent an inviting free-kick into the packed goalmouth where Sean Pemberton found space amongst a fairly static Old Gold defence to plant his firm close-range header past ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the back of the net.

It took some time before Town reacted positively to that set-back and it was not until the 29thminute that they managed a shot of any significance on target.  Academy player Sam Phillips produced some smart footwork on the left flank before sending the ball across to Chris Jones who from 20 yards struck a fierce shot that, unfortunately, went too straight and gave ‘keeper Stephan Hall a comfortable save.

After a flurry of substitutions on 31 minutes the Old Gold at last began to look more competitive and almost immediately they went close to snatching an equaliser.  Lewis Harling received the ball deep inside the visitors’ half then moved forward to the edge of the penalty area before releasing a stunning strike that slid just wide of the post.

They continued to probe the County defence but few scoring opportunities arose, too often due to a poor ‘final pass’.  Yet after 45 minutes triallist Brad Flay produced a fine pass to set Harling racing towards the corner of the penalty area – the stylish midfielder finished the move with a rasping angled drive that, sadly, flew narrowly wide of the goal.

Yet despite Town’s welcome improvement they conceded another goal in the 48thminute. Haverfordwest defender Miles John burst forward into the penalty area only to be brought down by a poorly-judged tackle from Declan Carroll – Tyler Brock comfortably converted the spot-kick.

However the Old Gold were quick to reduce the deficit.  New signing Elliott Scotcher, since coming on as a substitute, was performing impressively in midfield – always looking comfortable in possession and demonstrating very effective distribution.  And, on 52 minutes, from the wide edge of the penalty area his searching free-kick to the far side of the crowded goalmouth was met by Harling who planted his firm header beyond the reach of substitute ‘keeper Kyle Stuart and into the roof of the net.

Town continued to press forward and went near to restoring parity after 63 minutes when Jordan Knott on the left flank lifted a high cross towards the far post where Liam Thomas, closely marked by a defender, hooked the ball just narrowly wide and into the side netting.

Yet with the Old Gold now attacking with greater intent, County began to present more of a threat on the counter-attack.  On 66 minutes Pemberton broke clear to chase a long ball played forward into the penalty area only to be denied by Town’s substitute Academy ‘keeper Tom Windsor who rushed way out of his goal to clear the danger.

Soon afterwards Windsor was beaten by a fierce 20 yard drive from Alfie Stotter but thankfully Craig Hanford was well placed to block the ball on the goal-line.

However as Town continued to pour upfield in search of an equaliser the threat of conceding a breakaway goal remained – and, almost inevitably, in the 85thminute the Welsh League side were not to be denied.  Marcus Griffiths made a strong run along the left-wing before cutting inside and passing Jordan Vickers all too easily before releasing a powerful drive that went beyond Windsor’s reach and into the roof of the net.

And in the closing moments of the match the Old Gold almost conceded another – Griffiths outpaced Hanford along the left flank to reach a long pass then sent a perfect cross to the edge of the penalty area where Fawcett released a promising shot that defeated Windsor but hit the underside of the bar and the ball bounced straight down and into the arms of the grateful young ‘keeper. 

On the admittedly very limited evidence of this single match it would seem that in the forthcoming season either Town might again struggle in the WPL or County will enjoy a very successful WL programme since for long periods there was little to separate the two teams.

And while results in pre-season fixtures are of no real importance, performances certainly are – and with the start of the WPL season just five weeks away some evidence of progressive improvement during the forthcoming PSF matches would be very welcome.

Carmarthen’s next PSF is on Wednesday July 17th(k/o 7.30pm) when they visit Welsh League side Briton Ferry – then on the following Saturday July 20ththey have a very attractive fixture against Swansea Town (under 23s) at Richmond Park (k/o 2.30pm).

 

[Note: Curiously, the coaching staff in the two dug-outs for this match have all been respected long-serving Carmarthen Town players.  Neil Smothers and Craig Hanford (replacing Danny Thomas for the day) have made a combined total of 289 WPL appearances but Wayne Jones and Tim Hicks (now both coaching Haverfordwest)“hold the bragging rights” with the greater combined number of 303 appearances!]

    

Team:

Lee Idzi (sub Tom Windsor 61);  Jordan Vickers;  Dave Vincent (sub Elliott Scotcher 31);  Lee Surman (sub Craig Hanford 61);  Jordan Knott (sub Greg Walters 76);  Chris Jones (sub Lewis Harling 31);  Greg Walters (sub Chris Jones 61);  Declan Carroll (sub Liam Thomas 53);  Brad Flay (sub Dave Vincent 61);  Liam Thomas (sub Gwion Howell 31, sub Sam Phillips 85);  Sam Phillips (sub Josh Bull 31): 

                                                                                                                                             

Goal:  Lewis Harling (52);   

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Carmarthen Town AFC are members of the JD Welsh Premier League, affiliated to the Football Association of Wales and the West Wales Football Association.