Our Final Match Report of this season. Many Thanks to John Collyer for his commitment throughout the season at Home and Away games. John is also head of our Licensing application, from which we once again recieved our Domestic and Uefa Licence for the forthcoming 2018/19 Season. This enables us to compete in the Welsh Premier League. 

Thank you also to Peter Hughes Griffiths who translates the report into Welsh for us. 

 

 

Match Report – Barry Town United v Carmarthen Town (27 April 2018)

Barry Town United (1)  Carmarthen Town (0)  

After the deep disappointment of last week’s result at Aberystwyth which seemed to have condemned Carmarthen to life in the Welsh League next season, the subsequent welcome news from the FAW, barely 24 hours before this match, confirming Town’s reprieve from relegation certainly lifted the mood of the faithful group of supporters who had travelled to Barry – and, seemingly, it also had a positive effect on the players who during several spells produced some of their best football this season.

The opening stages of this match were fairly quiet and uneventful – although the hosts were enjoying the greater share of possession they were unable to test the Old Gold defence in any noticeable way.  Meanwhile the visitors were quick to burst forward on the counter-attack, always looking to exploit the pace and movement of strikers Liam Thomas and Luke Bowen.

And it was Town who managed the first clear scoring chance in the 8thminute – Kieran Lewis fired a corner-kick into the packed goalmouth where Dave Vincent rose high above defenders to connect with a smart, close-range header only to see it blocked on the goal-line before being cleared safely away.

But United were quick to respond when on 10 minutes Chris Hugh struck a speculative long-range drive that ‘keeper Lee Idzi safely resisted, diving swiftly down to beat the ball away.  Then moments later Macauley Southam-Hales, from the right-wing, sent an inviting cross into the penalty area where Kayne McLaggon produced a neat sweeping shot that flew narrowly over the bar.

Increasingly the play was becoming more evenly balanced – the Old Gold were attacking with greater frequency and penetration and after 21 minutes they again went close to taking the lead.  Bowen embarked on a typically powerful run before being brought down on the edge of the penalty area.  Lewis stepped forward and curled a delightful free-kick around the defensive ‘wall’ but, agonisingly, saw the ball crash against the top corner of the goal before it bounced safely away.

That disappointment spurred Town into even greater effort as the game developed into an entertaining end-to-end affair.  Increasingly they were prepared to make measured counter-attacking progress from out of defence with smart, swift passing moves that carved through the opposition midfield – the Old Gold were, refreshingly, playing with an unfamiliar  freedom that perhaps, with their WPL status already safeguarded, stemmed from the absence now of any absolute need to gather points. 

And in the 34thminute they opened up the home defence with a series of slick passes that finished with Aidan O’Kelly sliding a fine pass through to Bowen on the edge of the penalty area – he moved forward to the by-line then drove the ball invitingly into the goalmouth but Liam Thomas, closing in, was outnumbered by defenders and the danger was cleared,

After the interval United took the initiative and following a spell of pressure they went ahead on 56 minutes.  A long pass down the right flank was pursued by Southam-Hales who drove the ball deep into the goalmouth, reaching McLaggon beyond the far post – he stabbed it back towards the goal where Jonathan Hood reacted quickly to fire it home from close-range.

Town responded well to that setback and on 63 minutes they went close to forcing an equaliser – Clayton Green produced a surging run from the centre-circle before playing the ball across to Ceri Morgan who then released a stunning 25 yard drive that drew a smart full-length save from ‘keeper Mike Lewis.

Moments later Jordan Knott, from the half-way line, sent the ball upfield to find Thomas on the edge of the penalty area – he headed it back to Kieran Lewis who dispatched a fierce 25 yard volley that flew just marginally wide of the post.

However during the later stages, with Carmarthen by now clearly not performing with such fluency as earlier, the home side were more of a threat, especially given their ability to refresh their team by introducing experienced players off a fully-staffed substitutes bench – by contrast, the Old Gold were afforded no such luxury due to injuries and other absences.

Yet the only further notable goalmouth excitement arose after 77 minutes when the lively McLaggon raced into the penalty area before striking a crisp angled shot that Idzi, with an impressive reflex save, parried – then, with the ball dangerously close to the goal-line, Craig Hanford made a timely intervention to clear the danger and deny Southam-Hales a simple tap-in chance.

From thereon the match, and Town’s season, drifted uneventfully to a close. 

So, Carmarthen’s season ended in the way it began, goal-less and defeated.  But what happened in between left their loyal supporters at various times despondent, anxious, frustrated, content, entertained or even elated (occasionally, all during the same match!).

Town’s initial poor form could not have been anticipated – the nucleus of the previous season’s squad, which had comfortably finished in the WPL top six and contested the UEFA qualifying play-offs, remained in place – only Dwayne Bailey and Declan Carroll had left.

Also, after losing their four opening matches they travelled to Bala, consistently a top four side in recent seasons, and convincingly defeated them 4-0 to offer fans the hope of a turnaround in form – but that proved to be a false hope.  Another fourteen matches would follow before a second win was achieved by which time the Old Gold were firmly rooted at the bottom of the League table.

However the festive period double victories over Aberystwyth heralded an improvement in Town’s fortunes which would carry on through the second-phase programme – the signing of several new players during the January ‘transfer window’ provided a further boost, while the immediately subsequent changes in the management/coaching set-up were swiftly completed to ensure unhindered continuity for the playing squad.

The second-phase performances were refreshing, exciting and productive – and the prospect of avoiding relegation became increasingly realistic.  Prestatyn, at one stage ten points ahead, were quickly overhauled and the gap up to tenth-placed Aberystwyth was gradually reduced – but the Seasiders were still taking points off other clubs while the Old Gold were running out of games and their fading chances evaporated with their failure to win at Park Avenue, the penultimate match of the season.

Yet, as on several occasions in previous seasons in relation to other clubs, the FAW Licensing Regulations have intervened to determine that Carmarthen Town, despite finishing in the relegation places, will participate in the WPL next season.   

    

Team:  Lee Idzi; Jordan Knott;  Dave Vincent (Ryan Foschi sub 88);  Lee Surman;  Craig Hanford;  Aidan O’Kelly;  Kieran Lewis; Ceri Morgan;  Clayton Green;  Luke Bowen; Liam Thomas;    

Unused subs:  Dan Sheehan; Danny Thomas;  Neil Smothers;  

Cards: (Y)  Clayton Green (40);  

 

After Thursday's Licencing meeting, it has been confimred that Carmarthen Town will remian in the WPL for the 2018-19 Season. 

 

Chris Edwards, chairman of Carmarthen Town AFC, said -
"Everyone at Richmond Park is delighted to hear the news of Carmarthen's Welsh Premier League reprieve.
"We'd resigned ourselves to starting next season in a lower division, but we can now continue our 22-year run in the top tier of Welsh football.
"Players, fans, officials, supporters and sponsors will be delighted with the news, which comes on the eve of our final game of the season, against Barry Town tomorrow evening.
"As a club we continued to work hard on and off the field throughout the season, securing new players for Phase 2 and gaining our UEFA and Tier One licences. This work reflects great credit on everyone involved. 
"Staying in the Welsh Premier League is a massive boost for Carmarthen Town. It's been a difficult season for us, but we have the infrastructure in place (in particular our new 3G pitch) and the enthusiasm and the drive to improve on our Premier League performances.
"The reprieve is a welcome piece of news and we look forward to planning and rebuilding ready for the new Premier League season.”
 
Club director Gareth Jones welcomes the  decision.
 

"It is nice to hear something positive at the end of the season," said Jones.

"Having gone through a lot of emotion this season, we have had a positive outcome at the end.

"Relegation would have been a problem for us to raise our hopes again. Thankfully we don't have to worry about that now."

 

More info can be found on the Welsh Premier League Website:-

http://www.welshpremier.co.uk

 

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Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Llandudno (14 April 2018)

Carmarthen Town (3)  Llandudno (2)

 

Carmarthen, with only three Welsh Premier League fixtures remaining, went into this match knowing that they needed a victory to keep alive their prospects of finishing outside the relegation zone and, thereby, securing their League place for next season.  

And, after a pulsating contest against a very competitive Llandudno side during which both teams held the lead, Town, with a highly spirited and determined performance, deservedly achieved exactly that result.

Indeed, they made the best possible start with the fastest goal seen at Richmond Park for very many seasons.  Moments after the kick-off they won a free-kick which Luke Cummings fired invitingly into the goalmouth where Luke Bowen, reacting quicker than any defender, sent his close-range header past ‘keeper Patrik Rutter and into the roof of the net – just 45 seconds of the game had passed and remarkably no Llandudno player had yet touched the ball!

But the visitors responded immediately, pouring forward strongly in search of an equaliser – and in the 3rdminute they restored parity when a slick exchange of passes between Tom Dix and Marc Williams finished with Lee Thomas, from 10 yards, dispatching a crisp drive beyond the reach of ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the top corner of the net.

The game soon developed into an entertaining, fast-paced, end-to-end affair – yet while Llandudno enjoyed the greater share of possession, helped often by the hosts’ apparent willingness to give the ball away all too easily, it was Carmarthen who fashioned the better scoring opportunities with some lively counter-attacking usually prompted by the midfield inventiveness of Kieran Lewis, Clayton Green, Cummings and Aidan O’Kelly.

However the next notable chance, on 14 minutes, stemmed from a short pass by Mark Jones that found Liam Thomas close to the by-line and he sent a searching cross to the far side of the goalmouth where Bowen produced a smart looping header that Rutter, at full-stretch, just managed to turn over the bar.

Generally though, during the remainder of the first-half both defences continued to deal quite comfortably with the intermittent pressure they faced and neither goalkeeper was again seriously tested.  And it was not until the 39thminute that another distinct opportunity arose – Cummings, from the half-way line, delivered another trademark free-kick deep into the penalty area and while the ball was cleared, it fell nicely for Bowen who instantly released a fierce 20 yard strike that flew narrowly beyond the far post.

After the interval remarkably, as before, there was another explosive start to the proceedings – but this time, the other way round.  Within 2 minutes Llandudno had taken the lead when Wes Baynes directed a corner into the packed goalmouth and from the ensuing scramble Danny Shaw emerged to stab the ball over the line from close-range.

Stung by that setback the Old Gold straightaway swept upfield and 90 seconds later they were back on level terms.  A right-wing cross from Cummings reached Dan Sheehan on the far side of the penalty area – he lifted the ball back to the goalmouth leading to a weak clearance which was pounced on by O’Kelly who struck a stunning 25 yard volley that left Rutter floundering and the net bulging.

Carmarthen, clearly inspired by that success, began pressing forward with far more pace and purpose, and abandon, than at any earlier stage of the match.  But that left them vulnerable to occasional counter-attacks which the visitors’ lively striker Williams, in particular, was keen to exploit.

And on 61 minutes he went close to regaining the lead when he broke through completely clear from the half-way line – as Idzi advanced to the edge of the penalty area Williams sweetly curled the ball around him but, agonisingly, saw it strike the base of the post before the ‘keeper was able to recover and claim possession. 

Shortly afterwards a long cross-field pass out of the visitors’ defence reached Lee Thomas who raced free towards the edge of the penalty area then released a promising drive that Idzi, demonstrating impressive reactions and agility, resisted superbly leaving Jordan Knott to clear the ball safely away. 

During this spell Town’s constant probing had failed to make any serious impression on the visitors’ defence – but all that changed in the 68thminute.  Midfielder Ceri Morgan, who had only just been brought on as a substitute, made an immediate impact when from the centre-circle he threaded an excellent pass through the opposition defence and set Bowen free inside the penalty area where he was brought down by the last defender James Joyce. Inevitably the referee awarded a penalty which top scorer Liam Thomas converted with his customary composure and accuracy for his 15thgoal of the season.

With the Old Gold now ahead again and close to securing those vital three League points, they found themselves forced back on defence by a Llandudno side anxious once more to draw level, at least.  However Town’s formidable central defensive partnership of Lee Surman and Knott, ably supported by Sheehan and substitute Dave Vincent, performed with immense discipline and determination – while behind them experienced ‘keeper Idzi again produced a masterful display of safe handling in dealing with a series of crosses, corners and free-kicks.  Consequently the visitors never managed another serious scoring chance.

This has concluded Carmarthen’s home League programme and they now face a particularly crucial away trip to Aberystwyth next Friday 20thApril (k/o 8.00pm) before their season finishes with a visit to Barry Town United the following Friday 27thApril (k/o 7.30pm).  To secure 10thposition in the WPL (and safeguard their place in the League next season) the Old Gold must win both matches and hope that Aberystwyth lose their final fixture at home to Newtown.

Otherwise, Carmarthen’s survival might yet depend on off-the-field considerations relating to the Licensing regulations in respect of certain other clubs who have yet to be awarded their Licences for next season.    

   

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Luke Cummings (sub Craig Hanford 90+1);  Lee Surman; Jordan Knott;  Dan Sheehan;  Kieran Lewis; Clayton Green (sub Ceri Morgan 66); Aidan O’Kelly;  Luke Bowen (Dave Vincent 73);  Mark Jones;  Liam Thomas;    

Unused subs:  Lewis Thomas; Danny Thomas;  

Cards: (Y)   Luke Bowen (72);  

Goals:  Luke Bowen (1);  Aidan O’Kelly (49);  Liam Thomas (69 pen);  

Match Report – Aberystwyth v Carmarthen Town (20 April 2018)

Aberystwyth (1) Carmarthen Town (1)  

 

Carmarthen continued their recent impressive sequence of performances with another highly spirited and determined display to secure a well-earned draw from this typically fiercely contested encounter with old rivals Aberystwyth – and on any other day this would have been a welcome result.  Regrettably, however, the Old Gold needed three points from this match in order to keep alive their lingering hopes of Welsh Premier League survival.

The match began at a hectic pace with the play quickly switching back and forth as both sides sought an early breakthrough.  And while there was goalmouth action at both ends of the pitch, it was the visitors who managed the first significant scoring chance after 8 minutes – Luke Cummings fired an inviting corner-kick into the packed penalty area where Liam Thomas measured his arrival perfectly and produced a smart close-range header that ‘keeper Chris Mullock, reacting sharply, claimed on the goal-line.

Yet following a further period of fast-paced, competitive, end-to-end play the Seasiders took the lead on 21 minutes.  Declan Walker, from the right-wing sent a searching cross into the goalmouth and while the ball was cleared, it fell nicely for Tom Owens who struck a stunning 20 yard volley beyond the reach of ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the top corner of the net.

The pace and momentum of the game never weakened and in the 28thminute Town went close to restoring parity.  Cummings, so often the source of scoring opportunities throughout the season, delivered a right-wing cross that reached Kieran Lewis who from 25 yards instantly dispatched a rasping drive that left Mullock beaten but clipped the top of the post and bounced safely behind.

While the Old Gold were getting forward on plenty of occasions, they failed to test the home defence often enough as attacking moves too frequently broke down outside the penalty area due to indecision or a poor final pass allowing Aberystwyth to clear the danger.  By contrast, the Seasiders posed more of a threat with a series of incisive attacks but they were rarely able to penetrate the visitors’ defensive unit at the core of which Lee Surman and Jordan Knott confidently provided stubborn resistance.

After the interval Carmarthen looked more lively and inventive and were clearly intent on quickly getting back on level terms.  But as they enthusiastically pressed forward they became vulnerable to occasional counter-attacks – and on 53 minutes Aberystwyth went close to extending their lead. Malcolm Melvin raced forward into the penalty area then neatly slid the ball past Idzi, who had quickly advanced out of his goal, but it struck the base of the post before being cleared to safety by Knott.

However moments later the Old Gold were rewarded for their positive opening spell.  In the 57thminute a slick passing move through the centre finished with Luke Bowen setting up a fine chance for Lewis on the edge of the penalty area – he instantly fired a sharp drive that Mullock, under pressure from Liam Thomas, spilled and Ceri Morgan eagerly snatched the opportunity to stab the ball into the unguarded net from close-range.

Encouraged by that success, and the real prospect of snatching a vital match-winning goal, Town pressed forward with even greater intensity.  On 61 minutes Thomas weaved smartly through several tackles just inside the penalty area before releasing a crisp close-range drive that Mullock resisted with a fine reflex save.

Shortly afterwards Lewis delivered a right-wing cross into the goalmouth where Clayton Green, arriving with perfect timing, saw his powerful close-range header crash against the bar – the ball rebounded out to Surman on the edge of the penalty area but he also was marginally off-target with a smart volley that flew narrowly too high.

Then in the 69thminute the increasingly productive Lewis directed a marvellous cross-field ball to Bowen on the left-wing – he instantly cut inside past his marker before dispatching a fierce 20 yard strike that Mullock, diving quickly down, claimed at the foot of the post.

All through this spell the Old Gold had managed to resist the Seasiders’ intermittent counter-attacks with some solid, composed defending.  Howeverduring the last 15 minutes of the match their defensive set-up resembled little more than tokenism once Carmarthen were understandably committed to all-out attack.  

Manager Neil Smothers sent towering central defenders Surman and Dave Vincent upfield to function as strikers, while full-backs Cummings and Dan Sheehan were already operating well beyond the half-way line.  Consequently the versatile Knott was often left in isolation, sometimes attempting to deal with two or three marauding opponents on the counter-attack – and several times Idzi was forced to race way out of his penalty area to help clear the danger.

Inevitably Aberystwyth created decent scoring chances as they broke forward.  Notably on 87 minutes a long cross-field pass from Craig Hobson set Jon Owen bursting clear to reach the corner of the penalty area before he produced a crisp angled drive that defeated Idzi but was headed off the goal-line by Lewis who, with astute anticipation, had raced urgently back to provide valuable extra cover. Then well into added time Ryan Wade broke forward to the edge of the penalty area and fired a promising shot that Idzi resisted, once more, in spectacular fashion.

So after this result, and with just one match of their League programme remaining, the Old Gold are condemned to finish in eleventh place and now face relegation to the Welsh League thereby ending their 22 year participation in the WPL (formerly the League of Wales).

But this desperately disappointing outcome has not, of course, arisen just because of the failure to win this game at Aberystwyth – it directly stems from the generally miserable performances over the first 20 weeks of the season during which Town, from 18 matches, gathered only a pitiful 6 points which left them firmly rooted at the foot of the League.  

To have recovered from that dire positon and performed so creditably since then (particularly during the second-phase programme), sufficiently enough to keep alive their chances of WPL survival until the penultimate round of fixtures, is highly commendable - and it is testimony to the remarkable commitment and resilience of the playing squad and coaching staff. 

Team:

Lee Idzi;  Luke Cummings;  Lee Surman; Jordan Knott;  Dan Sheehan;  Kieran Lewis; Ceri Morgan;  Clayton Green (sub Dave Vincent 81);  Luke Bowen;  Mark Jones; Liam Thomas;    

Unused subs:  Craig Hanford;  Aidan O’Kelly;  Danny Thomas; 

Cards: (Y)  Ceri Morgan (2);  Clayton Green (76);  Jordan Knott (79);  Luke Cummings (85);      

Goal:  Ceri Morgan (57);

    

Please follow the below link to view the match photos taken by Alan Fitzpatrick.

 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1990153584636481.1073741848.1703398323312010&type=1&l=26c77036fd

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