Merthyr Town 4
Carmarthen Town 0
FOLLOWING on from a positive performance against Championship side Cardiff City, Carmarthen continued their pre-season programme with a hugely disappointing display against Merthyr Town. The Glamorgan side, newly promoted to the Southern League Premier Division (the third tier of the English non-league pyramid), dismantled the Town side who were soundly beaten with the final score-line comfortably reflecting the gulf between these sides on the day.
Yet in the opening stages the game was fairly evenly balanced with the play switching quickly from end to end although neither defence looked particularly troubled and there were few scoring opportunities. The only notable chance arose in the 4th minute when Merthyr’s Kayne McLaggon cut in from the left flank and struck a fierce 20 yard effort that keeper James Kirkwood turned around the post with a smart full-length save.
However from midway during this half Merthyr began to take control as they enjoyed by far the greater share of possession, moving the ball around with confidence and precision – as a result the Old Gold attacking threat was easily nullified while their defence came under increasing pressure.
And on 22 minutes the hosts deservedly went ahead when the ball was played across to Ian Traylor on the right wing from where he swiftly cut inside, went cleverly past Jordan Knott and from the corner of the penalty area fired a crisp shot beyond Kirkwood’s reach and into the corner of the net.
Then after 27 minutes the lively Traylor split the visitors’ rather static defence with a fine pass that set Ryan Prosser free inside the penalty area and he coolly drove the ball home giving Kirkwood no chance.
Despite the best efforts of Luke Cummings, Kyle Bassett and, in particular, the industrious Lewis Harling in midfield, Carmarthen remained unable to fashion any serious scoring chances – by contrast, it seemed more than likely that Merthyr would soon stretch their lead still more.
On 40 minutes from Jaye Bowen’s corner-kick Traylor rose highest in the crowded goalmouth only to direct his header narrowly over the bar. Then moments later Traylor was again influential when his deep right-wing cross into the penalty area was met by Prosser, who stabbed the ball into the net from close range. Embarrassingly, the Old Gold had not managed a shot on target during the entire first-half.
After the interval the home side were quickly back in control of the game, demonstrating all too graphically how beneficial it is to keep hold of the ball for as long as possible – a task that was seemingly beyond Carmarthen. And in the 51st minute Traylor received the ball on the edge of the penalty area but his fierce strike was too straight and Kirkwood was well placed to deny him another goal.
However the visitors, to their credit, were still demonstrating considerable spirit and determination, especially in midfield where Harling and Bassett, supported now by substitute Sacha Walters, continued to press forward at every opportunity. And it was Bassett who had the notable (albeit dubious) distinction of producing Town’s first shot on target after 67 minutes when, having received a short pass from Dan Sheehan, he raced towards the penalty area in typical bustling style and held off the challenge of a defender before releasing a powerful 20 yard drive that drew a fine save from keeper Cameron Clarke.
Unfortunately this seemed only to galvanise Merthyr into even greater effort and they extended their already comfortable lead on 74 minutes as Gethin Hill broke into the penalty area and rifled the ball home through a crowd of players with Kirkwood unsighted.
Then in a final flurry of goalmouth activity in the closing stages of the game the Old Gold again threatened when in the 89th minute Rhodri Morgan burst forward to the edge of the penalty area before slipping the ball on to Mark Jones who saw his sharp close range shot resisted by Clark with an impressive reflex save. Moments later Sheehan’s searching cross from the right wing reached Jones rising above his marker at the far post but he sent his header narrowly over the bar.
Yet the last chance, unsurprisingly, was fashioned by Merthyr deep into added time when after a quick exchange of passes Hill received the ball just outside the penalty area but his fierce angled drive flew fractionally too high.
James Kirkwood; Dan Sheehan; Chris Thomas; Sam Handy (sub Luke Prosser 46); Jordan Knott; Kyle Bassett; Lewis Harling; Luke Cummings (sub Rhodri Morgan 51); Chris Hartland (sub Liam Thomas 36, sub Chris Hartland 58); Mark Jones (sub Sacha Walters 46); Jeff White (sub Mark Jones 61);
Scarlets’ grassroots clubs show community spirit in delivering vital food packages
Scarlets community clubs have been working together to help deliver vital food packages across the region.
Volunteers from grassroots clubs and WRU girls hubs across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire have been helping take the food packages to vulnerable members of society who are self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The clubs have teamed up with the Scarlets Community Foundation — the charity arm of the Scarlets — and Carmarthen-based food wholesaler Castell Howell, while Scarlets players Osian Knott, Kieran Hardy, Ryan Conbeer and Jac Morgan have also lent their hand to the operation.
More than 300 packages were due to be delivered on Monday and Tuesday (April 6 & April 7), with the initiative highlighting that even without any action on the field, rugby clubs remain at the heart of their community.
Scarlets Community Foundation manager Caroline Newman said: “We have been overwhelmed with the support that we have received from local clubs, the number of people prepared to volunteer to help the most vulnerable in our communities has been touching.
“People’s reasons for requesting packs have often been heart-wrenching and it really has made us appreciate what we have.
“The foundation has worked closely with Castell Howell to make sure the packages are ready to go to those whose need is greatest, managing to turn things around pretty quickly and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in making this happen, our funder, Castell Howell, all the clubs, our helpline volunteer and the foundation members.
“Great teamwork which has made me proud to be part of the fantastic community that rugby creates.”
Here are the rugby clubs and WRU girls rugby hubs taking part in the initiative
Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Amman Utd, Ammanford, Burry Port, Betws, Bynea, Cardigan, Cefneithin, Felinfoel, Fishguard & Goodwick, Furnace Utd, Haverfordwest, Kidwelly, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llandybie, Llanelli Wanderers, Llangennech, Llangwm, Merched Mynydd Mawr, Milford Haven, Narberth, New Dock Stars, Newcastle Emlyn, Neyland, Penybanc, Pontyates, St Clears, Stradey Sospans, Tenby Utd, Tumble, Tycroes, Whitland, Yr Hendy.
Wales v Scotland postponed
WALES’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The two other Six Nation fixtures had already been postponed and no date has been confirmed to complete the 2020 Championship.
The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted earlier on Friday the game would “go ahead as planned”.
A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue.
“Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.
“The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.
“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”
Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended
THE FOOTBALL Association of Wales has today (13 March) taken the decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until April 4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The intention at this time will be to resume the football schedule depending on the medical advice and conditions from the relevant authorities at that time.
The FAW is fully aware of the impact this will have on the domestic game but the health and safety of all fans, players, volunteers and stakeholders are of paramount importance.
The FAW will continue to monitor this situation on a day-by-day basis and will continue to provide updates when appropriate.
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