Airbus Broughton 5
Carmarthen Town 1
Carmarthen Town began their Welsh Premier League campaign with a crushing defeat against a strong Airbus side.
The Wingmakers, with a display of clinical finishing, fully capitalised on a calamitous ten minute spell of defending by Town towards the end of the first-half, effectively settling the result before the interval.
The match started badly for the visitors as they conceded a goal in only the third minute when Matty McGinn struck a fierce thirty-five yard free-kick that clipped the inside of the right post leaving goalkeeper Lee Idzi well beaten.
After that the game settled down with Airbus enjoying the greater share of possession and forward momentum while the Old Gold, prompted by the sterling work of midfielders Lewis Harling, Keiran Lewis and Ceri Morgan, launched a series of swift counter attacks.
On the quarter hour mark Morgan slid the ball through to Harling who raced forward and from the left edge of the Airbus penalty area struck a crisp drive that went narrowly wide. Moments later, consistent with the end-to-end pattern at this stage of the game, the hosts went close as Ryan Wade hit a stunning long-range volley which sailed over Idzi but struck the top of the bar and bounced behind the goal.
Just as Airbus were beginning to dominate play Town snatched an equaliser when on twenty-seven minutes Kyle Bassett sent a well-flighted corner into the packed goalmouth to find Mark Jones whose deft glancing header flew past home goalkeeper James Coates and into the net.
But rather than boost Carmarthen’s prospects, the goal served only to provoke the home side into producing a spell of intense attacking play during which the Old Gold defence suffered collective amnesia regarding the art and principles of their positions.
Ten minutes from the interval a huge clearance by Coates reached Budrys who headed the ball on to Tony Gray and he swept the ball effortlessly into the nets. A minute later Wade cut inside from the left-wing and found the net with a smartly-struck drive.
Then a long throw from McGinn into the packed goalmouth reached Andy Jones who was given the time and space to turn sharply before stabbing the ball past Idzi from close range. Moments later the game was, in essence, all over when Riley broke free down the right-wing sending a deep cross into the penalty area where the unmarked Gray had no trouble powering the ball home.
After the interval manager Mark Aizlewood brought on substitute Dwaine Bailey, the tall combative defender who had clearly been tasked with the job of man-marking Budrys who, with his height and strength, had unsettled the Old Gold defence during most of the first-half. Craig Hanford had the same instructions in relation to the lively Gray.
The effect was beneficial for Carmarthen, as for the rest of the game play was evenly-balanced although there were few notable scoring opportunities created by either side.
The visitors enjoyed their reasonable share of attacking momentum and seven minutes from time substitute Sacha Walters played a short free-kick across to Jones. He had worked tirelessly up front throughout the game, and from wide on the left edge of the penalty area he released a fierce drive that drew an impressive full-length save from Coates.
The Old Gold have made a worrying habit of suffering a heavy defeat in the early stages of each of the past five seasons but only rarely has that occurred a second time. It has to be hoped this too will transpire to be an isolated result; otherwise this is going to be a long, hard season for fans to endure.
Lee Idzi; Luke Cummings (sub Jordan Knott 80); Chris Thomas; Craig Hanford; Dan Sheehan; Lewis Harling; Kieran Lewis; Ceri Morgan (sub Dwaine Bailey 46); Kyle Bassett; Mark Jones; Liam Thomas (sub Sacha Walters 63).
Scarlets make five changes for European quarter-final
Johnny Williams and Sione Kalamafoni have been handed their Scarlets’ European debuts for Saturday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Toulon at the Stade Felix Mayol (8.15pm UK time).
Both summer signings are included in a side showing five changes to the line-up that took the field against the Dragons in the Scarlets last match of the Guinness PRO14 season.
Wales and British & Irish Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny returns to face his former side, linking up with Johnny McNicholl and Steff Evans in an all-international back three.
Williams and Steff Hughes continue their midfield combination, while Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies has recovered from injury to partner Dan Jones at half-back.
Skipper Ken Owens, Wyn Jones and Samson Lee pack down in the front row and behind them Tongan international Sam Lousi starts at lock alongside Jake Ball.
In a reshuffled back-row, the PRO14’s turnover king Josh Macleod gets the nod at openside; Kalamafoni, who featured for Leicester Tigers in the pool stages of the tournament, wears the No. 8 jersey and Scotland international Blade Thomson has recovered from an Achilles issue to start at blindside.
On the bench, Ryan Elias, Phil Price and Javan Sebastian provide front-row cover with Lewis Rawlins and James Davies the other forward replacements. Kieran Hardy, Angus O’Brien and Tyler Morgan cover the backs. Morgan is set to make his first Scarlets appearance since joining from the Dragons.
The Scarlets and Toulon faced each other twice during the pool stages. A last-gasp converted try grabbed a 17-16 victory for the French side in November. The three-times European champions then claimed a crucial 27-15 win at Parc y Scarlets in January to ensure they topped the group.
Head coach Glenn Delaney said: “It is a final for us. If you win three finals in a row you win a trophy. We are that far away from achieving the objective we all set out upon 12 to 13 months ago. It would be lovely to finish it off the right way. Whenever you get the opportunity to play for a trophy you have got to be very respectful and take it deadly serious, which is exactly what our boys have been doing.”
Scarlets team v RC Toulon (Saturday, September 19, 2020; kick-off 8.15pm UK)
15 Leigh Halfpenny; 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Steff Evans; 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ken Owens (capt), 3 Samson Lee, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Sam Lousi, 6 Blade Thomson, 7 Josh Macleod, 8 Sione Kalamafoni.
Reps: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Phil Price, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 James Davies, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Tyler Morgan.
Unavailable because of injury
Rob Evans (neck), Rhys Patchell (calf), Liam Williams (foot), Daf Hughes (knee), Steff Thomas (knee), Alex Jeffries (elbow), Tomi Lewis (knee), Aaron Shingler.
Pembrey Country Park to host one of first post-lockdown events
CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s Pembrey Country Park has been chosen to host one of the first outdoor sports events in Wales since the Covid-19 lockdown.
Welsh Government has given the go ahead for three trial sport and culture events as part of its continued easing of restrictions.
Pembrey Country Park will host a duathlon on Sunday, September 6, with a limited number of competitors, although there will be no spectators.
The event will be monitored and will help inform Welsh Government policy on future sporting events as the country continues its recovery from Covid-19.
The council is working with Welsh Triathlon to ensure athletes can compete safely, with strict risk assessments and protocols being put into place.
Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We’re delighted to host this trial event here in Carmarthenshire, and hope this signals a return of more sporting events in the future. Our teams are working alongside Welsh Government and Welsh Triathlon to ensure that the event is safe and secure whilst providing an exciting and challenging duathlon course for competitors.”
Trundle and Robinson are back for another season with Ammanford AFC
Ammanford AFC are pleased to announce that the Ex Swans legends Lee Trundle and Andy Robinson are back for a second season with the club
The pair helped Ammanford AFC to achieve a respectable seventh place finish in the JD Cymru South league last season.
The Supporters of Ammanford will welcome the news and will be hoping that they can go and watch their team once clearance has been given.
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