THE OLD adage ‘a game of two halves‘ can aptly describe the Reds home match against their Gwent visitors as they dominated the opening forty five minutes only to fall away after the restart, and in the final analysis were probably thankful for a point.
One small consolation was the fact the overall display by the home side was certainly a vast improvement following the horror show at AFC Porth the previous week, and when captain Lee Bevan put them ahead in the 29th minute, probably another goal would have sealed the final result, as their opponents offered little in the way of an attacking threat.
Having failed to do so, however, they then allowed the opposition to dictate matters in the second half, and their goal survived some close calls – among them a miss from the penalty spot.
Richard Lewis, who had missed the Porth fixture, was soon in the thick of the action, driving a corner across the face of the net before forcing Tom Chorley in the visitors` goal to divert his free kick on target around the post.
Chorley then just managed to beat Matthew Hughes to a back pass when he quickly closed him down, and when Mark Napieralla sent Luke Jones clear down the right flank, his final ball to the near post was diverted for a corner.
The Reds were well in control of proceedings, and went close again from a Liam Samuel free kick, which flashed just wide with Chorley beaten.
The pressure eventually paid off just before the half hour when a Lewis set piece found its way to the far edge of the area where Bevan was on hand to bring it under control before volleying his finish beyond the keeper.
The Reds continued to dictate play, with Hughes just failing to get a strike away when he collected a cross by Samuel, while the latter almost scored himself, shooting over from ten yards when Lewis set up the chance.
Comfortably in control at the break despite their slender lead, the Reds were to find their opponents a vastly different proposition in the second period, and an early warning sign came when Bevan was forced into a vital clearance in front of goal from a Luke Fernquest cross with players waiting to take advantage. Ten minutes into the play, Croesyceiliog were awarded a penalty after a corner was punched clear by Alex Ramsay before the loose ball was transferred back into the box, and in the ensuing scramble, Aaron Harris went down under a challenge, leading to referee Matthew Jones pointing to the spot.
Lewis Clare took the kick, but he drove his attempt wide, and the Reds were temporarily let off the hook.
This setback did not seem to deter the visitors too much, as they continued to pose plenty of problems, although a rare Reds attack saw Bartolome Bauza, who had a fine game in midfield considering his limited appearances, fire just off target when Hughes found him on the edge of the area.
With time running out it appeared as if the solitary goal would prove sufficient to secure a much-needed win, but the visitors had other ideas and with ten minutes remaining levelled matters when Ramsay elected to punch clear the initial free kick by Josh Hall, but the ball was recycled back into the middle where it was met by Rhys Williams whose finish found the net.
Just before the close, the Reds almost conceded again and have Jamie Evans to thank for clearing off the line when Jamie Arnold got a close range connection.
A point apiece was probably a fair result as both sides created chances but were equally culpable at not being able to cash in.
Llanelli Town: Ramsay, Napieralla (I. Evans, 85), Lewis, Thomas, J. Evans, Bevan, Samuel, Bauza, Jones (Forkuoh, 74), Logan (Stone, 74), Hughes.
Subs not used: Zola, John.
Croesyceiliog: Chorley, Hall, Evans, Morris, Griffiths (Doidge, 71), N. Williams (Fernquest, 46), Harris, R. Williams, Clare (Mason, 62), Feeley, Arnold.
Sub not used: Hodge.
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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