Bangor City 2
Carmarthen Town 2
CARMARTHEN went into this game level on points with Bangor at the top of the Welsh Premier League Conference section knowing that, with only two further matches to play, defeat here would almost certainly end their hopes of securing the coveted UEFA play-off qualifying place.
But the game started badly for the Old Gold as the home side took the lead within the opening couple of minutes.
Possession was given up in midfield and a swift break down the left-hand side saw Michael Elstone cut into the penalty area and drift past Craig Hanford before sliding the ball beyond the reach of stranded keeper Lee Idzi and into the far corner of the net.
For a spell the visitors were under continuous pressure but fortunately the home side failed to benefit from their large percentage of possession. Gradually Town’s midfield gained some kind of parity and after 20 minutes created their first shot on goal by Luke Cummings after a neat passing movement down the righthand side. But with Ashley Young dominating the midfield area it was City that finished the first-half strongly.
Once again the Old Gold defence failed to clear a free-kick and with the ball being returned to the edge of the penalty area Anthony Miley was able to turn inside Jordan Knott, captain for the day, and rifle a superb shot past Idzi.
Carmarthen’s situation was exacerbated during this move as central defender, Dave Vincent, went down after a challenge in midfield. He was stretchered from the pitch and taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd. Fortunately it transpired that his leg was very badly bruised rather than fractured.
Town manager Mark Aizlewood certainly worked his magic during the half-time period – not only did he revamp his defence with the introduction of Luke Prosser but also ensured a superb performance in the second-half.
Carmarthen immediately went on the attack and several dangerous balls flew across the Bangor box only to just evade the visitors’ strike-force.
Yet eventually in the 63rd minute they succeeded in reducing the deficit. Knott burst forward into the penalty area and from the byline fired a dangerous cross into the goalmouth where the ball rebounded off a defender straight to Mark Jones – Town’s top scorer, a constant threat to the home defence all afternoon, unleashed a powerful angled drive that strike partner Liam Thomas directed past keeper Connor Roberts with a cleverly executed side-foot from close range.
This emphasised how dominant the Old Gold were by now. Kyle Bassett was introduced in the 70th minute and was to have a major influence for the rest of the game. A corner by Bassett was glanced just wide by Thomas, while another one was nodded home by Prosser only to be disallowed for a foul by another player.
During this period Bangor were reduced to ten men when midfielder Damian Allen was sent from the pitch after receiving his second yellow card for a fierce challenge on Kieran Lewis. Yet they nearly restored their twogoal advantage when Elstone made a strong run from his own half only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle by Dwaine Bailey who had been a solid performer for Town throughout the afternoon.
By now the midfield trio of Lewis Harling, Ceri Morgan and Lewis were dominating the game and producing several telling balls, which unfortunately managed to evade the strike force of Thomas and Jones.
As the game entered its dying moments Bailey’s superb header sent the ball over the Bangor defence to set Bassett surging forward from the centre-circle and deep into the home penalty area where he was clipped from behind by a despairing, covering defender. Thomas was entrusted with the ensuing penalty kick that was made even more difficult by the softness of the pitch.
Thomas strode forward and struck the ball confidently to Roberts’ right-hand side and although he managed to get his hand to the ball the pace of the shot ensured that the penalty was converted.
The game ended with the home side trying to put Town defence under pressure but with Idzi dealing competently with crosses into the box there were no further scares for the visitors.
However, unfortunately, they too finished the game with ten men as during the final two minutes Knott also picked up his second yellow card of the game for obstruction. He will now miss the crunch match against Aberystwyth at Richmond Park next Saturday. With the injury to Vincent as well, Town will have to start the game with a rebuilt defence.
After the match manager Aizlewood praised his squad for their reaction to his half-time criticism:
“Some teams would just have capitulated after such a poor performance during the first fortyfive minutes. These boys showed their character by taking on board what was said at the interval and produced a superb second forty-five minutes.”
This result means that Town and Bangor remain level on points in seventh and eighth positions in the WPL, just one point ahead of Aberystwyth – a place in the play-offs is still up for grabs.
Team: Lee Idzi; Jordan Knott; Dwaine Bailey; Dave Vincent (sub Luke Prosser 44); Craig Hanford (sub Kyle Bassett 70); Ceri Morgan; Lewis Harling (sub Glen Fearn 83); Kieran Lewis; Luke Cummings; Liam Thomas; Mark Jones.
Unused Subs: Dan Sheehan; Danny Thomas.
Foel’s Championship dream halted
FELINFOEL’s hopes of promotion to the WRU Championship were brought to an end on Sunday (May 12) as they were beaten in the play-offs by Ystalyfera.
Ystalyfera had won the first leg 34-28 on their home soil but Felinfoel were still very much in the tie and they had the backing of an 800-strong home crowd in the reverse fixture. Fans packed in to the ground and they witnessed an epic encounter.
Felinfoel held the lead at one time but their opponents hit back to seal a 20-30 win to win overall by 64 points to 48.
Felinfoel played some attractive rugby during the first half with wingers Eray Wilson and Elliot Dawe scoring tries wide out one of which was converted by Aled Roberts. Ystalyfera scored a penalty and a converted try making the half time score 12 points to 10.
The second half opened brightly for Felinfoel with Roberts kicking a penalty and Wilson scoring a further try. With the score at 20 points to 10, matters were looking favourable for the home team.
It was at this stage that the Ystalyfera forwards took complete control of the match denying Felinfoel of any possession for the final 20mins of the match. With a strong scrummage and dynamic driving maul they continued to exert pressure onto the home team.
Ystalyfera were rewarded with a further two converted tries, penalty goal and drop goal and deserved their victory 20 points to 30, and promotion to the championship.
Both teams are to be congratulated in the way in which the game was played. Both sides gave their all and provided an entertaining encounter.
Both sets of supporters gave loud vocal support to each team and were sporting throughout the match.
At the end of the match Felinfoel coach Mike King who is leaving after two years in charge was given a rousing send off by players and supporters alike.
After the game Felinfoel took to twitter saying: “After another successful season, it’s time to say thank you. Thank you to all sponsors for supporting the club throughout the season once again. Without you we would not exist. Thank you to all the supporters who have been with us through thick and thin.
“Lastly, thank you to head coach Mike King who will be leaving us. He has set the foundations of the club and has turned this club around for the better. All at Felinfoel RFC can’t thank you enough. We wish you all the best in the future.”
Morgan marches seconds home
DAFEN Seconds earned the bragging rights over Llanelli Seconds on Saturday (May 11) as they cruised to an eight wicket win.
Dafen won the toss but elected to field and that looked to be a good decision as they bowled their opponents out for just 118 inside 22 overs.
Aadil Mukhtar finished with excellent figures of 5-21 while Oliver Evans supported well taking four wickets for the loss of 40 runs.
Needing just thirty overs of their reply, Dafen Seconds eased to victory as Jac Morgan finished not out on 64 to see his side over the line.
The win for Dafen keeps them joint top of the table with Briton Ferry Town after two games while Llanelli sit bottom of Division 3 and are still searching for their first win.
On Saturday (May 18), Dafen Seconds are at home against Dyffryn while Llanelli Seconds are away to Neath thirds.
Jones duo sink Bronwydd
LLANGENNECH earned their first win of the season on Saturday (May 11) as they beat Bronwydd by 14 runs in a low scoring game.
Llangennech won the toss and elected to bat but they lost Chris Hickey early on when he was caught by Jacob Jenkinson off the bowling of Colin Tucker.
Matthew Jones scored 11 before he was caught and bowled by Tucker before David Williams was caught by Tom Gleeson off the bowling of Matthew Vaughan for a score of 14.
James Taube made the same score but was then caught by Phillip Howell off the bowling of Dafydd Morgan. Morgan also bowled Martin Gregory to leave Llangennech on 83-5.
Opener Scott Lloyd’s score of 30 had come off 127 balls and he was eventually caught by Vaughan off the bowling of Callum Collins-Davies.
Richard Clement was the third Llangennech batsman to make a score of 14 before getting out as he was caught by Jenkinson off the bowling of Gleeson.
Michael Jones was then run out before Gleeson claimed his second wicket as he had Simon Clement caught by Oliver Furneaux.
Vaughan then wrapped up the innings as he had Bav Patel caught by James Cale to leave Llangennech all out on 124. Photo by Darren Harries
Bronwydd’s opening pair of James Cale and Philip Howell shared 15 runs but Howell was out for a score of 8 to the bowling of Michael Jones.
Oliver Furneaux was next to fall when he was trapped leg before by Matthew Jones on a score of 11.
Chris Hickey then gave Owain Phillips his first wicket as he caught Jacob Jenkinson and the bowler then claimed his second as he had Cale caught by David Williams on a score of 17.
That left Bronwydd on 44-4 but Iwan Davies and Dafydd Morgan shared 40 runs for the fifth wicket to keep their side in the game.
Davies hit three fours and a six in his knock of 33 but he was then trapped leg before by Michael Jones. He then also bowled Callum Collins-Davies for a duck to reduce Bronwydd to 84-6.
Matthew Jones then had Dafydd Morgan caught on a score of 8 before then trapping Tom Gleeson leg before.
Hickey then took two more catches of Matthew Vaughan and Colin Tucker to give Matthew Jones his five-wicket haul and Bronwydd were all out for 110.
Gareth John had finished not out on 18 but it wasn’t enough for victory for the visitors.
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