Llanelli Town 1
Tredegar Town 0
PRIOR to the weekend fixtures, the Reds` dream scenario would have envisaged a home win against their highly placed visitors nearest rivals Ammanford and Lliswerry also promotion contenders, drawing and, most unlikely of all, Cwmamman United going down at Cwm Welfare.
Their expectations were realised as these results duly emerged – the only successful side in the top three being Cardiff Corinthians with an emphatic 5-1 win over Newport YMCA.
With their lead at the top of the table now extended to eleven points over Ammanford, they will be confident of going on to secure the championship title, although there are still a few tricky obstacles in the way in the shape of away matches at Lliswerry and Tredegar, while the home local derby with Ammanford could also prove crucial.
A scrappy, niggly game did not throw up much in the way of goalmouth action, with neither goalkeeper being seriously tested throughout.
The only direct effort on goal came in the opening couple of minutes when the home side attacked through Luke Jones whose infield pass picked out Robert Thomas, but his strike forced a sprawling save by goalkeeper Kris Morris at the expense of a corner.
As the home side, the Reds were the more dominant, but their opponents were content to sit back and absorb the pressure, resulting in few clear cut chances.
In fact, it was the visitors who went closest to establishing the lead when Reds` keeper, Craig Richards, made a hash of an attempted clearance, allowing Tomos Lynch to win possession before directing an effort across the face of goal before it was scrambled clear.
When the home side countered, a deep cross by Mark Napieralla found Steve Berry positioned on the edge of the area, and his first time volley flashed across the net and just wide of the far post.
A Richard Lewis corner found Luke Jones, but a defensive block denied him, but the best opportunity for the Reds to open their account came when some great wide play down the right by Bruno Forkuoh found Thomas in space, but he directed his finish wide from 20 yards.
On the stroke of half-time, Lynch did find the home net only for the effort to be ruled out for offside, but within a minute of the restart the Reds took the lead through Forkuoh with an exquisite backheel past Morris following some excellent build-up play from Anthony Owens.
Buoyed by this success, they came agonisingly close to extending the advantage with a Lewis free kick being met with a Lee Bevan header at the far post which rebounded off the underside of the crossbar before being cleared.
When the visitors were awarded a set piece, it was quickly taken by Morris who drove it down the middle where it deflected off Jamie Evans into the path of Lynch, but he took too long over his intended finish, and Evans was able to affect a clearance.
Most of the chances coming the way of Tredegar stemmed from ineptitude by their opponents, typified when a poor back pass by Napieralla was seized upon by Lynch, forcing Richards out of his goal to close down the threat.
A speculative attempt from Christopher Quinlan forced Richards to turn it over, while at the other end, persistence by Luke Jones forced Morris into a hurried clearance which only found Forkuoh, and he despatched a strike on target only for Gareth Stevens to intervene and prevent a certain goal.
Berry sent a first time attempt narrowly wide of the visitors` goal, but in stoppage time, they could well have levelled matters when another error, this time by Bevan, afforded Ian Pettit the chance, but again the finish was undecisive and Richards was able to gather safely.
A less than convincing win for the home side, but who nevertheless will be satisfied with the three points, and now face a potential tricky away game at Lliswerry on Saturday (Mar 7), kick off 2.30 p.m., before the visit of Ammanford to Stebonheath on Wednesday, 11th March, with a 7.45 p.m. kick off.
Matchroom Reds continue good form
MATCHROOM REDS continued their good Llanelli Snooker League form with a fine 5-2 victory on their trip to Burry Port Legion.
The highlight an impressive 92 clearance-break from Reds’ cueman Craig Price; J.Bullen, R.Evans and B.Newcombe added winning support; Rob Davies and Dean Thomas hit back for the home side.
Elsewhere in Division 1, Pontyberem also posted a convincing win, a 6-1 victory against Snooker World Whites, courtesy of A.Harris, E.Bowen, C.Rees, K.Selwood and Kieran Evans (54 break); just D.Jones’ frame avoided the Ammanford side the whitewash.
Similarly, only C.Howells was on top as Burry Port Reading Room Blues crashed 6-1 to Trimsaran; for the latter, J.Tudor, L.Holland, K.Proctor, M.Foreman and C.Thomas all contributed points.
Llanesco were 5-2 winners at the expense of Gorseinon Workmens’, after L.Lloyd, S.Thomas, C.Lloyd and C.Rees had struck; M.Davies and J.Wilcox were on song for the Brighton Road side.
Meanwhile, Jeff Jones (42 break), Paul Martin, Adrian Phillips and Gary Stead steered Cross Hands B to a 5-2 success away at Ponthenri Social, whose winning duo were Nigel Lewis and Jeff Howells.
T.Rees and L.Davies were Matchroom Whites’ winning pair as they sank to a 5-2 defeat at Upper Tumble blues; E.Rees, J.Bradley, I.James and N.Walters were frame winners for the hosts.
Morfa Social swept to a comprehensive 6-1 victory against Pontarddulais Workingmens’, with Rob Hughes, Scott Ashford, G.Lewis, B.Follows and Andrew Hatto all on top; only Steve Davies won for Bont.
In Division 2, the Gremlin Club kept up their impressive form with a thumping 7-0 victory at Pontarddulais Cons B; B.Price (32), R.Barney, M.Dagnall, L.Collins, K.Gronow and G.Stollery completed the rout.
It required the aggregate point to separate Bryn and Trallwm A and New Lodge B as Bryn edged home 4-3, thanks to the efforts of J.Townsend, M.Boland and J.Jones; Andrew John, Gary Williams (27) and Roy Morgan hit back for Lodge.
It was more clear cut at Matchroom Blacks, where the home side defeated Bryn B 6-1, courtesy of Rhys Morgan, Ryan Maides, Thomas Williams, Cory Jenkins and Nathan Brain; Kurtis Myhill was the visitors’ solitary point-earner.
Cross Hands A saw off the challenge of Upper Tumble Reds to win 5-2, after Jeff Howells, Matthew James, Elwyn Williams and Gerald Evans each won their frame; S.Marshall and K.Evans replied for the Tumble cuemen.
Liam McGhee, S.Crump, K.James and J.Jordan earned Llandybie RFC a solid 5-2 win against Tycroes RFC, with M.Walters and A.Rees replying.
Llangennech prove too strong for Crymych
LLANGENNECH earned their third bonus-point win in a row on Saturday (Dec 4) as they beat Crymych 30-10.
The home side started well and it was Andrew Thomas who crossed for the game’s first try.
That went unconverted but replacement no.10 Osian Evans then extended Llangennech’s lead to 11-0 with two penalties.
Crymych were then reduced to 14 players for ten minutes following a yellow card and Llangennech then picked up their second try of the game as Jordan Saunders touched down.
Evans then added the extras to give the home side an 18-0 lead at the break.
Crymych started the second half well and were rewarded with two unconverted tries for Tomos Lewis and Ilan Phillips.
However, there was then a red card for replacement tighthead Liam Tobias meaning Llangennech would be down to 14 men for the remainder of the game.
Despite being a man light Llangennech still pushed forward and they were awarded a penalty try off a driving maul.
Llangennech then got their bonus point in the last minute of the game as Kalum Evans touched down for an unconverted try to complete the scoring.
It means Llangennech sit top of the table with 15 points from their opening three games.
PHOTO by Darren Harries
Reds earn win in John’s first game in charge
IF the first game under the new management of Lee John and Dylan Blain is an indication of how Llanelli Town mean to progress, the future looks bright, as they were almost unrecognisable to the side that had performed so abysmally a fortnight previously against the same opponents.
John and Blain were in charge of the visitors on that occasion at Glanhafod Park, but their influence even at this early stage is obvious, with the home side once more demonstrating a fast-flowing style and passing game which has been sadly lacking for most of the season, and hopefully this trend will continue.
The only worry is the small squad of players available for selection, with two more, captain Kyle Copp and Zac Brown, leaving recently, while injuries are also a concern with the latest casualty being Robert Thomas who will probably miss the rest of the season.
Doubtless, there will be efforts made to strengthen the squad during the January transfer window, but until then reserve and academy players will have to be utilised to swell the numbers.
The hosts were on the front foot from the outset, with the midfield particularly prominent, producing opportunities for the front runners, with a Callum Saunders delivery into the box being pushed clear by Scott Coughlan in the Goytre goal just before Callum Bateman was about to make a headed contact.
Thomas then went down injured, and after efforts to play on had to admit defeat, being replaced by Morgan Weaver after 18 minutes.
Bateman fired over after being played in by Chris Thomas when he broke from the back, but ironically, despite their dominance the Reds went close to conceding when the visitors, with almost their first real threat, forced Exauce Dimonekene into a great save to deny Jay Thomas, and then make an even better stop to keep out the rebound from James Parry.
These near-misses spurred on Goytre, and a corner to the near post by Bradley Flay was headed against the upright by Tim Parker.
Having survived these near-efforts, the hosts retaliated when a short corner by James Loveridge set up Sam Parsons whose well struck finish into the goalmouth was just about kept out Coughlan before the loose ball was hacked clear.
Loveridge himself then had a chance of opening the scoring, but blazed over from a decent position, and the interval arrived with neither side being able to break the deadlock.
The dominant force in the first half, the Reds continued where they had left off by taking the contest to their opponents, and Miles John was unlucky when his near post attempt on target deflected off Daniel Birch for a corner.
From this, Nathan Logan directed a header across the area to Bateman, but again Coughlan did just enough to prevent an opening score.
Louis Gerrard fired narrowly wide of the Goytre goal from distance, but the final ball was somehow lacking, and the nearest they came was from a Saunders free kick which went inches over the bar.
For all their dominance, they also had to be vigilant at the other end as their opponents gradually came more into the game, and John brought off a saving tackle on Parker to prevent him pulling the trigger inside the box, while Goytre really should have taken the lead when an unmarked Flay headed wide from a few yards out following a great cross by Joseph Pelosi.
The Reds capitalised on this let-off by going ahead on 76 minutes through Logan who was found some 25 yards out from goal, and he curled a delightful finish past Coughlan just inside the post.
This proved to be his last action as he was replaced by Dylan Williams on 80 minutes, but within three minutes the lead was extended with something of a freak goal when Saunders unleashed a speculative shot on target which Coughlan made a complete hash of, allowing it to bounce off his legs and into the net.
Despite this setback, the visitors hauled themselves back into contention in the 86th minute after some initial attempts on the home goal had been partially cleared, with the ball eventually running loose and being met by Kyran Steadman who fired a well- aimed strike into the bottom corner to set up a grandstand finish.
With the clock running down but with a potential substantial amount of stoppage time to be added, the hosts were anxious to ensure they were not about to concede their advantage, and both Williams and Gavin Jones went close, before matters were finally wrapped up by Saunders in the 5th minute of added time when he despatched a well-taken set piece past Coughlan to seal the points, and more importantly a winning start for the new hierarchy.
Another tough assignment awaits them on Saturday (Dec 11) when they travel to the Rhondda for their fixture against Cambrian & Clydach, kick off 2.30pm.
PHOTO by Darren Harries
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