LLANELLI TOWN completed their home 2021 league fixtures with a reasonably comfortable win over Cwmbran Celtic on Friday night (Dec 17), although they made heavy weather of it at times.
Leading through a Nathan Logan strike on the stroke of half time, it was not until the 63rd minute when they were awarded a penalty converted by James Loveridge that they could finally feel the three points were safe.
Once again, injuries forced some positional changes to the starting line-up, with Dylan Williams, who had featured in a striking role in the previous game at Cambrian & Clydach, now being asked to take over at full back in place of Miles John, while Ben Bowler-Edwards made his senior debut in midfield instead of the absent Sam Parsons, and both emerged with credit.
In addition, the substitutes bench contained another three academy players in Owain Phillips- Taylor, Sion Dafydd Williams and goalkeeper Evan Williams, a testament to the strength of a thriving youth set-up throughout the club.
An entirely forgettable 20 opening minutes burst into some kind of life with the visitors launching an attack up the right involving Jack Martin and Alex McDowell, culminating in the latter firing over the top when the chance presented itself.
When the hosts eventually cobbled together some worthwhile passes which involved Loveridge and Logan, they in turn played in Callum Bateman, but his finish was a wild one, high over the Celtic goal.
The visitors came close to opening their account when it took a clearance out of the goalmouth by Louis Gerrard to prevent Isaac Powell steering his finish just inside the far post.
At the other end, a Callum Saunders free kick awarded just outside the box for a foul on Gavin Jones skimmed the bar and landed on top of the roof of the net, but with the interval imminent, the Reds finally broke the stalemate on the stroke of half time when Gerrard lofted a delivery to the far side of the area which was met by Logan, who struck a superb first time volley which gave Lewis Watkins in the Celtic goal no chance of stopping.
Encouraged by this late first half success, the hosts were quickly on the front foot after the restart, with Bateman striking the bar after Jones had set up the chance, while Logan went down in the box under a challenge, but referee Tom Bevan waved play on.
The visitors again went close through Powell, whose quick turn and shot from the edge of the area flashed across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.
When the home side countered through Logan, he found Williams up in support, and it took a smart save by Watkins to deny the youngster from extending the lead by pushing his finish over the bar.
Another of the home academy recruits was then instrumental in earning a penalty award when Bowler-Edwards was played though by Logan and made ground into the box before being brought down by Watkins who had advanced off his line, earning the Celtic captain a yellow card, in the 63rd minute.
Loveridge stepped up to take the kick and made no mistake with his assured finish from the spot.
With their two-goal cushion, the Reds were now dictating matters, and Bateman had a near post effort grabbed on the line by Watkins, while Logan made inroads down the left before driving his finish into the side-netting.
Exauce Dimonekene had enjoyed a relatively quiet evening in the home goal, but he was called into some meaningful action when in attempting to cut out a through ball, his feet inadvertently slid out of his area, leading to a free kick to the visitors in a dangerous position.
This was driven goalwards by Powell, leading to an almighty scramble in front of the net, but with the home defence standing firm, the ball was eventually diverted off a visiting player for a harmless goal kick.
With the contest entering its closing stages, there was just time for Bateman to force Watkins to push another effort around the upright for a fruitless corner, but the home side will be pleased to round off their home programme with three points, with a couple of difficult games awaiting over the festive period.
These both involve Briton Ferry Llansawel, with the first at Old Road on Monday, December 27, kick off 12noon, while the return at Stebonheath is on New Year`s Day, Saturday, January 1, with a 2.30pm start.
Photo by Darren Harries
Gascoigne entertains Llanelli
OVER 400 people were at attendance in the Selwyn Samuel Centre in Llanelli on Saturday (Jun 18) to see former England legend Paul Gascoigne talk about his life and footballing career.
Gazza had the crowd in stitches with his stories from his past and was visibly emotional with the crowd’s warm reaction to him being there.
At one point a member of the crowd asked him if he could play one last game for one team who would it be… his answer was Swansea City to the crowds delight.
His next event will be in Tenby on September 17. The event was kindly sponsored by RDH Contractors and Sylan Lakes holiday cottages in five roads.
Ryan Giggs quits as Wales manager with ‘immediate effect’
EX Man-Utd winger has left his position as the manager of the national football team with ‘immediate effect’.
Giggs stepped back from his role in November 2020 following after being arrested.
49-year-old Giggs has been charged with assault and using controlling behaviour towards an ex-partner. A claim that Giggs has denied.
In a heartfelt statement on his decision, Giggs said: “After much consideration, I am standing down from my position as manager of the Wales men’s national team with immediate effect.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to manage my country, but it is only right that the Wales FA, the coaching staff and the players prepare for the tournament with certainty, clarification and without speculation around the position of their head coach.
“I do not want the country’s preparations for the World Cup to be affected, destabilised or jeopardised in any way by the continued interest around this case.
“I am sad that we cannot continue this journey together because I believe that this extraordinary group will make the country proud at our first World Cup since 1958.
“It is my intention to resume my managerial career at a later date.”
Following Giggs arrest in 2020, former Wales captain Robert Page took over as interim manager.
Under Page Wales beat Ukraine to earn themselves a place at Qatar World Cup for the first time in 64 years.
Giggs faces one charge of using controlling and coercive behaviour August 2017 and November 2020, one charge of assault causing actual bodily harm of his ex-girlfriend Kate Greville on November 1, 2020.
He also faces a charge of common assault on the victim’s sister.
Giggs denies all charges against him and will stand trial on August 8.
The trial is expected to last five days.
Following the announcement, a FAW spokesperson said: “The FAW places on record its gratitude to Ryan Giggs for his tenure as manager of the Cymru men’s national team and appreciates the decision he has taken, which is in the best interests of Welsh football,
“The full focus of the FAW and the Cymru men’s national team is on the Fifa World Cup in Qatar later this year.”
Llanelli edged out as Ynystawe pull off mammoth chase
A SCORE of 331-4 would normally be enough for a team to pick up victory, but South Wales Premier Division 2 leaders Ynystawe had other ideas as they pulled off a remarkable chase on Saturday (Jun 4).
Llanelli had been asked to bat first after Ynystawe had won the toss and their total was underpinned by a brilliant unbeaten century from Iwan Rees.
The opener hit sixteen fours and four sixes in his knock of 153 which came off 146 balls.
He had good support from Steven Devonald who scored 29 and Rhydian Morgan who scored 20 (2 fours, 1 six).
Rees and Rhys Harris shared the best stand of the match as they put on 157 runs for the fourth wicket.
Harris hit 12 fours in his score of 87 from 74 balls but he was out to the bowling of Rhys Palmer.
Rhys Westcott also finished unbeaten on 18 from 11 balls as Ynystawe were set 332 to win the game.
In reply, opener Nathan Lee scored 20 before falling to Jac Rees who also then took the wicket of Morgan Hodges on a score of 23.
Carl Roberts played well for his half century, hitting eight fours in his score of 56 before being trapped leg before by Aled Gilley.
Andrew Beasley was run out on a score of 15 and that left Ynystawe on 140-4.
Thomas Morgan and Luke Garthwaite shared 93 runs for the fifth wicket. Both reached their half centuries but Morgan was out to Iwan Rees on a score of 50.
Rees also bowled Ceri Durke and Rhys Palmer was run out by Rhydian Morgan having hit a four and a six in a quickfire score of 15.
That left Ynystawe 275-7 and they only had six overs left to get their target.
Garthwaite was on a score of 75 when Palmer fell and he took control as he smashed his way to a century.
He finished unbeaten on 118 from 67 balls after hitting 20 fours and two sixes. The last of his fours won the game for the home side as they ended up winning with two overs to spare.
On Saturday, June 11, Llanelli host Cowbridge while Ynynstawe travel to Penarth.
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