Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sport

Town soundly beaten by rampant Merthyr

Avatar

Published

on

Sacha Walters: added urgency in the second half

Sacha Walters: added urgency in
the second half

Merthyr Town 4
Carmarthen Town 0

FOLLOWING on from a positive performance against Championship side Cardiff City, Carmarthen continued their pre-season programme with a hugely disappointing display against Merthyr Town. The Glamorgan side, newly promoted to the Southern League Premier Division (the third tier of the English non-league pyramid), dismantled the Town side who were soundly beaten with the final score-line comfortably reflecting the gulf between these sides on the day.

Yet in the opening stages the game was fairly evenly balanced with the play switching quickly from end to end although neither defence looked particularly troubled and there were few scoring opportunities. The only notable chance arose in the 4th minute when Merthyr’s Kayne McLaggon cut in from the left flank and struck a fierce 20 yard effort that keeper James Kirkwood turned around the post with a smart full-length save.

However from midway during this half Merthyr began to take control as they enjoyed by far the greater share of possession, moving the ball around with confidence and precision – as a result the Old Gold attacking threat was easily nullified while their defence came under increasing pressure.

And on 22 minutes the hosts deservedly went ahead when the ball was played across to Ian Traylor on the right wing from where he swiftly cut inside, went cleverly past Jordan Knott and from the corner of the penalty area fired a crisp shot beyond Kirkwood’s reach and into the corner of the net.

Then after 27 minutes the lively Traylor split the visitors’ rather static defence with a fine pass that set Ryan Prosser free inside the penalty area and he coolly drove the ball home giving Kirkwood no chance.

Despite the best efforts of Luke Cummings, Kyle Bassett and, in particular, the industrious Lewis Harling in midfield, Carmarthen remained unable to fashion any serious scoring chances – by contrast, it seemed more than likely that Merthyr would soon stretch their lead still more.

On 40 minutes from Jaye Bowen’s corner-kick Traylor rose highest in the crowded goalmouth only to direct his header narrowly over the bar. Then moments later Traylor was again influential when his deep right-wing cross into the penalty area was met by Prosser, who stabbed the ball into the net from close range. Embarrassingly, the Old Gold had not managed a shot on target during the entire first-half.

After the interval the home side were quickly back in control of the game, demonstrating all too graphically how beneficial it is to keep hold of the ball for as long as possible – a task that was seemingly beyond Carmarthen. And in the 51st minute Traylor received the ball on the edge of the penalty area but his fierce strike was too straight and Kirkwood was well placed to deny him another goal.

However the visitors, to their credit, were still demonstrating considerable spirit and determination, especially in midfield where Harling and Bassett, supported now by substitute Sacha Walters, continued to press forward at every opportunity. And it was Bassett who had the notable (albeit dubious) distinction of producing Town’s first shot on target after 67 minutes when, having received a short pass from Dan Sheehan, he raced towards the penalty area in typical bustling style and held off the challenge of a defender before releasing a powerful 20 yard drive that drew a fine save from keeper Cameron Clarke.

Unfortunately this seemed only to galvanise Merthyr into even greater effort and they extended their already comfortable lead on 74 minutes as Gethin Hill broke into the penalty area and rifled the ball home through a crowd of players with Kirkwood unsighted.

Then in a final flurry of goalmouth activity in the closing stages of the game the Old Gold again threatened when in the 89th minute Rhodri Morgan burst forward to the edge of the penalty area before slipping the ball on to Mark Jones who saw his sharp close range shot resisted by Clark with an impressive reflex save. Moments later Sheehan’s searching cross from the right wing reached Jones rising above his marker at the far post but he sent his header narrowly over the bar.

Yet the last chance, unsurprisingly, was fashioned by Merthyr deep into added time when after a quick exchange of passes Hill received the ball just outside the penalty area but his fierce angled drive flew fractionally too high.

Team:

James Kirkwood; Dan Sheehan; Chris Thomas; Sam Handy (sub Luke Prosser 46); Jordan Knott; Kyle Bassett; Lewis Harling; Luke Cummings (sub Rhodri Morgan 51); Chris Hartland (sub Liam Thomas 36, sub Chris Hartland 58); Mark Jones (sub Sacha Walters 46); Jeff White (sub Mark Jones 61);

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sport

Scarlets convincingly beat Ospreys

Avatar

Published

on

Rainbow Cup • Scarlets 22 – Ospreys 6

SCARLETS delivered a dominant derby performance to claim their first victory of the Rainbow Cup campaign, beating the Ospreys 22-6, at a rain-soaked Parc y Scarlets.

Prop Alex Jeffries scored the only try of the match, with full-back Leigh Halfpenny delivering a typically dead-eyed goal-kicking display in atrocious conditions.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Paranormal-Banner.fw-1.png

The platform was laid by the Scarlets pack, with skipper Ken Owens, Blade Thomson and Aaron Shingler to the fore; the man of the match Kieran Hardy mixed up his game intelligently, while a much-improved defensive display saw the visitors restricted to just two kicks at goal from fly-half Luke Price.

It was the Ospreys who opened the scoring with a penalty from the boot of Price on two minutes, but the Scarlets responded strongly with Halfpenny levelling on 17 after the visitors were caught offside.

The outstanding Jonathan Davies looked like he made it over the whitewash after bursting through a couple of tackles, but the television match official adjudged the Wales centre had lost the ball as he slid over the whitewash and the score was chalked off.

Nevertheless, the Scarlets continued to boss proceedings.

With the Ospreys falling foul of Scottish referee Ben Blain, Halfpenny added a couple more penalties and an impressive half for the home side was capped when Jeffries crossed two minutes before the interval

A well-worked line-out move saw Davies burst onto a pass from Owens, breaking through a couple of tackles before feeding the tight-head prop on his inside.

Jeffries still had plenty to do but showed a superb turn of pace to race clear 20 metres to the whitewash to touch down against his former side.

That made it 16-3 at half-time with the Scarlets seemingly in firm control.

The visitors, looking for their first PRO14 win at Parc y Scarlets since 2015, did enjoy more of the game in the second period.

Price reduced the arrears with a penalty and it needed some superb defence to keep the Ospreys line-out maul at bay.

Another Halfpenny penalty five minutes from time extended the lead to 22-6 to ensure a comfortable victory and a seasonal double over the Scarlets’ arch-rivals.

Continue Reading

Sport

Three summer tests announced for Wales

Avatar

Published

on

WALES will play three summer tests in Cardiff this July as revised international fixtures have been announced.

Wayne Pivac’s side will face Canada (July 3) and back-to-back games against Argentina (July 10 & 17) at Principality Stadium.

These tests replace the scheduled summer tour to Argentina which has had to be cancelled due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty around travel restrictions.

The Pumas will now travel to Cardiff for two tests against the Six Nations Champions.

Wales will kick off their summer campaign on July 3 at home to Canada. The Canucks who are coached by former Wales captains Kingsley Jones and Rob Howley will visit Cardiff for the first time since 2008.

“We are looking forward to this summer, the opportunity it presents, and we are delighted to have three tests confirmed,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.

“It is disappointing not to have the opportunity to tour Argentina, especially on the back of our 2020 tour to New Zealand being cancelled, but in the current climate it is completely understandable.

“What is important is we have games and as we have said all along, this summer is a huge opportunity for us.   We are delighted and proud to have 10 players selected for the British & Irish Lions, it is reward for all their hard work and we wish them all the best this summer.

“With those players away we always earmarked this summer as an important development opportunity for us.

“It is an opportunity to bring players into this environment, look at them closely and expose them to test match rugby.  It is also an opportunity for current internationals to step-up into further leadership roles, so on both counts it is an important camp for us looking ahead to RWC2023.”

WRU CEO Steve Phillips added: “It is a huge credit to World Rugby that a full schedule of summer international rugby has been achieved against the backdrop of the global pandemic.

“Whilst it is obviously disappointing not to tour, we are delighted in Wales to be hosting Canada and to be able to honour the 2017 San Francisco agreement by hosting the Pumas for back-to-back matches, which will be hugely important to our international player development.

“Wayne has been adamant that his squad needs matches this summer and World Rugby have certainly delivered on that front.

“We are, of course, acutely aware of current restrictions and the ongoing and complex global COVID-19 picture. We will continue to monitor the situation in terms of any potential spectator access, but will remain entirely compliant and vigilant of all restrictions.

“In the current circumstances we are simply delighted to be able to play international rugby and any advance on that will be a bonus.”

Continue Reading

Sport

A 48-7 victory over Italy leaves Wales a win from the Grand Slam

Avatar

Published

on

IT was always going to be a tough game for the Italian side, but now it is official, Wales are one win away from the Grand Slam!

Wales scored seven tries through Josh Adams, Taulupe Faletau, Ken Owens (2), George North, Callum Sheedy and Louis Rees-Zammit as they secured a comfortable Six Nations win in Rome.

The unbeaten tournament leaders reeled off a third successive bonus-point victory to increase pressure on their rivals for silverware. Italy meanwhile are staring down the barrel at another Wooden Spoon – they haven’t won a Six Nations match since 2015.https://www.youtube.com/embed/QI4FARxZcKk?feature=oembed

STILL A BIT OF WORK TO DO

The Welsh captain, Alun Wyn Jones, who is just one win away from winning his fourth Six Nations Grand Slam told S4C: “We were pretty clinical, particularly in the first half.

“We’re a tad frustrated with the second half but it’s a case of job done and plenty to work on.

“The excitement I feel every time I pull on this red jersey is insurmountable, so I’m looking forward to getting back to it on Monday and preparing for next weekend.”

Jones added: “It’s job done, but there’s still a bit to work on.”

Another heavy defeat will again raise the inevitable questions about Italy’s position in the Six Nations and whether there should be relegation.

The facts speak for themselves.

Today marked a 31st successive defeat for the Azzurri in the competition, with their last victory coming against Scotland in 2015.

Italy have not managed a home Six Nations win for eight years, with 20 successive losses.

Italy have conceded 187 points and 26 tries in four games this year.

Line-ups
Italy: Trulla, Bellini, Brex, Canna, Ioane, Garbisi, Varney; Fischetti, Bigi (capt), Zilocchi, Cannone, Sisi, Negri, Meyer, Lamaro.

Replacements: Fabiani for Ioane (7-18), Lovotti for Fischetti (65) Riccioni for Zilocchi (33), Lazzaroni for Cannone (52), Mbanda for Meyer (26-36), Violi for Varney (63), Mori for Garbisi (54) Padovani for Trulla (44).

Wales: L Williams; Rees-Zammit, North, J Davies, Adams; Biggar, G Davies; W Jones, Owens, Tomas Francis, Hill, AW Jones (capt), Navidi, Tipuric, Faletau.

Replacements: Dee for Owens (54), Carre for W Jones (57), Brown for Francis (45), Ball for AW Jones (54), Wainwright for Faletau (51), L Williams for G Davies (52), Sheedy for Biggar (52), Halaholo for North (46)

Match officials
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Touch judges: Pascal Gauzere (France) & Christophe Ridley (England)

TMO: Tom Foley (England)https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1370764974163947527&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.herald.wales%2Fsport%2Fa-48-7-victory-over-italy-leaves-wales-a-win-from-the-grand-slam%2F&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=500px

MATCH ANALYSIS

Surely it was discipline that was the main problem for Italy.

Mistakes and an incredible ability to give away stupid penalties, as a series of needless errors allowed the visitors to build an insurmountable lead early on.

It all started with Paolo Garbisi sending the ball dead from the kick-off before Luca Bigi infringed at the breakdown. The captain then cynically stopped a Gareth Davies quick tap and was duly yellow carded. Against 14 men, Wales built up an advantage they would not relinquish as the visitors won the game before it had really started. It was not a good example from the skipper and is symptomatic of where the Italians are currently at.

Arguably since before the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour, the back has struggled for form, leading many to question whether that was it for the Welsh centurion. Although he is only 28, it must be remembered that North has been around at the top level for a long time and there is only so much the body can take in modern day rugby. However, the move into the midfield seems to have given him a new lease of life.

To the surprise of many, Callum Sheedy did not start against Italy after his superb performance versus England. Instead, it was the much criticised Dan Biggar who continued at fly-half and produced a significantly improved display before giving way to the Bristol playmaker in the second period. Sheedy was also excellent when he came on and it leaves Wayne Pivac with a decision to make going forward. No doubt, Biggar will start next week against France – albeit the head coach is not afraid of making a big call – but the 25-year-old is certainly not far off the first XV.

Much has been said and written about the Azzurri’s continued presence in the Six Nations and based on the evidence in this fixture, they really shouldn’t be playing in a competition of this stature. Franco Smith’s charges were never at the races with Wales racing into a 22-0 lead midway through the half without really breaking a sweat. Italy hardly threatened on attack – especially during the first half – and it looked like it was a case of men against boys for large periods of this Test. The result means they have now lost 31 matches on the trot, which is the longest losing streak in the history of the Championship, and they last tasted victory in a Round Three clash against Scotland in 2015. The time is now ripe for tournament organisers to reconsider their participation.

Although Italy were never in this encounter, Wales deserve plenty of credit as they impressed for the entire game and made full use of the opportunities which were presented to them.

Pivac will be delighted with the clinical fashion with which his players went about their business and they had their bonus point in the bag by the half-hour mark after Josh Adams, Taulupe Faletau and Ken Owens (2) crossed for tries. Despite leading 27-0 at the interval, Wales did not take their foot of the pedal with North also crossing the whitewash soon after the restart and although Monty Ioane scored a try for the hosts, that was a mere blip as Wales continued to dominate and sealed their win with five-pointers from Sheedy and Louis Rees-Zammit.

Continue Reading

Trending

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK