CONNAH’S QUAY.................6 LLANELLI TOWN.................0

Carmarthen Journal - - Soccer -

A FULLSTRENGTH Llanelli Town side were blitzed 7-0 at Ste­bon­heath on the open­ing day of the sea­son by their op­po­nents, and they suf­fered a sim­i­lar fate when they made the re­turn jour­ney to Dee­side Sta­dium — with one cru­cial dif­fer­ence.

With his squad dec­i­mated through in­jury, sus­pen­sions and other fac­tors, man­ager Andy Hill was left with just 12 play­ers for the trip north, with only Oliver Davies, Scott Tan­cock, Chris Jones, Jor­dan Davies, Reasat Kha­ton and Tris­tan Jenk­ins in­volved in the orig­i­nal match, with the lat­ter trio oc­cu­py­ing the bench that day.

Fur­ther weak­ened by the ab­sence of James Loveridge, Jor­dan Fol­lows and Car­los Indja, back-up goal­keeper Kai Rees was named as the sole sub­sti­tute, and even he was pressed into ac­tion as an out­field player when Kha­ton was forced off in­jured in the sec­ond half, although they were boosted by the in­tro­duc­tion of Michael Ge­orge, who made his de­but on loan from Barry Town United.

A pow­er­ful home side con­tain­ing a num­ber of for­mer TNS play­ers, with some also on full-time con­tracts, were on the front foot from the out­set, forc­ing their op­po­nents into some des­per­ate de­fend­ing.

The first threat arose when a long throw by An­drew Owens into the box was met by Cal­lum Mor­ris, but he was just off tar­get.

Mor­ris then turned provider when his pass found Michael Wilde, but his shot took a de­flec­tion for a cor­ner.

A rare counter by the vis­i­tors in­volv­ing Jenk­ins and Ge­orge led to Davies at­tempt­ing a strike, but it was blocked by James Owen.

No­mads con­tin­ued to dic­tate mat­ters, with both Michael Bakare and Michael Parker go­ing close, but it took the award of a penalty af­ter 20 min­utes for the open­ing score.

It stemmed from a cross to the back post which was headed goal­wards and ad­judged to have been han­dled on the line by Jamie Owen. Mor­ris slot­ted the spot-kick into the bot­tom cor­ner.

Scent­ing there were more goals in the off­ing, the home pres­sure was re­lent­less, with Owen fir­ing nar­rowly wide be­fore they in­creased the lead on the half hour through Bakare, who seized on a long kick by goal­keeper John Danby be­fore hold­ing off a cou­ple of de­fend­ers to un­leash a shot be­yond Davies.

Dam­age lim­i­ta­tion ap­peared to be the only hope for the Reds, but this was more eas­ily said than done as they were forced back into some fran­tic de­fend­ing.

The hosts were some­how un­able to find the killer touch, while Davies made a great save to turn over a Wilde at­tempt at the near post from a Laurence Wil­son cor­ner.

With half-time ap­proach­ing, the vis­i­tors were prob­a­bly hop­ing they could go in at the break just two down, but in the space of a minute these hopes were shat­tered when the con­test was put be­yond doubt by a cou­ple more goals.

Parker set up Wilde for a closerange fin­ish on 39 min­utes, and Owens headed home at the far post mo­ments later.

To their credit, de­spite be­ing run ragged and pulled all over the pitch by their op­po­nents, the Reds stuck to their task as best they could but were not helped when Kha­ton was in­jured af­ter 54 min­utes, with Rees tak­ing his place.

It was be­com­ing in­creas­ingly ob­vi­ous that the No­mads were anx­ious to notch up as many goals as pos­si­ble, and in­evitably they did just that on 61 min­utes through Owens, who got his sec­ond by head­ing in a Bakare de­liv­ery, while Davies did well to clutch a well-struck shot from Wilde on the line.

The vis­i­tors then cre­ated about their only real chance when Jones got free up the left be­fore find­ing Ge­orge in mid­field, but his fin­ish on the run was safely held by Danby.

When the No­mads pushed for­ward again, Davies brought off two su­perb saves in quick suc­ces­sion to deny both Wilde and Owens, but he was beaten again a minute from time when a cross low to the far post by Rob Hughes gave Wilde the chance to also notch up a brace and com­plete an­other for­get­table af­ter­noon for the vis­i­tors.

With some of the sus­pended play­ers sched­uled to re­turn, the Reds will be hop­ing for a more pos­i­tive out­come from a tricky away trip on Sat- ur­day when they face New­town, who are hav­ing a de­cent sea­son. A coach will leave Ste­bon­heath at 10.30am.

Car­marthen Town United’s Rho­dri Wil­liams moves in on Llan­gen­nech’s Lewis Wil­liams in di­vi­sion two of the Car­marthen­shire League. Llan­gen­nech won 4-1. Pic­ture: Phil Davies.

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