LLANELLI TOWN.................2 LLAN­DUDNO........................1

Carmarthen Journal - - Midweek Sport -

SATUR­DAY’S base­ment bat­tle be­tween Llanelli Town and vis­i­tors Llan­dudno turned out to be a very sat­is­fac­tory af­ter­noon for the Reds.

As well as open­ing up a four-point gap be­tween them­selves and their vis­i­tors at the foot of the Welsh Premier ta­ble cour­tesy of a brace by James Loveridge, the two teams im­me­di­ately above them, Car­marthen Town and Cefn Druids, both lost, clos­ing the points gap to five and six re­spec­tively.

Four new play­ers made their de­buts for the Reds, although three of them – Scott Cough­lan, Lee Be­van and Luke Mor­gan – are all ex-Reds. But the sign­ing of Swansea City leg­end Leon Brit­ton is prob­a­bly the big­gest coup the club has made and is a tremen­dous morale-booster, both to the team and the Welsh Premier League.

His vast ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing at the high­est level may be the spur the Reds need to ex­tri­cate them­selves from their present predica­ment.

Llan­dudno, too, have been busy in the trans­fer win­dow, bring­ing in Les Davies, Ryan Wade and Zebb Ed­wards, who were all named in the start­ing line-up at Ste­bon­heath Park.

They North Walians were the first to threaten when a Toby Jones cor­ner was headed against the bar by Ge­orge Harry be­fore the dan­ger was cleared.

A run by Harry up the mid­dle saw him un­leash a shot which Cough­lan dealt with com­fort­ably, but he earned his re­ward on 12 min­utes by putting the vis­i­tors ahead, meet­ing a ball into him on the half-vol­ley be­fore turn­ing and beat­ing the home keeper.

The hosts were strug­gling to es­tab­lish a foothold in the game and were hard pressed at times to con­tain their op­po­nents, typ­i­fied when Mark Con­nolly sent Harry clear up the right and his de­liv­ery into the goal­mouth could have gone any­where, but de­flected away for a cor­ner.

The Reds be­gan to get to grips with pro­ceed­ings, and Kur­tis March fired wide from a Jor­dan Davies as­sist, be­fore they lev­elled mat­ters on the half hour through Loveridge, who seized on a pass by Chris Jones to beat goal­keeper Shaun Pear­son in­side his near post

The home striker went close again shortly after, see­ing his fin­ish flash frac­tion­ally wide, while Davies failed to make a clean con­nec­tion when he was found in the box.

But within seven min­utes of the equaliser Loveridge struck again when he re­ceived a pass from Davies, be­fore once again beat­ing the Llan­dudno keeper with a well-taken fin­ish.

The Reds again had to with­stand some early pres­sure after the restart, when Telor Wil­liams, who had re­placed Zyaac Ed­wards at half-time, forced Cough­lan into a save when he met a cross into the mid­dle.

Joe Clarke then sent Loveridge clear up the right but his fi­nal ball across the face of goal sailed just be­yond the back post.

The next home threat arose when Scott Tan­cock burst through the mid­dle and his fierce shot was par­ried away by Pear­son; Clarke met the re­bound, only for a timely block to re­lieve the dan­ger.

The vis­i­tors re­tal­i­ated through Jones, whose de­light­ful de­liv­ery sent Alun Webb clear on a run down the right flank. He cut in­side but dragged his fin­ish across the net and wide.

The Reds goal was sur­viv­ing some close calls but some­how it held out, with Be­van a rock at the back, and when they coun­tered, Loveridge, who was hav­ing an out­stand­ing match, twice al­most added to his tally.

The vis­i­tors might well have lev­elled mat­ters shortly be­fore the end when a cor­ner by Jones found Davies, but he di­rected his header inches wide from a good po­si­tion.

The home side hung on to clinch three pre­cious points, and now face a visit to The New Saints next Satur­day evening for their fi­nal game prior to the mid-sea­son split. Kick-off is at 7.30pm.

Llanelli Town’s James Loveridge cel­e­brates his se­cond goal against Llan­dudno. Pic­ture: Keith Grif­fiths.

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