Llanelli Star - - Soccer -

CEFN DRUIDS ...................... 4 CAR­MARTHEN TOWN ........ 0

TWO suc­ces­sive con­vinc­ing vic­to­ries at Rich­mond Park had given Car­marthen Town sup­port­ers good rea­son to be­lieve that Welsh Premier League per­for­mances would con­tinue to im­prove.

But this very dis­ap­point­ing de­feat at Cefn Druids – a side bot­tom of the table be­fore this match – demon­strated that life away from home will be much more test­ing.

And this win for the home side – and the mar­gin of vic­tory – was en­tirely mer­ited.

From the out­set they put the Old Gold de­fence un­der se­vere pres­sure with a series of pen­e­trat­ing at­tacks. Three dan­ger­ous crosses were fired into the goal­mouth but were cleared by the vis­i­tors be­fore the first big chance arose when Arka­diusz Pisko­rski took the ball along the right touch­line, then sent an invit­ing cross to­wards the near post where Dean Rit­ten­berg planted his close-range header nar­rowly over the bar.

But mo­ments later Cefn took the lead.

Ryan Ker­shaw was al­lowed space to run for­ward from the cen­tre-cir­cle be­fore dis­patch­ing a rasp­ing 20-yard drive that flew be­yond the reach of keeper Lee Idzi and into the back of the net.

Worse was soon to fol­low for Town – and for Idzi in par­tic­u­lar.

Matty Owen de­liv­ered a rou­tine cor­ner into the goal­mouth where the ex­pe­ri­enced keeper leapt high to claim the ball, but un­der no real pres­sure he un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally failed to gather it cleanly. Druids de­fender Nathan Peate was quick­est to re­act and he had the sim­ple task of head­ing it into the empty net from close range.

So with the match still in its in­fancy, the Old Gold found them­selves two goals be­hind having had barely any mean­ing­ful pos­ses­sion.

The hosts looked cer­tain to in­crease their lead and it was only due to Idzi, aton­ing for his ear­lier er­ror in the most re­mark­able fash­ion, that they failed.

An­other dan­ger­ous cross into the goal­mouth reached Rit­ten­berg, who saw his close-range header blocked on the line by the keeper with an as­ton­ish­ing re­flex save. As the ball bounced dan­ger­ously free in front of the un­guarded goal, Idzi swiftly re­cov­ered to punch it clear be­fore Alec Mudimu could pounce for an easy tap-in chance.

Town, be­lat­edly, be­gan to show more in­tent and com­pet­i­tive­ness as they passed the ball around pro­duc­tively. They be­gan to en­joy their fair share of pos­ses­sion and started to put pres­sure on the home de­fence, al­beit without man­ag­ing a se­ri­ous scor­ing op­por­tu­nity.

But just as it seemed that their prospects were im­prov­ing, in the space of 10 min­utes Car­marthen lost the in­flu­en­tial Ceri Mor­gan and Luke Cum­mings to in­jury

It was not un­til first-half in­jury time that Town fi­nally had a shot on tar­get when De­clan Car­roll drifted in from the left to reach the cor­ner of the penalty area, but his spec­u­la­tive shot was gath­ered com­fort­ably by keeper Michael Jones.

Af­ter the in­ter­val the vis­i­tors be­gan brightly and im­me­di­ately put pres­sure on the Druids de­fence. And they went close to scor­ing from a move ini­ti­ated by Mael Davies.

He threaded a de­light­ful pass to Jor­dan Vick­ers just in­side the area and he fired the ball to­wards the goal­mouth where Luke Bowen saw his shot strike the un­der­side of the bar and bounce away be­fore be­ing cleared to safety.

Town forged an­other de­cent chance when Bowen met Sean Han­bury’s cross with a loop­ing header, but Jones just man­aged to turn it over the bar.

But as the Old Gold swept for­ward in search of goals, they be­gan to leave them­selves vul­ner­a­ble to counter-at­tacks.

Jor­dan Evans found plenty of space to run to the edge of the area be­fore de­liv­er­ing a shot that Idzi turned aside with an im­pres­sive full-length save. Then Pisko­rski sprinted be­yond Town’s de­fend­ers and into the area only to be robbed of the ball by Idzi with an im­mac­u­lately timed chal­lenge.

Mo­ments later Rit­ten­berg struck a sharp close-range shot that Car­marthen’s in­creas­ingly busy keeper kept out with a stun­ning re­flex save.

But in the 82nd minute the Druids in­creased their lead when Evans was al­lowed the time and space to move in­field from the left touch­line and dis­patch a rasp­ing drive that flew past Idzi and into the far cor­ner of the net.

Car­marthen went close to scor­ing a con­so­la­tion when Bowen fired in a cross to­wards Liam Thomas, but his shot was turned around the post by Jones.

There was still time for an­other goal as Druids ex­tended their ad­van­tage. Pisko­rski, who had been a per­sis­tent threat through­out the match, raced along the right wing be­fore cross­ing into the goal­mouth where Rit­ten­berg swept the ball into the back of the net.

It was a dis­ap­point­ing end to a dis­ap­point­ing match for Town, who have lost all three of their away league fixtures and con­ceded 12 goals in the process.

Car­marthen, who slipped back to 10th in the table as a re­sult of this de­feat, host Aberys­t­wyth Town at Rich­mond Park on Satur­day (2.30pm).

Tum­ble’s Roy Llewellyn at­tempts to rob Sea­side’s Ben Honey­bun of the ball in their Car­marthen­shire League clash. Sea­side won 5-2. Pic­ture: Phil Davies.

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