EARLY STRIKES ROCK OLD GOLD
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.