Llanelli Star - - Soccer -

SEVEN games into their re­turn to the JD Welsh Pre­mier League, Llanelli Town have ac­cu­mu­lated just four points from a win and a draw.

They have gone down to de­feat in their other five matches and find them­selves rooted to the foot of the ta­ble.

The main prob­lem for man­ager Andy Hill and his coach­ing staff is that they are un­able to pick a set­tled side from one week to an­other, with play­ers miss­ing for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, lead­ing to a lack of co­he­sion with those se­lected on the field.

Miss­ing an­other clutch of play­ers for the visit to the Oval, the Llanelli bench con­sisted en­tirely of academy play­ers, who, while tal­ented at their own level, are hardly ready to be thrust into the high-level ex­pec­ta­tions of the league — lit­er­ally boys against men.

In ad­di­tion, when a team are strug­gling it seems in­evitable that fate will con­spire against them, and the vis­i­tors’ debu­tant, Daniel Alfei, lasted just 25 min­utes be­fore be­ing in­jured and hav­ing to be re­placed.

The hosts were on top from the out­set, with the first threat com­ing from Jamie Breese when it took a good tackle by Ross Jones to halt his run into the box.

Danny Brook­well was a con­stant threat down the Ca­naries’ left and twice forced Oliver Davies in the Reds goal to keep out his at­tempts.

A Nathan Craig free-kick sailed just over the vis­i­tors’ bar, and the home side con­tin­ued to call the tune, with their op­po­nents strug­gling to es­tab­lish a foothold in the game.

Davies again did well to deny Craig when he un­leashed a fierce strike from dis­tance, be­fore the vis­i­tors at last man­aged to launch a rare at­tack when Alfei sent Chris Jones clear but Alex Ram­say in the home goal blocked his shot.

Brook­well and Breese then com­bined to set up an­other home foray, with Davies again di­vert­ing the lat­ter’s fin­ish for a cor­ner.

Alfei was forced off and re­placed by An­thony Nel­son to fur­ther ag­gra­vate the Reds’ prob­lems, and they al­most con­ceded when a free-kick by Craig de­flected off the wall and went frac­tion­ally wide of the goal.

It was a case of putting up a dogged de­fen­sive dis­play to keep the hosts at bay, and to their credit the Reds achieved this ob­jec­tive up to the break.

How­ever, it was al­most in­evitable that Caernar­fon would achieve a break­through, and two goals in 10 min­utes sealed Llanelli’s fate.

The opener ar­rived on 59 min­utes when a move into the area cul­mi­nated in a cou­ple of blocked at­tempts be­fore Brook­well took full ad­van­tage of a re­bound to send his fin­ish low in­side the far post.

It was no more than the home side de­served, and their lead was ex­tended in the 69th minute through some sham­bolic de­fend­ing by their op­po­nents, who had am­ple op­por­tu­nity to clear the dan­ger but in­stead al­lowed Breese to gain pos­ses­sion be­fore round­ing Davies and slot­ting into an empty net.

A brief Reds re­vival led to Chris Jones loft­ing a cross to the far post where it was met by Joe Clarke, but his down­ward header was scram­bled out of the goal­mouth to safety.

With the clock run­ning down, the Ca­naries com­pleted the scor­ing four min­utes from time through Cai Jones, who had only been on the field for two min­utes, when he met a ball into the area be­fore swiv­el­ling quickly to send his shot be­yond Davies.

With the con­test al­ready be­yond them, the vis­i­tors did mount a cou­ple of late chal­lenges when a poor kick by Ram­sey let in James Loveridge, but he was crowded out be­fore he could un­leash his ef­fort.

In stop­page time Lenny Evans made a run down the mid­dle be­fore test­ing Ram­sey, who only man­aged to de­flect it out, but again Loveridge was un­able to take ad­van­tage.

The fi­nal re­sult was again a dis­ap­point­ment for the Reds, though they can have few com­plaints as they were out­played for much of the game, but they must per­se­vere and hope the tide will turn in their favour as they must avoid los­ing touch with the teams around them.

They have an op­por­tu­nity to do just that this Fri­day with the visit of New­town to Ste­bon­heath. Kick-off is at 8pm at the re­quest of New­town.

Pic­ture: Phil Davies.

Llanelli Park Rangers’ Chris James and Drefach’s Dar­ren Baker go for the ball in their Car­marthen­shire League di­vi­sion two clash. Drefach won 6-1.

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