Town start the year in style with dy­namic derby dis­play

Llanelli Star - - SOCCER -

CAR­MARTHEN Town claimed the derby honours when they de­feated Llanelli Town 2-0 on New Year’s Day.

Af­ter Car­marthen’s deeply dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance at Ste­bon­heath Park on Box­ing Day, for this re­verse fix­ture they thrilled their sup­port­ers by pro­duc­ing a brand of pos­ses­sion foot­ball laced with ex­hil­a­rat­ing at­tack­ing play that has rarely been seen in re­cent sea­sons.

The Old Gold took the ini­tia­tive from the start with a se­ries of pen­e­trat­ing bursts from mid­field that tested the vis­it­ing de­fence.

And af­ter just three min­utes a se­quence of crisp passes across the field fin­ished with Sean Han­bury fir­ing a left-wing cross into the goal­mouth where Greg Wal­ters saw his close-range shot blocked in front of goal be­fore the ball was cleared away.

But fol­low­ing a fur­ther spell of sus­tained pres­sure, Town took the lead in the eighth minute with a well-ex­e­cuted set-piece fin­ish. Han­bury de­liv­ered a fine cor­ner into the penalty area and Luke Bowen ar­rived with per­fect tim­ing to di­rect a de­light­ful glanc­ing header into the bot­tom cor­ner of the net.

Car­marthen con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate and it was only in the 19th minute that keeper Lee Idzi was called into any mean­ing­ful ac­tion when he eas­ily claimed an over-hit cross.

His op­po­site num­ber, Llanelli’s Oliver Davies, was far busier as the Old Gold poured for­ward re­lent­lessly. On 22 min­utes in­dus­tri­ous mid­fielder Ceri Morgan won the ball off a de­fender near the cor­ner of the area, then slid it for­ward to Wal­ters. He in­stantly played it across to Bowen, who struck a fierce an­gled drive that Davies re­sisted with a su­perb re­flex save.

Mo­ments later, Luke Cum­mings curled a dan­ger­ous free-kick to­wards the far cor­ner of the goal, only for Davies to claw the ball away just as Dave Vin­cent seemed likely to tap it into the net.

In­deed, it was not un­til the 35th

Car­marthen’s Luke Bowen.

CAR­MARTHEN TOWN.....2 LLANELLI TOWN..............0

minute that Llanelli man­aged to get a shot on tar­get. A cross from Chris Jones into the area was cleared but the ball fell nicely for Jamie Owen, who wasted the op­por­tu­nity by di­rect­ing a weak 20-yard ef­fort straight at Idzi.

Shortly after­wards they forced Idzi into fur­ther ac­tion. Jor­dan Fol­lows sent a fine pass through to Michael George, who raced free into the area, only for Town’s ex­pe­ri­enced keeper to come out of his goal and clear the dan­ger.

Yet the fi­nal ac­tion of the first half arose at the other end of the pitch when Bowen neatly slid the ball across the edge of the area to Wal­ters, whose shot flew be­yond Davies’s reach but slid nar­rowly wide of the far post.

Af­ter the in­ter­val the Old Gold again took the early ini­tia­tive and went close to ex­tend­ing their lead on 52 min­utes when a slick ex­change of passes ended with Han­bury fir­ing a cross into the goal­mouth. While the dan­ger was ini­tially cleared, the ball reached Wal­ters, whose stun­ning drive beat Davies but flew marginally out­side the post.

How­ever, mo­ments later Town de­servedly dou­bled their ad­van­tage.

From close to the half­way line Wal­ters, an in­creas­ingly in­flu­en­tial pres­ence in mid­field, pro­duced a re­mark­able long pass that set Bowen rac­ing clear of de­fend­ers and into the area where he clev­erly sidestepped the ad­vanc­ing Davies and fired the ball into the empty net.

Then af­ter 68 min­utes Mael Davies robbed a de­fender of the ball on the cor­ner of the area and fired it across the goal­mouth to find Liam Thomas, whose sharp close-range vol­ley drew an ex­cel­lent point-blank save from Davies to turn the ball around the post.

The Old Gold con­tin­ued their dom­i­nance of the pro­ceed­ings when Vin­cent be­gan a de­light­ful six-man pass­ing move that carved open the vis­i­tors’ de­fence and fin­ished with Mael Davies cross­ing the ball into the goal­mouth, only for Thomas, ar­riv­ing at speed, to nar­rowly fail to reach it for a sim­ple tap-in.

By now Car­marthen seemed con­tent to sim­ply keep pos­ses­sion and slow the game down.

Yet in the 82nd minute cen­tral de­fender Lee Sur­man made a rare ex­cur­sion up­field when he took the ball for­ward from the half­way line, then played it across to Wal­ters who re­leased a stun­ning 25-yard strike that drew an­other ex­cel­lent fly­ing save from Davies.

And soon after­wards Ai­dan O’Kelly, mak­ing a wel­come re­turn af­ter four months out with a se­ri­ous in­jury sus­tained in the sec­ond match of the sea­son, moved down the left wing be­fore slip­ping the ball across to Mael Davies, whose rasp­ing 30-yard drive was stopped by Llanelli’s over­worked keeper at the foot of the post.

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