TOWN MAKE IT THREE IN A ROW

Llanelli Star - - FOOTBALL / RACING -

CEFN DRUIDS....................0 CAR­MARTHEN TOWN......1

CAR­MARTHEN, hav­ing lost all three ear­lier matches against Cefn Druids this sea­son, at last had the sat­is­fac­tion of tak­ing three points from Satur­day’s game thanks to a late penalty by top scorer Liam Thomas.

And as an ad­di­tional bonus Town now move above the Druids, level on points but with a su­pe­rior goal dif­fer­ence, to oc­cupy ninth place in the Welsh Premier League ta­ble.

But as both clubs had al­ready se­cured safety from rel­e­ga­tion, and with Cardiff Met and Aberys­t­wyth too far ahead in the chase for the UEFA qual­i­fy­ing place, this match was a fairly mean­ing­less af­fair.

And for a long spell dur­ing the ear­lier stages this was very ev­i­dent as nei­ther side showed much ur­gency or con­vic­tion, with the play largely con­fined to a se­ries of in­con­se­quen­tial mid­field ex­changes.

In fact, it was not un­til the 15th minute that a mo­ment of gen­uine ex­cite­ment arose when the Druids went close to open­ing the scor­ing.

Ryan Ker­shaw fired a cor­ner-kick into the crowded goal­mouth where Dean Rit­ten­berg rose high above de­fend­ers but saw his firm closerange header crash against the bar be­fore the ball was cleared safely away.

Then on 21 min­utes they threat­ened again when Rit­ten­berg sent a fine pass through to Danny Gos­sett, who struck a fierce 20-yard drive that Town keeper Lee Idzi turned around the post with a spec­tac­u­lar flying save.

That seemed to stir the Old Gold into more mean­ing­ful com­pet­i­tive ac­tiv­ity deeper in­side the Cefn half, and af­ter 25 min­utes they cre­ated their first no­table scor­ing chance.

Ceri Mor­gan burst for­ward from the cen­tre cir­cle and then from 25 yards dis­patched a rasp­ing shot that keeper Michael Jones was well placed to claim.

But Town’s goal threat was lim­ited. With reg­u­lar strike part­ner Luke Bowen ab­sent, all-time top scorer Liam Thomas so of­ten looked iso­lated and out­num­bered by the home de­fend­ers. While his enthusiasm and ef­fort were com­mend­able, gen­uine scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties never emerged for him.

How­ever, nor were the Druids able to make any such progress against the for­mi­da­ble Old Gold de­fence at the heart of which, as usual, were the ex­pe­ri­enced pair­ing of Lee Sur­man and Dave Vin­cent — and be­hind them was Idzi, who was never again se­ri­ously tested.

Af­ter the in­ter­val noth­ing much changed in terms of the char­ac­ter of the play, in­clud­ing the ab­sence of any goal­mouth ex­cite­ment.

The first no­table chance arose on 58 min­utes when Mael Davies care­lessly lost pos­ses­sion well in­side the Druids half.

From this gifted op­por­tu­nity the hosts pro­duced a rapid counter-at­tack that fin­ished with Naim Ar­san, on the edge of the penalty area, fir­ing a low drive that Idzi was quickly down to smother.

Any hope that this might spark an up­lift in the na­ture of the game was soon dis­pelled, although af­ter 63 min­utes Town did man­age a shot on tar­get from an un­likely source.

Jor­dan Vick­ers sent a short cor­ner to Luke Cum­mings, who quickly crossed the ball to the far side of the packed goal­mouth where Sur­man struck a crisp close-range vol­ley that Jones, re­act­ing smartly, claimed at the foot of the post.

Again, the re­newed prospect of a marked im­prove­ment in en­ter­tain­ment value quickly evap­o­rated and the game seemed to be me­an­der­ing to­wards an in­evitable goal­less draw.

Yet all that changed in the 83rd minute.

As the Old Gold launched a swift counter-at­tack, Lewis Har­ling, near the half­way line, threaded a fine pass through to Cum­mings, who then fired an invit­ing cross into the penalty area where Thomas, ea­gerly sprint­ing for­ward in anticipati­on, timed his ar­rival per­fectly.

With just Jones ahead of him and Nathan Pearce close by, Town’s in­form star goal-scorer dis­patched a smart strike that was blocked by the de­fender — but with his hand.

The ref­eree im­me­di­ately awarded a penalty and sent off the luck­less Pearce. Then Thomas, with his cus­tom­ary com­po­sure, drove the spot­kick past Jones and into the back of the net for his 21st WPL goal. Re­mark­ably, it was his eighth penalty in all com­pe­ti­tions this sea­son.

In the re­main­ing min­utes the Old Gold com­fort­ably de­fended their lead to se­cure their third suc­ces­sive league vic­tory, a feat not pre­vi­ously achieved this sea­son.

Town’s fi­nal match of this sea­son is this Fri­day (April 26) at 7.45pm when long-time ri­vals Aberys­t­wyth visit Rich­mond Park.

Car­marthen: Lee Idzi; Jor­dan Vick­ers; Dave Vin­cent; Lee Sur­man; Jor­dan Knott; Mael Davies (sub De­clan Car­roll 66); Ceri Mor­gan; Lewis Har­ling; Greg Wal­ters; Ai­dan O’Kelly (Luke Cum­mings 43); Liam Thomas. Un­used subs: Craig Han­ford; Jay Wood­ford; Danny Thomas.

Goal: Liam Thomas (84 pen). Card: (Yel­low) Mael Davies (62).

Pic­tures: Phil Davies

Left, Felin­foel’s Stephen Greene fends off Caer­bryn’s Alex Reed, while below, Caer­bryn’s Nathan Spowart and Felin­foel’s Ben Ed­wards wait for the ball to drop.

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