CAM­PAIGN ENDS ON A LOW NOTE

Llanelli Star - - SOCCER -

THE curtain fi­nally came down at the Cyn­coed cam­pus on Llanelli Town’s brief flir­ta­tion with the JD Welsh Pre­mier League fol­low­ing yet an­other de­feat, which con­firmed that they had con­ceded more than 100 goals dur­ing the sea­son.

De­spite yet an­other re­verse, at least the Reds more than matched op­po­nents who have qual­i­fied for the Europa League play-offs, prob­a­bly against Caernar­fon Town, and were ac­tu­ally twice in the lead and looked odds-on for at least a point as the con­test en­tered its clos­ing stages. How­ever, an 83rd-minute clincher won it for the Archers.

Once again forced to field a side de­pleted by in­juries and un­avail­abil­i­ties, Reds man­ager Andy Hill named him­self in the start­ing line-up, while 17-year-old Cal­lum Howard made his se­nior de­but at the back and ac­quit­ted him­self well.

The home side were the first to threaten when a run by Sam Pashen took him into the box, be­fore An­thony Nel­son di­verted his ef­fort for a cor­ner.

The same player then had a great chance to open the scor­ing when he was found in space close to goal, but he was de­nied by the legs of goal­keeper Scott Cough­lan.

Hav­ing sur­vived those early scares, the vis­i­tors un­ex­pect­edly took the lead on 16 min­utes through Michael Ge­orge. He surged for­ward be­fore un­leash­ing a su­perb fin­ish from 25 yards which soared over Will Fuller in the home goal.

The Reds were play­ing well, dis­play­ing lots of con­fi­dence on the ball and their goal was sel­dom un­der se­ri­ous threat, al­though Nel­son was forced to con­cede a cor­ner when the hosts coun­tered with a de­liv­ery across the face of goal.

An over­head kick by Joe Clarke al­most played in Hill but Fuller was quickly off his line to grab the ball on the edge of his area.

With the in­ter­val ap­proach­ing it ap­peared as if the Reds might hang on to their lead be­fore a scrappy equaliser on 40 min­utes. Cough­lan man­aged to keep out a close-range at­tempt, only for Tim Parker to scuff home the re­bound.

There was still time for Cough­lan to di­vert a free-kick from dis­tance by Gwion How­ell around the post, and early in the se­cond half he again came to the res­cue, this time keep­ing out a Dion Phillips shot when Brad Flay set up the chance.

De­spite these at­tempts on their goal the Reds were still very much in the game, and when they in­sti­gated a move which cul­mi­nated in their op­po­nents’ box, they took too much time over the fi­nal ball, al­low­ing the Archers de­fence to clear the dan­ger.

Un­de­terred, the vis­i­tors took the lead for the se­cond time on 61 min­utes fol­low­ing a Chris Jones free-kick lofted into the area, and when Lee Be­van was bun­dled to the ground ref­eree Bryn Markham Jones pointed to the spot.

Jones stepped up to take the kick and his shot into the bottom cor­ner com­pre­hen­sively beat Fuller to re­store the ad­van­tage.

Stung by this re­verse, the home side re­tal­i­ated.

Flay saw his fin­ish di­verted around the up­right by keeper Cough­lan, but on 68 min­utes they got them­selves back on level terms when Parker notched up his se­cond goal with a clin­i­cal strike.

The Archers ramped up the pressure in their search for a win­ner, and came close to do­ing so when Phillips got down the right flank and to the near post be­fore send­ing a de­liv­ery across goal, but some­how both de­fend­ers and at­tack­ers alike failed to make con­tact.

With the con­test en­ter­ing its clos­ing stages, it ap­peared as if the vis­i­tors would come away with a cred­itable point, but seven min­utes from time a free-kick by Phillips was met by a thump­ing header from Archers cap­tain Liam Black that gave Cough­lan no chance of keep­ing it out.

This proved to be the win­ner and brought yet more dis­ap­point­ment to the Reds, whose ef­forts were wor­thy of at least a share of the spoils.

But the end of a sober­ing sea­son and de­mo­tion back to the Welsh League may turn out to be a bless­ing in dis­guise, par­tic­u­larly if they can re­tain the bulk of the cur­rent squad and re­cruit a num­ber of new faces for the next cam­paign.

CARDIFF MET: Fuller, Clubb, Spencer (War­man 75), Swindel­hurst, Black (capt), Pashen, Phillips, Had­jergjonaj, Parker, Flay, How­ell (Evans 67). Subs not used: Wil­liams, Wool­ridge, Lang.

LLANELLI TOWN: Cough­lan, Hunt, Nel­son, Be­van, Howard, Ge­orge, Clarke (capt), C. Jones, Ngoy, Loveridge, Hill. Subs not used: Rees, Thomas.

SCOR­ERS: Cardiff Met — Parker 40, 68. Black 83. Llanelli Town — Ge­orge 16, Jones 61 (pen).

REF­EREE: Bryn Markham Jones (Swansea).

Pic­ture: Phil Davies

Trostre’s Luke Had­dock and Loughor’s Lo­gan James rise to meet the ball in the Pre­mier di­vi­sion of the Car­marthen­shire League. The match ended 2-2.

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