Llanelli Star - - SOCCER AND RACING -

WHAT a way to fin­ish the sea­son.

Car­marthen Town pro­duced an out­stand­ing per­for­mance laced with spells of ex­hil­a­rat­ing at­tack­ing foot­ball and clin­i­cal fin­ish­ing to com­fort­ably se­cure their high­est score of their JD Welsh Pre­mier League sea­son.

From the out­set, de­spite ap­palling weather, the match de­vel­oped into an en­ter­tain­ing end-to-end af­fair played at a fran­tic pace.

And in only the se­cond minute the Seasiders cre­ated a chance when St­ef­fan Ed­wards made a strong run along the left, then fired the ball into the penalty area where Niall Co­leridge struck a crisp shot that slid just wide of the far post.

How­ever, Town were quick to re­spond and in the fifth minute they took the lead. Ceri Mor­gan threaded a fine pass through to Mael Davies, who raced to the edge of the area but saw his drive blocked by keeper Terry McCormick. But the ball was played back into the crowded goal­mouth where Jor­dan Knott stabbed it past McCormick and into the net.

Davies then de­liv­ered a dan­ger­ous cross into the area where Liam Thomas clev­erly al­lowed it to reach Luke Cum­mings, but the makeshift striker, in for the ab­sent Luke Bowen, fired the ball high over the bar.

Moments later Greg Wal­ters sent Cum­mings sprint­ing clear towards the edge of the area but his at­tempt to lob the ball over the ad­vanc­ing McCormick was too weak, al­low­ing the ex­pe­ri­enced keeper to eas­ily claim pos­ses­sion.

Aberys­t­wyth were still an oc­ca­sional threat on the counter-at­tack and on 16 min­utes Geoff Kell­away sent in a search­ing cross, only for Paolo Men­des to slide the ball nar­rowly wide of the near post.

At the other end of the pitch an­other cross from the in­creas­ingly in­flu­en­tial Davies led to a goal­mouth scram­ble which fin­ished with Thomas pro­duc­ing a goal­bound ef­fort that McCormick some­how man­aged to di­vert around the post.

But in the 28th minute the vis­i­tors drew level. Wes Baynes, from wide on the right, fired a long cross into the area which de­fend­ers Lee Sur­man, Dave Vin­cent and Knott failed to deal with. Men­des pounced on the ball and dis­patched a rasp­ing drive past keeper Lee Idzi.

Baynes again dis­turbed the home de­fence with a cross into the area which reached Car­wyn Mor­gan, but his strike was turned around the post by Idzi with an im­pres­sive ful­l­length save.

Af­ter the in­ter­val, with the dire conditions abat­ing, Town took the ini­tia­tive. And they re­gained the lead in the 51st minute when Craig Han­ford fired a left-wing cross into the goal­mouth where Ceri Mor­gan ar­rived with per­fect tim­ing to di­rect his close-range header just in­side the far post.

Car­marthen con­tin­ued to hold the ini­tia­tive with a series of promis­ing at­tacks be­fore the club’s all­time top scorer Liam Thomas stamped his au­thor­ity on pro­ceed­ings. He be­gan by cut­ting in from the right and send­ing the ball across to Davies, whose shot was kept out by McCormick.

Moments later Thomas again burst for­ward along the right, slipped ef­fort­lessly past a de­fender then played the ball back to Mor­gan, whose shot de­feated McCormick but slid marginally wide of the post.

The roles were re­versed when Mor­gan, with a sub­lime pass, set Thomas rac­ing into the area. He neatly evaded a de­fender and from 10 yards fired the ball be­yond McCormick’s reach and into the back of the net.

The Old Gold con­tin­ued their blitz on the Aberys­t­wyth de­fence and soon ex­tended their lead when sub­sti­tute De­clan Car­roll en­joyed a slick exchange of passes with Cum­mings, then crossed into the goal­mouth where Thomas planted his close-range header into the roof of the net.

Straight af­ter the restart Town surged for­ward once again. While Knott over­hit his right-wing cross, Cum­mings as­tutely hooked the ball back into the goal­mouth where Thomas was per­fectly po­si­tioned to head home his third and Car­marthen’s fifth goal, a hat-trick scored within the space of just six min­utes.

But the Old Gold and Thomas were still not sat­is­fied. On 69 min­utes the in-form striker sprinted along the right, then moved into the penalty area be­fore slid­ing the ball invit­ingly towards Car­roll, who sweetly volleyed it past the in­creas­ingly over­whelmed McCormick and into the back of the net.

To their credit the Seasiders were still press­ing for­ward when­ever pos­si­ble and af­ter 72 min­utes they man­aged to se­cure a con­so­la­tion goal when Jamie Mc­Daid moved in­side from the right and sent a curl­ing shot be­yond the reach of Idzi and into the net.

Car­marthen had not fin­ished their search for goals and Knott be­gan a promis­ing at­tack from half­way with a smart pass for­ward to Car­roll.

He re­turned the ball to the ad­ven­tur­ous de­fender, who from 20 yards struck a fierce drive that McCormick turned around the post.

And that ef­fec­tively con­cluded Town’s sea­son, leav­ing sup­port­ers de­lighted with the spec­ta­cle they had just wit­nessed but, at the same time, curious as to why it had not hap­pened more of­ten ear­lier in the sea­son.

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