CULLEN’S LATE GOAL ENDS TOWN HOPES OF A FINE SCALP

CAR­MARTHEN TOWN........1 SWANSEA CITY U23S..........1

Llanelli Star - - SOCCER -

CAR­MARTHEN Town pro­duced an im­pres­sive per­for­mance against Swansea City’s un­der-23 team and were only de­nied vic­tory by a late goal by the Cham­pi­onship club’s young­sters.

Re­mark­ably this was achieved with a rel­a­tively weak­ened squad, since ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers Lee Idzi, Lewis Har­ling, Luke Bowen and Jor­dan Knott were all ab­sent.

Yet dur­ing the open­ing stages that out­come seemed highly un­likely as Swansea pro­ceeded to mo­nop­o­lise pos­ses­sion and dom­i­nate play as they launched a se­ries of at­tacks that kept the Town de­fence un­der pres­sure.

And they went close to open­ing the scor­ing when Kieran Evans played the ball for­ward along the right flank to Liam Cullen, who crossed it into the penalty area where an un­named tri­al­list struck a fierce 15-yard drive that Jor­dan Vick­ers blocked in front of goal.

But grad­u­ally the Old Gold be­gan com­pet­ing more ef­fec­tively in mid­field and showed some wel­come signs of at­tack­ing in­tent.

Vick­ers made progress along the right be­fore send­ing a long pass through to Josh Bull near the cor­ner of the area. He slid the ball to Chris Jones and his shot was palmed against the un­der­side of the bar by keeper Steven Benda be­fore he re­cov­ered to claim the ball on the line.

Then Greg Walters, ef­fec­tively de­ployed in a de­fen­sive role, was in­stru­men­tal in Town’s next scor­ing ef­fort. He fired a long free-kick to the far side of the area to Jay Wood­ford, who neatly set the ball up for Liam Thomas only for the club’s all-time top scorer to see his 15-yard drive blocked on the line.

The Old Gold once more went close af­ter 24 min­utes when Jones pro­duced a su­perb pass that set Thomas rac­ing clear into the area, but he was de­nied when Benda came quickly out of his goal to smother the striker’s ef­fort.

How­ever, Car­marthen were soon re­warded for their spir­ited re­cov­ery hav­ing with­stood the vis­i­tors’ early dom­i­na­tion. El­liott Scotcher threaded a de­light­ful pass to Bull, who burst into the area and, as Benda ad­vanced from his goal, the striker calmly drove the ball past the stranded keeper and into the empty net.

A fur­ther spell of Swansea pres­sure was suc­cess­fully re­sisted by the home de­fence, well mar­shalled by the ex­pe­ri­enced cen­tral pair­ing of Lee Sur­man and Dave Vin­cent, be­fore Town launched an­other promis­ing at­tack in the clos­ing mo­ments of the first half.

It came as they fash­ioned a stun­ning five-man pass­ing move, ini­ti­ated by Ceri Mor­gan in the cen­tre cir­cle and fin­ish­ing with Wood­ford fir­ing a cross deep into the area where Bull headed the ball over Benda’s out­stretched arms but saw the ball clip the bar and bounce safely be­hind.

Af­ter the in­ter­val, the pat­tern of play de­vel­oped in much the same way as in the first half with the vis­i­tors me­thod­i­cally build­ing pres­sure and prob­ing the Car­marthen de­fence, but with no tan­gi­ble suc­cess.

The first no­table threat arose on 64

Car­marthen Town’s Liam Thomas bat­tles with Swansea’s Tivonee Rushe­sha.

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