Attackers on song, but a worry at back for Old Gold
BRITON FERRY LLAN......3 CARMARTHEN TOWN.....7
CARMARTHEN Town and Briton Ferry Llansawel combined to produce a feast of goals, a stream of fast counter-attacking and plenty of goalmouth action.
And while Town’s impressive haul of seven goals was entirely merited – indeed there could easily have been more – their defending was far from convincing. And that is a worry with the start of the Welsh Premier League looming on the horizon.
Town dominated the early stages, with midfielders Ceri Morgan, Lewis Harling and Chris Jones, well supported by newcomer Elliott Scotcher, enjoying a lot of possession and looking to exploit the pace and movement of strikers Liam Thomas and Josh Bull.
And it was no surprise that the Old Gold took the lead on 10 minutes. Jordan Knott sent a long pass upfield where Bull capitalised on the hesitancy of two defenders and raced into the penalty area, only to be brought down by a clumsy challenge from keeper Conor McFenton. Thomas comfortably converted the spot-kick.
Moments later, Jones fired the ball across the edge of the area to find Scotcher, whose 15-yard drive beat McFenton but crashed against the foot of the post and bounced safely away.
Town increased their lead with a move that covered the length of the field. From a Briton Ferry freekick, keeper Lee Idzi claimed the ball in his goalmouth and quickly threw it upfield to Thomas. He threaded an excellent pass to Bull, who took the ball into the area, slipped smoothly around McFenton and fired it into an empty net.
Carmarthen continued to press the home defence and Jones delivered an inviting cross into the area where Scotcher sent a header beyond the reach of McFenton but marginally wide of the post.
Yet that disappointment was remedied in the 27th minute when the experienced midfielder fired a corner deep into the area to Greg Walters, whose rasping drive flew into the far corner of the goal.
However, the FAW Championship South side were soon rewarded for their persistence, albeit with a fair amount of assistance from a strangely static Town defence. Former Old Gold striker Mark Jones made a strong run to meet a corner and from close range he headed it powerfully past Idzi and into the roof of the net while defenders stood still.
But the Old Gold put that setback behind them as Bull again demonstrated his speed and mobility, bursting along the left flank and into the area where he effortlessly went past two bewildered defenders before being brought down by a third. The spot-kick was summarily dispatched by Thomas.
Four first-half goals were clearly not enough for Town and they went close to snatching another on 44 minutes when Jordan Vickers made a strong run along the right before crossing the ball into the area where Thomas held off a defender, then struck a fierce drive that McFenton, at full length, turned past the post.
Moments later Morgan’s impressive long-range strike was kept out with another flying save by the overworked keeper.
After the interval, and several substitutions, Town took some time to settle and the hosts capitalised with their first notable spell of pressure.
Idzi did well to turn a longrange shot over the bar in spectacular fashion and soon afterwards Luke Jones broke clear from halfway and raced into the area before side-stepping the onrushing Idzi, but his angled drive hit the post and bounced away.
Ferry were deservedly rewarded for their efforts when Carmarthen defenders again failed to deal with a routine cross, allowing it to reach Jones at the far side of the goalmouth and he capitalised by directing a firm header past Idzi.
The Old Gold began to counterattack with more purpose and penetration and on 64 minutes they extended their lead.
Knott fired a searching pass along the left which Luke Bowen eagerly pursued, and he cleverly went round substitute keeper Ryan Fleming before slotting the ball into the empty net.
And they went further ahead when Gwion Howell drove the ball across the edge of the area where Jay Woodford struck a smart drive that Fleming was powerless to resist.
Yet the hosts were still causing Town’s defence problems and they snatched another goal on 76 minutes when another deep cross was allowed to reach Jones, who stabbed the ball home at the far post.
The Old Gold responded immediately as Lee Surman’s powerful close-range header rattled the bar.
But the final significant action in this 10-goal feast arose when the ball reached Walters on the right, and his cross to the far post was fired home by Bowen.
Luke Bowen scored twice.