REDS OUT AFTER PENALTY MISERY
BRITON FERRY....................1 LLANELLI TOWN.................1
LLANELLI Town’s interest in the Nathaniel MG Cup was brought to an early end when they were beaten by Briton Ferry Llansawel after a penalty shootout at the second-round stage,
Jordan Davies and Zac Brown both had their efforts kept out by home keeper Connah McFenton, with only James Loveridge netting, whereas Keiran Williams, Rory Healey, Mark Jones and Declan Evans were all spot-on for the hosts.
The visitors had strengthened their squad during the week with the acquisition of four players, but they were ineligible to play as their registrations had not been finalised, and with other members still away on holiday the Reds’ starting line-up had a somewhat cobbled-together look about it.
There were two new faces making a start, however, in the shape of Brown and Jake Parry, and they both acquitted themselves well and appear to be useful signings.
There were two ex-Llanelli players in the home ranks, with Robert Thomas and Mark Jones up against their former team-mates, and they were the first to threaten in the opening stages when Evans was put clear down the middle before being denied by Scott Coughlan in the Reds goal.
A lofted pass by Anthony Finselbach then gave Ross Jones sight of the Ferry goal, but he lifted his finish over the top from 20 yards.
The visitors were guilty of conceding far too many free-kicks, allowing their opponents opportunities to direct the ball into the danger area, with both Thomas and Williams forcing hurried clearances when these occurred.
The Reds goal survived a close call when Jones met a Thomas delivery before directing his effort across the face of goal, but nobody was able to take advantage and it ran harmlessly out of play.
At the other end, Jones had another attempt charged down by two defenders, and with both sides cancelling each other out, goalmouth action was limited.
After the break Ferry were again the first to threaten when a move up the left led to a ball directed low into the near post, which was scrambled over for a corner.
The visitors hit back, with Liam Samuel seeing his shot diverted by Luke Harris for a corner after he had been picked out by a Loveridge assist, before they eventually broke the deadlock on 55 minutes.
Loveridge was again involved, this time finding Joe Clarke in the middle on the run, and he lashed his finish into the top corner.
The Reds’ jubilation was shortlived as within two minutes Ferry were back on level terms through Cameron Harris, who forced the ball over the line from point-blank range after Coughlan had come out of his goal.
A collision between McFenton and Jones when Jones pursued a ball into the box led to penalty appeals, but referee Daniel Richardson waved play on.
Gareth Davies came on as a replacement for Luke Morgan, who had taken a knock, but again the visitors’ goal just survived following a quick free-kick which culminated in Evans hitting his shot narrowly wide.
Ross Hudson had come on for the hosts in place of namesake Warren, and almost immediately made an input by finding Harris, whose fierce shot was blocked by Coughlan, who then also kept out the rebound.
A quick turn by Jones in the Llanelli box led to his shot rebounding off the bar following yet another freekick, and the tie ended with the home side on the offensive.
As it was, the contest had to be decided by a penalty shootout, in which the visitors were decidedly second best, gifting their opponents a passage into the third round.
The Reds will be hoping for a better outcome when they begin their Cymru South league campaign on Friday evening at Stebonheath with the visit of Pontypridd Town. Kick-off is at 7.30pm. BRITON FERRY: McFenton, Baker, W Hudson (R Hudson 69), Healey (capt), L Harris, Thomas, C Harris, Williams, Jones, Tomlinson, Evans. Subs not used: Pugh-Bevan, Lake, Roberts, Yeap, Napriella. LLANELLI TOWN: Coughlan, Morgan (G Davies 66), Brown, Finselbach, Parry, Bevan (capt), Samuel, Jones, Clarke, J Davies, Loveridge. Subs not used: Thomas, Dyer, Howard, Rees (GK). SCORERS: Briton Ferry Llansawel — C Harris 57. Llanelli Town — Clarke 55. YELLOW CARDS: Llanelli Town — Finselbach, Brown. REFEREE: Daniel Richardson. ATTENDANCE: 238.
Joe Clarke was on target for Llanelli.