Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Cardiff Met (1 September 2018)
Carmarthen Town (2) Cardiff Met (0)
Carmarthen deservedly secured their first win of the season thanks to a well-balanced display of resolute, stubborn defending coupled with frequent rapid and clinical counter-attacking – not only was this enough to comfortably subdue the Met’s normally sharp attacking play, but on occasions their defence was made to look unusually fragile.
Yet the visitors began the match in their customary fashion, enjoying the greater share of possession and methodically making progress upfield. However they were unable to make any serious early impression on the Town defence which, being well marshalled by the towering Lee Surman, remained disciplined and secure.
Despite that initial pressure, it was not until the 9thminute that the Met managed their first scoring effort when Dan Spencer, on the right flank, crossed the ball into the crowded penalty area where Sam Snaith hit a smart 15 yard volley that ‘keeper Lee Idzi carefully watched fly safely over the bar.
The Old Gold meanwhile were frequently able to break forward from deep positions inside their own half and on 13 minutes they fashioned a decent chance when Luke Cummings surged forward along the right-wing before delivering a searching cross deep into the penalty area where Greg Walters produced a close-range header that ‘keeper Esa Aalto was well-placed to gather safely.
And Town, usually through the craft and determination of Mael Davies, Walters, Ceri Morgan and Cummings, continued to launch penetrating counter-attacks which frontmen Luke Bowen, Liam Thomas and Jordan Vickers eagerly pursued.
While several broke down in the face of some solid Met defending, eventually the Old Gold took the lead in the 35thminute through a smart piece of goal-poaching by Liam Thomas – from the right-wing Cummings sent another fine cross into the penalty area where Town’s all-time top scorer neatly stole the ball off a hesitant defender then from close-range instantly struck an angled volley past Aalto and into the far corner of the net.
Stung by that setback, the visitors were quick to respond – on 37 minutes Spencer raced forward from midfield then struck a rasping 20 yard drive that Idzi, with an impressive full-length save, turned against the top of the post before the ball bounced safely away.
And in the closing moments of the first-half Spencer again surged upfield to reach the by-line then fired an inviting cross towards the far post but saw Snaith wastefully plant his close-range header wide of the goal.
After the interval the Met immediately pressed forward in search of an early equaliser – but through a combination of weak finishing and, more particularly, determined (occasionally desperate) Old Gold defending the home goal was never under serious threat during this spell. The only notable effort arose on 64 minutes when Will Evans released a speculative long-range strike that Idzi, at full length, turned aside.
However the visitors’ commitment to scoring left them vulnerable to counter-attacks which Town, primarily through the pace and mobility of strikers Thomas and Bowen, were well equipped to exploit. And in the 64thminute they fully capitalised on this in clinical fashion.
With Carmarthen breaking swiftly out of defence, Walters headed the ball forward to Thomas who sprinted determindely into the penalty area then, after shrugging off a defender, he struck a fierce angled drive that Aalto could only manage to force against the bar – as the ball fell loose Davies was the quickest to react and from close-range he gratefully stabbed it into the unguarded net.
The Met once more launched a series of attacks which, as before, the Old Gold defence successfully withstood – and just ahead of them the industrious midfield unit willingly dropped back to provide a further valuable layer of defensive cover whenever necessary. As a result, only rarely was Idzi seriously tested and on each occasion the experienced ‘keeper, displaying his customary safe and assured handling, confidently resisted any threat to his goal.
While the play in the closing stages was largely confined to Carmarthen’s end of the pitch, they did produce one notable late counter-attack when on 80 minutes the ball reached Walters just outside the penalty area but he saw his smart 20 yard volley fly narrowly outside the post.
However Town’s primary concern was to protect their lead and secure three valuable points which they comfortably managed. And it has to be hoped that this encouraging performance, against one of the stronger teams in the WPL, can be repeated and ideally improved on in forthcoming fixtures as Neil Smothers’ new-look side further settles and progresses.
Carmarthen’s next fixture is on Saturday September 8th(k/o 2.30pm) when Newtown visit Richmond Park.
Lee Idzi; Luke Cummings; Lee Surman; Jordan Knott; Sean Hanbury (sub Dave Vincent 71); Jordan Vickers (sub Declan Carroll 68); Greg Walters; Ceri Morgan; Mael Davies (sub Craig Hanford 87); Luke Bowen; Liam Thomas;
Unused sub: Jay Woodford;
Goals: Liam Thomas (35); Mael Davies (64);
Cards: (Y) Greg Walters (43); Lee Surman (60).