Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Llanelli (24 July 2019)
Carmarthen Town (8) Llanelli (0)
Carmarthen continued their pre-season programme with this stunning, high-scoring performance against local rivals Llanelli who, regrettably, were relegated from the Welsh Premier League at the end of last season.
And what a performance this was. For long periods Town monopolised possession, particularly during the second-half, while they frequently produced attractive, incisive approach play and impressive, clinical finishing – at times the visitors were simply overwhelmed.
Right at the start of the match the Old Gold produced a move that offered a hint of how this game would evolve. Straight from the kick-off Ceri Morgan initiated a slick six-man passing sequence that finished with Elliott Scotcher, just outside the penalty area, releasing a rasping drive that flew narrowly wide of the post – no Llanelli player had yet touched the ball.
Then, for a spell, the play was confined to the midfield area with both sides enjoying moments of possession without making much progress or seriously testing the opposition defence.
But after 12 minutes the game sprang to life when Town took the lead. Greg Walters made progress along the right-wing before firing a deep cross into the penalty area where Liam Thomas neatly played the ball back to Chris Jones who from 20 yards struck a fierce shot that ‘keeper Kyle Coughlan parried with a full-length save only for the ball to roll into the net.
The Old Gold quickly began to monopolise possession and dominate the midfield action where Scotcher, Lewis Harling, Morgan and Jones, with their energy and vision, were particularly influential. And on 19 minutes they went close to extending their lead when Jones fired a right-wing cross to the edge of the penalty area where Scotcher played the ball forward to Thomas who dispatched an angled volley that Coughlan, showing sharp reactions, turned around the post.
Although Llanelli occasionally managed to make decent progress beyond the half-way line, they were unable to penetrate the Town defence in any meaningful way due, in particular, to the formidable presence of experienced central pairing Lee Surman and Dave Vincent while on the flanks Walters and Jordan Knott gave them valuable support. And behind them, commendably, Academy ‘keeper Tom Windsor demonstrated safe and assured handling on the few occasions necessary.
Yet in the 30thminute the visitors, for the first time in the match, posed a serious goal threat – Zac Brown, from near the corner flag, fired an inviting cross to the far side of the goalmouth where Andy Hill rose above defenders only to direct his firm header over the bar. This would prove to be Llanelli’s only notable scoring effort.
Carmarthen quickly regained their earlier control over the proceedings with the significant action contained in the visitors’ half of the pitch. On 39 minutes after another delightful sequence of passes Harling, from the right-touchline, slid the ball infield to Jones who released a stunning 35 yard drive that, disappointingly, Coughlan was well-placed to claim.
Then after 43 minutes Jones was again involved when he sent a right-wing cross into the goalmouth where Thomas produced a subtle glancing header that defeated Coughlan but went narrowly outside the far post.
But moments later the Old Gold were justly rewarded for their first-half dominance when Gwion Howell sent a fine pass upfield that Knott pursued to the by-line before driving the ball into the penalty area where Scotcher struck a powerful volley that flew beyond Coughlan’s reach and into the top corner of the net.
After the interval Town soon again asserted their hold on the match – yet this time there was the added bonus of more accomplished finishing.
On 57 minutes Jones, from the half-way line, split the Llanelli defence with an excellent pass that sent second-half substitute Josh Bull racing free towards the penalty area – as Coughlan advanced out of his goal the young striker neatly took the ball around the stranded ‘keeper and fired it from a sharp angle into the empty net.
Soon afterwards Carmarthen went further ahead. Scotcher, near the centre-circle, sent a fine ball out to the right-wing to reach Walters who swiftly cut inside to the edge of the penalty area then produced a superb curling shot that sailed beyond Coughlan’s reach and into the corner of the goal.
After 63 minutes Knott won the ball on the left touchline and quickly sent it forward to Bull just inside the penalty area – he then set up a promising chance for Thomas but his 15 yard angled strike slid narrowly wide of the far post.
However in the 76thminute they were successful – Jordan Vickers embarked on a strong run along the right-wing before firing an inviting cross into the goalmouth where Howell arrived with perfect timing to sweep the ball past Coughlan and into the net.
And moments later the ball was back in there again. Morgan delivered a sublime long pass out to Jones on the left flank and the ex-Llanelli mid-fielder quickly moved inside to the edge of the penalty area before releasing a rasping shot that flew into the goal leaving Coughlan well beaten.
Yet still the Old Gold were not satisfied. In the 85thminute Jay Woodford, from the centre-circle, slid a fine pass through to Bull who comfortably outpaced his marker to reach the penalty area then struck a fierce drive that defeated Coughlan and finished in the back of the net – this young striker, in his first few games for the Old Gold, continues to impress with his pace and mobility and sharpness in front of goal.
Town’s eighth and final goal arrived on 89 minutes. Morgan, with another excellent long pass from well inside his own half of the pitch, found Bull on the left-wing. He quickly slipped inside to the wide edge of the penalty area then drove an inviting cross towards the goalmouth where Howell again applied the vital final touch to ensure that the ball was once more soon nestled in familiar surroundings – the back of the net!
Tom Windsor; Greg Walters (sub Jordan Vickers 70); Dave Vincent; Lee Surman (sub Lewis Rocke 79); Jordan Knott; Elliott Scotcher; Ceri Morgan (sub Jay Woodford 46); Lewis Harling (sub Ceri Morgan 70); Gwion Howell (sub Josh Bull 46); Liam Thomas (sub Gwion Howell 70); Chris Jones;
Goals: Chris Jones (12,78); Elliott Scotcher (44); Josh Bull (57,85); Greg Walters (60); Gwion Howell (76,90).