Adroddiadau Chwefror / February Reports..............
Caersws 6/2/99 * Caernarfon Town 13/2/99 * Rhayader 19/2/99 * TNS (Llansantffraid) 27/2/99
TNS 1 Carmarthen Town 1
Carmarthen Town, sponsored by RSU Windows, made the long journey to Llansantffraid near the English borders last Saturday to face Total Network Solutions, and after producing a dogged performance returned home with a worthy point from a drawn match.
Tomi Morgan returning to his former club, with whom he won a Welsh Cup medal, was forced to make two late changes due to flu victim Tony Rees and the injured Stephen Evans being unavailable. He drafted in striker Richard Parker following his four game suspension to partner Paul Burrows, who was also returning after injury, whilst the home side surprisingly relegated former Barry Town striker Darren Ryan to the substitutes bench.
Aided by an almost gale force wind at their backs Town made the early running and TNS keeper Andy Mulliner was the far busier of the two keepers preventing Town taking the lead when he produced a flying save from Parker who had worked himself into a good position in the penalty area. At the other end Wyn Thomas rescued Town from a tricky situation when he was forced to head over his own bar when under pressure.
The visitors, however, continued to take advantage of a strong wind and after a fine run by Nigel Nicholas, Dean Rossiter's final strike cleared the bar with Mulliner well beaten. Town's continued pressure eventually brought reward in the 27th. minute when following a succession of corners Thomas' drive into the crowded penalty area rebounded to Rossiter on the edge of the penalty area and his powerful drive flew past the motionless Mulliner to find the back of the net.
The home side, however, regrouped and after some lively attacks gained an equaliser when a long ball passed over a somewhat static Town defence to find the unmarked Ken McKenna and the veteran striker coolly chipped the ball over keeper Robert Fitzgerald from an acute angle.
The second half saw Town, now facing the wind, lose their dominance and the home side now found themselves well on top. Carmarthen keeper Fitzgerald, however, showed his developing maturity with a series of magnificent saves to deny McKenna, Gary Powell and Ricky Evans. Manager Morgan made crucial substitutions by introducing attacking players Alan Roberts and Sion Meredith to the fold and the old adage of 'the best form of defence is attack' became a reality as Town regained the initiative and Roberts' pace, aided by some defence splitting passes by Meredith, could have produced the winner.
On one occasion Roberts outpaced the defence on the left but his cross ball into the six yard box narrowly eluded Town's on-rushing strikers.Despite Meredith's brief involvement in the match he nevertheless won the match sponsors' award as man of the match, although David Barnhouse, returning in the role of sweeper after injury must have run the adjudicators decision very close.
Town were delighted to return with a point, but due to victories by rival teams on visits to South West Wales, dropped one place to 11th position in the League.
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Carmarthen Town 1 Rhayader 1
Carmarthen Town failed to capitalise on a number of chances that came their way in this League of Wales match in front of a large Friday evening crowd. Lowly Rhayader, whose position at the bottom of the table was belied by their battling performance, were also guilty of not taking advantage of some clear cut chances but on the run of the play it was Carmarthen who would be left to rue the loss of two points rather than their opponents.
Manager Tomi Morgan told the Journal: "If we want to challenge for a top eight Premier Cup spot next season, we can’t afford to miss the chances we did." Town, however, were without the services of strikers Paul Burrows (injured) and Richard Parker (suspended) and started the game with a strike partnership of Richard Adams and Tony Rees.
But it was full back Wayne Jones who nearly drew first blood when following a fine diagonal through ball by Dean Rossiter, Jones’ angled drive clipped the crossbar. Rhayader, however, were certainly not performing like a bottom of the table side and diminutive winger Richard Jones, who has had a trial with Coventry City, certainly posed problems to Town’s defence with some skilful ball play.
The first of Rhayader’s very good chances came when Jones opened up Carmarthen’s defence to release Dean Threlfall whose powerful shot was parried by Town keeper Robert Fitzgerald but Glen Willis contrived to blaze the ball over the crossbar from point blank range.
Town survived further when Ian Lancaster’s 15 yard drive struck the crossbar to bounce down on the line and out to the field of play. It nevertheless came as a surprise to the home crowd when a poor clearance by Fitzgerald was headed in the path of Jones who found himself clear of Carmarthen’s hesitant defence to round Fitzgerald and slot the ball home.
The set-back prompted greater urgency in Town’s attacking efforts. After the inclusion of substitute strikers Alan Roberts and Sion Meredith the equaliser came in the 80th minute. Roberts’ cross from the left had been easily collected by the visiting keeper Mike Barton but in the meantime Tony Rees had been upended on the area of the penalty spot and referee Martin Evans of Newcastle Emlyn had no hesitation in awarding the penalty. Skipper Matthew Cable made no mistake from the spot.
The final ten minutes saw a flurry of missed chances - on two occasions by Roberts who had been put through by Meredith to find himself in a one-to-one situation with the keeper only to have his first shot brilliantly saved and his second to run agonisingly past the post.
The final whistle came with Town having failed to accept the clearer chances but this drawn match helped Town to gain one place in the table to tenth.
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Carmarthen Town 2 Caernarfon Town 0
History was made at Richmond Park last Saturday when RSU Windows sponsored Carmarthen Town reached the last eight of the Welsh Cup competition for the first time ever. Town have secured a home draw against CC Sports Welsh League side Port Talbot in the next round. Having avoided the remaining League of Wales clubs in the draw, Carmarthen Town can look forward to clinching a place in the semi-finals with considerable optimism, although being favourites in such an important stage in the competition does not always work in one’s favour.
Town thoroughly deserved victory over their physically committed North Wales opponents, mainly by keeping their composure on a surface which was much improved after the rains of the previous weeks. Manager Tomi Morgan drafted in two youth players on to the bench in Gethin Jones and 18 year old Gafin Griffiths from Pencader was making his debut in the first team squad.
Town, hindered by injuries and cup-tied players, started in fine style and the Canaries keeper Mark Deegan was the far busier of the two keepers. Town were rewarded in the 10th minute when Richard Adams beat the Caernarfon off-side trap down the right wing and followed his forage into the penalty area, squared the ball to the onrushing Paul Burrows and Town’s top scorer made no mistake from close range. Burrows, however was the victim of a particularly heavy tackle and had to leave the field later in the game.
Town’s defence grew in stature as the game progressed, with Matthew Cable again dominant in the back. Wing backs Nigel Nicholas and Wayne Jones were also showing their attacking prowess and creating problems for Caernarfon’s defence. Shortly before half time Town could well have increased their lead but Tony Rees failed to make the most of a good chance.
The second half continued in much the same vein although keeper Robert Fitzgerald was at last called into action as a sense of urgency gripped the visitors. The Canaries, however, were crating very few chances but nevertheless had a glorious opportunity to equalise in the 61st minute when the best forward, Steve Fisher, made a long cross into Town’s penalty area. When the ball was headed back across goal Nicky Brookman unaccountably headed agonisingly over the bar from close range.
In the 80th minute Town put the game beyond Caernarfon’s reach, after a move started by substitute Sion Meredith, the excellent Malcolm Vaughan turned the Caernarfon defence to lay on a chance for young Gafin Griffiths to fire home from close range. The match ended on an sour note when Caernarfon player/manager Paul Rowlands was sent off for a second bookable offence.
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Striker Burrows delivers killer blows
Caersws 1 Carmarthen Town 2
A two goal salvo by RSU Windows sponsored Carmarthen Town striker Paul Burrows paved the way for a well-deserved win in this League of Wales match and puts them in good stead for the important Welsh Cup tie against Caernarfon next Saturday.
Manager Tomi Morgan included new signing David Burrows, brother of Paul, from Haverfordwest, in the wing-back position, and another new signing Alan Roberts, from Llanelli, on the bench.
It was the home side, however, who took up the early initiative by concentrating their play down the flanks to cause some consternation in Town’s defence, especially from some well-judged crosses from Caersws striker Rob Hamer. Even so, goalkeeper Robert Fitzgerald was equal to the task and dealt capably with some of these dangerous crosses beneath the bar.
The Town defence continued to experience difficulty in coming to terms with this wide pronged attack and inevitably conceded a goal in the 12th minute when Hamer’s cross was headed home by Caersws’ Andrew Thomas who outjumped the Carmarthen defence.
This set-back seemed to spur the visitors with new signing Burrows now slotting in well in the defence, and centre-half Matthew Cable again outstanding with his dominance of the aerial battles, and Town suddenly found themselves back in the game.
Richard Adams hoodwinked the opposing defence to put Burrows clear but Caersws keeper Matthew Griffiths did well to keep his goal intact whilst Dean Rossiter, from well outside the penalty area, just cleared the Caersws bar with a powerful long ranged shot.
The home defence were now back-pedalling as the first half neared its conclusion and conceded the equaliser in the 41st minute when David Burrows delivered into the penalty area and from Tony Rees’ headed flick-on Paul Burrows calmly controlled the ball to drive home beyond Griffiths.
The home side were fortunate to survive on the half time whistle when keeper Griffiths miscued his clearance but Adams, picking up the loose ball, shot wide with the keeper out of position.
The large contingent of supporters from Carmarthen who had made the two hour journey to Caersws must have been in optimistic mood at half time on the outcome to follow and were rewarded with an energetic display by a side who are clearly benefiting by the well-organised training sessions by manager Morgan.
A fine period of sustained pressure by Town, however, failed to penetrate a well-organised defence, marshalled expertly by the keeper, but Morgan’s attacking approach was illustrated by the introduction of a third striker in Alan Roberts to the fray and the ploy was rewarded by an 81st minute winner.
Rees made good ground on the right, and his cross was met by the onrushing Paul Burrows who forced the ball past the challenging Griffiths to find the net.
Town ended the game on a high note and with a little bit more steadiness in front of goal might well have increased their lead. This win now places Town in the top ten in the League of Wales table.
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