Kick off:14:30 Saturday, 18 Aug 2012
at Richmond Park, Carmarthen
Fixture Type: Welsh Premier League
Referee: Mark Whitby
Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Aberystwyth Town (18 August 2012)
- from Carmarthen Town website
Carmarthen Town made the best possible start to the new Welsh Premier League season with an exciting victory over old rivals Aberystwyth, thereby ending their unenviable three year sequence of opening day defeats. But this was a stern test for manager Mark Aizlewood’s new squad since the visitors too have considerably strengthened their team over the summer.
And it was Aberystwyth who came close to scoring as early as the first minute when the lively Jordan Follows raced dangerously into the penalty area but stabbed the ball just wide of the post. But as the game settled down play swung from end to end and E H Factors & Clothing sponsored Town were soon to have their own golden chance when on 12 minutes a corner-kick from Leon Jeanne was headed on by Paul Fowler to the far post where Matthew Rees, at full stretch, struck the ball just fractionally too high.
While both teams enjoyed their fair share of possession, for a short spell Aberystwyth created the better openings. On 18 minutes Follows again broke free but his shot from 15 yards was well saved by goalkeeper Steve Cann; shortly afterwards Gavin Cadwallader rose highest in a crowded goalmouth to meet a right-wing cross only to see his glancing header graze the top of the crossbar.
Then Town had a period of ascendancy, starting on 27 minutes when Jonathan Hood’s quick thinking created space for Jack Christopher to break clear into the penalty area but, as goalkeeper Mike Lewis advanced, his fierce drive went agonisingly wide of the goal. Just minutes later Jeanne’s quick footwork took him past his marker and he crossed low to Christopher who swiftly turned and shot from close range but the ball deflected to safety off a defender. Then a delightful exchange of passes between Corey Thomas and Hood took them deep into the visitor’s defence and finished with Thomas playing a fine ball to Jeanne whose instant drive flashed marginally over the bar with Lewis well beaten.
As the first-half reached its conclusion the visitors again threatened when Cledan Davies, some 20 yards out, looked certain to score with a stinging drive but was denied by Cann’s quite exceptional full-length save. And in the final minute Follows broke clear from the halfway line, took the ball around Cann as he raced far out of his penalty area, then just as he shaped to fire the ball into the empty net Town skipper Carl Evans, with a perfectly timed tackle, cleared the danger.
After the restart the game continued as before with both teams enjoying periods of pressure and creating scoring opportunities but with neither actually able to breach the opposing defence. But all that changed on 67 minutes when Fowler, from deep inside his own half, struck a marvellous long forward pass which deceived the Aberystwyth defence and, as Lewis advanced to the edge of his penalty area to claim the ball, Christopher was alert enough to nod it over the keeper and into the unguarded net.
But Town’s joy was short-lived because just 2 minutes later Rees was controversially shown the red card apparently for something he said. Yet Aberystwyth’s numerical advantage never became evident thanks to Town’s 10 men rising skilfully and enthusiastically to the challenge now before them. Aided by astute substitutions in critical positions, Carmarthen defended heroically, none more so than Evans who was a commanding presence throughout the game, and they energetically covered the midfield to successfully stifle the visitors’ forward progress.
In fact remarkably, it was Town who, on the break, were creating the better scoring opportunities. In the latter stages Hood (twice) and substitute Sam Wilson stretched the Aberystwyth defence with strong runs and had decent shots saved. Then on 83 minutes substitute Liam Thomas, from some 40 yards out, embarked on a brilliant mazy run which took him past two defenders and into the penalty area from where he calmly prodded the ball under Lewis and into the net. There was just time for Wilson to make another breakaway and force Lewis into yet another save before the final whistle drew an end to a thrilling game.
This performance was testament to the fitness and skills levels which the players have developed under the guidance of Aizlewood’s coaching team and offers the real prospect of much more entertainment and, hopefully, success this season. Town’s next fixture is away to Airbus UK on Saturday (25th August ko 3.45pm due to live match coverage on Sgorio S4C – bus leaves Richmond Park at 9.30am).