Kick off:15:45 Saturday, 12 Oct 2013
at Richmond Park, Carmarthen
Fixture Type: Welsh Premier League
Referee: Mark Whitby
Luke Cummings scored his first Welsh Premier goal
For the second successive week at Richmond Park spectators were treated to a thrilling high-scoring draw with Carmarthen once more netting the equaliser in the final moments of added time, on this occasion having twice come back from a two-goal deficit despite playing almost the entire match with just ten men on the field.
The game began in controversial fashion when as early as the 4th minute Town central defender Chris Thomas was sent off for a tussle for the ball with City striker Chris Jones on the fringe of the penalty area.
And the visitors soon prospered from their numerical advantage, taking the lead on 9 minutes while the Old Gold were still trying to reorganise their defensive formation; a long cross-field pass by Joe Culshaw found Jamie Petrie in clear space down the right flank and from 15 yards he drove the ball beyond the reach of ‘keeper Steve Cann. Then shortly afterwards Bangor went further ahead when Jones sent a deep cross into the goalmouth where Les Davies held off Craig Hanford’s challenge and turned sharply to fire the ball home from a tight angle.
But Carmarthen quickly struck back – smart work from Liam McCreesh set Luke Cummings free down the right touchline and he took the ball forward before delivering a dangerous cross into the penalty area which was headed away by a defender but only as far as Jordan Follows who from 20 yards expertly volleyed the ball past ‘keeper Lee Idzi. Another strong run and incisive pass from Cummings opened up a further opportunity for Follows in the 19th minute but the striker’s 25 yard effort flew narrowly over the bar.
Increasingly the Old Gold settled into their rearranged formation, the foundation of which was the highly impressive performance of influential midfielder Paul Fowler; following Thomas’ dismissal he had been pulled back to form an unlikely, but extremely effective, central defensive partnership with Tim Hicks who himself was making his first start of the season having previously enjoyed only 45 minutes game time as a substitute. This pair, ably supported by wide defenders Cummings and Hanford, remained sound and dependable and nullified the threat posed by Bangor’s lively forwards on all but rare occasions.
In front of them midfielders McCreesh and Matty Collins worked tirelessly and creatively, frequently finding an outlet in Cummings’ commendable willingness to venture far forward along the right flank, to launch a series of threatening raids which strikers Christian Doidge, Kyle Bassett and Follows, with their pace and mobility, were anxious to exploit.
Indeed, McCreesh was instrumental in the move which led to Town’s equaliser after 31 minutes when he threaded an astute pass to Bassett on the edge of the penalty area and while his instant strike was partially blocked by a defender, the ball fell nicely for Doidge and he fired home from close range.
But having hauled themselves back into the game, Carmarthen were stunned when City regained the lead on 44 minutes with Sion Edwards sending a dangerous free-kick into a crowded goalmouth where Cann, under pressure from Davies, failed to gather the ball and it glanced off the striker’s arm and into the net.
For a long period after the interval Town once more battled hard to neutralise, successfully, Bangor’s numerical superiority. But as they pressed further forward in search of another equaliser their defence started to become stretched and more vulnerable to a counter-attack. Eventually City capitalised on this in the 76th minute when substitute Corey Thomas failed to deal with a long clearance out of defence, allowing Jamie McDaid to run on unchallenged and slot the ball past Cann to restore their two-goal advantage and seemingly put the match firmly beyond Carmarthen’s reach.
Yet this further setback simply served to spur Town on to even greater effort and adventure. And on 86 minutes, after substitute Liam Thomas had won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, Corey Thomas made amends for his earlier costly error by sweetly curling his kick over the defensive ‘wall’ and into the top corner of the goal leaving Idzi well beaten.
The Old Gold, now inspired still more, attacked with abandon and in added time were awarded another free-kick on the other side of the penalty area when Hicks was brought down. Corey Thomas again stepped forward and this time floated his kick into the packed goalmouth where Cummings timed his arrival perfectly and powered his header past Idzi for an astonishing late equaliser.
This was nothing less than Town’s players deserved after a display of such energy, enthusiasm and commitment and is testimony to their physical and mental stamina, given the numerical disadvantage that they faced for nearly 90 minutes.