Home » Reds earn narrow win over Afan Lido
Carmarthenshire National News Sport Sport West Wales

Reds earn narrow win over Afan Lido

WHEN the two sides met at Stebonheath on the opening league game of the season, the visitors were beaten 3-1 and subsequently lost their next match at home to Barry Town United.

Since then, however, they have enjoyed a remarkable unbeaten 20 game run which has elevated them to third in the table, and the Reds were expecting a formidable task on their visit to the Marston Stadium in the return fixture.

As it transpired, a 67th minute goal by Louis Gerrard was enough to bring to an end that magnificent run, and on the basis of the overall play the visitors were just about full value for their success.

Having said that chances were created at both ends with an early one falling to Sean Cronin when he met an Adam Robbins free kick at the far post but directed his header wide from close range of the Lido goal.

The visitors were in the ascendancy in the opening stages with their opponents conceding a string of free kick when they were put under pressure, before the overall play began to even out with Reds` goalkeeper Scott Coughlan being called into action to grasp safely a header by John Hall, and was then involved in pushing clear a well struck effort by Ioan Evans with the loose ball being met by Joshua Webber whose attempt was blocked.

The Reds retaliated, and some good play on the byline by Gerrard culminated in a cross into the box which was met by Miles John who struck his finish into the ground where it looped towards goal, forcing Lido keeper Aaron Jones to divert it over.

From the ensuing corner by Ryan Bevan, a header by Cronin was kept out by some last ditch defending, and when the ball ran loose, the finish was skewed off target.

The hosts hit back with Sean Hanbury providing a delivery which was met by Mark Jones, but Coughlan pulled off a smart save to keep it out low at his near post.

Both defences were playing well with chances at a premium up to the break, with Lido creating the first opportunity of the second period following interplay between Travis James and Webber, but the final ball whipped across the face of goal by the former failed to create any problems.

As the half progressed, the home side were certainly having the better of the contest with Coughlan forced into another save to turn over a Jones finish on target.

Gradually the Reds asserted themselves, and might have gone ahead following a corner driven into the middle and met by Joe Hopkins, but he directed his header wide of the goal from a promising position.

They had better fortune on 67 minutes when they instigated a rapid attack down the right involving John and a couple of others before the ball was circulated infield to the edge of the box where Gerrard was on hand to drill his finish low past Jones into the bottom corner.

This was no more than the visitors deserved as they had been the better of the sides leading up to the goal, although there was still a long way to go before they could claim victory, and their opponents certainly did all they could to keep their unbeaten record intact with Hanbury seeing his free kick safely held by Coughlan, before Jones had a great chance to level matters when he was found in space, but lofted his finish over when he should at least have tested the goalkeeper.

Hanbury was further involved, this time directing his corner into the middle which led to an almighty scramble in front of goal with shots being blocked by the Reds` defence, before Coughlan directed the final attempt clear with an outstretched foot.

With the game entering its closing stages, there was more drama when home keeper Jones was shown a straight red card by referee Ieuan Lewis for taking out Owen Bancroft just outside the box as he threatened to home in on the vacant goal, with Hall donning the gloves for the remainder of the match.

His first action was to keep out with his legs the subsequent free kick for the original foul, but apart from that he was relatively untroubled up to the final whistle which came with the visitors worthy of the three points and leapfrogging their opponents into third spot in the table, with a game in hand.

The Reds have another local derby next Friday evening when they make the short journey to the Rec to take on Ammanford. Kick off 7.30pm.