BEFORE a ball was kicked on Friday evening (Mar 29) at the Recreation Ground, the Committee, Players and Supporters of Ammanford AFC extended a very warm welcome to “Football Ground Hopper” Mr John Stancombe who was visiting his 1707th Ground.
John, who is totally blind, had travelled from his home in Lowestoft in East Anglia to be at the game.
Sadly, John lost his sight back in 2006 but this hasn’t stopped him from embarking on his favourite past time.
John fell in love with the beautiful game when his Dad took him as a youngster to watch Wimbledon Football Club at Plough Lane and his love affair with football has continued to this day and he doesn’t allow his disability to interfere with his passion.
John asks detailed questions about every Ground he visits and will meticulously record the facts of his visit and requests photos to add to his extensive collection.
Ammanford Chairman Rob Thomas guided John around the Recreation Ground and provided the dimensions for John’s statistics.
Rob also provided John with commentary on the match against Briton Ferry Llansawel.
John enjoyed his visit to Ammanford AFC and thanked everyone for their hospitality and wished the club continued success for the future.
Well over 700 spectators have watched Ammanford’s last three home games – a tremendous achievement in keeping with the club’s ongoing ground improvements.
Ammanford AFC are in a good run of form and their last outing against Haverfordwest County saw a highly entertaining game with the home side producing a fine performance to earn a well deserved victory.
Ammanford Club Captain Rhys Fisher summed up the season so far by saying: “The season has been a bit of a rollercoaster. The first 3 games we didn’t win and people wrote us off but soon as that first win the whole spirit changed!
“We are going in to tonight on the back of probably our best team performance and we are just loving playing in front of our crowds. Big buzz around the club so hoping to carry it on through till the final game and see where it takes us”.
Carl Shaw’s Briton Ferry Llansawel arrived at the Rec on the back of a defeat to leaders Penybont and were looking to get back to winning ways.
The game turned out to be in stark contrast to the last few home games at Ammanford as both sides produced a stalemate of a first half with both goalkeepers having very little to do.
It wasn’t until the latter end of the first half that Ammanford produced their best attacking chances of the game.
Ammanford’s Richard Lewis picked up the ball and weaved his way past the visitors defence and unleashed a shot that was just narrowly wide of the goal.
A few minutes later a Craig Frater shot looked goalbound all the way but a timely deflection took the ball just over the crossbar.
In the second half both teams endeavoured to break the deadlock but with quarter of an hour gone it was the visitors who broke away on the right flank with Stephen Davey showing his electric pace. He fired in a fierce low driven cross which took a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Ammanford centre back Nick Arnold who tried to clear but the ball veered off his foot into his own net.
Minutes later, the visitors nearly doubled their advantage when again Stephen Davey raced away and put in a pin point cross which was met by striker Gareth Jones who saw his headed attempt sail over the bar.
The visitors were beginning to take control of the game and Davey was the dangerous outlet for their attacking play.
Ammanford Manager Gruff Harrison reacted and used all his three substitutes in an attempt to get back into the game.
It nearly worked when Mathew Fisher shot from the edge of the box and it looked for all intense and purposes that it was beating visitors keeper Conah McFenton but the ball struck the back legs of substitute Bruno Forkouh and rebounded to safety.
It summed up an evening of frustration for the home side.
The Briton Ferry Llansawel defence well marshalled by Rob Thomas held firm and it was the visitors who celebrated at the final whistle.
Ammanford are next in action on Wednesday, April 10, when they travel to Llantwit Major.