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Reds back on top

HAVING already recorded a 4-1 win over the visitors at their Old Road ground last August, the Reds repeated that result when the sides met in the return game on Friday (Dec 15).

In so doing they now head the division one table by two points and a superior goal difference from Haverfordwest County whose scheduled fixture at Cwmbran Celtic was called off due to an unplayable pitch.

Despite the apparent convincing scoreline, the home side did not have matters entirely their own way, and with better finishing their opponents could well have taken the lead on a number of occasions, taking advantage of some sloppy play by the hosts who coughed up possession far too easily, causing problems for themselves.

The Reds welcomed back both James Loveridge and Anthony Finselbach on the bench after their absences, and were quickly out of the blocks with Chris Jones sending Lee Trundle clear, and when his run took him into the box, it took a timely interception by Sam Baker to prevent the pass from finding Jordan Follows in a promising position.

Scott Coughlan was then called into action at the other end, pushing around a well- directed shot from Kieran Williams, and when the visitors again threatened up the right through Steve Davey, his ball infield found Scott Kenyon, but he blazed his finish high over the top.

Ashley Elsey in the Ferry goal did well to divert the ball away from Trundle from close range when Joe Clarke set up the chance, before Coughlan was again forced to make a crucial save when David Brown was picked out in the box.

The visitors were proving to pose a regular threat, and when another attack culminated in Kenyon dragging his finish wide from a good position when played in by Brown, their opponents could consider themselves fortunate to be still on level terms at this stage of the contest.

Goal: The Reds celebrate another of their goals. Photo by Darren Harries

However, as so often happens, against the run of play the hosts took the lead on 35 minutes when Clarke met a ball played in to him before unleashing a powerful strike which deflected off Ferry defender, Ian Hillier, and the underside of the bar, giving Elsey no chance of keeping it out.

Moments later, Clarke almost brought off a spectacular finish from inside his own half when he spotted Elsey out of his goal, and his first time attempt sailed fractionally wide with the keeper desperately scrambling back.

A superb Trundle assist sent Follows clear and he made inroads into the area before attempting to pick out Jones at the far post, but he in turn could only send his shot against the upright, and it was eventually put over for a corner.

Three minutes from the break, the Reds doubled the lead when a pin-point cross into the goalmouth by Antonio Facciuto found the head of Trundle, who could hardly fail to miss from point blank range.

Despite these setbacks, the Ferry continued to probe with Coughlan again being forced to keep out a Baker effort following a surging run.

An early second half chance fell to Jordan Davies when Trundle afforded him the opportunity, but a good defensive block came to the rescue.

As the half progressed, the Reds at last appeared to have more control of proceedings, and Jones went close to increasing the lead when his shot was deflected on to the upright by Elsey, and when he met the rebound, his second attempt also cannoned off the far post.

Follows suffered the same fate, his effort from distance beating the Ferry keeper but again rebounding into play off the woodwork.

He was instrumental, however, when he set up the third Reds` goal in the 62nd minute, seizing on a poor kick out by Elsey before squaring a pass to the far post where Trundle had the simple task of a tap-in.

Three minutes later, a Trundle free kick to the back post found the head of Lee Bevan who powered his finish into the net for the fourth  home success.

Follows and Jones were then replaced by Kyle Graves and Loveridge, before the visitors finally got on the scoresheet with the award of a penalty on 70 minutes for a push in the area, and Davey stepped up to slot the kick past Coughlan.

Before the close, Trundle fired over the goal when Loveridge set up the chance, but the Reds ran out the winners despite yet again not being at their best.

The Reds journey to the Rhonda on Saturday (Dec 23) for their game against Cwmbran & Clydach Vale, with kick-off at 2pm.