Home » Town’s play off bid off to a flier

Town’s play off bid off to a flier

x2 Town celebrate: After White’s late winner (Pic. Rob Wilkins)
x2 Town celebrate: After White’s late winner (Pic. Rob Wilkins)

Port Talbot 0

Carmarthen Town 2

CARMARTHEN, after two postponements, belatedly got their Welsh Premier League second phase programme under way with an encouraging high-tempo performance full of energy and commitment to secure a well deserved victory over local rivals Port Talbot, their second consecutive success at the GenQuip Stadium in the space of just seven weeks.

From the outset the game quickly developed into an open, end-to-end affair but initially both defences looked quite comfortable under pressure and no goal threat ensued. It was not until the 11th minute that the first notable chance arose when Lewis Harling, from inside his own half, instigated a flowing move down the left flank which finished with Keiran Lewis threading the ball across the edge of the penalty area where Harling, having continued his run, struck a crisp drive that ‘keeper Steve Cann resisted with a full-length save.

The Old Gold went even closer to opening the score on 15 minutes when Kyle Bassett sent an inviting corner into the packed goalmouth to find Dave Vincent who rose above surrounding defenders but saw his firm header clip the top of the bar and go safely behind. Then after 25 minutes Lewis dispatched a curling 30 yard free-kick that flew narrowly too high.

During this spell, and for the remainder of the first-half, the home side were unable to produce a single shot on target or even close to it – such was the dominance of Town’s defence at the heart of which stood Vincent who, in his first full match since moving from Port Talbot last month and clearly relishing the opportunity of facing his former team-mates, produced a masterclass of assured and highly-effective defending.

His central defensive partnership with Dwaine Bailey, who displayed his customary strength in the air and on the ground, ensured that the threat normally posed by the hosts’ experienced twin strike-force was emphatically neutralised, while on the flanks full-backs Dan Sheehan and Jordan Knott performed with similar success. Meanwhile ‘keeper Lee Idzi only really became involved when dealing with occasional corners and free-kicks, all accomplished with his usual confidence and safe handling.

Ahead of this formidable rearguard the industrious midfield trio of Harling, Lewis and Ceri Morgan eagerly provided a further layer of valuable defensive support whenever necessary, while taking every opportunity to drive the Old Gold forward on the counterattack – and here they found willing assistance from frontmen Mark Jones, Liam Thomas and Bassett who, with their pace and movement, kept the home defenders fully occupied.

After the interval Carmarthen made a positive start when in the first minute Jones moved in from the left wing then slid the ball across to Thomas inside the penalty area but he saw his angled shot deflected by a defender just wide of the far post.

However the Steelmen were now creating more of a threat, breaking forward with greater pace and urgency. And on 49 minutes they produced their first genuine scoring opportunity of the match when Kurtis March made a strong run down the right-wing before firing the ball into the goalmouth only for Martin Rose, from a good position, to scoop it over the bar.

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Yet it was the visitors who at last broke the deadlock on 68 minutes. Lewis, a particularly influential figure in Town’s midfield throughout the game, embarked on a dazzling run into the heart of the home defence but was brought down just outside the penalty area – he then fired the resultant freekick with perfect precision over the defensive ‘wall’ and into the roof of the net leaving Cann well beaten.

Immediately Port Talbot intensified their attacks in search of an equaliser but the Old Gold defence, by now featuring Luke Prosser who for the last 30 minutes proved to be an able replacement for the injured Bailey, remained strong and disciplined. Although they had to withstand a few worrying goalmouth scrambles, they limited the hosts to just one recognisable scoring effort when Luke Bowen, on 79 minutes, attempted a longrange shot that Idzi watched fly wide of the post.

Yet in the closing stages the Steelmen became increasingly vulnerable to counter-attacks and in the 87th minute a slick move down the left flank finished with substitute Jeff White, from wide on the edge of the penalty area, setting up a fine chance for Morgan but his fierce 20 yard drive went narrowly wide of the post. However, moments later Town made their victory secure when Lewis embarked on a surging run through the midfield then sent an astute pass forward to White who from a sharp angle neatly slid the ball past Cann and into the net.

These three valuable points extend Carmarthen’s lead over tenth placed Port Talbot and after the other week-end fixtures they now stand a healthy twelve points above the WPL relegation places – and in the other direction the gap to Bangor, currently occupying the coveted end-of-season seventh place has narrowed to just two points. Clearly, more performances like this would be very welcome.


Lee Idzi; Dan Sheehan; Dwaine Bailey (sub Luke Prosser 61); Dave Vincent; Jordan Knott; Lewis Harling; Kieran Lewis; Ceri Morgan; Kyle Bassett; Mark Jones (sub Jeff White 80); Liam Thomas (sub Glen Fearn 90) Unused Sub: James Kirkwood