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Reds do just enough to beat Major

UP against a home side on an unbeaten five match run, Llanelli Town did just enough to come away from the Windmill Ground with maximum points with a late 87th minute header by Eli Phipps proving to be the winner.

An eminently forgettable first half did nothing to raise hopes that the second period might turn out to be an improvement, and it was to some extent, although even then both sides struggled for fluency when in possession and cohesive moves were at a premium, while a poor playing surface did nothing to improve matters.

About the only notable efforts – if they could be so described – came from the hosts` Rob Jones with two long range attempts, both of which failed to trouble Evan Williams standing in for the absent Scott Coughlan in the Reds` goal.

When the visitors were awarded a free kick, Thomas Hillman could only fire his attempt against the defensive wall, and when he picked out Phipps with a pass, his cross into the goalmouth was safely held by Jack Lansdown.

The Reds went close when another set-piece found Phipps whose glancing header was narrowly wide of the far post.

When Llantwit pushed forward, a snap shot from outside the area by Ioan Emanuel flew just over the top, and the half ended with the visitors on the offensive with Nathan Logan directing his headed effort from a Miles John delivery off target.

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Both sides made changes prior to the kick off for the second half, with the home team bringing on Paolo Merenghi in place of William Francis-Obeng, and the Reds introducing Dylan Williams for Logan.

This half did prove to be an improvement on the first, although that was not too difficult to achieve, with the visitors generally in the ascendancy, forcing their opponents into a defensive mode.

A quick break up the Llantwit left culminated in the ball being deflected wide for a fruitless corner, while a strong run by Hillman ended with him firing his finish over the home bar.

The Reds made a further change with Taylor Marsh being replaced by Sean Cronin who was immediately pressed into service up front, and they continued to look the more threatening of the two sides, the only failing being that many of their deliveries into the danger zone were placed too close to Lansdown who was able to deal with them comfortably.

When Hillman made another run which took him into the box he lost his footing at the vital moment and any potential goal threat was cancelled out.

With time running out, the contest appeared to be heading for a goalless draw, until some skilful play by John who, along with Hillman, had been the pick of the Reds team, culminated in an assist which found the waiting Phipps who in turn directed his header under the sprawling figure of the goalkeeper to seal the win.

The three points elevates the Reds back into third place in the table, four points behind current leaders Barry Town United, and they will be hoping for more of the same when they travel next Saturday to meet bottom side, Goytre United, kick off 2pm.

The draw for the fourth round of the JD Welsh Cup has earned them a home tie against Connah`s Quay Nomads who at the moment occupy second spot in the Welsh Premier. It will be played on Saturday, January 14.