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Reds end year in style with win over Taffs Well

Llanelli Town ended 2022 on a high with a well-deserved win over Taffs Well, with goals by captain Joseph Hopkins, a brace from Eli Phipps and one from Louis Gerrard ensuring the three points.

In awful conditions with heavy driving rain and strong wind, both sides deserve credit in attempting to play some positive football, and as a result, chances were created at both ends.

An early strike by Ethan Cann for the visitors flew narrowly over the top, and when Hopkins laid on a chance for Keane Watts, he dragged his finish well wide.

When the Wellmen were awarded a free kick it was driven across the face of goal by Daniel Hooper, but nobody was able to make a telling contact from close in.

It took a saving tackle on Watts by Adam Ward to prevent the home player from making progress towards goal with plenty of grass to run into, and when Phipps was found, he in turn played in Miles John cutting in from the left, forcing goalkeeper Edward King to block his finish at the near post.

At this stage of the contest, the hosts looked the more likely to break the deadlock, and did just that on 33 minutes following a break up the right which culminated in Hopkins delivering a low cross into the middle which seemed to elude everyone before striking the inside of the post and into the net.

This success spurred on the Reds who were showing up well in patches, although their opponents were still well in contention, forcing Scott Coughlan into a full length save to keep out a David Lyon attempt from the edge of the box, while Vaughan Fowler headed over when he met a Hooper corner.

Clinging on to their narrow lead at the break, the home side were quickly back on the offensive when the second half got underway, with two inswinging corners being somehow scrambled clear of the visitors` goalmouth.

Then came an incredible miss by Thomas Hillman when he met a far post delivery but somehow contrived to blast it over from point blank range when it seemed easier to score.

Fortunately, this did not prove to be too costly as two goals in the space of as many minutes put the Reds in the driving seat, with Phipps the recipient, netting his first by losing his marker before sending his shot on the turn low past King on 67 minutes, and then getting on the end of a superb deep cross by John to head in from close range in the 69th minute.

Six minutes later, the lead was further extended following a corner which led to another goalmouth scramble before Gerrard got the final connection to force the ball home.

Four up and now well in control, the hosts saw out the remaining minute fairly comfortably, although Coughlan was called on to keep out an attempt on target.

A highly satisfactory end to the old year, and hopefully this level of performance can be emulated going into 2023 as the Reds maintain their push for honours.

Their next home game is on Friday, January 6, when Cambrian & Clydach Vale will be the visitors to Stebonheath, kick off 7.30pm.