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Reds slump to worst defeat against Pontardawe

IT may have been Good Friday but that certainly did not apply to the overall abysmal performance of Llanelli Town who slumped to their worst defeat of the season at the hands of opponents struggling in the lower reaches of the table.

The visitors were full value for the win, superior in every department and making a mockery of the points gap between the sides, although the Reds had been given a warning when they played the away fixture last month, as despite coming home with a 3-1 result their opponents caused them problems throughout and were made to pay for some missed chances.

The home side began brightly enough and Steven Reeve in the Pontardawe goal was called into early action, pushing clear a well-struck attempt by Thomas Hillman when Tim Parker set up the chance, and Hilllman was then again further involved when a nicely worked move involving a number of players afforded him another strike on target, but again Reeve was equal to the danger and pulled off a good catch.

After these initial home sorties, the visitors gradually began to take a grip on proceedings with the Reds forced on to the back foot, but the opening goal on 19 minutes was entirely avoidable and one which goalkeeper Scott Coughlan will not want to watch too often on a replay.

It arose from a free kick just outside the box taken by former Llanelli player, Lewis Reed, who struck it low at goal but directly at Coughlan who somehow allowed it to squirm through his grasp and into the net for the softest of goals.

Coughlan did redeem himself somewhat when he managed to deny Reed when he cut into the area, but within five minutes of the opener he was picking the ball out the net again following the award of a penalty when Rio Booth was brought down, and Reed easily converted the spot kick.

Stunned by these setbacks, the Reds pushed forward but the final ball was invariably poor, their nearest effort s temming from a Ryan Bevan corner which Reeve diverted clear, and when the ball was circulated back into the goalmouth it lacked venom and the goalkeeper was able to effect an easy take.

They then might have reduced the deficit with about their only real clear-cut chance when a Miles John delivery found the head of Joe Hopkins ten yards out, but he directed it wide.

They were made to pay dearly for this when their opponents struck again on 38 minutes with Reed completing his hat-trick, gaining possession before holding off the attentions of a couple of defenders and slotting his finish through the legs of Coughlan who again did not cover himself in glory .

Facing a mountain to climb in the second half and with the contest already looking a lost cause, the Reds did not improve appreciably after the restart, although Brandon Griffiths was unlucky when he diverted the ball goalwards only to see it rebound off the bar and sail harmlessly over.

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As the half progressed, the visitors were still looking the better of the two sides with their opponents struggling to create any worthwhile chances, and it was the home goal which came under threat with Booth twice coming close, firing just over the top and then sending another attempt across the face of goal and narrowly past the back post.

With time running out, Pontardawe applied the final nail in the Reds` coffin when they notched up a fourth two minutes from the final whistle, with Rhys Benjamin being afforded far too much time to pick out Joshua Dorward who lashed a great finish past Coughlan.

In stoppage time, the hosts went close through Taylor Marsh whose strike rebounded off a post, and their overall display was just about summed up with the last action of the game when Hillman was in the clear and rounded the goalkeeper but could only find the side netting with the goal wide open.

Next Friday (Apr 14) the Reds entertain Swansea University who are involved in a relegation struggle, kick off 7.30pm.