League 1 West
ABERYSTWYTH suffered a 20- 12 defeat at the hands of Loughor on Saturday, February 18, the side who sit third from bottom in the table.
Aber had narrowly won the home fixture by a single point back in the autumn, but were second best on Saturday.
It is difficult to believe that a side that was capable of playing intelligent, entertaining and winning rugby up to and including their excellent win against Gorseinon in mid-January, have lost their way since then, losing their last three games. On Saturday, for the first time this season, they failed to score a try and gained no bonus points at all.
Ground conditions were good and there was very little wind to affect play. Aber were quickly on the scoresheet with an excellent penalty by No 10, Steff Rees from 45 metres out.
Loughor replied with a penalty by full-back Jamie George after the visitors were adjudged to have infringed at the breakdown.
Both teams were evenly matched at this stage with play taking place between the two 22 metre lines. Possession and territory were evenly shared and fiercely contested as both sides carried and tackled aggressively.
Both sides moved the ball wide and both defences had their work cut out to contain their opponents’ attacks. The Aber eight had clear supremacy in the scrums and after three set pieces and three huge shoves they finally won a penalty which Rees again converted from 30 metres out for a narrow 3 – 6 lead.
The visitors were penalised on the half-way line and Loughor found touch 10 metres from their line. They had no answer to the home side’s driving maul and from this lineout prop Nathan Thomas went over for a try which George converted to move them into a 10-6 lead.
Just before half time Aber winger Dean Coleman was very harshly adjudged to have tip-tackled his opposite number and was shown a red card. This very improbable offence and the punishment that followed clearly restricted the visitors’ attacking options from then on.
Aber attacked from the kick-off in the second half and gained a penalty 15 metres out which Rees again converted to take them up to a single point of Loughor at 10-9.
Although the visitors were dominant in the scrums on their own put-in, they were not so effective in disrupting the opposition’s scrums as Loughor quickly channelled the ball out.
In the lineouts Robbie Parry and especially Bryn Shepherd for Aber, won ball on their own throw in but had no answer to the home side’s superior jumping on their own ball where captain Tom Davies was outstanding.
The game continued to move up and down the field with neither side looking as though they would break through the other’s stubborn defence.
The stalemate was broken when Aber were awarded a penalty after a good break by Llyr Thomas down the left wing. Rees was again successful and the visitors regained the lead at 10- 12.
However, this lead was short-lived as George landed a penalty for Loughor from 25 metres to move 13-12 ahead.
Aber were still in with a chance of gaining a losing bonus point but regaining the lead seemed to lift the home side as they fed off Aber’s indecision and high error count to dominate the closing stages.
The visitors won their own lineout five metres from their line but Loughor stole possession and after some close interpassing and weak Aber tackling, veteran scrum half Steve Wake went over untouched. George’s conversion closed the score for the day at 20-12.
For Aber the half-back combination of Pitt and Rees worked well with the latter place kicking and kicking from hand very well. This run of bad results for Aber will raise the hopes of those opponents that await them from now to the end of the season.
The team needs to urgently regain the fluid, intelligent style of play and the tactics that brought them so much success in the opening half of the season.
Swans still sweet on Premier League survival
By Jonathan Twigg
SWANSEA’s clamber through the trials and tribulations of the Premier League can be compared to that of a child running amok in a sweet shop, so many tantalising favourites to devour, with the occasional reminder that not all sweets are sweet.
A retro walk down the Bridge Meadow Lane would have taken a child past the shop run by Connie Clarke, renowned for her welcome on the bell clanging. Supporters of Haverfordwest County and their opponents on match day, welcomed with few words but with the knowledge her confectionary delights never failed to deliver.
Following Saturday’s (Apr 14) 1-1 draw with Everton, who arrived without former Swans stars Ashley Williams and Gylfi Sigurdsson in their line-up, supporters left knowing the sweet taste of success held by the Premier League is still within their grasp.
With two of the bottom three to visit the Liberty in the final week of the season this point is one gained in search of extending their Premier League status to an eighth season, although manager Carlos Carvalhal nearly led his side to five consecutive home wins, something no other manager has done since the heady days of John Toshack in 1981.
Swansea welcomed Jordan Ayew back from a three game suspension to partner elder brother Andre as Bolton based referee Lee Mason began the game in front of 20,933, the returning brother setting the tone alongside Andy King at a sun drenched Liberty Stadium.
Carvalhal has worked some magic since his arrival on the cusp of Christmas, tactically leaving opposite number former England supremo Sam Allerdyce to venture to the touchline with his pocket ball side kick Sammy Lee to stem the tide; the blues were overrun in midfield, Jordan Ayew having a wonderful chance cleared off the line as was captain Frederico Fernadez header from the resultant corner, before Andre’s sight of goal was saved by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Alfie Mawson has grown to be imperial at the back for the Swans, attracting the interest of Manchester United, one of those mints that the longer you savour, the better it lingers. Luciano Narsingh however can be likened more to a quickly dissolving peppermint cream, releasing the taste with speed, rousing the Jack Army with an immediate hit, succulent whilst it lasts, inspiring the Swans to drive forward.
Former England captain Wayne Rooney had one of those games, like an aniseed ball, many unable to relish his taste as he left his mark, literally with some raking tackles; his class, undoubted, when it finally came to the fore.
An opening goal came with the aid of goal line technology, just before half time, Lucas Fabianski brilliantly making a double save from Bolasie, before a ricochet off Kyle Naughton and a half time lead, Fabianski thankfully however saving from Cenk Tosun a minute later.
Jordan became the first recipient of a yellow card in the second half, substitute Nathan Dyer creating a stir as the game went up by a level with a sugar surge, the vocal chords tingled with honey from a locket, in the form of striker Tammy Abraham’s arrival.
Full backs McNaughton and Martin Olsson created chances, Tom Carroll serving buckets of sweet balls, to no avail; Dyer driving forward over from twenty yards, Abraham and the Ayews creating half chances, Mawson’s header cleared off the line before the full quarter was served, Jordan levelling the game with a right foot half volley.
The final fifteen minutes rocked the stadium once more, after dinner mints were all Swansea’s, although Seamus Coleman thundered a shot against the woodwork, Abraham missed a gilt edged opportunity at the other end, whilst a tall and well positioned defensive wall directed Rooney’s set piece opportunity over the bar.
Extra strong mints were needed, alas unavailable as the toffees held firm, not fudging their lines with Beni Baningime taking a yellow card for the team, the games conclusion seeing a share of the spoils.
Carvalhal’s magic stars will have to be at their best to out fox and unwrap three points on Sunday (Apr 22) when opponents Manchester City will have champagne liquor chocolates on hand, having been crowned Premier League champions.
Swansea then have the opportunity to welcome Chelsea to ‘fortress’ Liberty the week after; wispa it quietly, as many have their eyes on the final weeks’ trio of games, starting with a trip to the South Coast in search of the bounty available at Dean Park, Bournemouth, before a starburst performance at home to Southampton on the Tuesday and Stoke City for a final day picnic. There can be no wine gums on show, just the everlasting gobstopper which is Premier League football.
Street reserves reach cup semis
BOW Street Reserves progressed to the semi-finals of The Len and Julia Newman Cup following a very competitive quarter final against a very good Bont team on Monday night (Apr 9).
A closely contested first half saw both sides create and miss chances but Ryan Evans and Shaun Jones converted two of the home side’s opportunities.
The second goal coming after a superb tackle by John James in his own area stopped a certain Bont equaliser.
Bont piled the pressure on at the beginning of the second half but were unable to convert any chances.
Then, the game’s outstanding player, Joe Williams scored a splendid individual goal to clinch the tie.
Osian Burrell then scored the fourth, before Bont responded with a consolation. Jac Williams with a header scored the final goal of an entertaining evening.
Manager Rhodri Jones was satisfied with the evening’s work adding: “I am delighted with the performance and the result and I feel that all the boys did extremely well against a good Bont side”.
Team: R Evans, Osian Rees Jones, J James, M Williams, S Dewdon, S Harrison, J Williams, R Evans, G ap Dafydd, S Jones, I Evans. Subs: O Burrell, J Quinn, Jac Williams, N Burrell.
Borth well beaten
WITH no sign of an improvement in the wet weather Borth entertained Llanrhaeadr at Park Avenue’s 3G pitch on Saturday (Mar 31), with the visitors arriving in second position in the league and well placed with five games in hand on Division 1 leaders Welshpool.
It took them only ten minutes to score the opening goal with Joe Vaughan netting through a crowded goalmouth and they nearly doubled the lead on twenty five minutes but Khyam Whytton’s bullet header bounced off the crossbar to safety.
To their credit Borth responded well and Ryan Edwards’s free kick wasn’t dealt with by the visitors hesitant defence and Dale Lloyd was on hand to score on his first team debut.
Slowly but surely Llanrhaeadr took control in the next few minutes with Mark Griffiths scoring twice plus an unlucky own goal by a Borth defender gave the visitors a handy 4-1 lead at the interval.
Borth resumed the second half with purpose and within five minutes reduced the lead as Dale Lloyds’s ferocious free kick was fumbled by visiting keeper Harri Matthews and the alert Ryan Edwards scored from the rebound.
However, in the next few minutes Llanrhaeadr took firm control of the match with Khyam Whytton scoring two headed goals.
As the match reached its conclusion Dan Graham scored a well-deserved hat trick for a comprehensive 9-2 win for Llanrhaeadr.
The score doesn’t complement Borth’s all-round team commitment against a well-organized Llanrhaeadr team, but the visitors run up play and clinical finishing proved to be the difference on the day.
Machynlleth picked up a victory on Saturday, Borth now slip to the bottom of the table on goal difference and they are ten points from safety.
With two home games coming up on Saturday (Apr 7) and the following Saturday (Apr 14) against the sides third and fourth from bottom respectively in Kerry and Churchstoke, Borth will be targeting two wins as they look to make up that gap.
Popular This Week
Politics5 days ago
Carwyn Jones to step down as row over Sargeant inquiry intensifies
News2 weeks ago
Two charged over serious Aberystwyth assault
News2 weeks ago
Dog thefts up 200% in Dyfed-Powys region
News6 days ago
Man sentenced following Tregaron assault
News1 week ago
Men appear in court over serious assault
News1 week ago
Aberystwyth to Cardiff Bus service upgraded and fully reinstated
News3 days ago
Police appeal following Aberystwyth RTC
News7 days ago
Another man charged in Ifan Owens assault case