Llanelli Town AFC 

Reds Complete The Double

LLANELLI TOWN   3   BRIDGEND STREET   1

Having comprehensively swept through their league programme to clinch an emphatic promotion, Llanelli Town turned their attentions to the Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Cup final at the Old Road ground of Briton Ferry Llansawel last Friday evening in their quest for a league and cup double. Their opponents were third division side, Bridgend Street, who in reaching the final had disposed of the current cup holders, Taffs Well, and seeing off the challenge in the semi-final of first division Haverfordwest County after a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

The Reds, on the other hand, were attempting to win the trophy after a wait of some 42 years, following their only success in the competition in the 1974-75 season, although they reached two previous finals in 1989-90 and 2003-04, losing to Blaenrhondda and the then named Briton Ferry Athletic, respectively. Both teams were at full strength, the only Reds` change being the inclusion of Kyle Graves for Richard Lewis from the game at Ammanford on Monday, and they got off to the best possible start, opening the scoring after just 8 minutes. Joe Clarke instigated the move with a ball down the channel for Lee Trundle to collect before making inroads into the box, and his delivery low to the far post saw Ross Jones beat the covering defence and turn the ball past goalkeeper, Nicky King. When Street were awarded a free kick, it was hoisted into the goalmouth by Dan Noyes, forcing Craig Morris to punch clear, and when the loose ball was met by Richie Noyes he fired well over the top.

Another set piece for the Cardiff side, this time taken by Paul Fowler, was fractionally wide with Morris rooted to the spot, before it was the Reds` turn to almost double the lead after Clarke sent a ball across the face of goal which somehow eluded Jordan Follows when any sort of connection would have brought a result. Jordan Davies was then picked out in midfield and started on a run but was momentarily halted by the upraised flag of an assistant for offside, but referee Leigh Jones waved play on which allowed Davies to set up Follows, but again he failed to find a finish from a few yards out.

Trundle was the next to threaten with a weaving run which took him into the penalty box where he was floored by a tackle from Mike McDonagh, but the Reds` appeals for a spot kick were waved away by referee Jones who merely awarded a corner. A rare piece of action for Morris at the other end led to him grasping safely an attempt by Harry Burge, but at the break the sides were separated by the solitary goal. This scenario changed fifteen minutes after the restart when the Reds went further ahead, with the raucous Street supporters being silenced by the butt of their remarks after a move up the right led to Jones finding Trundle on the edge of the area, and he rifled a superb volley past King which gave him no chance.

The Street keeper then did well to deny Clarke by pushing his goal bound effort around the upright, while excelling himself again by coming off his line to block a Davies attempt when Trundle put him clear through the middle. Clarke was replaced by Liam Samuel on 77 minutes, and within two minutes of his introduction he was involved in the third goal when a ball into the middle for Davies led to him finding the bottom corner past a helpless keeper. With time running out, both teams made changes – the Reds swapping Kurtis March with Lewis, while Follows made way for James Loveridge, but their opponents had the last word with a consolation goal three minutes from time, when Morris initially got down to keep out a shot, but the ball rebounded off him to Jeff White for a simple tap-in.

So the curtain came down on a remarkable Reds` season which has exceeded all expectations, and hopefully they can carry on the good work into the Welsh League first division in the next campaign.

LLANELLI TOWN;    Morris; Graves; March (Lewis, 81); R. Thomas; C. Thomas; Bevan ©; Clarke (Samuel, 77); Davies; Follows (Loveridge, 86); Trundle; R. Jones;
Subs. not used; Finselbach; L. Jones.

BRIDGEND STREET;    King; Carro; D. Noyes (Jones, 63); R. Noyes; Dingle; McDonagh; Bancroft (Martin, 86); P. Fowler ©; White; Davison; Burge (R. Fowler, 81);  Subs. not used; Berry; Lack (GK).

SCORERS;  Llanelli Town – R. Jones, 8; Trundle, 60; Davies, 79. Bridgend Street – White, 87.

YELLOW CARDS;  Llanelli Town – Follows. Bridgend Street – P. Fowler.

REFEREE;  Leigh Jones (Treharris).

 

ATTENDANCE;  682.

AMMANFORD 1 LLANELLI TOWN 4

There are few superlatives left to describe one of the greatest seasons ever in the Reds` long history, although  a few more could be added following their final league game at Ammanford when they maintained their unbeaten record, having  dropped just 14 points throughout the campaign.

In doing so, they have accumulated 108 goals while conceding 29; gaining promotion to the Welsh League first division; becoming league champions, while their talisman, Lee Trundle, with his ninth hat-trick of the season  has racked up 50 goals. They could well have easily doubled the eventual tally when they met their near neighbours, but some wayward finishing and desperate home defending kept the final score down to a reasonable figure.

Jordan Follows failed to capitalise on an early chance when some good build-up play by Joe Clarke and Jordan Davies set him up, before the visitors opened their account on 15 minutes with Follows and Davies both involved before Trundle finished off the move by firing past goalkeeper James Kirkwood inside the far post. However, their opponents were only behind for four minutes, when a free kick wide on the left was delivered into the area where it took a deflection off a Reds` defender and on to the head of Rhys Owen and beyond Craig Morris.

Encouraged by this, the home side broke with Craig Frater chasing down a clearance and making ground before tamely sending his finish into the hands of Morris. Frater was then further involved when he took a free kick awarded for a foul on James Murray just outside the box, and Morris did well to push over the effort which was destined for the top corner. When the Reds countered, both Trundle and Davies saw their attempts blocked by the home defence, and when a long kick out by Morris evaded the Ammanford rearguard, it was picked up by Trundle, but for once his finishing was awry.

Follows was the next to fail to capitalise when Richard Lewis found Trundle who laid on a pass for him, but with the goal at his mercy, he delayed his shot and was closed down. A minute from the break, the visitors finally got their reward when they got a second, when again some fine approach work involving Clarke, Davies and Follows led to the ball being squared across the face of goal for Ross Jones to guide it home.

Marginally ahead going into the second half, the Reds were awarded a penalty just six minutes after the restart following a ball by Clarke into the feet of Trundle who was then floored in the box, and he picked himself up before smashing the kick past Kirkwood. Nine minutes later, the Swansea City legend completed his treble when, with seemingly nothing on, he executed an overhead kick which caught the keeper unawares before bouncing off him into the net to notch up his ninth hat-trick and reach 50 goals in the process.

Follows and Jones were replaced by Liam Samuel and James Loveridge in the 62nd minute, and both figured prominently up to the final whistle. Samuel, in fact, had a number of good chances of stretching the lead, but a combination of Kirkwood and a block by Kieran Rees at the near post denied him. He also set up Davies with a shooting chance, but he fired just over the top, and despite dominating the closing stages, the Reds failed to add to their tally but nevertheless were jubilant at the close of having achieved the no mean feat of an unbeaten league season.

They join the likes of Ton Pentre, Cardiff Institute, Barry Town (twice), Bridgend Town, Swansea Town Reserves and Lovells who have all gone through various campaigns undefeated over the years.

AMMANFORD;    Kirkwood; Soal; K. Rees; Griffiths (Chapman, 34) (Thomas, 71) Owen ©; D. Jones; Murray; G. Rees; Frater; Edwards (Williams, 46); G. Jones; Subs. not used; Butler; Davies (GK).

LLANELLI TOWN;   Morris; March; Lewis (Finselbach, 68); R. Thomas; C. Thomas; Bevan ©; Clarke;
Davies; Follows (Samuel, 62); Trundle; R. Jones (Loveridge, 62); Subs. not used; Morgan; L. Jones.

SCORERS;  Ammanford – Owen, 19. Llanelli Town – Trundle, 15, 51 (P), 60; R. Jones, 44.

YELLOW CARD;    Ammanford – Murray.

REFEREE; Paul Fisher (Port Talbot).

 

                        

DINAS POWYS 1 LLANELLI TOWN 7

Another milestone was attained by the Reds on their visit to The Murch, as they rattled home the seven goals needed to reach the 100 in the league, with a Jordan Follows hat-trick, a brace by Joe Clarke and one each by Lee Trundle and Lee Bevan .

In truth, it could well have been more, but perhaps even more pleasing than the eventual outcome was the manner in which it was obtained ,after a couple of somewhat lethargic displays in the last two games. This was more like the Reds that have taken the league by storm this season, and their opponents had little answer to the incisive play of the visitors who signalled their intentions early on by racing into a two goal lead in the opening ten minutes.

Clarke was the first to strike, burying his finish beyond Elliott Matthews in the home goal after a build-up involving Follows and Jordan Davies in the 6th minute. The home side retaliated, and Craig Morris was forced to fingertip over an effort by Brandon Griffiths when he met a Rhys Palmer cross, before another flowing Reds` move led to Trundle shooting inches wide.

They did not have to wait long before chalking up a second within four minutes of the first, with Follows opening his account thanks to a move began by Robert Thomas who found Trundle, and he in turn laid on the ball for Follows to find the net. A deflected Trundle free kick off the wall crept fractionally wide, and he was denied by Matthews with a great save to push his effort on target on to the bar and over for a corner.

From this, taken by Davies, Bevan was found to direct a bullet-like header down on to the ground and past the keeper on 32 minutes, and with the home side under almost unrelenting pressure from their opponents, Ross Jones was the next to be played through , just beating Matthews to the ball, but his contact was narrowly wide.

With half time approaching, the Reds would be happy with their efforts so far, but things got even better with a further two goals in the closing five minutes, with inevitably Trundle again involved in both, firstly bending a free kick from just outside the box over the covering defenders and past a helpless Matthews in the 42nd minute, while on the stroke of half time, his initial shot was parried out by the keeper but the rebound  met by Follows who slotted home number five.

With the visitors in cruise control, they made their first change with Richard Lewis coming on for Kurtis March at the start of the second half, and joining a growing number of players who have chalked up a century of appearances for the club. Shortly after, Anthony Finselbach replaced Bevan on 52 minutes, and within five minutes of the change the lead was increased further with Follows completing his treble, finding the bottom corner after another Trundle-Davies combination set up the chance.

Morris was called into rare action, pushing over a Tomos Edwards long distance attempt, while the Reds made their final substitution with Luke Jones replacing Davies in the 62nd minute. Still well on top, and dictating matters at will, the visitors finally achieved the landmark 100 goal tally in the 77th minute, with the glory falling to Clarke when he finished off a move which Luke Jones started by finding Trundle, who in turn squared a pass into the path of Clarke who made no mistake with a crisp shot to reach the magic total.  

Seven to the good, the Reds were hungry for more, and it took a clearance off the line by James Bloxham to deny Trundle, while Matthews made a good save to keep out a well struck low drive from Follows. In the fourth minute of stoppage time, the home side won  some scant consolation when a scramble at the far post resulted in the ball being lofted into the middle for Griffiths to head home from a few yards out.

A well constructed win for the Reds, which will stand them in good stead for their remaining two games at Abergavenny Town and Ammanford.

DINAS POWYS;   Matthews; Garland (Caulfield, 52); Bennett; Marr; Bloxham ©; Young (Smith, 66);
Beddard (Perrett, 14); Edwards; Lewis; Griffiths; Palmer.

LLANELLI TOWN;   Morris; Graves; March (Lewis, 46); Clarke; C. Thomas; Bevan ©(Finselbach, 52);
R. Jones; Davies (L. Jones, 62); Follows; Trundle; R. Thomas; Subs. not used; Loveridge; Samuel.

SCORERS;  Dinas Powys – Griffiths, 90+4. Llanelli Town – Clarke, 6, 77;. Follows, 10, 45, 57; Bevan, 32; Trundle, 42.

REFEREE;  Neil Stephens (Penarth).

 

The Reds play their final two league games when they travel on Friday to meet Abergavenny Town, kick off 7.45 p.m.,while on Monday they make the short trip to take on Ammanford with a 6.30 p.m. start.

ABERGAVENNY TOWN 0 LLANELLI TOWN 4

Two goals by Jordan Follows and one apiece from Lee Trundle and Richard Lewis, eased the Reds through to yet another win to stretch their unbeaten run to 29 league games with just one remaining.

 

They were made to work hard for the victory as their opponents had plenty of possession and came close on a few occasions to opening their account. However, the visitors held firm and in fact made the best possible start, taking the lead after just 3 minutes when James Aurelius in the home goal made a hash of collecting a ball hoisted into the middle by Kurtis March, allowing it to slip from his

 

When Abergavenny countered, a ball driven across goal by Brett Alderson to the near post cannoned off a Reds` defender and fractionally wide, and from the resulting corner taken by Ben Watkins, Craig  Morris was forced to claw it out from under the bar. There then arose a remarkable scramble in front of the visitors` net when another Watkins cross found Luke Lewis on the edge of the area, and he directed it back towards the target where an attempted clearance merely sent it towards the goal, where it rebounded off the foot of the post before Morris finally got down to smother it on the line.

 

Having somehow survived these scares, the Reds took full advantage by going further ahead on 34 minutes with Robert Thomas picking out Follows with a superb ball, and the striker did well to avoid a couple of challe nges before making ground into the area and finding the net just inside the far post. When the home side attacked, there were appeals for a penalty when a run by Sam Oakley through the middle culminated in him going down in the box, but referee Neil Wilcox brought play back by awarding a free kick outside the area, which Lewis drove narrowly over the top.

 

A horrible sliced attempted clearance by Aurelius gave Trundle a shooting opportunity, but his finish was just off target, but he had better luck on the stroke of half time after Follows began a move which was carried on by Jordan Davies who played in Trundle, and this time he made no mistake by beating the keeper to send the Reds` in at half time three goals to the good. James Loveridge replaced Ross Jones at the start of the second half with the latter having suffered an injury, and both sides went close in the opening stages with Lewis for the hosts firing wide of the Reds` goal, while Davies had a close range effort blocked after Joe Clarke and Trundle created the chance.

 

A Loveridge strike also sailed just off target, before Trundle struck the bar with a curling attempt with the keeper beaten. Aurelius brought off a great save to deny Loveridge by pushing his goal bound shot around the post, while at the other end, Morris got down at the near upright to safely hold a well struck finish from Aaron Norman. With time running out, Lewis came on to replace Follows, and in his brief time on the field clinched the Reds` fourth goal two minutes from the final whistle, when a Trundle free kick driven into the goalmouth was parried by Aurelius only as far as Lewis who netted off the inside of the far post .

 

Another good result for the visitors, who after completing their league programme at Ammanford, now turn their sights to the League Cup final versus Bridgend Street on Friday, 12th May, at Briton Ferry Llansawel`s Old Road ground. Kick off 7 p.m.

 

 

 

ABERGAVENNY TOWN;   Aurelius; Alderson; R. Oakley; Brewer; Evans ©; Watkins; Morgan  (Norman, 46); S. Oakley; Bannon (Bouthron, 56); Feeley; Lewis  (Hitchock, 82); Subs. not used; Bull; Indge (GK).

 

LLANELLI TOWN;            Morris; Graves; March; R. Thomas; C. Thomas; Bevan ©; Clarke (Finselbach, 73); Davies; Follows (Lewis, 82); Trundle; R. jones  

 

SCORERS;  Llanelli Town – Follows, 3, 34; Trundle, 45; Lewis, 88.

 

YELLOW CARDS;  Abergavenny Town – Watkins. Llanelli Town – March; Finselbach.

 

REFEREE;  Neil Wilcox (Rogerstone).

 

LLANELLI TOWN 3 AFC LLWYDCOED 0

LLANELLI TOWN   3  AFC  LLWYDCOED   0      

A second half Lee Trundle hat-trick, his eighth of the season, saw the Reds clinch the second division Welsh League title, but again it was a disjointed overall performance against  mid-table opponents, much in the manner of the previous game versus Aberbargoed Buds. Nothing can take away, however, the elation following the final whistle as the whole squad has worked exceedingly hard throughout a long season, and fully deserves the plaudits.

A few goals are left to achieve before the end of the season – to remain unbeaten in the league campaign; notch up a hundred goals (93 at present); and capture the league cup next month to make it a memorable double, although opponents Bridgend Street might have other ideas.

Once again, the home side dominated possession but lacked the killer punch in the final third, the best chance falling early on to Jordan Follows who failed to convert from point blank range when set up by Trundle. Kurtis March directed an effort to the far post which was fingertipped behind by Llwydcoed goalkeeper, Andrew Hargreaves, and when Jordan Davies met a Trundle assist, he fired just over. When the visitors countered, Ricky Carter was sent clear down the left by a ball from Liam Pride, and with Craig Morris electing to come off his line in an attempt to close him down, Carter sent his effort towards the vacant goal, and it took a clearance by March to keep it out.

Chris Thomas halted Pride from making ground in the box with a nicely judged tackle, before Davies was unlucky when his well struck free kick rebounded off the inside of the near post and down on the line before being hacked away. With the contest all square at the break, a similar pattern emerged in the second half with the Reds dominant but unable to break down a stubborn visiting defence.

But cometh the hour, cometh the man, and Trundle, who had been kept reasonably quiet by being well marshalled, was found by Follows on the edge of the box, and with a trademark swivel, rifled his finish into the bottom corner on 62 minutes.This did wonders for the Reds` morale, and they upped the tempo with Joe Clarke having his shot on target pushed clear by Hargreaves, before the home side made a couple of changes with Follows and Liam Samuel being replaced by Richard Lewis and James Loveridge after 74 minutes.

Not long after, the lead was trebled in the space of two minutes after 78 and 80 minutes, with Trundle completing his hat-trick with carbon copy finishes both into the bottom corner past the helpless keeper, while sandwiched between these, Robert Thomas became the Reds` latest centurion when he replaced Anthony Finselbach on 79 minutes. A successful ending to a home campaign in front of their supporters by the Reds, and with the pressure off them, can now hopefully go on to win their remaining three matches and preserve an unbeaten record.

LLANELLI TOWN;   Morris; Graves; March; Finselbach (R. Thomas, 79); C. Thomas; Bevan ©;
Samuel (Lewis, 74); Davies; Follows (Loveridge, 74); Trundle; Clarke;
Subs. not used; R. Jones; L. Jones.

AFC LLWYDCOED;   Hargreaves; L. Williams (Hawkins, 85); Jones; G. Williams; Butler; Roberts (Henry, 65); Jenkins; Andrews (Ellis, 53); Carter; Pride; Evans;
Subs. not used; Stanlake; Friel.
SCORER;                    Llanelli Town – Trundle, 62, 78, 80.
YELLOW CARDS;       AFC Llwydcoed – G. Williams; Evans.
REFEREE;                    Paul Fisher (Port Talbot).
ATTENDANCE;                       345.

The Reds play their remaining two away matches at Abergavenny Town on Friday, 5th May, kick off 7.30 p.m., and round off the season at near neighbours Ammanford on Monday, 8th May, kick off 6.30 p.m.