Saturday, April 1, 2023
Mighty Reds take title, cup and unbeaten record

Mighty Reds take title, cup and unbeaten record

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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 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).


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