The unbeaten run of Llanelli Town AFC remains intact but it was a close call as Croesyceiliog came knocking. Speaking before the match their coach Mark Waddon said he was optimistic and that his players were relishing their chances. He said: “We have two young full backs and a young centre half and they are looking forward to marking Lee Trundle. We have a good squad and we are doing O.K.”
It could not have been a better day for football. Blue sky and sunshine and the pitch in perfect condition. Before the kick off both teams, officials and the crowd stood for a minute’s silence to remember the victims of the terror attack in London.
The game got underway and Croesyceiliog signalled their intent from the start by playing one man up front and forming a rigid midfield and defence whose main aim was to close down The Reds. It worked until the 33rd minute when Jordan Davies played a pass into the feet of Trundle, who found the net, beating goalkeeper Nick Church.
It looked to be the start of the usual goal fest at Stebo but Croesyceiliog had other ideas. Within two minutes they had equalised when a drive across the goalmouth led to Dan Pritchard tapping the ball into the net from close range.
Croesyceiliog looked to take the risk of attacking and pushed forward almost taking the lead when McGrath was put though on a one-to-one with Morris, but the keeper blocked his effort, and when the rebound fell to Clare, a timely tackle by Davies prevented any further alarm.
The heat continued in the wonderful sunshine bathing Stebonheath but this time it was Trundle’s turn to open the hot tap. Following one of his trademark turns he sent a chip a chip over Church, but it clipped the post and went over for a goal kick.
The Reds were unlucky to not have a goal awarded as a corner kick bobbled on and looked to have crossed the line but the referee waved play on. Half time arrived with the scores level at 1 – 1.
As the second half got underway the Stebo crowd had only to wait a mere three minutes for the lead to be restored following an initial effort by Liam Samuel which rebounded off the crossbar and was met by Joe Clarke who struck it low into the net.
They say things come in threes and it was another three minutes before the sides were level again, this time as Matthew Sainsbury swung in a free kick which led to an almighty scramble in front of the net. Tom Doidge got the final touch to send the ball over the line.
From there on in there were a succession of unlucky bounces, passes falling short but it seemed like The Reds would clinch the win as Trundle was bundled over for a penalty. Most of the folks in the stand would have bet a hot dog, perhaps even two that Trunds would bury the ball in either corner of the net. Two hot dogs later and the ball rocketed off the post and was hoofed away downfield much to the disappointment of the home fans.
The Reds rang the changes with Luke Jones and Ross Jones replacing James Loveridge and Wade respectively, and both sides went close to another goal, with a further Sainsbury free kick from distance just off target, while a shot on the turn by Trundle suffered a similar fate.
With the contest in stoppage time, the hosts were awarded a free kick just outside the box which Trundle drilled low into the goalmouth, but somehow Church managed to keep it out with a foot, although he knew little about it.
Croesyceiliog would have been happy with their performance but The Reds would surely be rueing the day when against all odds, the number 10 missed a vital penalty. Stebo appeared to forgive him and the players must surely be looking forward to the end of season awards but holding back on the celebrations until they have played off the backlog of matches, which will test their strength and stamina as most are scheduled very close together. The game ended Llanelli Town AFC 2 – Croesyceiliog 2
LLANELLI TOWN; Morris; Graves; March; Clarke; C. Thomas; Bevan ©; Samuel; Davies; Wade (R. Jones, 76); Trundle; Loveridge (L.Jones, 71);
Subs. not used; Jones; R. Thomas; Morgan.
CROESYCEILIOG; Church; Sainsbury; Edmonds; Morris ©; Doidge; Harris; Williams (Clare, 19); Pritchard (Hill, 88); Hayward; Lygo (Hall, 83); McGrath;
Sub. not used; McKraclan.
Llanelli Town – Trundle, 33; Clarke, 48.
Croesyceiliog – Pritchard, 35; Doidge, 51.
Llanelli Town – Clarke; Davies; Samuel.
Croesyceiliog – Hayward; Doidge.
REFEREE; Paul Hitchcott (Ammanford).
The Reds make the short journey to meet Garden Village next Friday evening, kick off 7.30 p.m.
On Wednesday, 5th April, they face first division side Caerau Ely in the semi-final of the League Cup at Afan Lido`s Marston Stadium, also with a 7.30 p.m. start.