Cefn Druids (3) Carmarthen Town (3)
Carmarthen made the long trek to Cefn Druids in the knowledge that they travelled without a recognised goalkeeper due to Lee Idzi’s withdrawal through injury and the unavailability of young Tom Windsor. Fortunately, however, Town had an eager volunteer to stand in the keeper’s role in defender Jordan Knott who being a keen cricketer displayed all his catching skills and showed a fair deal of confidence in his role throughout.
The recent improved form of Town’s performances was very much in evidence as they displayed a determined approach, despite their shortcomings before the game, and for large parts of the game, the team initiated a series of flowing moves that had the Druids very much on the back foot throughout.
Town opened brightly and when in the 3rd minute Declan Carroll lofted a weighted diagonal pass to the overlapping Greg Walters who blazed over.
Knott wasn’t needed until the 12th minute. when he quickly picked up a loose through ball on the edge of his box. Though it was only a minute later when he picked the ball out of his net after Ramirez Howarth caught everyone unawares when his snap shot from 20 yards flew into the corner of the goal.
Only two minutes later Town were awarded a penalty when the referee adjudged that Liam Thomas was pushed in the back trying to control a bouncing ball – Thomas dispatched the spot kick with his usual aplomb.
Town were looking dangerous as the game progressed and deservedly took the lead in the 19th minute when a lovely weighted cross from Elliot Scotcher was headed in by the onrushing Luke Bowen.
In the 28th minute, after quick footwork by Carroll, Thomas took the ball and slid in a sublime pass for Bowen who advanced on the home goal but, though beating the ‘keeper, saw his shot cannon off the post.
The Druids, try as they might, could not break through Town’s defence which was superbly held together by Lee Surman and Dave Vincent at the heart and ably supported by full backs Walters and Jordan Vickers.
Knott was only needed on two occasions during the rest of this half when he collected a through ball before Pape Diakhite could profit from it and later when he did well to collect a low cross in a crowded goalmouth.
Town started the second half as they had finished the first – in the 47th minute Bowen received a threaded ball from Thomas it looked ominous for the home side but Bowen, with only the ‘keeper to beat, slid his effort wide of the target.
The Druids team were growing in frustration as the match wore on in trying to get a foothold in the game and brought on the experienced Matty Owen and the effervescent Tyrone Ofori in the 52nd minute.
They only had to wait a short while for a change in the scoreline and in the 62nd minute Howarth showed quick feet in beating two would-be tackles, cut in from the right wing before unleashing a left footed 25 yard effort that nestled in the far corner of Town’s goal.
Frustratingly and disappointingly for Town, the same player scored an almost copycat goal just a minute after to restore the home side’s lead, very much against the run of play.
Rather than accept this fate, Town’s midfield of Lewis Harling, Scotcher, Ceri Morgan and Carroll raised their game to another level and Scotcher was unlucky not to level the scores when put through by Bowen he fired over from 15 yards with an angled shot.
With their midfield almost in complete control Town continued to create chances and in the 77th minute deservedly drew level when a superb cross from substitute Chris Jones carved open the home defence leaving Bowen to gleefully bundle in at the far post.
Town again broke through the home defence when the grafting Thomas cut in from the right but saw his low cross to the far post, where two Town players were waiting, superbly cut out by Michael Jones in goal and the ball was hastily cleared for a corner before any Town player could react.
For Town, this really was an upbeat performance complemented by several players having undoubtedly their best performances of the season so far. It speaks volumes for the spirit in the squad when after being dealt a blow in going into the game with the loss of a regular ‘keeper, and then going behind on two occasions, they fought back to more than fully deserve their share of the spoils.
Next Saturday (21st September k/o 2.30pm) they face reigning champions TNS at Richmond Park in a completely different type of challenge as they attempt to try and climb up from their current League position.
Jordan Knott; Jordan Vickers; Dave Vincent; Lee Surman; Greg Walters; Declan Carroll; Lewis Harling (sub Chris Jones 71); Elliot Scotcher; Ceri Morgan; Liam Thomas; Luke Bowen;
Unused subs: Josh Bull; Danny Thomas; Craig Hanford; Lewis Rocke;
Goals: Liam Thomas (pen 15); Luke Bowen (19, 77);