SPORTSLINE: Match of the Day.
J.Emrys Morgan Cup
Llandysul 3 Pencader 0
This re arranged game was a long time coming but it was well worth the wait as the two local rivals went toe to toe from the start and the final outcome was only decided in the dying minutes. Writes Andrew Clarke.
The tricky greasy conditions ensured that tackles would be flying in and there were going to be some niggly confrontations and there were a few, but this was a really good old fashioned cup tie, played hard and fair and although referee Nigel Edwards incurred the wrath of some of the home fans with a succession of decisions seemingly going the way of Pencader he did a decent job in the circumstances.
The opening exchanges were fairly even with an intense battle in midfield between the likes of Ben Thomas and Lewis Jones of Llandysul and Zak Morgan and the impressive Owen Broom for the visitors but Swallows midfielder Ian Barrett was one of the very few who really wanted to put his foot on the ball and survey the scene around him and this allowed for a frenetic affair with the title favourites losing their way and playing into the hands of their opponents.
Llandysul enjoyed the best of the early chances and Dean Jones went close with a free kick that was well saved by keeper Chris Stevens and just as Pencader seemed to be gaining the upper hand they were stung when a hopeful shot from Thomas took a wicked deflection which left Stevens rooted to his goal line.
This lucky goal would have knocked the stuffing out of many teams but Pencader came storming back and they should have gone in at half time two goals up as they had some golden opportunities with front runner Craig Gordon missing one gilt edged chance when he had a man outside him unmarked and in on goal. Llandysul keeper Jon Durbridge was also forced into pulling off two super saves with one of these stopping a certain goal from Daniel Jones
Manager Chris ‘Coco’ Davies gave his team a blasting at the break and encouraged his troops to slow the game down and keep possession a little better but nothing changed after the interval and if anything Pencader got better and it was they who looked like the first division team. Midfielder Broom started to play much further up the field and he caused a lot of problems with his strength and close ball control and this unsettled the Llandysul back four and Gordon made a few more runs down the flank and it seemed that a goal would arrive soon and extra time would be required.
Sion Price almost put the ball into his own net when he frantically cleared in the penalty box and up the other end Lewis Jones produced the champagne moment of the game when he lifted the ball up out of the mud and volleyed the ball towards goal which brought a good save from Stevens. Adrian Hazelby also saw a decent shot fly just wide of the woodwork.
Davies made a number of substitutions late on with his team vulnerable at 1-0 and desperately needing a second goal and this finally arrived in the dying minutes when substitute Mathew Newbould who had missed a sitter a minute earlier was presented with the ball just a few yards from goal and he slotted it home. Two minutes later Dean Jones added the third from a similar distance and that was the final act of a dramatic cup tie that could have gone either way.
Llandysul manager Davies breathed a huge sigh of relief on the final whistle and speaking afterwards said:” Yes that was a relief as if I am honest, on chances created Pencader should have got something out of this game and really should still be in the hat for the draw for the next round.
“Fortunately for us they missed a few great chances, plus Jon Durbridge made three great saves to keep us in the game.
“ I would like to say a massive well done to Pencader on their performance as they stopped us from playing any flowing football for the whole 90 minutes and frustrated us so much that our discipline became very poor. We need to get back to our best and soon.”.
Pencader manager Kevin Evans was obviously very disappointed with the result but he was proud of his team’s performance and said:” We gave it our all really, I know it’s a defeat but the way we played should put us in good stead to return to Division one, although it is going to be tough as the second division has so many good teams that also deserve to go up too, so we just have to keep going really.”
This match was a real throwback to the eighties with players getting stuck into each other without too much complaint, with the only people moaning being the ones on the touchline with one gentleman in particular offering plenty of advice to the man in the middle. Referee Nigel Edwards perhaps with an eye on the very slippery conditions let things go and allowed the game to flow whenever possible and this made the game more entertaining.
Some stand out performances with Broom in particular very impressive along with former Llan player Daniel DJ Jones, Zak Morgan and keeper Stevens in what was a very good all round team showing. For the Swallows Lewis Jones was very busy as usual, Thomas put in some big tackles, Barrett was influential and Sion Price did some good work out wide.
Affable Swallows manager Davies will be concerned with the way his team were prevented from playing the flowing football that has paid them rich dividends this season. Next up for them in the quarter final is a home tie against Crannog, a similar side who are a pain in the proverbial to play against as they close the space down and are uncompromising in the tackle and they, just like Pencader, are very hard to beat.
Whatever the outcome this should be another cracking contest.