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Carvalhal leads Swans to victory in first game

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By Jonathan Twigg

SWANSEA City gave new manager Carlos Carvalhal a winning start when two late goals at Vicarage Road saw them defeat Watford 2-1 to briefly lift them off the foot of the Premier League table.

The travelling support were ecstatic after Jordan Ayew, who struck the cross bar from 25 yards early in the game, equalised with eight minutes left to play.

Those supporters were delirious when substitute Luciano Narsingh pinged home the winner after home Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomez couldn’t control substitute winger Nathan Dyer’s pile-driver from the edge of the box.

The ‘Jack Army’ had given unstinted support for the new manager and their team whilst distain was voiced over the state of the Club at Boardroom level and requiring the removal of Huw Jenkins, once the Messiah of their Club.

Swansea did for large parts of the game look like a side who play without confidence, their individual mistakes compounded as they are a side continually having to absorb pressure. It helps when the side have ‘a big pole in their goal’ as Lukas Fabianski kept the game live with another authoritative performance.

Just a minute before his side’s equaliser he saved when one on one with Andre Grey, certainly a turning point in the game and as history tells us perhaps a season defining moment.

An Andre Carrillo header from close range after 12 minutes opened the scoring after Fabianski had saved well from Stefano Okaka exposing the frailties that have underpinned Swansea all season.

New man Carvalhal recognised the areas of concern, subtly tinkering with the Swansea formation and personnel to combat it.

Swansea were guilty of dropping off the ball as the Hornets constantly created space and 2v1 situations, at times not showing the desire to win the ball back.

Centre backs Alfie Mawson and Federico Fernadez were forced apart as Kyle Naughton was found wanting all game.

Restored to the side was Renato Sanchez, the Portuguese star on loan from Bayern Munich; having struggled all season to cut the mustard in the Premier League he was caught in possession as the tackles were crisp, but he grew with the trust heaped upon him by his compatriot Carvalhal.

The manager also recognised turning defence into attack has been an area of concern all season and it was noticeable on loan striker Tammy Abraham had supportive players on the few occasions play was in the home danger area.

Saturday was an improvement as the Swans had nine shots at goal, four on target and forced eight corners and importantly they scored the two goals needed to secure three points.

In no small part the result was galvanised by replacement striker Ollie McBurnie, the gangly legs of the young Scotsman, a throwback to ‘yesteryear’ with socks barely holding his shin pads. He endeared himself to choristers in the visiting end with a whole hearted performance bearing a smile, epitomising his enjoyment of the game despite the dire situation facing his Club.

where luck matters in the battle for safety in the Premier League which will go to the wire in the business end of the season come May.

Eleven points separate the lower half of the table as Swansea entertain Tottenham Hotspur tonight, with Liverpool and Arsenal arriving for evening fixtures after they travel to Newcastle.

As January ends, the Swans have a run of games against opposition in and around the relegation battle. Any run equivalent to that of Crustal Place, nine undefeated would catapult the Carvalhal’s men into a safe position; the new Messiah may well have been born.

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Ruthless Mariners power past Saints

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MILFORD Haven put in a ruthless display as they scored seventeen tries to beat St Davids 119-5 at the Obs on Saturday (Jan 5).

The Mariners were right at it from the kick off and did not let up as they held a 63-5 lead at the break.

James Trueman scored a hat trick of tries for the home side and he also went on to kick each of his 17 conversion attempts for a club record haul of 49 points.

Dan Jenkins also crossed for three tries while Dan Birch, Sam Dolling and Brandon Cooper all scored twice for the home side.

The Saints, to their credit, kept going and were rewarded in the first half when Josh Strangwood crossed for a try.

Jamie Lewis, Dewi Williams, Ryan Mansell, Dan McClelland and Steve Martin all got their names on the scoresheet to seal an emphatic victory.

The win keeps Milford top of the table by a point from rivals Neyland and on Saturday (Jan 12), they will face a sterner test as they travel to Laugharne.

The Saints remain third from bottom in the table and on Saturday they are at home to third placed Haverfordwest.

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Trundle leaves Bluebirds

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HAVERFORDWEST County have confirmed that star signing Lee Trundle has left the club.

The news was announced on Sunday, December 30, and the former Swansea City player has since signed for Welsh League Division 3 side Trefelin BGC.

In a statement released by the Bluebirds they thank Lee for his time at the club in which he scored 12 goals in all competitions.

A spokesperson for the club said: “Due to increasing work commitments, Lee Trundle has decided to leave Haverfordwest County and his last game was on Friday evening (Dec 28) at Ton Pentre where he scored two goals taking his tally for the Bluebirds to twelve in all competitions this season.

“Whist his stay at our club was shorter than we would have hoped, we fully understand his decision and everyone at the football club would like to thank Lee for his time here and the way he has conducted himself both on and off the field of play. Lee leaves with our sincere best wishes.”

Lee commented on Haverfordwest County’s Facebook page saying: “Good luck the rest of the season boys. Great club run by great people. Wish you all the best on the race for the league title this year.”

Fans of the club have also commented saying they are ‘gutted’ to see him leave and that he will be missed.

As well as Swansea, Lee has also played for Wrexham, Bristol City and Leeds United in his career.

It was announced in May 2018 that Trundle would be joining the Bluebirds having helped Llanelli Town to promotion to the Welsh Premier League.

Lee now joins a team that sit top of Division 3 and his inclusion is likely to give a further boost to their promotion hopes.

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Late Smith penalty seals Pembroke win

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A LATE penalty from Toby Smith earned Pembroke a 15-13 victory in a hard-fought encounter with Pembrokeshire rivals Fishguard on Saturday (Dec 29).

It was an excellent game between two good teams with Pembroke feeling a little rusty having not played for three weeks while the heavy pitch suited a Fishguard side who were looking to avenge their narrow 16-17 defeat at home to Pembroke earlier in the season.

There was no sign of rustiness however as the home side started the game well and could have gone ahead but Johnny Palmer was held up over the line.

Sean Dalling also looked to be free but he was ankle tapped near the line and the Seagulls were able to recover.

Having weathered the early storm the Seagulls then took the lead as Andrew Williams touched down under the posts. Kial Keane then added the extra two points.

Pembroke responded well and were soon back on level terms as Dan Colley ran a good line off Toby Smith to touch the ball down under the posts. Smith then added the extras.

The home side then went ahead as a good break by Tom Lewis set up captain Scott Powell who crashed over. This time the conversion was missed by Pembroke held a 12-7 lead.

They could have had a third try soon after as Dan Colley touched down but it was ruled out for a marginal forward pass.

The Seagulls then narrowed the gap as Keane scored a penalty and the score at half time was 12-10 in Pembroke’s favour.

In the second half Fishguard came at Pembroke well and they took the lead with another penalty from Keane to make it 12-13 to the visitors.

It was an evenly contested half but it was Pembroke who had the final say as Smith sent a penalty through the posts in the last minute to seal a 15-13 victory.

Pembroke’s win keeps them fourth in the table and they will look for another win on Saturday (Jan 5) as they host Carmarthen Athletic.

Fishguard will look to get back to winning ways as they travel to Burry Port who sit just below them in the table.

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