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Cooke’s classy strike denies Goodwick

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THE first midweek evening games in the Division 1 title race threw together an interesting conjuncture on Tuesday (Mar 27) as West Wales Cup finalists and current league leaders were held to a 2-2 draw by Senior Cup Finalists Clarbeston Road.

With two of the chasing pack, Merlins Bridge and Hakin United due to meet at the Racecourse, the postponement because of a waterlogged pitch at 3pm sees the Phoenix Lads still in pole position after a performance that lacked any zest and panache, which they have shown in recent weeks.

The game saw the hosts have five changes from their side, with prolific striker Jason Griffiths missing but it had little impact as they played with gusto and no small measure of guile to outwit and out battle a Goodwick side who had five players with Welsh Premier League experience and a clutch of others destined to reach such heights if their desire remains.

Player Manager Matthew Ellis and his central midfield sidekick Mike Turpin won the key battle ground nullifying the influence of Chris O’Sullivan and skipper Adam Raymond, Ellis pulling passes over a variety of distances allowing young striker Steffan Thomas and Matthew Davies a free reign to torment the Goodwkick back line.

The opening goal came midway through the opening period when Davies was felled in the penalty area by centre half Scott Delaney, referee Alan Boswell having little hesitation in pointing to the spot and Davies, a battling throne all night, dusted himself down to drive a thunderous effort beyond James Gwilt.

An equaliser came on the stroke of half time, goalkeeper Lee Scott having made an outstanding save minutes earlier from a Jordan Griffiths header, O’Sullivan delivering a free kick deep to the far post and it was headed back across the six yard line by Delaney for midfielder Kieran O’Brien to head home, giving his side some momentum and direction going into the second half.

Neither side could effectively influence the play to take the game by the horns, Goodwick superior in terms of possession and territory but failing to create the clear cut chance they needed as young full back Josh Wood and centre half Tom Glover repelled the attacks.

The outlet for Goodwick was Lee Hudgell, the former Haverfordwest wideman receiving balls into feet or through the inside left channel, his endeavour on the back of a brace of goals on Saturday, delivering a cross into the home penalty box after 53 minutes which saw a richote fall to the feet of fellow winger Johnny Horgan, whose right foot shoot, whilst not cleanly struck found the back of Lee Scott’s net for a 2-1 lead.

The game was one which referee Boswell had to work hard at to keep the lid on as tackles, abrasive challenges were judged on their merits, although questioned from both sides, Hudgell and O’Sullivan having half chances which didn’t fall their way.

Goodwick were enjoying a period of play deep in the Clarby half, striving for the third goal which would have ended the contest but carelessly saw Raymond surrender possession and full back Wood went marauding away to find Ellis in the ‘Quarter Back’ position.

The player manager found the feet of Thomas from 45 metres, his effort stemmed before the ball fell to winger Ieuan Cooke. He cut in from the left touchline, dropped his shoulder to create a pocket of space and drove a curling shot beyond a grasping Gwilt into the top corner for an equaliser fitting of any occasion.

Goodwick were rocked and momentum lost, Hudgell yellow carded for a cynical trip as Wood broke away, his side perhaps finding the emotional rollercoaster they have been on in recent weeks difficult to comprehend against a side willing and able to meet them toe to toe.

Substitute Rhys Dalling made an appearance for Goodwick alongside Matty Delaney and Steven Dockerty, all three adding some bounce, Dalling creating half chances and spurning an effort when he created an opportunity to shoot with ten minutes remaining as Clarby veteran Dan Rees was summoned from work to make an appearance at the heart of defence.

Clarby were incandescent that striker Thomas was called back when he had wriggled free to go one on one with Gwilt after a foul by Wayne O’Sullivan, the Goodwick followers also hollering for a free kick when young Delaney was on the receiving end of a strong challenge from Glover, Matty’s elder brother Scott talking himself into Boswell’s notebook for his vociferous commentary.

The game ended with in the gloomy evening air with a nervous tension amongst the Goodwick eyes as they await Merlins Bridge arrival, possibly without O’Sullivan who went off carrying his shoulder and knowing their performance was below par for their high standards, perhaps lethargic be it due to physical or probably mental fatigue.

Clarbeston Road are playing with a style and flair which sees them enjoying their football, much to the pleasure of the village faithfull out in support. Competition for places is key and with a second consecutive cup final appearance looming on Saturday (Apr 21) the one club not one team ethos shines through.

Elsewhere in the division on Tuesday evening, Carew put six past a hapless Angle outfit who have conceded 30 goals now in their last three outings without reply, Jack and Sam Christopher scoring for the Rooks alongside Iwan Izzard, Scott Fearney, Jordan Richards and Zac Rowell.

The Pembroke derby game saw striker Sam Soutcott return to his former club and score a brace for Pennar Robins, livewire midfielder Billy Davies and Jason Evans replying for the Stags. Monkton Swifts moved into second place a point behind Goodwick, although they have player four more fixtures, winning 3-2 at Marble Hall against Milford United.

Both teams have Welsh league pedigree before they relinquished their positions in the new millennium, the Robins now nine points from safety and securing their divisional status next season, with just six games remaining. Lewis Tee and Liam Parr found the back of the net for the home side, Matthew Davies, Ryan Griffiths and Sean Jones seeing the Swifts home to victory.

Sport

Successful weekend for Croft and O’Sullivan

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CARDIGAN ABC’s Garan Croft was team captain as a Wales boxing team made a successful weekend trip to Ireland, picking up a unanimous points victory over Mathew Tyndall, a six-times Irish national champion at New Ross Youth Centre, County Wexford.

The bout began in lively fashion with both boxers trying to hold the centre of the ring, but midway through the opening round the Crymych teenager had taken control.

Croft, who was landing the cleaner and harder shots, gave Tyndall a standing count in the third round en route to a convincing triumph.

Cardigan’s successful weekend continued at Dagenham, Essex, on Sunday where Fishguard schoolboy Mikey O’Sullivan was part of a Wales Select team who took on Repton, the famous East End club.

Pitted against Albie Smith, O’Sullivan came out with all guns blazing matching the Londoner punch for punch in a very even round.

But in the second the Welsh boy’s superior boxing skills saw him get on top with an excellent display of slipping and counter-punching.

The third round was pretty even with both boxers throwing everything they had, yet O’Sullivan was awarded a split decision victory following his mastery during the second round in what was a great result in Repton’s own back yard.

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Sport

Pembroke hammer Tumble

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PEMBROKE put in one of their best displays of the season on Saturday (Oct 13) as they beat Tumble 56-8.

Tumble travelled from Carmarthenshire with Storm Callum in full force and there was no let up as they faced a storm of another kind as Pembroke ran riot.

Dan Colley got the home side going early on with the first try of the game before Mitchell Jones replied with a penalty for Tumble.

Dom Colman then went over for Pembroke’s second try but the conversion was missed and the home side held a 12-3 lead.

Tumble came forward again and from a lineout they worked the ball left but were then penalised for holding on. Possession switched hands on a couple of occasions before Pembroke almost scored their third try.

From a Tumble scrum, Pembroke overpowered them, pushing them back and Toby Smith picked the ball up and headed for the line. He passed to Fraser James but he dropped the ball as he was going over and the ball was knocked on.

However, they weren’t to be denied their third try as Sam Smith burst through near the posts to touch down giving Toby Smith an ease conversion.

Pembroke then earned their fourth try and a bonus point after good work from Luke Hartland set the ground running for Colley’s second try of the game. Smith then added the extras in front of the posts for a 26-3 lead.

Tumble looked to respond towards the end of the first half when Pembroke were penalised for a tackle off the ball but they were unable to take advantage as the home side kept them out.

At the start of the second half Pembroke came forward and an advantage was played for a high tackle. When it seemed there was no way through the ball was dropped back for Smith who sent a drop goal through the posts.

Colman then went over for his second try before Tom Lewis went over for another two tries.

Fraser James then did get his try and Smith again added the extra two points.

Steffan Price pulled a late try back for Tumble but it did little to affect the final score as Pembroke held on for an emphatic win with Smith claiming a deserved try at the end.

Pembroke now sit fourth in the table and on Saturday (Oct 20) they travel to sixth placed Tycroes.

Tumble have just one win to their name so far this season and on Saturday they are at home to Pontarddulais.

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Sport

Robins breeze past Lawrenny

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PENNAR Robins proved too strong for Lawrenny on Saturday (Oct 13) as they scored ten times to book their place in the third round of the Senior Cup.

Despite the weather conditions the Bush Camp pitch was in excellent condition and the home side dominated for large parts of the game.

Jason Donohoe had an early chance for the Robins but he sent his free kick over the bar.

Josh Clark went on a good run and burst through the challenge of a Lawrenny attacker and although the ball found the back of the net, the ball was deemed to have gone out of play before Clark put his cross in.

With nine minutes gone Donohoe found Sam Southcott but his effort was saved.

Lawrenny won a free kick and Ryan Morton sent the ball into the box which Patrick Elliot headed towards goal but Stuart James was able to make the save.

Connor Roberts then came close to scoring in spectacular fashion but his curling effort was tipped over by Lawrenny keeper Danny Harries.

Nick Willis then saw a shot saved at the front post and he then also saw an acrobatic effort saved as the Robins continued to look for the opening goal.

Harries had to be alert as Donohoe’s cross looked to be going in with the wind but on 22 minutes the Robins finally made the breakthrough.

Southcott played the ball through for Ben Adams on the left and he shot into the bottom right corner of the net.

Three minutes later it was 2-0 as Mikey Powell crossed into the box and Southcott was in the right place at the back post to tap the ball home.

Roberts and Willis combined with a neat one-two but the former sent his effort wide of the post.

The Robins added a third on the half hour mark and they continued to show their dominance with a further seven goals.

Adams and Southcott both completed their hat tricks while Tom Grimwood, Connor Roberts, Scott Trayhern and Luke Phillips all got on the scoresheet.

It was an excellent win for Pennar who must wait and see who they will play in the third round after other games were called off.

On Saturday (Oct 20), Lawrenny are again in cup action as they take on Hundleton in the first round of the Second Division Cup.

Pennar will return to league action as they take on local rivals Lamphey.

Pennar: Stuart James, Josh Clark, Luke Phillips, Ross Lascelles, Mikey Powell, Tom Grimwood, Connor Roberts, Ben Adams, Sam Southcott, Jason Donohoe, Nick Willis. Subs: Jack Phillips, Rhys Lucas, Scott Trayhern.

Lawrenny: Danny Harries, Edward Merriman, James Durbridge, Adam Jenkins, Ryan Morton, Tom Lewis, Patrick Elliot, Matt Lewis, Harry Thomas, Owen James, Tom Cole. Subs: Kieron Johnson, Phil Cole, Sam Davies.

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