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Fantastic Four get Wales off to flying start

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WALES got their Nations League campaign off to a flying start on Thursday night (Sept 6) as they beat the Republic of Ireland 4-1 at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The four goals came from four different scorers and ensured Ryan Giggs’ first competitive game in charge ended in the best possible manner.

Wales had been beaten by the Irish at the same venue almost a year ago as a James McClean goal secured the Irish a World Cup qualifying play off spot but there was to be no such repeat this time around.

Just six minutes were on the clock when Chelsea’s Ethan Ampadu spread the ball to the right for Joe Allen who in turn sent the ball through for Tom Lawrence who smashed the ball home and settle any early nerves.

If that goal was good then the second twelve minutes later was even better as Ben Davies sent a brilliant cross-field ball over to Gareth Bale who cut inside on his left foot before firing into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Ireland threatened briefly with a free kick but Jeff Hendrick’s ball into the box was cleared for a corner which then also came to nothing.

Tom Lawrence couldn’t quite get on the end of a cross into the box but it fell for Bournemouth’s David Brooks whose shot flew wide.

On the half hour mark Joe Allen cleared from just outside his own box for Brookes who ran into the Irish half before laying the ball off for Lawrence but his strong effort was pushed away by Irish keeper Darren Randolph.

Three minutes later Brooks again passed for Davies who crossed into the box but Connor Roberts’ header, on just his third cap, went just wide.

Eight minutes before half time the impressive Ampadu passed to Aaron Ramsey on the edge of the box and he slid the ball into the bottom corner to make it 3-0.

Wales had impressed in the first half and Ireland faced an uphill task if they were to get back into the game.

Ireland did threaten at the start of the second half but Ampadu looked in complete control as he shielded a cross into the box before clearing the danger.

Just two minutes after that, the ball was played to Roberts who unleashed a long range rocket which left the keeper with no chance making it 4-0.

It could have very nearly been five moments later as Ramsey flicked the ball on before the ball was passed on to Bale whose shot went just over.

The Welsh continued to play well and could have easily added more goals to the scoreline.

With twenty minutes to go Ireland did pull a goal back as Ramsey slipped allowing Shaun Williams in to lob Welsh keeper Wayne Hennessey.

Young Tyler Roberts was also brought on and he linked up well with Ramsey before seeing a shot saved.

Brooks then won the ball back for Roberts to take over and he sent Brooks in on goal but Enda Stephens got in to take the ball away just as Brooks was about to take his shot.

It finished 4-1 and represented an excellent start for Wales and will give them confidence going into their game with Denmark on Sunday.

Giggs will be looking for his side to repeat Thursday’s performance and a win would surely set them on their way to winning their Nations League Group.

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Lamphey pull out of league

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LAMPHEY Football Club has announced that they have withdrawn their team from the Pembrokeshire Football League.

The Club has cited a lack of players as a reason for their withdrawal but they are now the third team to have done so in a short space of time.

Last season West Dragons and Angle took themselves out of the league for similar reasons.

It means their last match was an 11-1 defeat to Hakin United in the Senior Cup on Saturday (Nov 10) and their game with Goodwick this weekend has now been cancelled.

The Pembrokeshire Football League confirmed the news on their Facebook page saying: “Just to confirm that this morning the League received the sad news from Lamphey that they are withdrawing from the Pembrokeshire League with immediate effect.

“They are citing lack of players as the reasoning for their withdrawal. The League Tables will be amended accordingly.”

Lamphey had not won in their eight games played but had managed three draws. Those points will now be taken away and it is likely that only one team will be relegated from the first division.

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Veteran Vikings on top

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HAKIN United are top of the Welsh Veterans League following a 6-0 victory over Nelson Cavaliers at the Observatory last Sunday (Nov 11).

The result puts the Vikings one point ahead of current Champions Trefelin BGC, with the Port Talbot outfit having a game in hand.

However, last Sunday, despite the final score, It was Nelson that were missing the early chances with Hakin goalkeeper Jason Morgan saving a one on one and a penalty before Hakin took the lead midway through the first half.

Stuart MacDonald broke down the left and set up Matthew Price for a tap in to make it 1-0.

Minutes later, Hakin doubled their lead as Michael McCarthy headed home a MacDonald corner.

Just before half time, McCarthy put Price in the clear and the striker hammered a shot into the bottom corner to make it 3-0.

Early in the second half, Nelson missed another penalty before Price set up McCarthy to score from close range.

Ali Davies put Leigh Walters through to lift the ball over the keeper for number five and the same two players combined again for Walters to score his second, beating the keeper at his post.

Hakin next play in the Welsh Veterans Cup Preliminary Round away to Pencoed Athletic on Sunday (Nov 25).

Hakin United: Jason Morgan, Gerard Gray, Nigel Delaney, Richard Bland, Adam Collins, Ali Davies, Shaun Mills, Richard Nash, Michael McCarthy, Leigh Waters, Leighton Edwards. Subs: Nigel Armstrong, Matthew Price, Stuart MacDonald, Jamie Phillips, Gary Dawes.

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Blues too good for Neyland

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HAVERFORDWEST closed the gap to leaders Neyland as they condemned them to a second defeat in as many games on Saturday (Nov 10).

The Blues made a good start and it was Craig Barnett who put them into the lead with a try which he then converted. Barnett then added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

Haverfordwest continued to put the pressure on and Barnett extended their lead with a penalty.

Barnett then added two further penalties before half time to give his side a 16-0 lead at the break.

Both sides had chances to score at the start of the second half but errors meant the score stayed the same.

Patrick Bellerby came close to scoring for the All Blacks but Haverfordwest defended well to keep him out.

At the other end a Neyland clearance kick was blocked and kicked on with Barnett giving chase but he was beaten to the ball by Bellerby and Neyland were able to clear.

The visitors then went up the other end and came close to scoring but they gave the ball away. The referee was not happy with the scrums and after three attempts gave a penalty to Neyland from which Luke Griffiths-Dawes dived over. George Evans sent the resulting penalty wide.

Any thoughts Neyland had of making a comeback were quickly dashed as Jamie Zambas increased the home side’s lead with a converted try.

Neyland did pull another try back late on through Craig Power and Evans converted but it wasn’t enough as the Blues saw the game out.

The All Blacks are still top of the table but Haverfordwest are now just a point behind. Milford lie in third, two points behind with two games in hand on their rivals.

The teams are next in action on Saturday, November 24, when leaders Neyland travel to St Davids and Haverfordwest are also away to Llanybydder.

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