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Bridge taste West Wales Cup glory

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MERLINS Bridge won the West Wales Cup on Tuesday night (May 7) as they beat Carew 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea in an exciting clash.

It was the first time both sides had reached the final and the first ever all-Pembrokeshire final and both were keen to put on a show for the good crowd in attendance.

Both have had excellent runs to the final with Merlins Bridge earning a narrow win against last season’s runners up Penlan Club while Carew have come from behind in two separate games.

Anticipation grew ahead of the match as Carew and Merlins Bridge named strong sides.

For many of the Carew side it was a first taste of the West Wales Cup Final while three members of the Merlins Bridge squad won the cup with Johnston a few years ago.

Merlins Bridge came from behind to beat Carew in the Senior Cup Final in April while their two league encounters finished in a draw and a 3-1 win for the Wizards.

There was a scare for the Rooks with only a minute on the clock as Scott Richards overcooked his back pass and keeper Tom Davies could only kick the ball out of play.

It was Carew who had the first chance as Iwan Izzard won the ball in midfield and passed to Jordan Richards on the edge of the box who wriggled his way past a couple of defenders before shooting just wide of the goal.

Merlins Bridge’s Dai Davies was shown the first yellow of the evening as he brought down Shaun Whitfield but the free kick came to nothing.

Carew again came close as Sam Christopher found Pembrokeshire League top scorer Jordan Richards in the box but he took a touch before seeing his shot saved. He then poked the rebound towards goal but the ball was cleared off the line by a combination of Bridge defenders.

With ten minutes gone, Shaun Whitfield took a throw which came back to him and he crossed into the box but Richards saw his header saved by Gary Thomas.

Carew would have been regretting those missed chances two minutes later as, from a Carew corner, the ball was cleared to Adam Hawkins who found Laurie Haworth on the right and he crossed to the back post for Hawkins to half volley in.

The Rooks were given a free kick just inside the D moments after but Jack Christopher saw his effort hit the wall and his follow up go over the bar.

Joe Leahy then saw a shot saved while Lloyd Hughes saw a shot go wide for Carew.

Alex Bayley then played in Lloyd Hughes and he fired low into the net for a deserved goal to bring the Rooks level.

Hughes then crossed into the box towards the back post but keeper Thomas fumbled the ball, allowing Richards a shot but he was equal to it to keep the scores level.

The Wizards were then given a free kick near the half way line which Leahy sent towards goal and his cross had to be turned over by the Carew keeper.

With just over half an hour gone, Carew’s Jack Christopher was shown a yellow for a foul on Leahy, giving the Wizards a free kick on the edge of the box. Leahy stood over it but saw his effort blocked over the bar.

There was a blow for Carew shortly before half time as Lloyd Hughes had to go off injured and he was replaced by Scott Ferney.

With two minutes to go until half time Sam Christopher crossed into the box for Richards but his shot was blocked with claims of handball waved away.

The half time whistle went with the sides still locked at 1-1 with everything still to play for in the second half.

At the start of the second half Sam Christopher flashed a cross towards goal which bounced out off the angle of post and crossbar.

Zac Rowell then made his way into the box but after he went down he was shown a yellow card for diving.

Nathan Greene then came close for the Wizards but his strong shot was turned over the bar.

Jack Christopher then crossed into the box for Richards but his header was straight at Gary Thomas.

Matthew Divry then crossed from the right for Joe Leahy just inside the box but he flashed a shot just over the bar.

With just over an hour gone Adam Hawkins won the ball back from Jack Christopher and he went on to slot the ball into the bottom left corner to give the Wizards the lead again.

Insult was added to injury for Christopher as he had to go off to be replaced by Max Brindley.

Iwan Izzard then came close to bringing Carew level again but his curling effort was saved by Gary Thomas.

Hawkins was denied the chance of a hat trick as he was then replaced by Will Haworth with fifteen minutes to go.

With nine minutes to go the Bridge made it 3-1 as Ashley Beck played a nice one-two with Nathan Greene and the former finished in similar fashion to team mate Hawkins with the ball going in off the boot of the Carew keeper.

With four minutes to go Carew won a corner which fell to Tom Grover but he fired over the bar.

Both sides made a number of substitutions with Joe Leahy seeing yellow for his slow walk off late on.

The Wizards saw the game out to seal their first ever West Wales Cup win.

After the match, two goal hero Adam Hawkins said: “It’s amazing, it’s my second time winning it, we’ve got an amazing group of lads here.

“We were unlucky with the league but to come away with the Senior Cup and the West Wales Cup this season, you couldn’t ask for much more really.

“They are a quality side and we knew it would be a close game but on the balance of play I think we deserved it.”

Merlins Bridge manager Matthew D’Ivry added: “I am delighted, this group of players deserve it for the hard work and commitment they have shown. We’ve had tough draws in the cup this season but that hard work has paid off.

“Carew are a really good side and we knew they were going to have a good spell in the game. Gary Thomas made a few good saves and towards the end of the first half we started playing our football.

“At half time we were confident that if we came out and started well we would get the right result.”

The two sides also drew praise from Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb who tweeted: “Congratulations to Merlins Bridge for winning the West Wales Cup at the Liberty Stadium. Comiserations to Carew but great to have two Pembrokeshire teams in the final.”

Sport

Fox’s Clarby win nine goal thriller

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Clarby came out on top of a nine goal thriller at Neyland on Saturday. The result means that Clarby remain in 3rd whilst Neyland will now be relegated to the second division.

The visitors started the better and 7 minutes in Laurie Howarth scored directly from a corner. However Neyland came back flying and started to cause problems for the away team.

There was then two goals in five minutes. The first Ben Gale nipped in between the Clarby’s centre backs to slot home and minutes later it was 2-1 as a deep cross evaded Clarby defence and Leo Power slid in to give the home side the lead.

After 32 mins Ben ‘Rocky’ John beat a defender at the left of the box and his outside of the foot effort went found its way in to make it all square again.

Some great play by Wood and Matthew Davies down the Clarby right hand side meant the latter crossed for Howarth to head home his second goal of the afternoon advantage visitors.

Haworth then completed his hat trick to make it 4-2 Clarby and it seemed the madness was over for the first half. However there was time for another goal as a wicked cross from Harry Young was deflected off the head of Rheinallt George into his own net for 4-3 at the oranges.

Seven goals in the first half, however the second half saw the game settle down well a little bit.

Laurie Haworth scored at the far post, Matthew Davies again the provider and it looked like Clarby would roll home. But Mikey Chandler scored in the 89th minute, a deft chip from all of 30 years an over Sam Edge in goal.

Despite a late push from the hosts it finished 5-4 to the visitors and it’ll be second division football for Neyland next season.

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Sport

Carew stun Robins late on

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Milford United went into this fixture with five key players missing from the squad which allowed some 2nd team players to step into Steve Parks squad to face a Carew side that has been in good form.

The weather and pitch was good and the game kicked off with both teams playing some good football. It was a mistake from the Robins which would allow Carew to score on the 17th minute. The goal came through Griffiths who picked up a short pass and carried the ball and slotted it past the robins keeper, Milford dusted themselves down and played some good penetrating football down both wings through Tyler Sheil & Cameron Lees, it was lees who equalised on the 28th minute. Milford played some nice one two football on the right and Lees finished it off with a good finish.

Milford finished the half the strongest and should of taken the lead when Scott Reid broke the offside trap and was through one on one with the Carew keeper but his shot was pared away by the keeper.

The second half started with Carew pressing looking to dominate the play. Both sides had half chances and on the 75th minute Milford’s Morgan Picton released Reid who made no mistake rounding the keeper to put the Robins 2-1 up.

Robins manager Steve Parks thought at the 83rd minute that the win in the bag but Carew had other ideas and equalised through J. Hinchcliffe to level it at 2-2, in hind site a draw would have been a fair result for both managers.

Milford switched off and allowed Carew to score a third on the 87th minute and again at 90+4 leaving Parks absolutely stunned how Milford were winning 2-1 and gave is away in a lack lustre 10 minutes.

As the season draws to an end The Robins will be happy with their first season back in Div 1 and Carew look forward to their Senior cup Semi final against Clarbeston Road on Saturday.

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Sport

Johnston Reserves win nine goal thriller

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Division 5 promotion chasers Johnston 2nds visited bottom of the table Cosheston 2nds in what should have been a routine victory for the visiting team.

On a pitch that looked like it had cattle grazing just a few hours previously, both teams started in an attacking fashion with the young Johnston forward line causing no end of trouble for the experienced Cosh defence.

In a game that could have gone either way, Cosh took an early lead through Rhys Griffiths, before a succession of chances were missed for both teams.

Johnston were playing well and their equaliser came in the 25th minute after good play by Alfie Crawford, who was using his pace to create havoc across the front line. Johnston took the lead a short time later through Crawford, after great work by the experienced Ashley Bevans and went further ahead a few moments later.

3-1 at half time in a highly entertaining game.

The second half started as the first half had finished, with both teams going for an all out attack mentality, and Cosheston got themselves back into the match in the 52nd minute and their constant attacking, combined with a little uncertainty in the Johnston defence, saw them equalise in the 53rd minute.

At this stage, the scoreline was 3-3 but could easily have been 6-6 and that was added to even further just a minute later, when Johnston retook the lead through Pete Donnelly!

Some game at The Playing Fields!!

Johnston made a tactical change with a view of firming up their defence with Squashie coming on for Liam Brown, and he made a positive impact ensuring the defence was communicating more, making it more difficult for the Cosheston strikers.

The visiting team scored two late goals to finish as 6-3 winners, but the game was exceptionally entertaining and on another day Cosheston would easily have come out on top.

Cosheston have had a tough season in many ways, but it was lovely to see the club stick together, and with some players coming back from injury hopefully they can build on this year and have a better season next.

Johnston continue to be a threat to all teams and now hope to push on and gain promotion.

Huge credit to both clubs for playing in a respectful manner throughout and referee Marty Jones praised both clubs in his post match Facebook post.

A credit to Pembs Div 5, good luck to Johnston in their promotion push.

Cosheston 3-6 Johnston.

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