MONMOUTH TOWN 2 LLANELLI TOWN 2
Against opponents currently occupying thirteenth place in the league table and hovering just above the relegation zone, the Reds made heavy weather of the eventual point, despite taking a two goal lead.
Lee Trundle fired them ahead in the 10th minute and Jordan Follows doubled the advantage almost immediately from the second half start, before a well-worked move by the Kingfishers led to Elliott Ford reducing the deficit after 73 minutes, while an extremely dubious penalty award two minutes from time by referee Dan Richardson led to Rob Laurie completing an unlikely comeback.
Another below-par playing surface was once again not conducive to free-flowing football, and route one became the main option on both sides, while their two week inactivity also seemed to have had an effect on the visitors who were well below par throughout, whilst also missing the suspended due of Scott Coughlan and captain Joe Clarke.
In fact, the home side, with better finishing, could well have gone ahead on a number of occasions, with the majority of the chances falling to Lewis Clare, but his final touch let him down.
Craig Morris diverted one early effort from him around the post, and the ensuing corner by Mitchell Palmer was met by Ashley Ford at the far upright whose header flashed just wide.
When the Reds countered, Follows was put through on goal by Trundle, but after rounding keeper Asa Kirkwood, he lost his footing on the uneven surface and the ball ran harmlessly out of play.
However, they did open the scoring through Trundle, who accepted a ball into his feet on the edge of the area before executing his trademark turn and finish low beyond the keeper.
Despite this, the home side were still continuing to pose plenty of problems, and Lee Bevan brought off a timely tackle on Bradley Flay when a pass by Ford threatened to send him clear on goal.
Kirkwood brought off a smart save at the feet of Jordan Davies when he got into the box after pursuing a Liam Samuel clearance, before Clare had another chance from a ball whipped into the middle, but again directed his finish over the top.
Just before the break, the Kingfisher`s striker was again guilty of failing to hit the target when e found himself in space in the area, directing his attempt across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
Perhaps a trifle fortunate to be ahead at the interval, the Reds were quickly out of the blocks when the second half got under way, and doubled the advantage within a minute when a quickly taken Davies free kick caught the home defence flat-footed, allowing Follows to gain possession and find the bottom corner.
This early success seemed to lift the visitors, and they were far more assured than in the first period, with Davies having his goal-bound attempt blocked by Kirkwood after a good build-up involving Trundle and Follows.
There was some concern when an error by Robert Thomas allowed Ford to make inroads towards the goal, but he redeemed himself with a fine tackle on the home player to alleviate the danger.
Follows fired narrowly over the top of the home bar, while at the other end and almighty scramble in front of the net was finally relieved by a timely clearance.
A Kurtis March delivery to the back post found the head of Trundle, but he failed to get any power behind it and Kirkwood was able to gather safely.
The Kingfishers then dragged themselves back into contention somewhat unexpectedly with an initial ball to Flay led to him threading it into the path of Ford, who accepted the chance by slotting it past Morris.
This success rally rallied the home side, who came close to drawing level with Morris denying Jack Jones with an important save when he let fly from the edge of the box.
The Reds, too, were also creating chances, with Davies seeing Kirkwood keep out his attempt and then also block the rebound, and with time running out it appeared as if they would hang on to their slender lead.
But even that was to change with just two minutes of normal time remaining following a lofted free kick by Palmer into the area which led to the usual aerial challenges, but when one of the home players was left spread-eagled on the ground, the referee pointed to the spot much to the amazement of the visitors.
Laurie stepped up to drive the award low past Morris, and with Mr. Richardson somehow adding on an extra seven minutes of stoppage time, both sides had to settle for a point apiece.
In the event, the draw earned by the Reds ensured they retained second place in the table ,two points behind, but with four games in hand over new pace-setters, Penybont, who inflicted a third successive defeat on previous leaders, Haverfordwest County.
MONMOUTH TOWN; Kirkwood; Palmer; Cleaves; Laurie ©; A. Ford; Jones; E. Ford; Kareem;
Clare (Heales, 85); Flay; Davies (Lewis, 90); Sub. not used; Brown.
LLANELLI TOWN; Morris; Samuel (C. Thomas, 31); R. Thomas; R. Jones; Graves; Bevan ©;
C. Jones; Davies; Follows (Loveridge, 74); Trundle; March (L. Jones, 89);
Sub. not used; Morgan.
SCORERS; Monmouth Town – E. Ford, 73; Laurie (P), 88.
Llanelli Town – Trundle, 10; Follows, 46.
YELLOW CARDS; Monmouth Town – E. Ford; Laurie; A. Ford.
Llanelli Town – C. Thomas; March; Davies; R. Jones.
REFEREE; Dan Richardson (Barry).
The Reds will be hoping to get back into winning ways on Saturday when they entertain Undy Athletic at Stebonheath, kick off 2 p.m.