CAERAU (ELY) 1 LLANELLI TOWN 2
The Reds` failure to capitalise on a number of early first half chances almost cost them dear when they took on the league`s basement side at Cwrt-Yr-Ala.
They did eventually establish a two goal lead prior to the interval through Joe Clarke and Jordan Follows, but when their opponents pulled one back three minutes after the restart from a Nathan Mathias corner it was game on, and the home side dominated much of the play, forcing the visitors into some desperate defending at times to protect their slender advantage.
A sub-standard playing surface also did little to assist the Reds` cause, making it difficult for them to utilise their usual passing game.
Ely created an early chance when Ayomide Ajijedidun , who was to be a thorn in the Reds` side throughout, was found in space and made tracks towards goal, but a timely intervention by Chris Thomas forced him to skew his finish wide with Scott Coughlan off his line.
Similarly, Sam Cawley blasted over the top when he met a ball up the line by Ashley Park, before the visitors gradually settled and made their first foray on the home goal when Follows sent Luke Jones on a run into the box, but his effort was diverted clear by goalkeeper Scott James, and when the ball ran loose, Chris Jones struck the outside of the near post with his shot.
Follows then set up another chance for Clarke, but again James came to the rescue by denying the Reds` captain.
A fortunate deflection in midfield afforded Ajijedidun another opportunity, and it took a saving tackle by Thomas to snuff out the threat.
When Jordan Davies directed a corner to the near post, it was just scrambled clear by the Ely defence, while at the other end, Thomas was again in the right place to clear a dangerous low cross into the goalmouth by Cawley.
Both sides were going close from their forays into opponents` territory, with Chris Jones shooting fractionally wide of the far post following a build-up involving Follows and Davies.
On 32 minutes, the deadlock was eventually broken when the visitors took the lead following a long kick out by Coughlin which was chased down by Luke Jones, and when James elected to leave his goal to close him down, the striker`s effort rebounded off him and into the path of Clarke, who slotted his finish into the vacant net.
Ely responded to this setback, and when the Reds were slow to clear their lines, Ajijedidun seized on the loose ball before volleying just over the bar.
Five minutes from the interval, the lead was doubled when a Liam Samuel free kick found Lee Bevan whose header across the face of goal was turned in by Follows into the roof of the net at the far post.
There was still time left for the home side to retaliate, and Coughlan did well to keep out at full stretch a fiercely struck low attempt from distance by Alex Davies at the expense of a corner.
Within three minutes of the restart, however, he was picking the ball out of the net when a corner on the left by Mathias driven low into the goalmouth evaded everyone before nestling in the bottom corner.
This success signalled an approach by the hosts which had their opponents pegged back in their own half for long periods, and Ajijedidun again went agonisingly close with a header from a Davies free kick.
The same scenario occurred when he met a cross by Cawley, but again his headed attempt sailed just over the top of the goal.
The Reds were relying on the occasional breakaway, and from one of these Luke Jones clipped the bar with his finish in the area, while Cawley sent a well struck effort over just wide after a partial defensive clearance.
The visitors clung on to their slender advantage to claim the points, which elevates them to second place in the table three points behind Haverfordwest County but having played a game less.
James; Owen (Maynard, 55); Park; Thomas; Bridgeman; Davies (Reffell, 83); Hughes (Rose-Miles, 69); Corne ©; Ajijedidun; Mathias; Cawley;
Subs. not used; Evans; Neba.
Coughlan; Samuel; Facciuto; March; C. Thomas; Bevan; C. Jones (Graves, 71); Davies; Clarke;
L. Jones; Follows;
Subs. not used; Morgan; R. Jones; Morris (GK).
Caerau (Ely); Mathias, 48
Llanelli Town; Clarke, 32; Follows, 40.
Llanelli Town; C. Thomas; Davies.
REFEREE; James Burgess (Maesteg).
The Reds are without a game next weekend as their scheduled opponents, Goytre, are involved in a JD Welsh Cup tie.
Their next fixture is away at Taffs Well on Friday, 8th December, kick off 7.30 p.m.