The old adage “a game of two halves” can aptly describe the Reds home match against their Gwent visitors as they dominated the opening forty five minutes only to fall away after the restart, and in the final analysis were probably thankful for a point.
One small consolation was the fact the overall display by the home side was certainly a vast improvement following the horror show at AFC Porth the previous week, and when captain Lee Bevan put them ahead in the 29th minute, probably another goal would have sealed the final result, as their opponents offered little in the way of an attacking threat. Having failed to do so, however, they then allowed the opposition to dictate matters in the second half, and their goal survived some close calls – among them a miss from the penalty spot.
Richard Lewis, who had missed the Porth fixture, was soon in the thick of the action, driving a corner across the face of the net before forcing Tom Chorley in the visitors` goal to divert his free kick on target around the post. Chorley then just managed to beat Matthew Hughes to a back pass when he quickly closed him down, and when Mark Napieralla sent Luke Jones clear down the right flank, his final ball to the near post was diverted for a corner.
The Reds were well in control of proceedings, and went close again from a Liam Samuel free kick which flashed just wide with Chorley beaten.
The pressure eventiually paid off just before the half hour when a Lewis set piece found its way to the far edge of the area where Bevan was on hand to bring it under control before volleying his finish beyond the keeper.
The Reds continued to dictate play, with Hughes just failing to get a strike away when he collected a cross by Samuel, while the latter almost scored himself, shooting over from ten yards when Lewis set up the chance.
Comfortably in control at the break despite their slender lead, the Reds were to find their opponents a vastly different proposition in the second period, and an early warning sign came when Bevan was forced into a vital clearance in front of goal from a Luke Fernquest cross with players waiting to take advantage.
Ten minutes into the play, Croesyceiliog were awarded a penalty after a corner was punched clear by Alex Ramsay before the loose ball was transferred back into the box, and in the ensuing scramble, Aaron Harris went down under a challenge, leading to referee Matthew Jones pointing to the spot. The kick was taken by Lewis Clare, but he drove his attempt wide, and the Reds were temporarily let off the hook.
This setback did not seem to deter the visitors too much, as they continued to pose plenty of problems, although arare Reds attack saw Bartolome Bauza, who had a fine game in midfield considering his limited appearances, fire just off target when Hughes found him on the edge of the area. With time running out it appeared as if the solitary goal would prove sufficient to secure a much-needed win, but the visitors had other ideas and with ten minutes remaining levelled matters when Ramsay elected to punch clear the initial free kick by Josh Hall, but the ball was recycled back into the middle where it was met by Rhys Williams whose finish found the net.
Just before the close, the Reds almost conceded again and have Jamie Evans to thank for clearing off the line when Jamie Arnold got a close range connection.
A point apiece was probably a fair result as both sides created chances but were equally culpable at not being able to cash in.
LLANELLI TOWN; Ramsay; Napieralla (I. Evans, 85); Lewis; Thomas; J. Evans; Bevan ©; Samuel; Bauza; Jones (Forkuoh, 74); Logan (Stone, 74); Hughes; Subs. not used; Zola; John.
CROESYCEILIOG; Chorley; Hall; Evans; Morris ©; Griffiths (Doidge, 71); N. Williams (Fernquest, 46); Harris; R. Williams; Clare (Mason, 62); Feeley; Arnold; Sub. not used; Hodge.
Llanelli Town – Bevan, 29.
Croesyceiliog – R. Williams, 80.
Llanelli Town – Bauza; Thomas; J. Evans.
Croesyceiliog – Griffiths; Arnold; Harris; Feeley.
REFEREE; Matthew Jones (Birchgrove).
The Reds face a tough assignment next Saturday at Stebonheath when they entertain Undy Athletic. Kick off 2.30 p.m.