NATHANIEL CAR SALES LEAGUE CUP - FIRST ROUND.
STM SPORTS 3 LLANELLI TOWN 6
There were a number of issues affecting Llanelli Town prior to their trip to Llanrumney for their league cup clash with newcomers STM Sports.
An ever increasing injury list ruled out half a dozen players, along with the unavailability of others, while their record on artificial surfaces also did not augur well before tackling their opponents.
Forced to play youth goalkeeper Jack Dale in the absence of Craig Richards and draft another youngster into midfield in the shape of Nick Holmes, the Reds nevertheless began confidently enough, with Richard Lewis narrowly failing to capitalise on a poor kick out by James Peckham in the home goal.
When the hosts countered, Lamin Conteh lifted his finish over the top at the far post, and both sides continued to create chances, with Joe Holland having his effort on target safely held by Peckham while Conteh sent a glancing header from an Andrew Gardiner free kick just wide.
Conteh was to prove to be a problem for the Reds throughout with his pace, and when he made ground down the left he drove his finish across the face of goal before it was scrambled away.
With the contest evenly poised, two goals in a four minute spell put the visitors in the driving seat, the first arriving on 22 minutes when a Lewis free kick was met by Steve Stone who despatched a bullet-like header past the keeper.
Lewis was also involved again when his ball over the top found Robert Thomas, who made inroads into the box before slotting his finish beyond Peckham in the 26th minute.
There was some concern for the visitors when Dale came off his line to the edge of his area in an attempt to thwart a home attack, and there were appeals by some STM players that he had handled outside the box, but referee Graham Evans, while issuing Dale with a yellow card, merely awarded a free kick on the line.
Thomas went close to increasing the lead when his finish was scrambled away off the line by the covering defence, before the Reds made it three after 34 minutes following a Lee Bevan free kick which found Sam Wade, and he did well to find the net from a narrow angle.
Within a minute of this, the home side reduced the deficit following a deft flick on by Conteh which sent Chris Worsley clear, and he struck a fierce drive past Dale from 25 yards.
With a two goal cushion at the break, the visitors were pegged back after the restart by their opponents, and it took a good save by Dale to push around a goal bound effort from Gardiner.
But STM were right back in the contest when they got a second in the 55th minute when Conteh broke unopposed up the middle, forcing Dale off his line, before easily rounding him and finding the net.
They could then well have drawn level when Worsley wastefully blasted over from a good position following a pass infield to him by Curtis Scotto.
Another chance came the way of Richard Lane, but he dragged his finish wide of the far post.
The Reds were hanging on at this stage of proceedings, although Joe Holland was denied a shooting chance in the box by a saving tackle, before against the run of play they scored twice within a minute.
A high hanging ball by Lewis to the far post was headed back into the middle by Holland, allowing Thomas to gain possession before sending a lob over the keeper on 62 minutes, and within a minute, Thomas turned provider, doing well to win the ball before evading Peckham and crossing for Holland to steer it into an empty net.
Despite these setbacks, STM were still not finished, and to their credit got a third after 67 minutes with that man Conteh pursuing a ball over the Reds rearguard again forcing Dale off his line, but he got nowhere near the striker who walked the chance into a vacant goal.
Five minutes from time, Jak Shannon made it six for the Reds, meeting a far post delivery before driving it beyond Peckham, and they even had the luxury of missing a penalty before the close when Wade went down in the area, but Thomas saw his spot kick kept out by the STM keeper.
Although through to the next round of the competition, the Reds were pushed to the limit by their hosts who, on this evidence, will cause plenty of problems for other teams during the course of the season.
STM SPORTS; Peckham; Hajgato; L. Nessbert; Cadman (Graham, 67); M. Nessbert; D. Gardiner ©;
A. Gardiner; Lane (Hartey, 80); Conteh; Worsley (Davenport, 84); Scotto; Subs.
not used; Brett; Came.
LLANELLI TOWN; Dale; Napieralla; John; Stone (Shannon, 71); Berry; Bevan ©; Lewis (Martin, 84)
Holmes (Harries, 61); Thomas; Wade; Holland; Sub.not used; Jones.
SCORERS; STM Sports – Worsley, 35; Conteh, 55, 67.
Llanelli Town – Stone, 22; Thomas, 26, 62; Wade, 34; Holland, 63; Shannon, 85.
YELLOW CARDS; STM Sports ; Lane; Graham.
Llanelli Town; Stone; Shannon. Dale
REFEREE; Graham Evans (Hengoed).