CROESYCEILIOG 0 LLANELLI TOWN
Despite the final scoreline, the Reds made hard work of overcoming their opponents, leading by just a solitary goal at the interval before stepping up the pace in the second half and eventually running out comfortable winners.
With most of their injured players gradually acquiring full fitness, the visitors named Ross Jones on the bench where he was joined by a welcome face in the shape of Liam Samuel, returning after almost a year`s absence following his broken leg at the start of last season, and he came on for a cameo fifteen minutes during which time he displayed all the skills which made him such a favourite as well as getting the final goal.
The only absentees were Bruno Forkuoh, Rhys Powell and Jamie Evans, but hopefully these, too, will shortly be back in action.
There was not much to enthuse over in a lacklustre first period, with both sides guilty of some wayward passing and general ineptitude, although an early chance fell to the Reds when Richard Lewis spooned his finish over the top after Tom Chorley in the home goal had blocked the initial attempt by Luke Jones.
Anthony Richards for Croesyceiliog chased down a Jak Shannon pass back to Craig Richards whose clearance struck the attacker but flew well wide of the goal.
Robert Thomas set up the Reds` opener after 12 minutes evading a couple of tackles before finding Jones, and he in turn squared the ball infield for Lewis to fire past Chorley.
Thomas was to prove to be the mainstay of the visitors performance, being equally at home on either flank and eventually ending the game partnering Lee Bevan in the rearguard when Steve Berry came off in the second half.
He also set up many of the more promising moves as well as being the scorer of the Reds` second goal which probably put the result beyond doubt.
Despite going behind in the early stages, the hosts believed they had levelled matters when Richards met a far post cross by Ben Evans to bundle it past Richards, but referee David Lemin as the sole official ruled it out for offside, although from the sidelines it looked a marginal decision.
The visitors were forced into a change five minutes from the break when Steve Stone dislocated a finger with his place being taken by Jones, before Croesyceiliog could well have made more from a rare attack when Bevan went down after a tussle with Richards with the referee allowing play to continue, but as two players waited in space in the middle his intended cross was cut out by Mark Napieralla.
Chorley had to react sharply to smother a well struck shot on the turn by Luke Jones, while his counterpart in the Reds` goal came off his line to hack clear when Richards pursued a clearance down the middle.
With the visitors narrowly ahead going into the second half, Thomas got his just reward for a commendable display by putting his side further into the lead after 58 minutes, although only he can tell whether his floated ball to the far post was intended as a cross or a genuine scoring effort – either way it completely deceived Chorley before nestling in the net.
Joe Holland came on to replace Berry with Thomas moving into defence, and the Reds continued to dictate matters with Lewis sending his finish into the hands of the keeper, while Jones glanced a flying header just wide from a Napieralla delivery.
Bevan also directed his far post header fractionally off target from a Lewis cross, and when Holland pulled the ball back into the middle, Luke Jones could only strike his shot at Chorley.
Samuel was then brought on to replace Sam Wade, and immediately showed his skills with some trademark runs past the bemused home defence, and his return will be a massive boost to the Reds` hopes for the season.
With just five minutes remaining, Holland got the third goal in the 85thminute ,seizing on an underhit back pass by Jack Siderby meant for his keeper and slotting it home, while the biggest cheer of the afternoon by the travelling support was reserved for Samuel who got in on the act two minutes from time, making one of his characteristic mazy runs following some good build up play involving Holland and Luke Jones, before beating Chorley with a crisp finish.
There was just enough time for the Croesyceiliog keeper to pull off a great save by diverting a goal bound effort by Shannon around the post, but the Reds cruised into the next round of the competition and will be hoping for a favourable draw in the first round proper.
CROESYCEILIOG; Chorley; Morris © (Harris, 15); Evans; Doidge; Griffin; Marchant; Clouth;
Williams; Richards; Mason; Arnold (Siderby, 65);
Subs. not used; McGrath; Hill; Waddon.
LLANELLI TOWN; Richards; Napieralla; John; Stone (R. Jones, 40); Berry (Holland, 60); Bevan ©;
Wade (Samuel, 77); Shannon; L. Jones; Thomas; Lewis;
Subs. not used; Harries;O`Brien.
SCORERS; Llanelli Town – Lewis, 12; Thomas, 58; Holland, 85; Samuel, 88.
YELLOW CARDS; Croesyceiliog – Arnold; Richards.
Llanelli Town – Shannon.
REFEREE; David Lemin (Blackwood).
Near neighbours Ammanford provide the Reds` opposition at Stebonheath on Wednesday evening, kick off 7.30 p.m.