LLANELLI TOWN 1 PONTARDAWE TOWN 1
Having already recorded a 2-0 victory when the sides met in August at ParcYnysderw, the Reds were looking to complete an early season double, but events did not go entirely their way and their opponents were full value for the draw at the close.
Pontardawe arrived at Stebonheath with an obvious game plan – pack men behind the ball at every opportunity and rely on the occasional counter when afforded the chance.
The Reds` talisman, Lee Trundle, was also singled out for special attention, with a couple of defenders on his case whenever the ball reached him, although he did maintain his record of scoring in every game when he put his side into the lead.
The opening forty five minutes were akin to shadow-boxing, with both sides seeking to find a way through without ever really offering a creditable goal threat.
Richard Lewis did well to win a challenge on Cameron Harris when the visiting player took advantage of a deflection off Robert Thomas and make inroads towards goal, before Trundle sent his finish wide from a Kyle Graves assist.
The home side forced three corners in quick succession, but all to no avail, but the best chance fell to Liam Samuel when Trundle played him in with a reverse pass, only for Steve Reeve in the visitors` goal to get down at his near post to turn away his finish.
Just before the break, by far the best chance fell to the Reds when a high clearance by Lewis into the Pontardawe half led to a slip by Liam Roberts which allowed Trundle to gain possession, but his attempted lob over Reeve was safely held by the keeper.
The visitors were the first to threaten after the restart when Dan Williams, who was a constant threat throughout, forced Craig Morris in the home goal to divert his shot for a corner, while at the other end, a Trundle corner flashed across the face of the net and was somehow kept out by the faintest of touches.
There was more action in the opening stages than in all the first period, with Trundle firing narrowly wide when Ross Jones headed down a Jordan Davies cross, before the deadlock was eventually broken on 54 minutes with Davies again involved, finding Trundle who turned sharply before firing low past Reeve into the bottom corner.
Pontardawe retaliated through Harris whose fierce drive beat Morris but cannoned out off the base of the upright.
An overhead ball by Trundle sent Jordan Follows clear, but his finish was deflected for a corner, and when this was taken by Davies, Samuel drove the ball goalwards where a Follows backheel struck a defender to prevent an almost certain goal.
These near misses proved crucial when the scores were levelled in the 67th minute following defensive failures to clear their lines by the home side, allowing Williams to pick up the loose ball before unleashing a well struck shot past Morris.
Even after this setback, the Reds might well have regained the lead but Lee Bevan directed a header off target from a good position following a Lewis free kick.
Follows failed to control a superb through ball from Trundle which could well have led to a threat on goal, and he directed a shot wide when he was found in space in the box.
With time running out, when the Reds were awarded a free kick just outside the area, Trundle stepped up to send it arrowing towards the top corner, but Reeve pulled off a superb save to divert it away for a throw-in.
This signalled any further action at either end, and the visitors celebrated at the final whistle knowing their tactics had earned them a creditable draw, and bring an end to the Reds` hitherto unbeaten record of six successive league wins.
LLANELLI TOWN; Morris; Graves (L. Jones, 90+3); Lewis; R. Jones; C. Thomas; Bevan ©;
Samuel (Silcox, 73); Davies; Follows; Trundle; R. Thomas (Finselbach, 53);
Subs. not used; Forkuoh; Hughes.
PONTARDAWE TOWN; Reeve ©; J. Hughes; Cockings; L. Roberts; Jeffries; Evans; Harris; Rees;
J. Roberts (D. Hughes, 46); Williams (Beer, 78); Dorward (Howells, 62);
Subs. not used; Thomas; Cooze.
SCORERS; Llanelli Town – Trundle, 54.
Pontardawe Town – Williams, 67.
YELLOW CARDS; Pontardawe Town – L. Roberts.
REFEREE; David Morgan (Swansea).