LLANELLI TOWN 2 PONTYPRIDD TOWN 2
A Christmas cracker first half by the Reds saw them ease into a 2-0 lead, only for a damp squib performance after the break allowed their opponents back into the game, and eventually claw back the deficit to earn a point at the final whistle.
The Dragons hardly mustered a single worthwhile effort on the home goal in the opening forty five minutes, with Craig Morris a virtual spectator, and when they fell behind as early as the fourth minute they seemed to be heading for defeat at the hands of rampant opponents.
However, a goal by them in the second minute of the second period transformed the whole complex of the contest, and subsequently the Reds were hanging on for long periods of the play with the visitors dictating matters and looking the more likely to strike again.
They did so with nine minutes left, to earn, in the end, a well deserved draw, although both sides were equally guilty of some wayward finishing which could have seen either clinch the three points.
The Reds went ahead when a Lee Trundle free kick rebounded off the defensive wall and conveniently into the path of Jordan Davies, who made no mistake with his finish past goalkeeper Ryan Griffiths.
Sam Wade with a surging run through the Dragons` defence set up Davies for another strike, but this time Griffiths got down to safely gather.
Richard Lewis then forced the keeper to push away his effort from distance, and Griffiths was being kept fully occupied, again clutching a finish from Luke Jones low at hisnear post when Trundle set up the chance.
This proved to Jones`s last involvement as he limped off after 23 minutes to be replaced by Liam Samuel, before the Dragons initiated a rare sight of the home goal when Aiden Lewis was found in space on the edge of the box, but he curled his attempt wide from a decent position.
Griffiths needed two attempts to eventually gather a high hanging cross from Trundle to the back post, but was beaten again by the same player on 38 minutes with Wade doing the spadework before finding Trundle who directed his finish into the bottom corner.
Another promising build-up by the home side culminated in Trundle sending Samuel on a run, but his shot was inches off target.
The half ended with the Reds comfortably in the ascendancy, but within two minutes of the restart the fight back began when their opponents opened their account through James Hill, who met a ball on the edge of the area and volleyed into the top corner.
Spurred by this, the visitors were now a different side, and Morris did well to push clear a shot from Luke Gullick following a run down the right by Hill, and as the half progressed the home side were being subjected to some serious pressure.
In fact, they could well have conceded again when a terrible mix-up involving Morris and Lewis in attempting to both clear a ball directed towards the goal, collided, leaving the latter pole-axed in the box and Gullick gratefully accepting the chance of a pot shot at a vacant goal, but his finish went across the net and was eventually scrambled clear
Following this, Lewis was unable to continue and was replaced by Robert Thomas, and when the visitors also made a substitution with Matthew Hibbs coming on for Adam John, he was to prove to be their match-saver when he netted in the 81st minute with the Reds defence all at sea, leaving Hibbs on his own in the middle to meet a cross from the right.
Even at his late stage, both sides had chances of clinching a result, with Samuel missing a glorious opportunity after being put through by a great reverse ball by Trundle, but he delayed his shot with only Griffiths to beat before taking too many touches and being crowded out.
A t the other end, a slip by Chris Thomas at the vital second allowed Tom Rutherford a shot on goal which Morris parried only as far as Levi Rees, but he somehow screwed his finish wide from close range.
Griffiths brought off a number of smart stops when the home side threatened, but in stoppage time, a free-for-all involving players on both sides erupted after a challenge involving Davies and Dragons` captain, Scott Hillman, leading to the dismissal by referee Aled Jones of the visiting player, and a caution for Davies.
The match ended all-square, but the Reds will by mystified as to how they allowed a game which they had originally dominated to slip from their grasp in such dramatic circumstances.
LLANELLI TOWN; Morris; Graves; Lewis (R. Thomas, 72); Finselbach; C. Thomas; Bevan ©; Wade;
J. Davies; L. Jones (Samuel, 23); Trundle; Morgan (R. Jones, 64); Subs. not used;
H. Davies; Dale (GK).
PONTYPRIDD TOWN; Griffiths; Broad; Hooper; L. McCarthy; Hillman ©; Allen;
Lewis (R. McCarthy, 90+5); Rutherford; Gullick (Rees, 89); John (Hibbs, 74);
Hill; Subs. not used; Mercer; Morgan.
SCORERS; Llanelli Town – J.Davies, 4; Trundle, 38.
Pontypridd Town – Hill, 47; Hibbs, 81.
YELLOW CARDS; Llanelli Town – Finselbach; J. Davies; R. Jones.
RED CARD; Pontypridd Town – Hillman.
REFEREE; Aled Jones (Llandyssul).