LLANELLI TOWN 1 ABERBARGOED BUDS 0
With promotion to the first division done and dusted for the Reds and with the visit by opponents not yet clear of the threat of relegation, everything seemed set for a stress free afternoon with a comfortable win at its conclusion.
The reality turned out to be somewhat different, as an uninspiring home display led to an error-riddled performance with far too much possession being conceded, combined with hardly any worthwhile efforts on the visitors` goal, and the winner came just five minutes from time.
In fact, the Buds could well have pulled off an unexpected win, but poor finishing proved to be their downfall and the home goal survived.
They created an early chance when Anthony Finselbach was caught in possession on the edge of the box, but when the ball was played into the area, the finish was blazed high over the top.
Gavin Hegarty in the Buds` goal got down quickly to block an effort by Joe Clarke when James Loveridge played him in, and Luke Jones directed his header from a cross by Loveridge over the bar.
Levi Rees, who was to prove to be a thorn in the Reds` side throughout, then made a break up the left before sending his delivery into the goalmouth which caused problems for Craig Morris with Tom Jameson in close attendance, but Robert Thomas eventually tidied up by clearing the danger
Rees was involved again when his free kick found Kieran Thomas in the box, and his header was narrowly off target.
Little had ben seen of the home side as an attacking force, although Liam Samuel did have his shot charged own by a defender when Jones laid on the chance, before the Buds went close again when a Rees corner flashed across the face of the net without any player able to make contact.
A less than enthralling first period drew to a close, but within eight minutes of the restart the potential of an opening goal for the Reds arrived in the shape of a penalty award when Loveridge was clipped in the box, and after a brief hesitation, referee Aled Jones pointed to the spot.
Clarke stepped up to take it, but for the fourth time this season he joined the list of failed attempts with Hegarty getting down to block it on the line, adding to the ones missed by both Lee Trundle and Jordan Davies.
The Reds then made their first change, with Jordan Follows replacing Jones on 57 minutes, and six minutes later Richard Lewis came on in place of Robert Thomas to inject some much needed urgency into their play in his usual exuberant style.
A Loveridge attempt into the Buds` goalmouth was partially cleared only as far as Samuel, but he in turn saw his effort blocked and Follows directed the rebound over the top.
With five minutes remaining, the home side finally broke the deadlock when some good approach work by Loveridge led to him floating a cross to the far post where Follows was on hand to direct his header past Hegarty and seal the eventual outcome.
Not the most convincing Reds performance by any means, but a win is a win and the unbeaten record remains intact.
LLANELLI TOWN; Morris; Graves; R. Thomas (Lewis, 63); Finselbach (March, 74); C. Thomas;
Bevan ©; Samuel; Davies; L. Jones (Follows, 57); Clarke; Loveridge;
Subs. not used; R. Jones; Wade.
ABERBARGOED BUDS; Hegarty; Vaughan; Rees; Forsyth; Jones; Thomas ©; Morgan (Franklin, 78)
Evans; Jameson; Maisey; Eady; Subs. not used; Costa; Boulter.
SCORER; Llanelli Town – Follows, 85.
YELLOW CARDS; Llanelli Town – Loveridge; Graves.
Aberbargoed Buds – Forsyth.
REFEREE; Aled Jones (Llandysul).
A large crowd is expected at Stebonheath tonight (Wednesday) with the visit of AFC Llwydcoed for the Reds` final home league game of the season, when a win will see them clinch the second division title which will be presented on the night. Kick off is at 7.30 p.m.
Next Saturday, they travel to meet Dinas Powys, kick off 2.30 p.m.