LLANELLI TOWN 3 TON PENTRE 0
Five games, five wins – Llanelli Town are proving to be the pacesetters so far in Welsh League Division 1, although their latest success at the expense of their Rhondda Valley opponents was not as clear-cut as the result suggests.
Ton are known as the Rhondda Bulldogs, and to their credit they displayed the tenacious tendencies attributed to the breed, causing their opponents plenty of problems, particularly in the first half, before the Reds gradually took control and finally ran out winners thanks to a Jordan Davies brace and a third from Liam Samuel.
Missing some key players, including the unavailable Lee Trundle, the hosts were certainly lacking the intensity displayed in their last outing at Penybont where they were in the ascendancy throughout and dominated proceedings.
They started off well, with James Loveridge putting in a strong run down the right before delivering a ball beyond goalkeeper Ryan Griffiths into the goalmouth, but Jordan Follows, at full stretch, agonisingly failed to make contact for a certain opener.
Another Loveridge assist this time found the head of Chris Jones, but again the finish drifted just wide.
After these early opportunities, chances at either end were at a premium, although a well struck effort by Follows who beat two defenders to set himself up, was fumbled low down by Griffiths, and the ball rebounded off the inside of the post and on to the line before being grabbed by the relieved keeper.
When the visitors countered, a shot from distance by Leon Jacka stung the hands of Scott Coughlin in the Reds` goal who managed to keep it out.
Overall, the half was an untidy affair with neither side able to exert the upper hand, and it was no surprise when the interval arrived with the game scoreless.
Whatever was said in the home dressing room during the break seemed to have the desired effect when the contest resumed, as the Reds were far more positive and looking the more likely to break the deadlock.
Follows failed to get any power into his strike on target and Griffiths saved easily, and when he set up Jones, his finish fizzed across the goalmouth and just wide of the far post.
Ton responded through Sam Small whose shot on the turn sailed narrowly over the top, and he went even closer when Jacka crossed to the far post, his goal bound header being brilliantly turned over by Coughlin.
The game was still evenly poised, and it seemed as if the side to score first would probably go on to win, and to the relief of the Reds, two goals in as many minutes swung the result in their favour.
The first arrived on 65 minutes following a well-worked move involving Loveridge and Follows which culminated in a backheel to set up Davies who beat Griffiths with firm shot into the bottom corner.
Two minutes later, the lead was doubled with Follows again involved, this time finding Davies in space in the box who again finished clinically past the keeper and give the Reds some breathing space.
Davies then turned provider, setting up Jones for a shot which again whistled fractionally wide.
Follows was replaced by Liam Samuel, who within ten minutes of his arrival notched up the third goal after Griffiths could only deflect an effort by Jones into his path, and he made no mistake by smashing it home in the 83rd minute.
At the close, another three points and a clean sheet for the Reds in front of a decent 401 attendance, but they were made to work hard for the win against opponents who belied their lowly league position.
Coughlin; March; Faccuito; R. Thomas (Morgan, 82); C. Thomas; Bevan C Jones; Davies (Wade, 85); Clarke ©; Follows (Samuel, 73); Loveridge;
Subs. not used; Lewis; Morris (GK).
TON PENTRE;R. Griffiths; Lewis; Morris (Bowtell, 72); Durey (Smith, 72); Davies ©; Hayward; A. Griffiths; Shephard; Small (Randall, 81); Jacka; Facey;
Subs. not used; Hardy; Clarke.
SCORERS; Llanelli Town – Davies, 65, 67; Samuel, 83.
YELLOW CARDS; Ton Pentre – Shephard; Facey.
REFEREE; Alex McInch (Cardiff).