CAMBRIAN & CLYDACH VALE 1 LLANELLI TOWN 3
Goals by James Loveridge, Kurtis March and Luke Jones earned the Reds a hard-earned win against feisty opponents who were always in the contest, making life difficult for the visitors who were hard pressed at times.
With the festive card-giving in full swing, referee James Burgess obviously decided to get in on the act, issuing seven yellows and three reds with the hosts` Joe Evans, along with Loveridge and Richard Lewis showering early.
The Reds` manager, Andy Hill, also watched the majority of the game in the company of the visiting supporters after being ordered from the dugout.
With Chris Thomas, Jordan Davies and Lee Trundle absent, Hill made a number of positional changes, with Kyle Graves partnering Lee Bevan at the back, while Anthony Finselbach and March were drafted into midfield, with Luke Jones and Loveridge up front.
Bevan fired an early chance into the side netting following a Chris Jones corner, while Loveridge forced Daniel Beasley in the home goal to divert his shot around the upright.
When Joe Clarke was brought down on the edge of the box, the resulting free kick by Loveridge was blocked by the defensive wall and hacked clear.
The Reds were controlling matters at this stage, and Bevan went close with a volley which skimmed the bar after Luke Jones provided the cross.
Luke Jones and Beasley were in a collision when they both challenged for a Liam Samuel free kick into the area, but both recovered after treatment.
Five minutes from the interval, the visitors deservedly went ahead when a fine move involving three or four players culminated in Loveridge latching on to a through ball before slotting it past the keeper.
Just prior to the break, Cambrian striker, Richard French, glanced his header just wide when he met a cross from the left into the middle.
The second half started in explosive fashion, with the Reds increasing the advantage with two goals in the space of seven minutes.
Chris Jones was the provider for the second on 48 minutes when he found March with a great delivery, and he in turn looped his header over Beasley.
Seven minutes later, things became even better with Chris Jones again involved, this time finding Loveridge wide on the right and his cross into the middle picked out Luke Jones whose finish found the roof of the net.
Stung by these reverses, the hosts retaliated, and Scott Coughlan did well to smother a header by Lee Price on the line from a Corey Shephard set-piece.
The Reds were then forced into a change when Antonio Facciuto was injured, with Lewis taking his place after 62 minutes, before Coughlan was called into action again to keep out a ball driven fiercely into the near post.
With Cambrian now in the ascendancy, they pulled a goal back in the 70th minute when a corner led to some heading tennis in the area before eventually dropping into the path of Gareth Welsh, and he struck a volley from the edge of the box which flashed through a crowd of players and past an unsighted Coughlan.
This signalled a surge in the play by the hosts who were now on top and made life extremely uncomfortable for their opponents, peppering the goal in the hope of achieving a further breakthrough.
The visitors somehow held their nerve, before they were reduced to ten men after 82 minutes with the dismissal of Loveridge for a second caution, but just three minutes later, the numbers were again equal with Evans`s red card for an obstruction on Luke Jones just outside the box.
Beasley pulled off a couple of fine saves to deny both Chris Jones and Lewis, before the latter became the latest to suffer the wrath of Mr. Burgess, seeing red for a challenge on the stroke of full time.
With the referee adding on an additional six minutes, the nine men managed to hang on and clinch the three points to give them a five point lead over Haverfordwest County at the top of the table while also enhancing their goal difference, although they have now played a game more.
CWMBRAN & CLYDACH VALE;
Beasley; C. Thomas; Welsh; Evans; Coles; Shephard;Price (Maksimovic, 69); D. Thomas (Morgan, 56); French ©;Keetch (Jones, 63); Reed; Sub.not used; Owen.
Coughlan; Samuel; Facciuto (Lewis, 62); Finselbach (R. Thomas, 81) Graves; Bevan; C. Jones; March; Clarke ©; L. Jones; Loveridge;
Cambrian & Clydach Vale – Welsh, 70.
Llanelli Town – Loveridge, 40; March, 48; L. Jones, 55.
Cambrian &Clydach Vale – Beasley.
Llanelli Town – Samuel; Clarke; Bevan; Loveridge (2); Finselbach;
Cambrian &Clydach Vale – Evans.
Llanelli Town – Loveridge; Lewis.
REFEREE; James Burgess (Maesteg).