AFC LLWYDCOED 1 LLANELLI TOWN 5
A Jordan Follows hat-trick and further contributions from Lee Trundle and James Loveridge eased League Cup holders Llanelli Town safely through their quarter-final tie against second division opponents, and they will now meet either Cwmbran Celtic, Pontypridd Town or Trefelin BGC in the penultimate round of the competition.
Missing a number of players due to injury, suspension and unavailability, the visitors still fielded a strong starting line-up and were on top throughout, seldom looking as if they would be victims of the proverbial banana skin.
Play on an uneven, bobbly surface was initially scrappy with very little in the way of goalmouth action, the nearest attempt coming from Joe Clarke whose driven ball on the home goal was hacked clear.
When the Reds were awarded a free kick, the ball broke into the path of Chris Jones whose effort sailed just over the bar.
Dominating matters, they eventually went ahead on 16 minutes after Follows was played through on goal, and although his attempt was diverted clear by goalkeeper Callum Quinton, Trundle was on hand to drive it back into the bottom corner.
Shortly after, Jones saw his well struck shot rebound off a post, and when Loveridge forced his way into the box, he had his finish diverted inches past the far upright.
Quinton was also playing a vital role for the hosts in keeping the visitors at bay, denying Jones with a great stop, and when Loveridge cut in from the left, he fired narrowly over the top.
He was then involved in a strong penalty appeal when he appeared to be floored in the area, but referee Phil Bates waved play on.
Loveridge had better luck in the 37th minute when a move started by Robert Thomas led to Trundle playing him in with a superb pass, and this time he made no mistake, slotting his finish beyond Quinton.
Now in cruise control, the Reds added a third two minutes from the break after Trundle had his shot blocked, but the rebound fell into the path of Follows who drove it into the net.
There was still enough time for Jones to again see his finish being kept out by the Coed keeper who got down to smother his powerfully struck low drive, before a bizarre incident occurred on the stroke of half time when referee Bates was struck on the head by the ball when Jordan Davies attempted a quick free kick, and fell to the ground.
Fortunately he recovered after treatment by the physios on both sides, and came back for the second half none the worse for wear.
With the tie already slipping from their grasp, the home side did offer more of a threat after the resumption, with Craig Morris in the Reds` goal forced off his line to clear from Liam Price after a lofted clearance.
At the other end, Quinton was still being kept fully occupied, grasping safely an attempt by Follows following a good build-up, but Morris was far busier in this second period, again blocking a Price effort before managing to scramble over a loose ball in the box for a corner.
Another goal for the visitors would probably seal matters once and for all, and it duly arrived in the 63rd minute when a Trundle free kick rebounded off the defensive wall out to Follows just outside the area, whose first time strike arrowed into the top corner.
The Reds then made their first change with Liam Samuel replacing Kurtis March, and he had only been on the field some five minutes when Follows completed his treble, again being set up by Trundle before firing past Quinton on 70 minutes.
Two final substitutions by the visitors saw Luke Morgan and Sam Wade come on instead of Jones and Davies, before Coed snatched a consolation goal in the 75th minute through their best player, Ioan Evans, when he cut in from the right before beating Morris low into the bottom corner.
The Reds continued to push forward, and went close through Trundle, Follows and Loveridge with their respective finishes, but the tie ended in a comfortable win for them, and they will now be looking to retain the trophy they won at the end of last season.
AFC LLWYDCOED; Quinton; Williams; Walters (Jones, 75); S. Evans; Davies; Andrews
(Stonelake, 80); Woodford; Garthwaite; Price (Ellis, 82); Carter ©; I. Evans;
Subs. not used; Butler; Henry.
LLANELLI TOWN; Morris; Graves; R. Thomas; March (Samuel, 65); Bevan; Clarke ©; C. Jones
(Morgan, 71); Davies (Wade, 71); Follows; Trundle; Loveridge;
Sub.not used; Coughlan (GK).
AFC Llwydcoed – I. Evans, 75.
Llanelli Town – Trundle, 16; Loveridge, 37; Follows, 43, 63, 70.
YELLOW CARD; AFC Llwydcoed – Stonelake.
REFEREE; Phil Bates (Caldicot).
The Reds have a vital league match on Saturday when they travel to third-placed Goytre United, kick off 2 p.m.