Ammanford stun higher opposition Port Talbot in comfortable win
Ammanford AFC piled the misery into Division One outfit Port Talbot Town with a 5-1 win over the Steelemen courtesy of a hat-trick from Craig Frater and a brace from Gavin Jones.
A dominant display from the hosts saw them skittle over their higher division counterparts with ease, as the Ammanford attacking line penetrated them with comfort as they advanced to the Third Round of the Welsh League Cup.
However, the opening period proved to be a huge contrast to the remainder of the game, as the visitors piled the early pressure on the Carmarthenshire outfit.
Just a minute into the game, a deft cross from the Port Talbot right flank was put into a dangerous area, however there was no one on hand to apply the finishing touches. And just minutes later, the away side should have taken the lead as they saw a golden opportunity go begging as they saw a shot deflected wide and then another hit the side netting after goalkeeper James Kirkwood came darting out of his goal.
Nich Arnold fashioned the first Ammanford chance as from a corner, his scissor kick attempt in the area almost forced Rory McCreesh into action in the Port Talbot goal, however the attempt flew over.
Both sides traded tame attempts, and the Division One side thought they had taken the lead, but the offside flag ruled out their goal.
And on the half hour, Ammanford turned the table, as they drew their former centre half Rhys Owen into a last ditch challenge, resulting in a yellow card and the momentum swung in the hosts’ favour.
Some neat interplay between Frater and Matthew Fisher saw an Ammanford attempt blocked, but the home side eventually broke the deadlock. A ball over the top saw a race between forward Frater and goalkeeper McCreesh, and as the goalkeeper hesitated, Frater pounced and won the header battle before rounding the keeper and smashing into the bottom corner despite the presence of numerous Port Talbot bodies.
After the interval, Ammanford turned the screw.
Coming out with a fresh impetus, the boys in black and white doubled their lead within five minutes as former Llanelli man Frater’s dart down the right wing resulted in the ball nestling in the bottom right hand corner after he slotted home with the right blend of power and precision from the edge of the area.
Then three minutes later, Gavin Jones opened his account for the game as he drove forwards at the Talbot defence before exchanging a neat one two and slotting into the bottom corner, out of McCreesh’s reach.
Paul Evans’ men had one of their few opportunities of the half soon after, but a one on one opportunity was wasted as their midfielder struck the post with Kirkwood left stranded.
But it mattered for little, as with 15 minutes remaining former Manchester City youth striker Frater went on one of his typical darting runs, dodging defenders in his path, rounding the final men before poking home past McCreesh to make it 4-0.
A free kick that was turned into Ammanford’s own net by Nich Arnold gave the away side something to cheer, but it was nothing more than a consolation as Jones put the tie beyond all doubt with a thunderbolt of a strike from range in the final minutes, sending the ball into the back of the net with power leaving McCreesh with no hope in goal.
Positive performance for Gruff Harrison and his coaching staff to ponder over ahead of the weekend’s game, whilst it doesn’t bode well for Evans and Port Talbot, as they continue their difficult start to the season.