Caldicot Town 1-2 Ammanford: The visitors keep pace with promotion push
A brace from Richard Lewis helped ten man Ammanford to a vital 2-1 away victory that helped them to keep pace with their pus for promotion.
After an intense first half, both sides headed into the break with the score at a stalemate. But, a quickfire double from former Llanelli man Lewis helped put Ammanford in the ascendancy.
James Kirkwood gave away a penalty with 20 minutes remaining, and Nick Glendon saw red for a challenge on the halfway line, but a stellar rearguard performance saw the Carmarthenshire outfit hold on to do the double over the hosts, after a 3-1 victory at home just last week against the home side.
In the opening fifteen minutes, Ammanford played some first rate attacking football. Lewis, Brett Enoch and Matthew Fisher played some exquisite one-two football to toy with the Caldicot defence. Fisher had two consecutive efforts blocked from the edge of the area, and Lewis had an effort tipped round the post.
However, Enoch suffered a nasty-looking challenge when he and an opponent went in for a 50/50 ball, and the away side’s players were up in arms about the referee’s call to wave play on.
Ammanford’s fluidity halted and Caldicot eased back into the game, and blasted over from the edge of the 18 yard-box after 37 minutes, their best chance of the first half.
Ammanford goalkeeper coach Mark Smith suffered the ignominy of being sent off by the referee for his alleged critique of the referee’s controlling of proceedings, as the two teams headed into the break with the score 0-0.
However, the visitors came flying out of the blocks to start the second period. Matthew Fisher delivered a pinpoint delivery from a free kick from the right flank that was met by the flying head of Cerith Williams, but his effort was effortlessly tipped onto the bar by the ever impressive Gareth Wesson.
But, the deadlock was broken on 50 minutes, as left-winger Lewis outjumped his marker to meet a cross from the right, and despite Wesson’s best efforts, who initially saved from point-blank range, the winger poked home at the second opportunity.
The forward doubled his tally for the afternoon just eight minutes later, as he put Ammanford 2-0 up. The forward, who recently rejoined the club, curled his free kick up and over Wesson, who was unable to tip the effort over the bar.
With a 2-0 deficit to deal with, the hosts valiantly pressed forwards to try and salvage something from the game. Kirkwood denied them when a header was sent straight at him from just yards away, but Gruff Harrison’s men cleared the danger.
However, the Ammanford goalkeeper was penalised when he came charging out of his area and flattened a Caldicot attacker, with the referee pointing to the spot. From 12 yards, Giancarlo Gabbiadini struck his effort straight down the middle to bring his side back into the match.
With ten minutes remaining, Harrison’s charges were under pressure and cleared an effort off the line. Just a minute later, Fisher darted up the right flank and was one on one, but in attempting to bring his effort on to his left foot, the Caldicot defence cleared their lines.
But, Fisher and co were pushing for the third to kill Caldicot’s hopes of grabbing a hard earned point from the match, and in doing so, were caught on the counter. To stifle the counter, Glendon took out a man on the ball, and was given his marching orders.
Harrison sent on defender Euros Griffiths to shore up the defence and to secure all three points, but had to manage the final ten minutes with a man less than their opponents.
In dropping deep, the Ammanford defence invited pressure on to their goal, and from a cross from the right, striker Richard Sharatt was left to roam free in the area and headed wide of the mark, with just two minutes of normal time remaining.
In injury time, Caldicot won a corner, and with their centre halves up to help grab a late equaliser, again, a centre-back was left to wander in the centre of the area, but again he headed wide.
In the dying embers of the game, Caldicot’s attack threw one last throw of the dice, and fizzed a ball right across Kirkwood’s area, but Nich Arnold swept in at the final second to clear the danger, before the referee blew for full time.
A vital three points for Ammanford, who climb to fifth, with games in hand over Risca United. They will have to manage without both Glendon and young striker Gavin Jones in their next matches due to suspension, but a resolute, rearguard performance from Harrison’s men will give him much to be pleased with heading into the final stretch of the season.