Cwmamman down Ammanford in Amman Valley derby with narrow 1-0 win

Cwmamman United secured all three points in the first Amman Valley derby of the season, as a first half goal from Ashley Curtis was enough to maintain the home side’s positive start to the season.

In what was a tight encounter, tempers flared as both sides ended the game with ten men each. Brett Enoch was given his marching orders for a straight red card challenge after 20 minutes on Cwmamman defender Nathan McNeill, whilst the host’s striker Christian Allen received two yellow cards in the space of five minutes later in the half.

The home side took the lead before the break as Curtis managed to squeeze his shot under the body of goalkeeper Craig Morris, and they managed to hold out in the second half to secure all three points.

A minute’s silence was held before the game to mark the passing of Ammanford club stalwart Jeff Thomas, who run the Ammanford Sports Association for over 10 years.

Once the game got underway, neither side were able to impose their dominance on proceedings. As is typical of a derby match, both midfields tried to stamp their mark on the game, however both sides nullified the other’s threat.

However, after 20 minutes, passions boiled over as Ammanford winger Enoch went diving in to challenge Cwmamman centre half McNeil on the edge of his own box, and he was given a straight red card for his challenge.

With Ammanford reduced to ten men, the hosts attempted to take advantage of their extra numbers and when Ashley Curtis was played through in on goal, it seemed as though they were going to make the visitors pay. However, Curits lobbed both the onrushing Morris, but also the bar.

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However, any advantage Cwmamman had soon disappeared as minutes later they too saw one of their own players sent off. Striker Allen, who signed for the club last summer, was given an initial yellow card for a robust challenge when rising for a header, and when he seemingly repeated the same offence just minutes later, the referee produced his second yellow card

Ammanford grew into the first half after the numbers were evened up, and Liam Samuel set up Ben Soal for an effort on goal, but the central midfielder fired his effort wide of the mark.

Winger Ricky Martin proved to be a tricky customer for Cwmamman right-back Declan John at times, and he evaded three home defenders when darting down the left, only for striker Rhodri Jones to misplace his pass when delivered into the area.

But, Ammanford were punished just before the interval as the hosts’ control over the match payed dividends, as they scored what proved to be the winning goal. After winning the ball in his own half, Ben Soal ran towards his own box, and his pass was deflected into the path of Curtis. The forward’s effort bounced in front of keeper Morris and into the Ammanford net.

In the second half, Ammanford started on the front foot in an attempt to get back into the game.

After some neat interplay on the edge of the area between Ricky Martin and Rhodri Jones, Liam Samuel was fed in on goal on the right flank, but off balanced, he blazed his effort way wide of goal.

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Later in the half, Ammanford centre half Euros Griffiths made way for youngster Alfie Stottor, with the defender going off with a cut head.

With 60 minutes gone, Cwmamman could have and should have doubled their advantage, which would have reflected the pattern of play, when they managed to round the goalkeeper, but defender Nick Glendon managed to track back and deflect Colin Harris’ effort after the attacker dallied on the ball.

Despite Ammanford’s best efforts, the Cwmamman midfielder marshalled the defence with control and ease, and the visitors failed to register any real test on goal in the second period, as the home side comfortably controlled proceedings.

With 15 minutes remaining, Ammanford upped the ante as they desperately sought out an equaliser, and Morris managed to launch a long ball up field to Martin, who was brought down on the edge of the area, but Samuel fired straight at the keeper.

Soon after, Ammanford had their best opportunity of the half, as Samuel’s shot from the right was fired at the keeper Chris Curtis, but the keeper parried into the area and Jones almost got the last touch to poke home an equaliser, but the Cwmamman shot stopper pounced on the loose ball in the nick of time.

Ammanford piled forward in hope of securing a point from the game, but Cwmamman’s defence stood strong to the long balls thrown forward by the visitors, which posed little threat with Jones isolated up top.

The final whistle sparked celebrations as the home side climbed to third in the table, whilst Ammanford continue to look for their first win of the season.

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