Ammanford AFC 1-1 Cwmamman United: Sides share spoils in fiery local derby
Ammanford AFC and Cwmamman United were made to share the spoils in front of over 300 people in the second Amman Valley derby of the season.
In a hotly contested fixture, both sides were reduced to ten men early in the second half as both Dale Jones and Brieg Matthews were given their marching orders.
Ryan Hurlow gave Cwmamman the lead, and the away side missed a golden opportunity when Morris saved their spot kick. Before, Ammanford secured an equaliser late on through winger Liam Samuel, as both sides had to settle for a draw.
It was the hosts who dominated the early proceedings and set the tone for the second local derby of the season.
On the back of an impressive November, Ammanford were confident of usurping their local neighbours who had enjoyed six wins to begin the season.
Richie Lewis appeared to be the focal attacking outlet of Ammanford’s attacking plan, as the former Llanelli man was pushed forward to accommodate captain Rhys Fisher back into the lineup.
However, the wide men saw his early tame effort saved with ease.
The first half was dominated by the focus on the midfield battle, and Dale Jones’ presence at the base of Ammanford’s midfield proved pivotal in hindering the Cwmamman attack.
Both Liam Samuel and Enoch had opportunities but provided little threat to Chris Curtis in the visitors’ goal.
However, the away side did carve out a great opportunity half an hour in, as pacey wide-man Hurlow darted through on goal, but right-back Nich Arnold made an expertly timed last ditch tackle to halt the attacker as he was about to test Morris with an effort on goal.
Liam Samuel attempted to set up Alfie Stottor, when he delicately chipped a ball into space for the former Haverfordwest man to fire an effort in on goal, but Stottor, who has found the back of the net seven times already in the league this season, couldn’t get a clean strike away.
Five minutes before the interval, Cwmamman target man Christian Allen was given a half chance when he brought the free kick down with his chest before volleying wide of the mark, and he again tested Morris with a diving header, but Morris held on.
The second period saw the tables turned as Cwmamman dominated the play, and the away side were given a boost when tenacious midfielder Jones was given his second yellow for a late challenge.
In the aftermath of the dismissal, Brieg Matthews was given a straight red card that saw both sides reduced to ten men each, mirroring the matchup between the two sides at Grenig Park earlier this season.
A tactical switch at halftime saw Hurlow switch sides, which provided already cautioned defender Rhys Fisher with a difficult task in the second half, and it proved the case as Hurlow darted through on goal on 57 minutes but fired just passed the post.
But Hurlow remained a menace going forward and eventually his persistence up top paid off, as he put Morris under pressure as the goalkeeper hesitated to collect a ball and the attacked pounced to tap home and send the away side ahead.
Matthew Jones was brought on to replace Fisher to try and plug the hole, but with 74 minutes gone Nick Glendon handed Cwmamman a penalty after a clumsy challenge inside the area.
However, Morris dived low to his left to turn away Ashley Johns’ spot kick.
The save handed Ammanford a lifeline, as Harrison rung the changes and added tireless winger Ricky Martin to press Cwmamman’s defensive line.
The pressure eventually took its toll, as a mix up at the bag allowed Mathew Fisher and Craig Frater in on goal. However, Frater fired straight at Curtis, but Liam Samuel was on hand to fire home the rebound.
The goal provided Ammanford a morale boost, as the crowd roared the home side on to chase the winner. Craig Frater had an opportunity late on, but from the edge of the area he placed his effort just passed Curtis’ right hand post.
The referee drew to a close an intense and passionate Amman Valley derby, celebrated in the honour of supporting Paul’s Pledge, in a game which both sides felt they should have won, but a game in which a draw was probably deserved.