The Reds score a point against Briton Ferry

LLANELLI Town’s interest in the Nathaniel MG Cup failed to clear the first hurdle as after managing a rather fortuitous 1-1 draw in 90 minutes they made a complete hash of the penalty shootout which followed, with four players not finding the net, while their opponents were not much better, but managed to score twice and claim their place in the next round of the competition.

The hosts have introduced no less than ten new players to the squad, either in the starting line-up or on the bench, but on this evidence it will take time and hard work to integrate them into a squad capable of have a real impact for the coming season.

Once again, the lack of goalscoring prowess seems to be the main problem, and apart from a few near misses, the visitors’ goal has rarely come under real threat, with goalkeeper Connor Christie playing a relatively calm game, unlike his opponent. number one, Scott Coughlin, who kept the Reds in contention with a series of crucial interventions, and without his efforts the tie would have been out of reach at the final whistle.

Abergavenny was on the attack almost from the start with a ball driven low into the box by Joseph Ogugua narrowly deflected for a corner.

This pattern continued for much of the half, although the hosts were unlucky when an effort from Nathan Logan deflected a defender before bouncing off the crossbar and over.

The visitors were finally rewarded for their efforts when they took the lead in the 21st minute following a high ball into the goalmouth, leading to Coughlin and Rhys Tandy challenging him, the latter coming off victorious by forcing him back on the line.

Stung by that setback, the Reds fought back with a Ryan Bevan free-kick directed towards goal which led to a scrum in front of the net with the loose ball bouncing off the foot of the post before being collected safely by Christie.

The visitors were still in the ascendancy, and Coughlin did well to fend off a well-aimed shot from Tandy, before the hosts were thrown a lifeline with a penalty awarded in the 37e minute when Keane Watts was brought down in the box, and Josef Hopkins made no mistake on the spot to send the teams squared at the break.

The second half largely followed the pattern of the first, with Abergavenny mostly dictating play, the Reds living on crumbs of possession.

Took a life-saving tackle from Jamie Baker on Greg Preece on the edge of the box to stop the visiting player heading for goal, while Coughlin was forced to dive low to his left to deflect a free-kick from Daniel MacDonald far from the goal.

A rare chance for the home side was spurned when Watts headed wide at the far post on a Hopkins delivery, before surviving another close call when Baker tangled with Preece.

breathing down his neck, causing Coughlin to save the day again by throwing himself at Preece’s feet to prevent some scoring.

Jack Evans fired a shot into the guts of the Reds keeper when he volleyed an assist from Drew Heffernan towards goal, and when Ogugua was cleared down the middle, Coughlin again came to the rescue, grabbing the ball at his feet in the surface.

With time ticking down and penalties looming, Abergavenny created two more chances that would have won the contest, with Tandy guilty of a poor miss shot into space and a decent shooting position, while MacDonald also failed to get the best out of another. potential winner.

With full equality at one each, the result then had to be decided by means of a penalty shoot-out, which, when taken, turned into something of a farce.

Of the seven kicks fired from each side, the Reds failed to find the net with their four attempts with the culprits being Bevan, Hopkins, Sean Cronin and Louis Gerrard, while the visitors also fell short with their first kick from MacDonald past Preece and Joshua Bell. eventually sent them to the next round.

This is not the start visualized by the Reds, and serious thought must be given ahead of the league opener at Stebonheath next Friday night, when their opponents are Afan Lido. Kick off is at 7:30 p.m.

The Reds have another league game at home to Cwmbran Celtic on Tuesday August 2, also kicking off at 7.30pm.

About Kevin Strickland

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