Kick off:19:30 Friday, 30 Nov 2012
at Stebonheath Park, Llanelli
Fixture Type: Welsh Premier League
Referee: Kim Fisher
Craig Morris kept a rare clean sheet for the Reds
Missed goal scoring options by Geoff Kellaway, Craig Moses, Chris Thomas and Martin Rose, denied recently appointed Llanelli manager Bob Jeffrey his first league victory against their Ceredigion rivals, at a bitterly cold Stebonheath Park. (reports Robert Clement).
There were two changes to the Reds side that returned from Newtown with a point following a first half goal by Lloyd Grist, with Rose and Kellaway having recovered from injury, replacing Ryan Batley and Chris Venables who were both named substitutes.
Meanwhile, for the Black & Green’s Adam Worton took over from hamstring victim Glyndwr Hughes, following their 3-0 victory against GAP Connah’s Quay.
It was Aberystwyth who created the first goalscoring opportunity after seven minutes, with Cledan Davies embarking swiftly into Llanelli territory, but the supporting Declan Carroll’s close range shot was smothered by goalkeeper Craig Morris.
There was an excellent chance for the home side to respond six minutes later, when an accurate defensive delivery by Chris Thomas was headed on by Rose with the former Port Talbot frontrunner linking with Luke Bowen; his right sided pass infield then deflected off Gavin Cadwallader, and unfortunately Kellaway despatched his rising effort from eight yards over the top.
Midway into the half, Aberystwyth’s Rhydian Davies lost possession to Chris Thomas; he then successfully picked out Moses, who displayed his attacking pace towards the penalty area to excellent effect, only to be denied vision of the target by Michael Lewis.
With seven minutes of the opening period remaining, there was once again another option for Llanelli to move off the mark, after former Llanelli striker Jordan Follows had been fouled by Kellaway, but it was an arrow-like free kick from twenty five yards by Chris Thomas, which flashed narrowly wide of the far upright.
There was an attempted by Aberystwyth to end the deadlock during the fifty third minute, following a yellow card incident for Chris Thomas, with him having halted the progress of Follows. Matthew Collins accurately sent the touch-line free kick into the goalmouth, and there was a period of head tennis involving Cadwallader, Follows, Rhydian Davies and Llanelli’s Adam Davies before Wyn Thomas’s effort was pushed away by Morris.
Llanelli were a whisker away from moving in front during the sixty fifth minute, when Devon born Antonio Corbisiero flighted a free kick from just inside the Cambrian coastal sides half, which saw Cadwallader and Rose attempt to secure aerial domination, but it was the Park Avenue player whose misdirected challenge rebounded off the base of the upright, and Lewis swiftly reacted to gain possession.
There was a last gasp attempt for the Reds to take all three points, when Mamadou Diallo picked out the available Kellaway who avoided a tackle from Sion James; a perfect pass into the path of Rose then saw him shake off the attention of Wyn Thomas, only to despatch the golden chance from twelve inches over the crossbar.
Following the goal-less outcome, which saw new Llanelli manager Bob Jeffrey gain his first home point; in his pitch-side interview with Robert Clement, he was asked what positives came out of the 0-0 result.
“A clean sheet; we’ve conceded six goals on two occasions recently against GAP Connah’s Quay and The New Saints, last week we went for a clean sheet at Newtown, but unfortunately conceded one and we’ve gone one better today”.
The former Swansea City youth team assistant coach was asked how frustrated was it, to see Martin Rose fail to make the breakthrough close to the end.
“He was there, he’s got a bit of a back strain but he lasted the ninety minutes; the chance came to him and if he was fully fit he probably would have put it away”.
Jeffrey responded to the situation of Llanelli not having the better of the possession, but on the other hand they certainly had the better of the chances.
“That’s right, I’m new to the team and I’ve got to start somewhere, so we’ve worked hard in training on the defensive duties, tightening things up at the back, which has seen us improve during the last two games, and over the ninety minutes in this game, I don’t think that Craig Morris has had a save to make”.
“I’m thoroughly enjoying the position of manager with the help of Gary Lloyd, its great, especially with the crowd tonight, Aberystwyth were well supported with their chanting and our fans were singing on the other side”.
The Glaswegian added, “I think we can see some encouraging signs coming, we hit the post, had a couple of good opportunities second half to possibly get the three points, it wasn’t to be, but the results will come if we keep putting the performances in like we did tonight”.
Following maximum points from recent fixtures with Port Talbot and Connah’s Quay, Aberystwyth assistant manager Ian Hughes provided his reflections on the ninety minutes.
“Llanelli have got a good team regardless of their recent off pitch concerns, and to keep a clean sheet here is one good thing to come out of the game. We’re disappointed that we didn’t impose ourselves on them as much as we would have liked, but in the second half we got into good areas, but our final ball and decision making in the final third was not up to the standard we required tonight”,
He was asked if he thought that the defences from both team came out on top.
“Yes possibly, but I think again that we got into good areas and from our final ball we could have created a couple of more chances which we tried to do, but probably a draw was a fair reflection on the game”.
With Jordan Follows returning to his former club, and being the inform scorer with three goals from recent games against Port Talbot and Connah’s Quay, Hughes remarked on the ability of the twenty two year old striker.
“Jordan certainly got into good areas, but he didn’t really have too many chances in this game which was a little disappointing, but he has underlined his form along with ability in the last couple of matches, so if he has the occasional quieter game every five or six weeks I can accept that”.
In a recent interview, Hughes commented that the team had struggled to find early form, but there has been a marked improvement in results.
“That’s right, there are a few clubs striving to get into the top six and we are one of them, we certainly have the potential to do that despite having a couple of tough games coming up, but we are fully confident of picking up points in the next few weeks”.