Kick off:14:30 Saturday, 5 Jan 2013
at Deeside Stadium, Connahs Quay
Fixture Type: Welsh Premier League
Referee: Huw Jones
Danny Forde scored for Nomads
The Nomads are still in with a chance of a top 6 place despite being held to a 1-1 draw by fellow contenders Carmarthen. An early lead gave the Nomads hope for the victory which might have virtually secured a top 6 standing but Carmarthen proved to be determined opponents and they shared the points after scoring a second half equaliser.
The Nomads were unchanged from the Airbus games with new signings John Hardiker and Lee Davey among the substitutes.
The visitors showed their attacking intentions right from the start and Mark McGregor was forced into making a very good block on a goal-bound shot within the first thirty seconds. This was followed by two corners to the visitors within the first two minutes. But it was the Nomads who got the first goal of the game in only the 7th minute when Danny Forde was on hand to score from close range after a long throw by Rhys Healey had been headed on across a crowded goalmouth.
Carmarthen have the worst disciplinary record in the league this season and their first booking came as early as the 10th minute when the appropriately named Fowler got the first yellow card for a tackle on Nomads captain Craig Jones.
The early goal had settled the Nomads and a good run down the left by Craig Jones resulted in a through ball to Rhys Healey whose shot across goal was diverted for a corner. Ricky Evans took the corner kick and after it had been returned to him on the edge of the box, his cross was met by Tigger and went just wide of the goal.
At the other end of the pitch, John Rushton was forced into tipping a Carmarthen header over the crossbar. Then a couple of minutes later he did well to stop a fierce shot from the edge of the penalty area but he couldn’t hold it and had to make a brave save as he blocked a shot from a Carmarthen forward who came rushing in to seize on the loose ball.
As the half hour mark approached, Carmarthen were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the penalty area but despite the free kick beating the Nomads’ wall , the ball was straight at John Rushton who made a comfortable save.
It was clear that Carmarthen were quite prepared to commit any number of fouls and Rhys Healey was once again getting rough treatment from an opposing defence with little protection from the referee.
The Nomads almost extended their lead in the 31st minute when Rob Jones unleashed a screamer of a shot from 30 yards with the keeper, Steve Cann, producing an excellent save to knock the ball round the post for a corner.
John Rushton was the busier of the keepers at this stage and he was called into action again in the 37th minute when he made a fine save at the feet of a Carmarthen forward as he chased a through ball from what appeared to be an offside position.
The Nomads had two more chances before the end of the first half as some good individual play by Rob Jones saw his shot well saved by the keeper and then Rhys Healey headed over following a cross from Jamie Petrie.
The first minute of the second half saw another yellow card for Carmarthen as Hicks pulled Rhys Healey back as he was trying to make a break from just inside the visitors’ half.
A couple of minutes later the visitors had a chance but their forward shot over the bar from about 8 yards. However, this was only a temporary reprieve for the Nomads as Carmarthen got themselves back into the game with a goal in the 52nd minute. The visitors were awarded a free kick just inside their own half and goalkeeper Steve Cann floated a long ball into the Nomads’ goal area where it eluded the defence and bounced up to give Craig Hughes a simple header into the goal from close range.
The Nomads were immediately back into attack and Craig Jones forced a corner but it was cleared by the visitors.
The home supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated by the visitors’ physical game and were outraged when Rob Jones was brought down by a Carmarthen player’s flailing arm to his face, with referee Huw Jones merely giving a free kick when the offence looked to deserve at least a yellow card. Then in the next minute Mr Jones booked Craig Jones for what he judged to be a simulation offence.
Both sides continued to create openings and just after the hour mark, Mark McGregor was unlucky to see his header go just wide as he connected with a free kick. Shortly afterwards the Nomads had two corners in quick succession and Carmarthen were fortunate when the second of the corners, taken by Rob Jones, clipped the crossbar.
Cummings became the third Carmarthen player to be booked in the 68th minute and Hicks was fortunate to stay on the field when once again he fouled Rhys Healey in the 74th minute. Having already been booked he should have been sent off for a second yellow card but Mr Jones chose not to reach for his card.
As the game edged towards the end, both sides brought on substitutes with John Hardiker coming on in the 76th minute in place of the hard working Jamie Wynne and Lee Davey replacing Rhys Healey in the 88th minute.
There were no more goal opportunities as both sides seemed to be reluctant to lose what had been a largely even contest. There remained just one further booking for Carmarthen when in the 90th minute substitute Doidge was yellow carded for a badly timed aerial challenge on Mark McGregor.
In the end, a draw was probably a fair result as there was little between the two sides. Carmarthen are a hard and physical side and it was easy to see how they have accumulated 55 yellow and 10 red cards this season. With both sides having their sights on a top 6 place this was always going to be a difficult game and the Nomads did well to gain the draw and keep their interest in the top 6 alive.