STM Sports 1 Carmarthen Town 7

Match Report – STM Sports v Carmarthen Town (9 July 2016)
By John Collyer
Match reporter for Welsh Premier League side Carmarthen Town AFC

STM Sports 1 Carmarthen Town 7

Carmarthen eventually overwhelmed STM Sports in this pre-season fixture but the Welsh League Division Three side played their full part in this competitive match and Town’s eventual comfortable victory was not assured until a 3 goal blitz in two minutes midway through the second-half.
The opening stages of this game were played at a frantic pace on an accommodating 3G surface with Town enjoying the greater share of possession and creating most of the forward pressure, while STM were quick to respond with a series of enthusiastic counter-attacks.
Yet despite their early dominance the Old Gold were initially unable to pierce the home defence and it was not until the 12th minute that their first scoring chance arose. Kyle Bassett made a strong run down the right-wing before cutting inside and playing the ball across to Dave Vincent who saw his crisp 20 yard drive deflected narrowly past the post by a defender. Then on 15 minutes Bassett, from near the corner of the penalty area, struck a fierce free-kick that drew a smart diving save from ‘keeper James Packham.
But Town’s constant probing eventually found success after 17 minutes – Liam Thomas instigated a slick move from the centre-circle, producing a superb cross-field pass to the far side of the penalty area to find Matthew Thomas who slid the ball across to Bassett and he cleverly slotted it under Packham and into the net.
While the visitors continued to dominate possession, STM remained a threat with their lively counter-attacking and on 32 minutes they secured an equaliser. Having won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, Josh Graham stepped forward and curled the ball over the defensive ‘wall’ and, with ‘keeper Lee Idzi uncharacteristically slow to react, it flew just inside the post.
Town responded to that setback immediately with a series of quick raids that kept pressure on the home defence. In the 35th minute Jordan Knott made a surging run down the left-wing then cut inside before firing a dangerous cross into the goalmouth where the ball rebounded off a defender but only as far as Bassett who placed his firm header just marginally wide of the post.
However the hosts again went close on 42 minutes from another Graham free-kick on the edge of the penalty area. Once more his well-crafted effort cleared the ‘wall’ and again deceived Idzi who watched the ball fly over his head but, thankfully this time, crash against the bar and bounce safely away.
Yet moments later the Old Gold restored their lead when a long forward pass from Vincent was chased by Connor Hughes and, with Packham advancing from his goal, he prodded the ball under the stranded ‘keeper and into the net.
After the interval the play was fairly evenly-balanced for a while with neither side managing to forge any notable scoring chances. But in the 56th minute Carmarthen at last breached the home defence with Lewis Harling threading a delightful pass through to Matthew Thomas on the edge of the penalty area and he released a rasping drive that Packham did well to claim.
And that heralded the remarkable spell that settled the result of this game. On 58 minutes Matthew Thomas embarked on a determined run towards the penalty area then slid the ball out to Aidan Miller who fired it invitingly across the goalmouth where Harling arrived with perfect timing to stab home from close range.
Straightaway Town struck again when Dan Sheehan played the ball forward to Matthew Thomas who took it neatly past the lone defender and into the penalty area where, with great composure, he side-stepped the advancing Packham and from a tight angle drilled the ball into the net to crown an impressive display from the young striker only recently signed from Welsh League side Risca United.
The Old Gold then put the result beyond doubt – they immediately forced their way back into the home penalty area and when the ball was sent into the goalmouth Bassett emerged from a crowd of defenders to clinically convert the chance. Three goals in the space of just two minutes!
And after 73 minutes they added yet another when Vincent crossed from the left touchline to find Danny Thomas just outside the penalty area and he chipped the ball over a defender to Miller who turned sharply past his marker and fired home from 8 yards.
Shortly afterwards Bassett sent a corner-kick deep into the goalmouth where Dwaine Bailey saw his close-range effort blocked on the line by a defender – finally, on 77 minutes Town concluded their goal feast when Danny Thomas chased a long cross to the by-line then played the ball back to Bassett on the edge of the penalty area and he completed his hat-trick with a masterful curling shot that flew past Packham and into the roof of the net.
Yet there was still time for STM to mount one last counter-attack when in the 87th minute, on a rare excursion into the Carmarthen penalty area, the ball reached Lammin Conteh who from a sharp angle struck a fierce 10 yard drive that gave Idzi the opportunity to atone for his earlier rare lapse by producing a spectacular flying save.

Team:
Lee Idzi; Dan Sheehan (sub Jordan Knott 75); Dwaine Bailey; Lee Surman; Jordan Knott (sub Dave Vincent 63); Dave Vincent (sub Craig Hanford 46); Lewis Harling (sub Connor Hughes 66); Liam Thomas (sub Kyle Bassett 49); Kyle Bassett (sub Aidan Miller 46); Matthew Thomas; Connor Hughes (sub Danny Thomas 46);

Cards: None

Goals: Kyle Bassett 17, 60, 77; Connor Hughes 44; Lewis Harling 58; Matthew Thomas 59; Aidan Miller 73.

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