Historic victory for Carew and historic night for Pembrokeshire football

Carew reach West Wales Intermediate Cup final for first time in clubs history

Carew reach West Wales Intermediate Cup final for first time in club's history
Carew's two-goal heroes Sam Christopher and Lloyd Hughes
Match officials

West Wales Intermediate Cup semi final:


Carew 4 - Giants Grave 2

It was a historic win for Carew, and it has set up an historic night for Pembrokeshire football, writes Fraser Watson.

The Rooks secured a place in the West Wales Cup final for the first time ever last night as goal braces from Sam Christopher and Lloyd Hughes helped them beat Giants Grave 4-2 at Garden Village.

They had trailed early on to a Richard Evans penalty but then before half time came a devastating 14 minute spell which yielded four Carew goals, and although Evans struck again with a free kick after the break the damage was done.

It means a first ever all Pembrokeshire final on Tuesday, May 7th at the Liberty Stadium when Carew meet Merlins Bridge, just 16 days after the sides will contest the Senior Cup final, and both teams are also still chasing the Division One title in what promises to be an epic finale to the season.

Rocky start for Rooks:

Carews two-goal heroes Sam Christopher and Lloyd HughesAfter 27 minutes at Garden Village last night Carew trailed, and yet by half time they had nigh on blown Giants Grave away.

Things didn’t start well as despite Jack Christopher forcing Giants Grave keeper Keiron Hyde into an early save - it was the Neath side who fashioned the first real chance as Richard Barness could only poke a close range shot straight at Tom Davies.

But inside seven minutes they led when Ross Hobson pumped a free kick into the box which bounced awkwardly and hit the arm of Iwan Izzard. It was unfortunate for the Carew captain but there were few complaints as referee Ben Williams pointed to the spot – and Evans duly buried the penalty.

Grave buried after Christopher strikes back:

Carew’s nervy opening continued as Ross Davies’ corner prompted a scramble in the six yard box but as the half went on the Pembrokeshire side settled, and Jack Christopher’s header across goal just evaded brother Sam.

And then came that 14 minute spell where Carew clicked. Izzard, Ian Darbyshire, Alex Bayley and Hughes got hold of things in midfield and full backs Shaun Whitfield and Zak Rowell surged forward at will - and the speed with which they attacked had their opponents at sixes and sevens.

On the 28 minute mark the carnage started as Bayley played in Sam Christopher, and he still had plenty to do as he turned on the edge of the area and drilled a left footed shot into the bottom corner.

And just three minutes later it was 2-1 as Hughes ran from half way before shooting straight at Hyde from 20 yards, and the keeper could only fumble the effort through his legs and over the line.

The onslaught continued and suddenly Giants Grave looked rattled, and on 35 minutes it was Sam Christopher who struck again by heading in at the back post after a pinpoint cross from Hughes.

And three minutes before half time the latter also got his second goal as he pounced on a slip by Hobson before going clean through and rounding Hyde to score.

Christopher miscued with another chance and Davies was booked for Giants Grave and at half time, the Pembrokeshire team looked in total control.

Carew see it out after early scare:

Perhaps inevitably though, Carew’s intensity was checked by the half time break and eight minutes into the second half it was Evans who dragged his side back into it.

Shortly after also going into the book, he unleashed a brilliant 20 yard free kick that curled into Davies’ top corner and gave Giants Grave renewed hope.

But in truth, after that there was little in the way of chances for either side and Carew looked comfortable. Jordan Richards put a free kick into the wall while at the other end Luke Pearson went down in the area but Williams rightly waved away the appeals.

The Grave continued a direct approach but Carew defender Max Brindley in particular was dominant in the air, and things got stagnated late on as the Neath side grew frustrated with Pearson and Simon Hanford also booked.

Rob Scourfield sent on Tom Grover and James Hinchcliffe late on as his side switched to a back five - and both he and assistant Jeremy Griffiths were almost celebrating again when a swift counter attack ended with Richards having his shot saved by the legs of Hyde.

But it mattered little as Carew rode out the final few moments, an Evans free kick that sailed over their only moment of real concern, to book their place at the Liberty.

Match officialsPivotal period ahead:

For Scourfield, Griffiths and the players a massive six weeks now lies ahead. They play Monkton on Saturday, the first of three games in five days, and in reality nine points is required to keep alive their title hopes. Games will come think and fast for them now but two pending final appearances should help retain focus.

Players will have to be rotated but they have Spencer Williams and Scott Ferney to return and given they are now unbeaten since November, they enter the season finale with as much momentum as anyone.

Regardless, deservedly making two cup finals underlines their serious progress since being promoted in 2014/15. It will be quite a night on May 7th.

Man of the match – Lloyd Hughes:

Once Carew settled in the first half, the swept forward in waves and Hughes was central to all their work.

His range of passing and accuracy of crossing were both top class and as well as scoring twice himself, he played a big hand in Christopher’s second goal.

When he got on the ball, possession was rarely wasted.

Rob Scourfield (Carew manager):

“We knew from playing them last season what they would bring and that we had the pace to get at them. The penalty early on was unfortunate for Iwan but it was the right decision.

“We are a young team and it took us time to settle but once we did we played with real confidence. It was part of the plan to try and catch them on the break and I’m really proud of how the boys played.

“We lost two semi finals last season so beating Pennar a few weeks ago helped us in terms of confidence. Knowing we already had a final in the bank took pressure off us and it’s amazing for everyone at the club to reach the Liberty Stadium – and great for Pembrokeshire football as well.

“With our fixtures coming up now we will have to rotate players. But we have a big squad and are still going for all three."

Carew: Tom Davies, Shaun Whitfield, Jack Christopher, Max Brindley, Zak Rowell, Iwan Izzard, Ian Darbyshire, Lloyd Hughes (James Hinchliffe 83), Alex Bayley, Jordan Richards (Tom Grover 86), Sam Christopher. 

Subs not used: Ben Evans, Scott Richards, Haydn Shapcott.

Giants Grave: Keiron Hyde, Dan Williams, Simon Hanford, Ross Hobson, Chris Mahoney, Ross Davies (Josh Davies 65), Dean Evans, Luke Pearson, Tim Stephens, Richard Barness (Rob Canny 59), Richard Evans.

Subs not used: Jack Surman, Adam Llewellyn, Anthony Price.

Referee: Ben Williams.

Assistants: Mike Phillips and Luke Gregory.

Fourth official: Phil Harries.

?Semi-finalists Giants Grave

?Semi-finalists Giants Grave