County errors cost them dearly

Pembrokeshire League

SB Williams Inter League Cup:


Pembrokeshire League 1  Swansea League 3

Pembrokeshire missed a great chance to seal the SB Williams Cup last night as they faltered in the final stages of their game against the Swansea League at the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium

Leading through Joe Leahy's second half header, the home side conceded three goals in the final 10 minutes to put Swansea top of the group on goal difference.

It was a much changed Swansea side from the one beaten 3-1 by the county in Garden Village last month, and they started the better as the hosts endured some nervy moments.

Among them, Chris Fisher fired over from the edge of the area, and Liam Ottens free kick found Gareth Morrell at the back post, but his close range shot deflected away to safety.

Pembs start to threaten up front

Pembrokeshire striker Joe Leahy did fire a low effort straight at Nick Lewis but the home side were dealt two big blows as for the second successive county game Llyr Tobin was forced off with a head injury, and Jordan Griffiths also left the field with a thigh problem.

The intensity of the contest was evident as both Declan Banfield and Kieran Cullen saw yellow for Swansea for late challenges and as the half wore on, it was the home side who took command and Leahy and Justin Harding combined to set up Adam Hawkins, who had replaced Griffiths moments earlier, but Lewis was out sharply to smother his effort.

And right on half time, the keeper again stood firm to keep out Adam Johns driven shot after Luke Haywards corner had found its way through to the winger.

Great county start to second half

But seven minutes into the second half Pembrokeshire took control, as right back Matthew DIvry beat his man before pinging a cross onto the head of the unmarked Leahy, who made no mistake from six yards.

Nigel Delaney and Chris OSullivans team then pressed for a second, and John began to threaten as he drew Luke Edwards (also booked) into a foul on the edge of the area only for Harding to see his free kick come back off the inside of the post.

Craig Spring also went into the book for a foul on John and the Hakin man was in the thick of it again when he teed up sub Nicky Woodrow, but his club teammate uncharacteristically fired wide from close range.

Disastrous final ten minutes

And then with just over 10 minutes left, the tide turned.

Elliott Smith saw his left foot shot beaten away by Gwilt but then the Swansea forward instigated the fightback as he was tripped by Hawkins in the box, and referee Ben Williams had no hesitation in giving the penalty and booking the Merlins Bridge man.

Brad Coozes penalty was well saved by Gwilt low to his right, and the Goodwick keeper also blocked the rebound attempt but from the scramble that followed Fisher swept a shot in from close range.

Less than two minutes later the turnaround was complete as Swansea right back Declan Banfield, who was pivotal in pressing forward late on, floated in a cross that evaded Gwilt and was inadvertently turned into his own net by Hawkins. It completed a few minutes to forget for the latter.

So Pembrokeshire suddenly needed another dramatic late show and Hardings stinging volley was pushed over by Lewis, and from the ensuing Hayward corner Wayne OSullivans flicked header narrowly cleared the bar.

But with time running out, Swansea sub Luke Gear sealed the win with a goal that may yet to prove crucial in the outcome of the tournament, beating an onrushing Gwilt to a through ball outside the area and duly tapping into an empty net.

It leaves the two teams on six points, but Swansea (+4) have a superior goal difference to Pembrokeshire (+1), with both teams set to play Carmarthenshire next month.

Nigel Delaney:

"Had we scored to make it 2-0 it would have been game over but suddenly they go up the other end and its 1-1. But that is the fine lines of football and thats why we love the game. "

Man of the match: Declan Banfield

Swansea keeper Nick Lewis made some crucial saves, but it was Banfield who proved a constant threat as the visitors fought back late on.

The right back had his hands full with John as Pembrokeshire pushed but his overlapping runs and crosses gave his team an extra dimension going forward.

It was his ball in that led to the own goal (his attempts to claim it himself on Twitter were a tad ambitious mind) and the Penclawdd man was full of energy to the end.

For Pembrokeshire, Justin Harding excelled. The Hakin man constantly dropped deep and found pockets of space, and was unlucky not to be in the score sheet as his second half free kick struck the woodwork, before his stinging late volley was well saved by Lewis.

Two different endings:

Last week Pembrokeshire stormed back to beat Carmarthenshire 4-3 to snatch a dramatic win, this week they lost their way when seemingly in control late on.

The defeat will rankle with Delaney and OSullivan, their side seemed to have taken a grip on things in the second half and another goal would surely have killed it.

But credit Swansea, they started slickly and then rallied when they were up against it in the closing stages. And now they are in the driving seat for the tournament.

The state of play:

Pembrokeshire and Swansea have six points, and barring Carmarthenshire dishing out an unlikely hiding to both next month, one of the two will take the trophy.

Swanseas goal difference is three better off than Delaneys side and the date for their game with Carmarthenshire is provisionally set for November 6th - word last night was Pembrokeshire will play the latter two weeks later in Stebonheath Park.

If Swansea lose or draw, a Pembrokeshire win in Llanelli will be enough. Should their rivals win, they will be left needing a goal fest.

Pembrokeshire League: James Gwilt, Matthew DIvry (Ben Adams 90), Wayne OSullivan, Scott Delaney, Llyr Tobin (Mark Jones 33), Luke Hayward, Lee Hudgell (Matty Delaney 90), Adam John, Joe Leahy (Nicky Woodrow 67), Justin Harding, Jordan Griffiths (Adam Hawkins 42). Subs not used: Matty Delaney, Ben Adams.

Swansea League: Nick Lewis, Declan Banfield, Liam Otten, Craig Spring, Richard Evans, Brad Cooze, Chris Fisher, Gareth Morell, Luke Edwards, Kieran Cullen, Elliot Smith. Subs: Jordan Doyle, Aaryn Whitelock, Sam Lewis, Luke Gear, Rhys Pezulian.

Referee: Ben Williams.
Assistants: Daniel Beckett and Robbie Brown.
Fourth official: Phil Harris.