Euros strike offers Gruff some Christmas cheer
12:04pm Tuesday 17th December 2013 in Sport
Ammanford 1, Caerau 0
AMMANFORD clinched a vital three points in their battle for survival as the fourth-from-bottom side claimed the scalp of basement club Caerau.
Ammanford began the day on nine points with the visitors holding up the entire division on just three, but with Cardiff Corries and Newport YMCA picking up points – one and three respectively – it proved imperative that Ammanford claimed a maximum in their race to safety.
However, if the homesters had expected an easy ride going into the game, they were soon woken with a start and made all too aware of Caerau’s determination and quality as a snap-shot fizzed just past the post on five minutes.
The hosts replied when Owen James put in a quality cross that was scrambled clear, but were then forced on to the back foot when a deflected shot went for a corner and had the same scenario repeated just minutes later.
Gruff Harrison’s men then registered a couple of decent strikes at goal themselves, but both were saved at the expense of corners, as the visiting keeper pulled off a series of decent stops to frustrate Ammanford front men.
Play continued in end-to-end fashion, with both sides seeking to claim the advantage right up to the half-time whistle.
The hosts upped their game after the restart, but time and again found their progress blocked by the determined visiting keeper.
Meanwhile, Caerau ensured the Ammanford defence stayed honest, stretching the back line at will as they went in search of a breakaway goal.
As the game wore on, the playing conditions gradually worsened until, going into the final quarter, the weather became horrific.
Ammanford again forced the visitors to defend desperately, with shots raining in on the Caerau keeper at regular intervals, meanwhile the visitors were also enjoying regular pot-shots, but could not get passed some brilliant goalkeeping from Jamie Rano.
The Ammanford stopper pulled off one great save to deny a Caerau direct freekick, before Ammanford again took control.
With the hosts totally dictating play, three one-on-one situations were spurned and it appeared the all-important three points their performance deserved might well remain out of reach.
But in the 88th minute, Euros Griffiths moved up from defence to add weight to Ammanford’s attack and was on hand to fire home from inside the penalty area to give Ammanford their just deserts.
On Saturday, Ammanford travel to Croesyceiliog before hosting Caldicot on December 28.
The club will host its annual Christmas draw this coming Saturday and a Day at the Races event at the Ammanford Cricket Club on Boxing Day.
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