Ammanford fret over Rano with battle ahead

First published in Sport

Welsh League Football

Division Two

Ammanford 1 Caldicot 2

Ammanford enjoyed the perfect start to the final game of 2013 when a pinpoint Owen James cross was met by a rising Alex Thomas who headed home and put the hosts a goal to the good with just five minutes played.

The visitors contrived an all but identical effort just minutes later, but unlike the hosts, Caldicot saw their headed effort come back off the post and fall kindly to an Ammanford defender who was able to clear the danger.

Gruff Harrison’s men looked to make the most of their early momentum and could have doubled their advantage on 25 minutes only for their goal-bound effort from a corner to be cleared off the line.

The hosts continued to press and when Chris Hyde was felled on the edge of the area, another fine strike was scrambled away for a corner by the visiting defence.

The turning point of the game came on 35 minutes when James was sent racing clear late on in the half. The front man coolly rounded the keeper but then saw his shot drift inches wide of the empty goal.

The hosts’ confidence received another setback when inspirational keeper Jamie Rano was forced off through injury just before the break.

Young substitute James Kirkwood, drafted into the squad as cover for Reno, took over between the sticks, but the visitors had found another gear.

Caldicot came more and more into the game as the half drew towards its conclusion and levelled on 42 minutes when centre forward Dan Saunders fired home.

The visitors dominated the second half and only a superb save by Kirkwood soon after the interval kept Ammanford on equal terms.

But the writing was already on the wall for Ammanford and their brittle confidence soon cracked.

The damage duly arrived on the hour mark when Saunders doubled his tally and handed the advantage to the visitors.

Ammanford could find no way back and were fortunate not to fall further behind late on when Caldicot had a decent penalty shout turned down and saw a number of efforts cleared off the line.

Ammanford, who remain fourth from bottom, host Ely Rangers on Saturday.

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