Afan Lido 0 – 1 Briton Ferry Llansawell
Lido, who came into this game on the back of a run of 6 straight wins including a 2-1 away win at Llanelli Town on 26th January, were looking to top the division with another win this evening against Briton Ferry Llansawel. Ferry however, have been on great form having not lost since 15th December last year and have beaten three of the teams above them in the division along the way, including a fantastic 3-2 away win at league leaders Haverfordwest County.
Prior to kick off I spoke to Lido’s chief executive Alan Howells. He commented that we were about to watch “two on form teams” and was looking forward to a great match between these local rivals.
Ferry kicked off on a slightly muddy pitch that would prove to make it heavy underfoot. The first few exchanges saw Lido opting to play a long ball game. Striker Sean Hanbury was very busy at the front but he had a miserable evening as Lido rarely fed him a direct pass along the floor at pace, instead lofting high long passes that Ferry’s well drilled back four found easy to read catching Lido’s forwards offside at will.
Ferry, on the other hand, were playing a passing game but the heavy conditions found them relying heavily on eventual goal scorer Steve Davey to try and provide a cross to their forwards in the box, whether it was from open play down the right or from free kicks. However Lido’s defence was alive to the threat. In particular, Carlos Indjal, playing at centre back for this game, was very solid in defence. At one point getting under the skin of Ferry’s all time leading goalscorer scorer in the league, centre forward Gareth Jones so much that referee Gavin Towsend had to step in and speak to both players to calm them down.
This was the pattern of the first half and both defences were so effective in halting fairly predictable attacks that the Goalkeepers for the evening, Lido’s Steven Cann and Ferry’s Luke Probert could be seen continually trying to keep warm by jumping up and down on the spot swinging their arms.
There were few attempts on goal in the half. Ferry midfielder Rory Healey took a speculative attempt on goal lobbing a shot over Lido’s strong defence which Steven Cann easily caught with both hands.
Ferry’s Dan Kingdom and winger Tom Da Silva combined well down the left on a few occasions but couldn’t find any players to send a final pass to.
At the other end Lido were ending the half looking to pick up the pace but any chances they did get were at full stretch and hard to control so the few attempts on goal they did take went well wide. Lido did get one clear chance in the half with midfielder Sacha Walters receiving the ball on the edge of the area to the right of the goal in space. However, his powerful shot was rushed and went wide to the right of goal.
Half time. Afan Lido 0 – 0 Briton Ferry Llansawel
The second half started much more positively with Lido coming fast out of the blocks. The early pressure and Ferry’s resistance leading to frayed tempers on both teams. A skirmish involving a number of players from both teams led to yellow cards for Lido’s Sean Hanbury and Ferry’s Rory Healey.
Ferry came back with some positive play of their own with Lido’s midfield failing to deal with some clever passing leading to winger Tom Da Silva giving keeper Steven Cann his first real test with a shot that was pushed behind for a corner.
The heavy conditions were taking their toll on both sets of players and when Lido came back on the attack some tired defending by Ferry saw the ball fall to Lido midfielder Elliot Thomas who fired a very powerful shot at goal with goalkeeper Luke Probert having to make a spectacular diving save to his right.
With tired legs and poor passing creeping into the game both sides made changes.
Lido looked to take advantage of some tired defending by bringing on strikers Jack Todd and Josh Webber. Ferry looked to freshen up their midfield bringing on David Brown and Mattie Hughes.
However it was a defensive error by Lido’s back four who failed to clear a simple ball that led to Ferry’s goal. Ferry’s midfield got the ball through to Steve Davey on the right of the area who stood up well and fired a shot across the keeper into the bottom left of the goal. It was a great finish and well deserved.
Afan Lido 0 – 1 Briton Ferry Llansawel
From the restart Ferry started applying more pressure. They were playing with newfound confidence. Lido had to find a goal and played with no shortage of passion. Alex Gammond, making his 100th league start, was like a man possessed barking instructions at those around him as time was running out. Lido brought on another striker, Kieran Cullen. They continued to use the long ball looking to find an equaliser, but Ferry’s back four dealt with the threat easily as they had done all night. Lido’s passion and persistence almost payed off. They played the ball into the area from a set piece free kick which eventually fell to Carlos Indjal who had a close range effort frantically toed out in front of goal by Ferry’s scrambling defence.
It was not to be Lido’s night. Ferry came to the Marston’s Stadium and closed Lido’s game down continuing their run of wins against top 6 opposition.
Full time. Afan Lido 0 – 1 Briton Ferry Llansawel