Keeper Connor spot on to land shoot-out glory

Friday 29th July 2022 9:00 am
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CONNOR Christie proved the hero as Abergavenny Town’s goalkeeper kept cup rivals Llanelli Town scoreless with four successive saves in a dramatic penalty shoot out.

Town travelled to West Wales on Friday night to play their first competitive game of the season in the Nathaniel MG Cup and came away victorious after a thrilling and tense encounter.

Christie’s heroics after a 1-1 draw in normal time saw Aber run out deserved 2-0 winners in the shoot out.

If newly-promoted Town thought the step up this year to Cymru South was going to be a challenge it is one they met head on.

After a nervy first 10 minutes, Aber settled down and began to play their passing fluid football.

A low JJ Ogugua drive was deflected just wide for a corner as the Pennies pressed for an early breakthrough.

Aber kept prodding and probing despite a shot from Llanelli’s Nathan Logan deflecting off a defender and hitting the bar before bouncing away to safety.

And the visitors deservedly opened the scoring mid-way through the half when Rhys Tandy challenged the keeper for a high ball and shot home from close range after good play on the left by Ogugua.

Christie had to be alert at the other end when a Ryan Bevan free-kick driven into the box pinged around before the ball rebounded off the foot of the post into Christie’s hands.

At the other end, Coughlin was tested by Tandy, managing to push the effort away.

Llanelli, much fancied to be in the promotion places this year, then had a period of pressure which ended with the award of a soft and generous penalty, dispatched by Joe Hopkins to level the scores 1-1.

That was the score at half-time, and in the second half Aber came out and confidently knocked the ball around.

They created several chances while at the other end Ross Davies and Efu Kazadi were immense in dealing with anything that Llanelli threw at them, and Ben Watkins was dominant in midfield.

A last-ditch tackle by Jamie Baker on Preece on the edge of the box stopped the Aber player from getting a shot away, before Coughlin had to dive low to his left to divert a Dan MacDonald free-kick away from goal.

But it was Llanelli who nearly went in front as Keane Watts narrowly headed wide at the far post from a Hopkins delivery.

Aber surged back, and Coughlin had to be quick off his line to throw himself at Preece’s feet after the striker got the better of Baker.

Drew Heffernan then set up Jack Evans, but the volley went straight at the keeper, before Ogugua raced through the middle only for Coughlin again to dive at his feet and rescue the day.

Aber pushed for the late winner thy deserved, Tandy firing over in space following a sweeping move involving 10 passes, while MacDonald also spurned another match-winning chance.

But the only missing element was a winning goal as it ended all square.

Then enter stage left Christie to shut out the four penalties taken by Bevan, Hopkins, Sean Cronin and Louis Gerrard, while Preece and Joshua Bell gave Aber an unassailable 2-0 lead to go through to the next round.

Abergavenny Town head west again this Saturday afternoon (July 30) to launch their Cymru South league campaign against Pontardawe Town (kick-off 2.30pm), before their first home game at Pen-Y-Pound on Tuesday night (August 2) against Swansea University (kick-off 7.30pm).

Ardal South East outfit Goytre suffered a 6-1 home defeat in their final pre-season clash with strong Midland League visitors Worcester City at the weekend, and will be looking to bounce back this Saturday at Plough Lane when they take on Ynysddu Welfare in the JD Welsh Cup.

In the same competition, Blaenavon Blues travel to face fellow Ardal rivals Chepstow Town (kick-off 2pm) the same day.

After three weeks of in-house games and a tour to Bournemouth, Mardy FC face their first external opposition this Saturday with a home friendly against Gwent Premier team Lucas Cwmbran (ko 2pm), while the 2nds play a friendly against Garnlydan.

Training continues on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Mardy Park starting at 6.30pm with new players welcome.

The club’s U10s and U14s also have room for new recruits and the club’s junior section can be contacted on [email protected]

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