Cwmbran CelticCaerau (Ely) FC
3 - 2Full Time
After the bright lights of the Welsh Cup last weekend, the JD Cymru South returned as Cwmbran Celtic welcomed newly promoted Caerau Ely to the Avondale Motor Park Arena for the first time since a 2-0 victory in the 19/20 season.
On an unexpectedly warm mid October afternoon Celtic made five changes from the cup defeat to Penybont last weekend and could have expected a tough game as Ely came into this one on the back of three victories in a row including two 3-0 wins & a 4-1 win.
As the game kicked off Cwmbran were the brighter of the two sides and had a very early chance, with a free kick on the edge of the Caerau area. Meechan’s effort though, only hit the wall and came back to him. He then attempted the spectacular as he flicked the ball over the Ely wall to get into the area but his effort only went out for a corner.
Celtic continued to impress in the early stages and that paid off, as the home side had the lead after just six minutes, Dom Connor combined to make space for Andrew Larcombe whose mid-range effort surprised the keeper and most of the crowd, as the shot whistled past Johnson into the Ely net to give Celtic a much deserved early 1-0 lead after just six minutes.
That shock goal seemed to awaken the visitors as their performance improved shortly after the goal and they had a good spell of the game, including a corner in the nineteenth minute which needed two headers to be cleared. Celtic looked disjointed as the game progressed, but Tom Meechan looked impressive, as his run down the left almost created another chance but his cross was headed away.
One of the biggest moments of the game took place in the twenty-eighth minute when despite Ely being given a free kick just inside the Celtic half, they found themselves down to ten men as Brandon Griffiths argued with the ref and whatever he said must have been particularly bad as he was given a straight red card.
After a few minutes of confusion, Ely took the free kick they had originally been given and much to everyone’s surprise they equalised when the ball was lofted to the far end of the area and headed home by the impressive James Williams for his fourth goal of the season to make it 1-1 after thirty minutes of play.
Following that goal Caerau reacted well to going down a man and James Williams continued to look good, as he ran down his team’s left wing and flicked the ball over the Celtic left back but his cross was headed out of play safely.
After that decent period for Ely, Cwmbran got back into the game and in fact against the run of play Celtic were in the lead again thanks to Alex Bonthron who headed home a beautiful cross from the right-hand side at the far post to score his eighth goal of the season so far.
The half ended with Celtic very much in charge of the game, as they had a few half chances and were taking full advantage of the extra man, but the score remained 2-1 to Cwmbran as the referee blew the half time whistle.
HALF TIME: Celtic 2 Caerau (Ely) 1
The second half began with dark clouds starting to make their much-anticipated appearance and the mood seemed to transfer down to the pitch, as Ely started the second period of play the better with a couple of chances coming from set pieces, the most dangerous of which was a looped header from a corner on the right side. It looked for a moment as though the header had found the back of the net but it just landed right behind the far corner of the goal net.
That was as good as it got for the away side for a while because Celtic started defending better and limiting the opportunities for Ely. The best chance for the visitors was limited to a thirty-yard shot from Hywel Davies, who turned nicely and made space for himself but his shot went high and out of play.
On the hour mark Alex McDowell broke the Ely offside trap perfectly and this reporter was directly in line to see that he was indeed onside despite some away fans thinking the opposite. McDowell got on the end of a through ball, turned nicely, got one on one with the keeper and ran around Johnson to coolly slide the ball home into an empty net to give Celtic a 3-1 lead after sixty minutes of play.
Ely again seemed to respond positively to conceding. They had a number of chances, including a goal that was disallowed for offside. Their sub, Daniel Bowen, had a long shot which Hooper saved easily.
Celtic were starting to look comfortable, like the game was coming to an uneventful end. However, that all changed in the seventy seventh minute, as that man again James Williams got his second goal of the game, as he tapped home a low cross from the left-hand side, after the ball had got past Hooper’s outstretched arm. That gave Cwmbran some nerves going into the last ten minutes of the game.
As was to be expected, the visitors did most of the attacking in that final period of play, as they looked to get an unlikely equaliser. Their best chance came from another sub. This time Shewring had a decent range effort that just went over but at this point you wouldn’t have known the visitors were down to ten men, as they were having all the possession and looking the more dangerous.
Now I was informed by our fearless manager James that he didn’t appreciate the Wimbledon references from a couple weeks ago, so I will go for a different reference this time, maybe somewhere warmer. So, for a couple minutes, it was like watching the Australian Open, as both teams went super long ball, end to end in an effort to get the last goal of the game but nothing came of it for either side.
One of the last moments of the game happened right in front of your favourite reporter, as Tyler Broom put in a great effort just inside the Ely half to hold off three Ely defenders and keep the ball in that half, which rightly earned a round of applause.
That ensured that the game ended 3-2 to Cwmbran Celtic to keep us in sixth place in the league, three points clear of Baglan in seventh and only one point behind Carmarthen Town in fifth
FULL TIME: Celtic 3 Caerau (Ely) 2
MOM: Dom Connor
|October 21, 2023
|JD Cymru South
|Caerau (Ely) FC