Abi Davies takes us across Swansea Bay for the local derby between Andy Legg’s Llanelli and Lee Trundle’s Neath.
With the last meeting between the two sides resulting in a 4-0 victory to Andy Legg’s side, Neath looked adamant they were not going to allow history to repeat itself, looking the brighter of the two sides in the early exchanges with ex-Swansea city players Lee Trundle, Chris Jones and Chad Bond combining well and causing the Reds back line countless problems.
Dyer’s side were handed their first chance to capitalise on their dominance after Llanelli keeper Ashley Morris handled the ball outside the area, having been put under pressure by Chad Bond. Trundle stepped up to take the free kick but his effort fired just over the top corner.
The Eagles came even closer to providing the opener moments later as they caught the home side on the counter attack. From a movement that begun deep inside their own half, Paul Fowler found Lee Trundle out wide- the striker played the ball forward to Chris Jones who picked out Chad Bond inside the area- his resulting shot pushed just wide of the post.
Almost midway through the first half, Neath’s keeper Lee Idzi was forced into making a great save to keep out Craig Moses’ close range effort.
Former Swans players Trundle and Bond continued to trouble Llanelli as they linked up once more, with Bond’s first time ball into the area picking out Chris Jones who’s attempt to finish from an acute angle blasted over the cross bar.
Both sides continued to create chances testing keepers Idzi and Morris, however it was the home side who took advantage of their opportunities. After being awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area, a great strike from Craig Williams found the gap in the wall and powered into the net to break the deadlock.
Neath continued to have the better spells in possession after the goal, however Llanelli looked a more compact unit in and around the box. Even though both teams had chances in the remainder of the half there was only one goal separating the sides at the interval.
Neath manager Dyer decided to change things shortly after the restart, introducing Craig Hughes in place of arguably one of the most influential players for the Eagles in the first half – Chad Bond. The Visitors struggled to create any clear cut chances after the substitution as they were made to play quite deep with a rampant Reds side pressing for a second. Llanelli’s attacking play soon paid off as captain Stuart Jones’ header beat Neath’s keeper, doubling his sides lead.
The home side looked to be cruising at 2-0, and inflicted further misery on the Eagles when the ball fell to Jason Bowen after charging down O’leary’s clearance, the ex-Swans and Cardiff player finished from just inside the area. Llanelli made it 4 in injury time, capping a great performance as Neath suffered the same fortune as when the sides met at the Gnoll in February.
The 4-0 victory sees Andy Legg’s Llanelli close the gap between themselves and Neath to just four points with four games remaining.