Ammanford AFC have qualified for the Third Round of the JD Welsh Cup for the first time since 1998/99 after they defeated Llantwit Major 3-2 on penalties after the sides were tied 1-1 after extra time.
A maiden first team goal for Rhodri Jones was enough to bring the hosts level and to take the game to extra time, but with no winner found in extra time, Ammanford’s second Welsh Cup match in a row was set to be decided by penalties.
Ioan Treharne was phenomenal in goal for Ammanford, who secured their place in the last round as after five penalties each, it was 2-2 and with Treharne saving Llantwit’s effort, captain Rhys Fisher stepped up to send Ammanford into the next round.
However, it was the visitors who started the game the brighter of the two sides.
Treharne was forced into action early on. But denied the visitors.
Ammanford’s first real opportunity came with 17 minutes gone, as youngster Rhys Davies was played in on the right of the area, and with the goalkeeper to beat, he saw his shot ricochet off the post.
The game was a midfield battle for much of the first half, with neither side taking control of proceedings. Cerith Williams was playing on the edge for the majority of the game, and a late challenge during the first half saw him cautioned.
After the interval though, the visitors began to impose their mark on the game.
Ammanford’s Gavin Jones had a half chance on 53 minutes, but he dragged his shot wide.
But, the away side took the lead on 57 minutes, as a confusion in the Ammanford area gifted the Llantwit forwards an opportunity, and it was one they duly took to go 1-0 up.
They nearly doubled they lead minutes later, but Treharne parried their shot before pouncing on it to stifle the threat.
Jones proved to be Gruff Harrison’s side’s main threat going forward but the Major defence stood firm to his belligerent efforts upfront.
However, the turning point proved to be when Harrison introduced Jones upfront. As minutes after his introduction, with 13 minutes remaining, the forward got his head on the end of a delivery into the area and levelled the scores.
The game ended with a fierce end to end duel from the two sides, as Treharne kept his side in the game in the dying embers after Major had a golden opportunity when Nich Arnold lost the ball in his final third. Then, with the last kick of normal time, Rhys Fisher fired wide from 18 yards.
Llantwit had the better of the extra times, and nearly took the lead on 105 minutes, but Nich Arnold’s header back to his keeper forced Treharne into a save, and then was cleared away by the young centre half in a last ditch challenge.
The Carmarthenshire outfit were reduced to ten men in the second half of extra time when Euros Griffiths was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge. However, the Gwent side couldn’t force through a winner in extra time and the game went to penalties.
Llantwit took the first of the penalties and scored. Ammanford missed their first penalty, and the sides exchanged misses until Matthew Fisher levelled things up after three penalties each.
After four penalties, Major missed their final penalty and Brett Enoch had the chance to send Ammanford through but he saw his effort denied by the keeper.
Treharne saved a tame penalty from the visitors in sudden death before Rhys Fisher stepped up, and calmly slotted into the bottom right corner and wheeled away in celebration as Ammanford advance to the third round for the first time in the millennium.
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