Kone Set for Levante Return

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The Mirror claim Arouna Kone could be set for a January switch back to his former club Levante in La Liga, as he seeks playing time following his yearlong injury lay-off.

The Ivorian was brought to the Premier League by current manager Roberto Martinez whilst at Wigan Athletic, and netted 11 league goals that season. But, when Martinez departed to fill the vacant post left by David Moyes at Everton, he soon followed as a £5 million arrival at Goodison Park.

However, the striker has struggled to get any sort of game time in the last year after he suffered a knee ligament injury only five games into his maiden season there, but Levante are reported to have sought out his availability ahead of a January move.

The 31 year-old spent a season on loan at the Spanish outfit in 2011-12 where he netted 15 goals in 34 appearances, and he soon signed a permanent deal with the side. But, in the same summer he moved to the Latics for £3.5 million.

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Fisher Hat-Trick Sends Fires Ammanford Into Next Round

A Matthew Fisher hat-trick fired Ammanford AFC into the second round of the Welsh Cup, after they defeated Sully Sports 5-2 at the Recreational Ground.

With their league future still up in the air, the club put off field matters to one side to produce a scintillating display of attacking football for the home fans.

Ammanford controlled proceedings early on and tested the opposition keeper when Ben Soal latched onto Matthew Fisher’s pass, but his shot was tipped wide. Despite their early pressure, they fell behind on 14 minutes when Alex Long rounded James Kirkwood before tapping into the gaping net. The away side nearly doubled their lead minutes later, when Sully fizzed a shot past the post.

The lead didn’t last long though as Fisher split open the defence with his incisive run and rounded the goalkeeper before netting the equaliser. Ammanford did press forward in search of a second, but Mikey Morris and Craig Frater fired wide in the opening half.

Kirkwood was brought into action right before the break as he expertly tipped a shot round the corner, before wowing the crowd with a superb diving save from a rasping volley which seemed certain to ripple the net.

After the interval, the hosts did take the lead when Frater netted on his competitive debut, cutting in from the right wing to fire home. He then blasted over when one on one minutes later.

The lead was then doubled when Fisher cooly slotted past the keeper on 64 minutes.

Some exquisite play was on view for the home fans as goalscorer turned provider as Fisher set up Alec Squires, who powered home from the edge of the area to make it 4-1.

The visitors immediately replied though, as Andrew Townsend’s cross-come-shot fortunately dipped over Kirkwood’s head and into the net from an acute angle.

Late on Fisher completed his hat-trick as he elegantly flicked the balk over the goalie’s head and headed home to bring a conclusion to the attacking master class.

Enoch Hits Derby Winner

Pride. Passion. Belief. Those were the feelings that fans felt emanated from the young Ammanford side, after they overcame local rivals Cwmamman United 2-1 after extra time, in a thrilling Welsh Cup tie.

When the draw was made there was a sense of excitement in the Amman Valley ahead of a local derby, the first in the history of the two sides, and the tie certainly did live up to its pre-match billing; with a last gasp equaliser from Ammanford sending the game into an extra period before Brett Enoch secured bragging rights for Ammanford with a tremendous free kick.

Ammanford took an early strangle hold on the game at Grenig Park, with Rhys Owen latching onto a corner, sending the ball over the bar. A clear signal intent from Ammanford; they weren’t going to be pushovers in this game.

With 15 minutes gone, spark a five minute frenzy as firstly Mikey Morris broke through the home side’s defence before failing to get the ball out of his feet when one on one. But, the talking point of the first half came on 17 minutes, when a Cwmamman player picked up the legs of Alec Squires and drove him backwards before dropping him on his back, a tackle any rugby player would be proud of, but it was a tackle not fit to grace the beautiful game. However, the referee let the player off with nothing more than a warning.

The deadlock was broken on 23 minutes though as from their first real attack, the home side flicked the ball over the wall from a free kick and slotted the ball home. Against the run of play, Cwmamman found themselves ahead, nonetheless a lead is a lead.

After the break, Ammanford pressed forward in search of an equaliser and on 48 minutes, Matthew Fisher had an opportunity to level matters, but he sent his shot straight at Mark Snell.

The visitors piled forward, but found chances hard to come by as every attack seemingly came to a halt with bruising challenge coming in from Cwmamman. But, from one resulting free kick, Fisher sent a delivery curling into the top corner, but the goalkeeper superbly tipped it over.

Time was running out, and so came the introduction of forward Luke Fayres and in the 90th minute, Fisher sent in a throw which Fayres headed down to Owen, whose shot rebounded back to Ben Soal who drove the ball into the corner to send the away fans into raptures.

In extra time, the travelling side carried their momentum forward as they carved open a Cwmamman side that had been on the back foot for 70 minutes. Luke Squires hit the post and chances went begging. But, when Fisher was brought down on the edge of the area, up stepped Enoch to curl home the free kick to send the Ammanford staff, fans and players into jubilation.

Late on in extra time, Fisher again came close as his shot trickled just wide of the post. But, it didn’t matter as Ammanford held on for a crucial win in the first ever Amman Valley derby.

Ammanford Defeated by Cwmbran Celtic

Ammanford AFC were defeated 4-0 by Cwmbran Celtic in a pre-season friendly, ahead of their Welsh Cup showdown against local rivals Cwmamman.

Both Ammanford and Cwmbran have been left in limbo after they were relegated to reduce league numbers and have been forced to watch on as others have begun their league campaign, as they await their fate from the FAW.

Cwmbran took an early strangle hold as they pulled ahead early on. A headed clearance was volleyed past Ben Ledger in the Ammanford goal after four minutes.

The hosts retained possession for periods in the game, but just as they began to look comfortable, the deficit was doubled. Celtic cut inside cleverly, and a sublime finish fizzed past the Ammanford defence and into the right corner of the goal on 22 minutes, which put them 2-0 up.

The home side did maintain some parity before half time, but after the interval things only got worse. Ammanford were slow out of the blocks and on 48 minutes, the scoreline read 3-0. From a quick, long ball, counter attacking move, Cwmbran’s sole attacker was in a 50/50 battle for the ball with keeper Ledger, who missed the ball, leaving the goal gaping for the away side to pull clear.

Two minutes later, the travelling side tested the Ammanford keeper once more and again found some fortune. A 20 yard shot was parried, which fell at the fortunate feet of a Cwmbran attacker who slotted home to pull the away side even further ahead.

Ammanford piled forward in search of a consolation goal; Matthew Fisher looked the most likely to get one back, however he misfired his shot on 58 minutes, before a cross flicked goalwards fell just wide of the post later on.

Ammanford will be hoping they can put this loss behind them ahead of next weekend’s local derby.

Ammanford Triumph In Welsh Cup Thriller

Trostre AFC will be ruing their poor discipline, as their 10 men conceded a two goal lead against Ammanford AFC, eventually succumbing to a 3-2 defeat after extra time in the Welsh Cup at the Recreational Ground.
Despite finding themselves 2-0 down, Ammanford scored with half an hour remaining and forced extra time with a late equaliser. They got their winner from the penalty spot, with Ashley Richards slotting home after 93 minutes.

The game had started with neither side taking a strangle hold on the game, but it was Trostre who scored the opener. Euros Griffiths slipped whilst on the ball, and Trostre’s attackers were on hand to take advantage, rounding James Kirkwood to make it 1-0 with 22 minutes on the clock.

However, only seven minutes later, a late and reckless challenge from the opposition saw the visitors reduced to ten. The hosts tried to capitalise, but the opposition kept them at bay. Alec Squires saw his curling effort fly past the post and soon after Griffiths almost made amends for his earlier mistake, but his shot was cleared off the line. The closest Ammanford came to an equaliser in the first half was on 42 minutes; Squires saw his shot ricochet off the bar and Mikey Morris could only find the keeper from the rebound.

After the interval, the home side looked a threat going forward and Richards could’ve drawn the game level, but he sent his header over the bar. Trostre made them pay, as on 48 minutes a long throw met the head of one of their attackers who nodded home to double their lead. Ammanford upped the tempo, and on 61 minutes, Luke Squires sent in a teasing delivery, which fell at the feet of Morris who reduced the deficit to one.

The hosts piled forward at every opportunity, but substitutes Brett Enoch and Luke Fayres couldn’t help find the crucial goal to bring them level. Enoch had his attempt blocked, before Alec Squires fired over. With the clock ticking down, the opportunity to equalise seemed to have slipped from Ammanford’s grasp, however, in the dying embers of the game, the provider turned goalscorer, as Luke Squires smashed home the equaliser.

Two minutes into the extra period, Fayres was brought down in the box and Ammanford were ahead for the first time in the game, via Richards who converted from the spot. Lloyd Davies, making his competitive debut, threatened on the left with a bombarding run and Fayres produced an ambitious scissor kick shot in the area, but neither side really threatened after Ammanford went ahead.

Aaron Butler also came on for his competitive debut late on, as Ammanford hung on for the win.

Rodriguez Set to Join Southampton Exodus

Maurico Pochettino is set to raid his old club Southampton, after his new club Tottenham Hotspur were heavily backed to sign English forward Jay Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is the only member left of the status quo at St Mary’s after Brendan Rodgers began the mass exodus by spending a total of £50 million to bring Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren to Anfield ahead of their coming campaign. However, this seems set to change with Pochettino reportedly keen on his former player.

Rodriguez formed an attacking trio with Lambert and Lallana last term, and the one time capped England striker netted 15 times in a successful season for the club, as his old boss Pochettino guided the club to eighth place, their best ever Premier League finish.

But, since then the Argentinian manager has taken over at Spurs and is set to bring in his first signing at the club by securing the signature of 24 year-old Rodriguez, and he is reportedly interested in his French team-mate Morgan Schneiderlin.

With Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, Lambert, Lallana and Lovren having already departed from Ronald Koeman’s side, the Saints fans are expected to lose even more of their side with Tottenham next in line to lure their players away from the side. An interesting campaign lays in wait for the Southampton fans.

Toure Consolidates City Future

Yaya Toure has today confirmed his intentions to stay at Manchester City, after rumours circulated at the end of last season that he was unhappy with life at the Etihad Stadium, despite being a key figure as City won the Premier League last term.

Toure stated before the World Cup, that he felt upset that the club had not wished him happy birthday, however many speculated that he was unhappy at the club and was using such an event to force a move away from the Premier League champions.

It has been a hectic few months for the Ivorian as he lifted the Premier League trophy back in May, roughly the same time his agent stated he was very upset with the length of time it took the Citizens to take to offer the 31 year-old a new deal in 2013, and that they hadn’t wished him a happy birthday. Although Toure denied it, he claimed that everything Dimtri Seluk had said was true, but he would explain all after the World Cup. During the global showpiece with Ivory Coast, it was revealed that Ibrahim Toure, the brother of Yaya and Kolo Toure, had died at the age of 28. Soon after, Ivory Coast were dumped out of the World Cup by Greece after Gorgios Samaras netted a late, late penalty in their final group game, causing heartbreak for the Elephants, but Toure probably wasn’t too concerned as he was likely mourning the death of his brother.

Since then, the box to box midfielder has probably had time to reflect on his future and has decided his future lies with the Manchester club. He has insisted he will honour his contract and will stay as long as possible.

Pleasing news for the City fans, however it does beg the question, what actually happened? Was his agent trying to force City’s hand to secure his client a bigger pay day or were they trying to force a move? We may never know, but it does make interesting reading for the footballing world. We may see a different Toure next season, as the former Barca man’s head is clearly in the shed.