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Monmouth Town 2 Cambrian and Clydach 3
ON a rain sodden December afternoon, at the Sportsground, Monmouth Town welcomed fellow strugglers Cambrian and Clydach. The Kingfishers, who sat 10th in Welsh League Division 1, were searching for a much needed win to push them up the table and out of the relegation battle. Andrew Smith made no changes to his side that drew 2-2 with Goytre United. Cambrian sat 13th in the league, with only goal difference separating them from relegation.
Both teams started the game well and were required to battle the elements throughout, with the wind having a huge effect upon proceedings. The Kingfishers started brightly, maintaining possession well and causing Cambrian numerous problems with their combination play and midfield rotations. The Town’s early pressure almost paid off when Nick Harrhy floated a ball into the Kingfishers target man Richard Greaves, but Cambrian keeper Luke Evans rushed out, closing down the angle, forcing Greaves to hit it straight at him.
Cambrian responded well with some impressive possession play, forcing Kieron Blackburn into early action when Cambrian midfielder Jacob Mathews attempted to chip him. The stopper had it covered all day and tipped it over the bar. Cambrian continued to press, having a golden opportunity when Jacob Guy played a misplaced back-pass to the town’s keeper who carelessly hit it straight to Cambrian striker Jaimie Wearne. With Wearne’s touch letting him down, Blackburn was able to come out and smother the ball.
With the visitors piling on the pressure, the Town eased the storm, playing their counter attacking football and eventually winning a free kick on the edge of the box. A venomous shot towards goal ricocheted to Nick Harrhy, but once again Cambrian stopper Luke Evans rushed out making himself big, forcing Harrhy to hit it straight at Evans.
The match had been tightly poised, and on the stroke of half time Cambrian striker Jamie Wearne missed a golden opportunity when he worked his way past the Town’s defence but Wearne snatched at the chance and put his shot over the bar.
Both teams started the second half positively showing fantastic resilience, maintaining possession on the ground and continuing to play fantastic fast flowing attacking football. It was the home side who had the first chance of the half when Nick Harrhy showed great skill to beat his man. Harrhy then floated a ball into the box finding Elliot Ford who leaped like a salmon, but his header lacked accuracy and power and tickled over the bar.
Perhaps against the run of play, the away side then broke the deadlock, winger Josh Ryall turning his man and firing his shot into the top corner. In the 65th minute, Smith turned to youngster Jack Hardman to make the difference. The Kingfishers dominated the next five minutes playing their attacking play through the thirds.
Monmouth’s resilience and determination would finally pay off when Dan Macdonald beat his man and squared it across goal finding Rob Laurie, who calmly slotted it home. Macdonald continued to trouble Cambrian’s defence when he beat his man and went one-on-one with Cambrian’s keeper, but Macdonald snatched at the chance and hit it over the bar.
Both teams continued to attack one another searching for a winner. Cambrian then earned their reward, when winger Josh Ryalls ambitious shot flew into the top corner. The Town replied straight away when Hardman played the ball into Nick Harrhy, who had his back to goal, and then back heeled it to Dan Macdonald, with Macdonald slotting it home.
While both sides would have probably settled for a point, there was to be one more twist to a dramatic second half. In the 90th minute, Cambrian got the winner when a corner was floated in and scrambled to Cambrian centre half Scott Hayward who tapped it in.
Manager Andrew Smith described the loss as “naïve and spineless.”
“I felt our loss didn’t hurt enough, were not taking our chances when were on top, conceding soft goals is a recipe for relegation,” he said.
The Kingfishers are at home to Afan Lido next week, looking to escape the relegation battle.
Monmouth Town 2 Goytre 2
ON a wind battered December afternoon at the Sportsground, Monmouth Town welcomed Goytre United. The Kingfishers, who sat 10th in the Welsh League Division One, were looking for a much needed win to push them up the table and out of the relegation battle.
Andrew Smith would make two changes to his side that drew to Penybont, bringing in the experienced Rob Laurie for Mitchell Palmer, as well as bringing Elliot Ford into the side for Jack Hardman. Smith would also hand Cardiff City graduate Callum Porter his home debut. Goytre United, meanwhile, sat third in the league, looking to keep the pressure on Cardiff Met and Goytre.
It was the home team who would start the game brighter, with the first chance coming in the eighth minute. Town striker Richard Greaves received the ball in a short corner and cut on to his right foot, but his shot lacked any conviction and power and fell wide of the post.
The Kingfishers continued to dominate the early stages with right back Ashley Ford playing a lofted pass down the line with his brother Elliot getting on the end of it. Ford found himself one-on-one with ex Swansea goalkeeper Luke Martin, but the Goytre stopper came out on top, pushing Elliot’s shot away. Martin was again called into action with Nick Harrhy putting an inviting ball into the box with Richard Greaves touching it down. The in-form Greaves looked to take the ball around Martin but the keeper impressively dived down to make the ball his.
Still pressing, the Town were soon rewarded for their dominance. Dan Macdonald put an early cross into the box and found Richard Greaves who made no mistake to head home.
Goytre responded well, earning their reward with winger Michael Waters drilling a cross towards the town keeper with the Kingfisher’s keeper diving down and letting it through his hands. On the stroke of half time the Town had a penalty shout with striker Richard Greaves going on a mazy run into the box and being taken down only for the referee to wave play on to keep the half time scores level.
Both sides started the second half positively with the away side having the first chance of the half. Winger Michael Waters continued to trouble the Towns defence, drilling a cross across goal, but his team mate put it over the bar. Despite the visitors’ chances it was the Town who took the lead with full back Alex O’Leary finding Nick Harrhy in the box. The striker turned his man and placed his shot into the top corner. Soon after, the Kingfishers had an opportunity to kill the game off as Harrhy was denied by Luke Martin who impressively tipped his shot round the post.
Andrew Smith then made a substitution, bringing on Mitchell Palmer for O’Leary. The home side kept the pressure on Goytre with the experienced Rob Laurie playing a one-two with Elliot Ford, with Laurie then lofting a ball into Richard Greaves who would cushion the ball down into Elliot Ford’s path, with Elliot beating his man, he would square it across goal but Nick Harry’s shot would be blocked off the line.
Smith would then make his second substitution of the match bringing on Jack Hardman for Elliot Ford. To Smith’s regret, Harman would then loose the ball on the edge of the box with Goytre’s winger passing it across goal for teammate Tim Hicks to hit it first time into the top corner. The Kingfisher’s responded immediately with Jack Hardman winning a free kick on the edge of the box. Dan Macdonald would then drill the free kick, low across goal, and would ricochet out to Jacob Guy who shot, but Goytre keeper Luke Martin would make an impressive diving safe.
In the 90th minute, Goytre had a chance to win it when Michael Waters crossed in and again the Kingfisher’s keeper dropped it and Goytre striker Jordan Edwards headed it goal bound but youngster Mitchell Palmer was there to block it off the line. The full time score was Monmouth Town 2-2 Goytre United.
Manager Andrew Smith said after the game: “I was pleased with the performance but still annoyed we didn’t win the game.
“I felt we were too naive at times, we have to learn to see games out, we just can’t buy a win at the moment”.
The Kingfishers are home to Cambrian and Clydach next week, looking to build on their draw and escape the relegation battle.
MONMOUTH Town lost in their league clash away at Cardiff Metropolitan University on Saturday (21st November.)
The students defeated the visiting Kingfishers 5-2, leaving Monmouth 10th in the league after six defeats in 13 games.
Town actually trailed 4-0 at one stage before goals from Richard Greaves, who took his league tally to six, and Jac Hardman threatened the Cardiff side’s lead.
Chris Baker, Adam Roscrow and Isaac Philpot scored for second placed Cardiff, while two own goals didn’t help Monmouth’s cause. The home side keep the pressure on top placed Goytre, who they trail by three points.
Monmouth’s next fixture is a test away at seventh-placed Penybont.
Goytre United 1 Monmouth Town 1
A LATE Rob Laurie header, his first of the season, wasn’t quite enough to take all three points from a close encounter in Port Talbot as high flying Goytre United grabbed a last minute equaliser to keep their title hopes on track.
The Kingfishers travelled looking to continue their improvements having stopped some early season rot and looking much more fluid. Town boss Andrew Smith kept faith with the team who had won the previous game and the prolific Nick Harrhy again put in a shift and on another day might have had a better reward.
Harrhy was bought down in the penalty area but was bizarrely booked for diving and had a goal chalked off for a marginal offside.
Smith was however happy to settle for the draw but rued Monmouth’s late lapse.
“A draw was a fair result in the end but having taken the lead so late a bit of robbery was on the cards.
“They had the better of us for long periods but we’re much more resilient now than we have been and a smash and grab on the road is always nice.”
The reserve team continued their good run of form with a comprehensive 3-0 win away at Bridgend Street in Cardiff. Two goals from Tom Maxted and a penalty from Dean Palmer were enough to take all three points.
Meanwhile, Mitchell Palmer’s under 18’s shared 12 goals at the Sports Ground with Caerleon having led 3-0 at half time, whereas Simon Berry’s high-flying under 19 squad consolidated top place in the Welsh League Youth Division winning by a staggering 16-0 against Risca United. They have a 100% record after four games scoring 31 goals and conceding none.
Town are at home this Saturday in a 2.30pm clash with rivals Taffs Well and will say good-bye to chairman Lee Robson after the match. Robson said “It will be a sad day for me. I’ve lived and breathed the club for over ten years.
“We’ve had some great times and some real success. I’d like to thank everyone who has helped us and me and I’m confident we have the people in the club and around the town to keep the club at the top table for years to come.“
Monmouth Town 3 Garden Village 2
ON an autumnal afternoon at the Sportsground, Monmouth Town welcomed bottom of the table Garden Village who had only picked up one point in eight games and were looking for a much needed win.
The Kingfishers on the other hand were looking to build on last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Ton Pentre and climb the table, growing in confidence.
Town boss Andrew Smith made three changes to the side which drew one all against Ton Pentre the previous week, bringing in Kazeem Kareem for Joe Loftus, striker Richard Greaves while switching youngster Mitchell Palmer to left back.
It was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides, having an early chance with striker Craig Mathews being denied by the leg of home ‘keeper Keiron Blackburn. Village continued on the front foot, missing a golden chance with their striker through on goal only to put it wide.
Andrew Smith’s men grew into the game having a number of attacks but failing to find the finishing touches. However, against the run of play, Town striker Nick Harrhy put Richard Greaves in one on one with Village keeper Luke Fleming and Greaves calmly slotted home to put the Kingfishers one up.
Soon after, Richard Greaves could have doubled his tally but his header lacked the conviction of his earlier finish. Greaves was instrumental in the second goal though, playing a wonderful one two with Harrhy who slotted the ball into the top corner.
The Kingfishers quickly found themselves a third, with centre back Ben Evans putting a looping pass into Elliot Ford who squared it to Greaves for a tap in.
The visitors had a good chance on the half hour mark but were denied by a spectacular tip round the post by Blackburn. The visitors got one back in the fortieth minute when Blackburn’s save was cleared by Jack Alderdice only to find Village midfielder Ryan Thomas whose shot took a wicked deflection and flew in.
Village ended the first half as they started, having numerous attacks that ultimately didn’t lead to anything. The half time whistle went and the Kingfishers led Garden Village by three goals to one.
Both teams started the second half positively and an early free kick was saved comfortably by Keiron Blackburn. Shortly after, Sam Palmer put an inviting ball in for Town target man Richard Greaves whose header was cleared off the line. Greaves continued to trouble the Canaries defence having another free header which hit the bar and a turn and shot which also clipped the woodwork.
Against the run of play, Village won a penalty after Rob Laurie failed to clear and his hashed attempt hit his arm to concede a bizarre penalty. The visitors converted to set up a nail biting last 20 minutes.
Smith decided to bring the experienced Alex O’Leary on at left back, replacing Mitchell Palmer giving the team a bit more experience and discipline as well as bringing on the exciting prospect Jac Hardman.
The Canaries put the pressure on Andrew Smith’s men, missing a golden chance when ex Town centre half Dan Barnard headed onto the bar. However, the Kingfishers, sponsored by South Hereford garages, held on and claimed all three points.
Manager Andrew Smith said after the game “although it’s a win I was disappointed with the way we ended, after going three up early on, we should be killing teams off and being more ruthless in games like that”.
The Kingfishers are away to Goytre United next week looking to build on their performance and grow in confidence.
NICK Harrhy penalty was enough to grab all three points in a feisty encounter at the Sports ground last Saturday as Town bounced back from a dismal performance the previous week against Barry Town.
Manager Smith made a slight change in formation to be tougher to beat and restored Harrhy to his lone role up front with Sam Palmer and Joe Loftus coming in to add some solidity to a team that had shipped far too many goals. Blackburn returned in goal and the transformation was immediate.
The first half hour was all Monmouth as the visiting keeper pulled off a string of saves and Blackburn was back to his noisy self but was rarely threatened. Mitchell Palmer pulled off a great block to save a goal but Town would count themselves unlucky to go in at half time with nothing to show for their hard work.
The second half for the most part was more of the same, with Town threatening to cut loose but not quite able to finish off good approach work. That changed in the 71st minute as Harrhy was pushed as he tried to get on the end of a Palmer cross and the referee awarded the penalty much to the dismay of the visiting bench. Harrhy slotted the penalty home.
The match, sponsored by Spencer Accounting Services, opened up considerably from there as Ferry went more direct and could, and perhaps should, have equalised but for some poor finishing. Town were also guilty of missing some glorious openings but held on for a valuable three points and their third win in four.
Next week the Kingfishers are in Welsh Cup action at Goytre United while the Reserves take on Abergavenny Town at home, 2.30pm kick off.
Monmouth Town 0 Barry Town United 3
MONMOUTH Town’s Kingfishers continued their poor start to the season with a grim defeat against newly promoted Barry Town United on a glorious day at the sports ground that had Barry’s boisterous visiting support cheering and singing their way through the game and no doubt on the journey home.
Despite a perfect pitch, both sides were guilty of giving the ball away far too frequently than you’d expect at the second tier of Welsh football and although Town will miss departed Dan MacDonald, too many players had days they will want to forget.
Drew Fahiya who has played Welsh premier football with Port Talbot among others had pretty much the run of the right wing and his movement and pace caused all sorts of problems as Town dropped off their opponents seemingly with no sweat by former Cardiff City stalwart Damen Searle. The first goal was coming and on 22 minutes Fahiya drove infield, laid the ball across to Blatchford who fell over Alderdice’s outstretched leg and sent Slope the wrong way with the penalty.
Barry had other opportunities to score but woeful finishing kept the game evenly balanced and Town also had opportunities but in truth rarely troubled Bradley in the visitors goal. The comedy of errors that punctuated the first half was almost brought to a Tommy Cooper ending when Evans’ back pass was missed by Sloper and hit the post.
Things were no better in the second half although Sam Palmer made a good impression as a substitute, setting up Harrhy to smack the bar with a header and showing a range of skills that should have been infectious.
Unfortunately it didn’t rub off and from an attacking free kick on the edge of the box the Barry Town clearance was hashed and Barry were suddenly four against one bearing down on goal with no cavalry in sight. The inevitable result was a 2–0 lead.
Some other half chances went begging as the Kingfishers became more fractious and the visitors missed another two chances before again upending a defender and roiling a pass across for an unmarked player to settle the game.
An angry Town boss Andrew Smith was at a loss to explain the defeat.
“You cannot legislate for so many players playing so badly. We couldn’t pass, tackle, mark, run or communicate.”
The Kingfishers, sponsored by South Hereford Garages and Furniture Importers, are at home again this Saturday as they welcome Briton Ferry (2.30) and must start being hard to beat if they are to avoid a damaging relegation fight.
Monmouth Town 3 Aberbargoed Buds 1
AT the sixth time of asking, Monmouth Town took all three points in a decent game at the Sportsground last Saturday.
With Blackburn still out and Matty Johns recalled, Town were at near full strength as Alderdice returned from his two match suspension but still looked decidedly shaky in the first twenty minutes having to rely on fluffed opportunities and some last ditch defending to deny the Buds. They attacked occasionally, with Harrhy having a goal chalked off for offside and Laurie crashing a point-blank header against the post.
Buds drew first blood as a long ball caught the defence square, and Johns had no chance with the finish. On the half hour it was all square as Alderdice headed home a corner before Harrhy and then Greaves gave the Kingfishers a flattering 3-1 half time lead.
The second half was competitive, with Buds again enjoying most of the possession and Town being guilty of giving the ball away far too frequently, but Buds lacked any real quality in the final third to make the most of their decent approach play.
Harrhy and MacDonald twice had chances to put the game beyond reach, but were unlucky or hurried in their execution. With just fifteen minutes remaining Loftus was withdrawn for Kareem who lasted a mere two minutes before being shown a red card for a headbutt without touching the ball and conceded a penalty to boot. Had the Buds striker shown anything like the composure he should have it would have been 3-2 with all to play for, but inexplicably his over complicated run up resulted in his kick flashing wide of Johns’ upright.
There was some more pressure from there and indeed Town could still have scored another on a breakaway but settled for the 3-1 win and all three points that lifted them five places up the table.
This Saturday, Monmouth, sponsored by South Hereford Garages and Furniture Importers with travel wear by Mandarin Stone, host former Champions League contenders Barry Town United in a 2.30pm kick off at the Sportsground. Barry are expected to bring their usual noisy support.
MONMOUTH Town crashed to an opening day defeat at strongly fancied Taffs Well last Friday night in an incident- packed game.
The Kingfishers had travelled confident on the back of a rigorous pre season but with a number of players missing valuable game time through holidays and injuries. Manager Smith also opted for an unfamiliar midfield formation to stifle a formidable Taffs attacking threat.
Formations and pre season are, however, no match for a quicker, stronger, better equipped team and Town were simply outplayed and outfought in the first half with French and Bertorelli causing all sorts of problems for a defence missing former player Dan Clare who was putting in man of the match performance at the other end. Debutant Kareem was involved in a running tussle with Taffs enforcer Adie Harris that was getting increasingly fractious but Town struggled to get any passing going and another debutant Greaves saw little of the ball at the right end of the pitch.
It came as no surprise when Taffs took the lead on 18 minutes as French and Bertorelli combined to bring a good save from Blackburn but as the ball was laid back across Bertorelli hooked it beyond the sprawling goalkeeper from what appeared to be an offside position. Just five minutes later an almost carbon copy move ended with Bertorelli needing no help as he placed a shot beyond Blackburn. At that time it seemed like a rout was coming but creditably Town held on and even managed a number of raids that at least made sure Taffs didn’t have it all their own way. Harris was booked for a foul on Kareem while Sam Palmer saw yellow for a late challenge.
The second half was spicier than a jalapeño pretzel as the smouldering battle in midfield ignited fully, Harris receiving a red card for an awful lunge on Kareem that sparked a melee and provided a lifeline for the Kingfishers. In a game crying out for width as Taffs retreated to protect their lead, Smith sent on Elliot Ford and 17 year old Jac Hardman and the effect was immediate as a number of attacks threatened the Taffs lead. Hardman in particular was taking the game to Taffs but his game was ended by a knee high tackle on the half way line that deservedly drew another red card for his assailant. By this point, Smith had used his full complement of substitutes so it was 10 v 9 in a frantic last twenty minutes and Town showed naivety in trying too hard to force the issue. A number of chances went begging before another off the ball incident saw a penalty awarded to the visitors. MacDonald converted but it was too little too late.
Monmouth sponsored by South Hereford Garages and Furniture Importers travel to title favourites Goytre FC in the first Monmouthshire derby tonight (18th August) before taking on Cambrian & Clydach next Saturday.