Ton Pentre 1-0 Monmouth Town
Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division One
Saturday, 5 April 2014
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Ton Pentre goalkeeper Neil Collins produced the performance of his career with a superhuman effort that saw the Bulldogs achieve a shock result against Monmouth Town, who are top of the Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division One.
Collins and his fellow Bulldogs stoically formed a blockade to prevent the Kingfishers from scoring and to protect Jaymie Wearn’s 53rd minute goal.
Ton Pentre’s heroics were even more remarkable considering that they were forced to play the majority of the second half with 10 men following Jaymie Wearn’s dismissal.
Monmouth certainly looked capable of winning the League as they produced some fine football in the difficult conditions at Ynys Park, where heavy rain throughout the match made the pitch very heavy and muddy.
When Monmouth broke up a Ton Pentre attack early on in this match, the Kingfishers were able to produce the first of many excellent goalscoring opportunities.
Former Aston Villa striker and England Under 18 international, Dan Macdonald, brought the ball forward towards the penalty area before setting up Nick Harrhy with an opportunity to shoot. Having made a good connection with the ball, Harrhy was disappointed to see his shot go wide of the lefthand post.
A rare attack for Ton Pentre nearly saw the Bulldogs take the lead when Wearn was allowed to run beyond the Monmouth defence with just Keiron Blackburn to beat in goal. Wearn’s attempt had power and pace but its direction was off target and the ball whizzed past the righthand post for a goal kick.
Moments later Ton Pentre were on the attack again when Adam Raymond beat his nearest man to open up space for a strike. Taking his shot early, Raymond’s driven strike had Blackburn beaten, who appeared to be unsighted. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs’ battle-axe, the ball swerved painstakingly wide of the right post.
Monmouth began to bombard the Ton Pentre defence for the remainder of the half. Collins was forced into making several pointblank saves following a few scrambles in the muddy goalmouth and the keeper’s agility was outstanding to deny the visitors.
The Kingfishers were producing a conveyer belt of goalscoring chances and Macdonald demonstrated his ability with a goal bound shot from several yards outside the box. Collins leaped across his goalmouth to acrobatically stop the ball from entering his net. Ryan Morgan was then on hand to clear the ball to safety.
With half-time quickly approaching, Monmouth should have been entering the dressing rooms at least a goal up, however, Collins produced a double save to deny two opposition players from scoring on the edge of the six-yard box.
Soon after play had restarted in the second half, Wearn received a yellow card when he fouled a Monmouth player after attempting to chase the ball down. When the ball was played up field from the resulting free kick, it was all hands to the pump again in the Bulldogs box as Monmouth looked odds on to score. Despite their best efforts, Monmouth saw their shots blocked, saved and cleared off the line following some committed defending from the Ton Pentre players.
Having withstood this pressure, Ton Pentre were able to produce a rare attack, which would prove to be critical.
Raymond had done a great job in maintaining some possession as he held off challenges from the Monmouth defence. Despite the pressure that he was under, Raymond chipped a wonderful pass over the defence for Wearn. The Bulldogs striker applied a fantastic finish leaving Blackburn’s attempt to save the ball completely futile. Remarkably, Ton Pentre were now 1-0 up.
For several minutes the goal unsettled title chasing Monmouth and Raymond nearly doubled Ton Pentre’s lead with a 20-yard strike that hit the cross bar.
The Bulldogs appeared to have Monmouth on the back foot and when Wearn wriggled through several defenders, he sent the ball across the goalmouth where Lewis Hydes was running in at the far post. The Ton Pentre winger was close to scoring but his slide and outstretched leg could not make contact with the ball.
Moments later Wearn appeared to be through on goal when he breached the defence near the halfway line. His run took him to the edge of the 18-yard box but his attack was stopped when the assistant referee decided to raise his flag to signal that he had been offside. The lateness of the flag was understandably frustrating and Wearn booted the ball against the wall. The referee then decided to book Wearn for kicking the ball away and as this was his second yellow card, he was sent off.
With the Bulldogs down to ten men in the 62nd minute, it became a backs against the wall scenario as Monmouth looked to seize the opportunity to get back into the match.
Collins had to produce another one-on-one save when Monmouth went through on goal but the Bulldogs keeper looked determined not to allow the Kingfishers to score. During the remainder of the match, Ton Pentre were also forced to clear off the line another three times and other goal bound shots were blocked by some stout defending.
The Bulldogs held out for a splendid 1-0 win with a committed display that frustrated Monmouth Town, whose title challenge was dented at Ynys Park.
Following the match, Monmouth Town goalkeeper Keiron Blackburn paid tribute to Ton Pentre’s battling display and the oustanding performance from Neil Collins via his Twitter account.
Ton Pentre are home once again on Saturday, 12 April when they welcome second from bottom West End to Ynys Park. The match will kick off at 2.30pm.
Welsh League Division One Table