It was disappointment for Ton Pentre on the opening day of the 2014/2015 Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division One season after the Bulldogs fell to a 1-0 defeat against Afan Lido.
For large portions of this game, Ton Pentre were completely dominant but they failed to cancel out Darren Mills’ 12th minute goal as Afan Lido’s defence managed to withstand the Bulldogs onslaught.
The home team had the better of the opening 10 minutes in this match, without really threatening, but as Ton Pentre were just beginning to find their way, they conceded from a corner kick.
After the corner was swung into the box, Neil Collins was forced into making a save but it was not possible for the Bulldogs goalkeeper to hold on to the ball. Mills was the first to react and with a scruffy finish, Afan Lido’s new striker had provided the home club with a 1-0 lead.
After going behind, Ton Pentre began to ramp up the pressure on their hosts and a foul a few yards outside the Afan Lido box provided the Bulldogs with an excellent opportunity from a free kick.
Both Adam Raymond and Liam Hutchinson were stood over the ball but it was the latter who took the strike and it was hit sweetly. Hutchinson’s shot was on target and goalkeeper Rory McCreesh struggled to hold on to it. The ball slipped through his hands but fortunately for Afan Lido, a corner was conceded rather than a goal.
The resulting corner kick provided Dafydd Brewer with an opportunity at the far post but the defender’s free header was directed just over the crossbar.
Another corner in the 39th minute presented a similar chance at the far post, but on this occasion the ball fell to Hutchinson, who was able to strike with his foot. The shot looked good enough to equalise with McCreesh beaten but the ball continued to rise and it scraped over the bar.
For the first 25 minutes of the second half it was completely one-way traffic as the Bulldogs set up camp in the Afan Lido half of the pitch.
During the 49th minute of play Jaymie Wearn did well to catch up with a loose ball that appeared to be going out play. He crossed for Leon Young who was running into the box from the right wing. Young drilled his shot back across goal but the effort went painstakingly wide of the left post.
Moments later McCreesh was forced into tipping the ball over the bar following a free kick that was swung in from the right. Despite Afan Lido’s creaking defence, the home team were somehow keeping Ton Pentre out.
As the game ticked over into the 75th minute, the Bulldogs were beginning to get desperately frustrated and in piling players forward they were beginning to leave gaps at the back, which allowed Afan Lido several chances to increase their lead.
Having had absolutely nothing to do thus far in the second half, Collins maintained concentration when a loose ball deep inside the Ton Pentre half of the pitch was pounced upon by Afan Lido. The home team attacker lobbed the ball over the Bulldogs goalkeeper but somehow Collins managed to tip the effort over his crossbar for a fine save.
Two minutes later Mills was one-on-one with Collins and after rounding the goalkeeper he somehow sent his shot completely wide of the open goal.
With the action now progressing to the other end of the pitch, Shane Davies took a touch on the edge of the box and began to progress into the 18-yard area. As he did so, the Ton Pentre midfielder was upended on the line of box by an Afan Lido defender. There was no doubt that a foul had been committed but the Referee awarded a free kick instead of what the Bulldogs felt should have been a penalty. The resulting free kick was wasted when it was sent high over the crossbar.
Deep into injury time, Ton Pentre had one final chance to equalise when a ball crossed to the back post found a completely unmarked Ryan Jenkins, who headed towards goal but was unable to keep it on target.
Speaking after the match, manager Dean Morris told RadioTon: “It was very disappointing, we had some good possession and some really good half chances that we didn’t take.”
Captain Leon Young added: “We know we’re good enough to beat teams and we’ve dominated the game today.”
Ton Pentre’s next match is on Wednesday, 27 August 2014 away at AFC Porth. The Rhondda derby match kicks off at 6:15pm.
Ton Pentre Starting XI
1. Neil Collins; 2.Leon Young (Captain); 3. Lewis Hydes; 4. Mark Crutch; 5. Ross Porter; 6. Dafydd Brewer; 7. Shane Davies; 8. Thomas Davies; 9. Jaymie Wearn; 10. Liam Hutchinson; 11. Adam Raymond.
Ton Pentre Substitutes
12. Ryan Jenkins (for Raymond 77’); 14. Ryan Morgan; 15. Leigh Smith; 16. Andre Griffiths (for T.Davies 63’); 17. Dan Richards (for Hydes 66’).
Brewer 23’; Hutchinson 33’