Leon Young’s 56th minute sending off for the Bulldogs was the game changer in this Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division One match against Monmouth Town at Ynys Park.
The Ton Pentre midfielder saw red after receiving two yellow cards and as a result, the home team’s dominance against the reigning champions subsided, allowing Monmouth to pile pressure on the Bulldogs goal.
Prior to this, and with Ton Pentre on top, Young was harshly booked in the 13th minute of play for what appeared to be a well-timed and executed tackle in the middle of the park.
During the 21st minute of play, the ball was cleared from the Monmouth defence to the centre circle where Thomas Davies volleyed it back towards goal. Monmouth goalkeeper Keiron Blackburn, scrambled back towards his line and was relieved to see the ball edge just over his crossbar.
Moments later Shane Davies did well to head a through ball on for Jaymie Wearn. The Bulldogs striker had beaten the defence but was unable to beat Blackburn, who watched his shot go high and wide of the goal.
Despite being on the back foot, Monmouth were always a dangerous prospect and from a 34th minute corner, the Kingfishers nearly took the lead but Mark Crutch cleared the ball off the line.
Two minutes later Crutch saved the Bulldogs once again with another clearance off the line following a Monmouth free kick that was drifted into the box.
The action was flowing and when Ton Pentre went on the attack, Tom Mouncher ran onto an under hit back pass between the defence and the goalkeeper. From a tight angle, Mouncher struck his shot across the front of an unattended goalmouth.
With just moments to go before half-time, Ton Pentre had a superb chance to take the lead when they hit Monmouth on the break. Lewis Hitchcock was presented with an opportunity to score with just Blackburn to beat. The Bulldogs winger had the whole goal to aim at but sent his shot directly into Blackburn’s hands.
Just 11 minutes of the second half had been played when Young was show a red card after receiving his second caution in the same game. The referee had judged that his challenge when going up for a header was unlawful.
Ton Pentre’s grip on this match began to slip and Monmouth fully capitalised on the one man advantage when they made the pressure count in the 72nd minute as Elliot Evans found the back of the net.
The Bulldogs threw everything that they could muster at Monmouth in the remainder of the match and the Kingfishers were having to withstand some heavy pressure themselves with Shane Davies and Ryan Morgan both being denied by some wonderful goalkeeping from Blackburn.
With two minutes of added on time having been played, Evans scored a second for Monmouth in controversial circumstances as the striker appeared to be flagged offside but the goal was allowed to stand by the referee, who overruled his assistant. This made the final score 2-0 to Monmouth Town.
Next up for the Bulldogs is a must win Rhondda Derby against bottom of the table AFC Porth at Ynys Park on Friday, 13 March. The game kicks off at 7:30pm.
Ton Pentre Starting XI
1. Ryan Wookey; 2. Adam Lewis; 3. Tom Mouncher; 4. Ryan Morgan; 5. Thomas Davies; 6. Mark Crutch; 7. Leon Young; 8. Leon Jacka: 9. Jaymie Wearn; 10. Shane Davies; 11. Lewis Hitchcock.
Ton Pentre Substitutes
12. Andre Griffiths (for 9 on 78’); 14. Adam Raymond; 15. Nathan Phillips; 16. Connor Berry (for 3 on 78’); 17. Ryan Jenkins
Photography by Brian McGrath and Andrew Dowling