Despite the defeat, which saw Ton Pentre crash out of theWord Cup against Dafabet Welsh Premier League club Port Talbot Town, it was a good night for the Bulldogs, who can be proud of their performance and for the community who came out in support at Ynys Park.
It was always going to be a tough ask for Ton Pentre to overcome opposition from a higher level but the Bulldogs more than matched the Steelmen throughout this entertaining cup encounter.
The Bulldogs were quite lively in the opening exchanges at Ynys Park without ever really testing Steve Cann in the Port Talbot goals but there was always a sense of danger when the Welsh Premier outfit went forward.
With 14 minutes of the match played, Paul Fowler drew a good save from Bulldogs goalkeeper Jarrad Howells. From the resulting corner, Ton Pentre were forced to clear the ball off the line.
Leon Jacka came close to equalising for Ton Pentre in the 21st minute when he unleashed an effort at goal from 20-yards. Cann didn’t look concerned by the strike, however, the ball ended up a little closer to his goal than he expected.
The Rhondda club were disappointed when they went behind in the 34th minute as they deserved to be level based on their first half performance. However, they were unable to stop James Hartson from giving the Steelmen a 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs created a good opportunity to equalise in 60th minute when Adam Lewis did well to advance up the right when he pounced on a loose ball out of a tackle. He crossed into the box where the ball was met by a glancing header from Connor Ray. The striker could only watch as his effort went wide of the left post.
Two minutes later, Port Talbot dealt a severe blow to Ton Pentre when Chris Jones weaved in and out of the Bulldogs midfield and defence before slotting the ball into the net for a marvellous solo goal.
The score was now 2-0 to Port Talbot and the Steelmen were looking comfortable until the 83rd minute when Lewis Hitchcock unleashed a stunning volley into the top left hand corner of the goal, out of the reach of Cann’s desperate dive.
Moments later Jacka thought he’d scored an equaliser but his first effort was pushed behind for a corner. Jacka took that corner quickly and nearly scored directly from it as the ball curled towards the goal before being cleared off the line by the Port Talbot defence.
Three minutes from time Port Talbot made their progression to Round 3 of theWord Cup certain when Martin Rose was on the end of a free kick to slot in the Steelmens third goal.
It’s more cup action for the Bulldogs on Saturday, 3 October as STM Sports visit Ynys Park in Round One of the JD Welsh Cup at 2.00pm.