This was Ton Pentre’s first win in seven matches and the Bulldogs fully deserved it. It was an excellent performance from Lee Phillips’ team who dominated the majority of the match against his former club.
This was an important victory as before the match Aberdare were level on points with the Bulldogs and both teams were situated just two points above the relegation zone in a very tight Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division One table.
For the first time in several months, Phillips had a fully fit team out on the pitch and it showed, as the football on offer was reminiscent of the kind that Ton Pentre played at the start of the season. These factors resulted in the Bulldogs taking a 24th minute lead.
When Leon Jacka was on a dangerous looking run, he was brought down by Aberdare’s Richard Ingram on the edge of the box. The resulting free kick presented Ton Pentre with an excellent chance and Jacka himself came close to scoring with the set piece. However, the goalkeeper managed to get something on the ball to deny the strike but Sam Small put the rebound high into the net for 1-0.
GOAL: Bulldogs Finance Officer Tony Evans, managed to capture the goal on his smartphone.
With Ton Pentre remaining in control of the fixture, they could and should have increased the lead further throughout the match.
Rob Blatchford was enjoying some space to run in down the right wing and in the 38th minute he supplied a cross into the Aberdare box that was met by the forward run of Aaron Jewell. The Bulldogs defender shaped his body for a powerful header but he was denied by the goalkeeper who did well to save the effort.
Blatchford was involved again a few moments later when he fired a shot from distance that had the goalkeeper beaten. The ball hit the underside of the crossbar and it appeared to bounce behind the line before coming back out. It looked like a goal but it was an impossible call for the match officials, who did not award the goal to Ton Pentre.
Later in the match, Small missed a point blank shot when he was sent through on goal from a lovely chipped cross off the boot of Jacka. The striker looked certain to double Ton Pentre’s lead but Small directed the ball at the goalkeeper allowing him to make an important save.
For a short period of time in the second half Aberdare improved their performance as they went in search of an equaliser to make Ton Pentre rue their missed chances. The Bulldogs defence however, remained resolute and the team soon began to dominate proceedings once again.
Small, who could have scored a hat-trick in the game, was presented with the final chance of the match when Adam Lewis played an excellent through ball in added time to put the striker one-on-one. Once again however, the goalkeeper denied Small with another excellent save.
In the end, Sam Small’s 24th minute goal was enough for the Bulldogs to take all three points in a very important victory.
Lee Phillips and his Bulldogs will be positive as they look ahead to Saturday’s (12 December) match against Risca United at Ynys Park. The Cuckoos form has improved of late and they should provide a stern test in a game that kicks off at 2pm.
Ton Pentre: 1. Jarrad Howells, 2. Adam Lewis, 3. Aaron Jewell, 4. Thomas Davies (Captain), 5. Liam Hutchinson, 6. Andre Griffiths, 7. Nickie Jones, 8. Lewis Hitchcock, 9. Sam Small, 10. Leon Jacka, 11. Robert Blatchford. Subs not used: 12. Tom Billing, 14. Scott Jones, 15. Ashton Kinsey.