Matchball Sponsor: Brian Newman of Gelli
It was a rip-roaring second half between Ton Pentre and Afan Lido that ended with Josh Ryall scoring a last minute goal for the Bulldogs before Jarrad Howells secured the points for the Rhondda club with a penalty save moments later.
From kick off Ton Pentre were looking sharp and within the opening five minutes both Sam Small and Rob Blatchford went close for the Bulldogs but were denied by experienced Afan Lido goalkeeper Chris Curtis.
Shortly after, Andre Griffiths nodded the ball through the Afan Lido defence allowing Small to unleash a shot. The striker looked set to give Ton Pentre the lead but his effort hit the post.
Small was getting himself heavily involved in the match and later in the half combined with Tom Billing, giving his strike partner a chance on goal, however, once again Curtis stopped Afan Lido from falling behind.
The Bulldogs were left frustrated at half-time that they hadn’t capitalised on the chances that they’d created but they began the second half with the confidence that they could find the back of the net.
With 55 minutes on the clock, Adam Lewis was involved in some neat build-up play when his cutting through ball put Small in a one-on-one situation with Curtis. The Afan Lido shot stopper pulled off a brave save as he dived into the feet of Small.
Afan Lido looked set to punish Ton Pentre for these missed chances and they hit the crossbar in the 60th minute before Elliott Thomas gave his team a 1-0 lead with a stunning long-range effort a minute later.
The Bulldogs reacted well to going a goal down and ramped up the pressure on Afan Lido and found a 69th minute equaliser through Sam Small.
Three minutes later Small put Ton Pentre into the lead when he received the ball from Billing after peeling away from his marker. Afan Lido were appealing for offside but the assistant referee’s flag remained by his side as Billing had squared his pass before Small slotted it past Curtis for 2-1.
The Bulldogs lead was short lived however, as Carl Evans headed in a 77th minute equaliser as the defence failed to remain tight.
There was more action to come when in the 90th minute Josh Ryall popped up in the box to volley a lovely strike past Curtis and into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal for 3-2.
The late goal seemed to be a certain winner, however, when Afan Lido attacked the Ton Pentre box deep into added time, the referee awarded a penalty for an infringement in the 18-yard box. The Bulldogs protested as Chris Hartland stepped up to score a likely equaliser.
A few arguments appeared to break out amongst the Afan Lido team who wanted to see their regular penalty taker shoot from the spot. However, Hartland, who has previously impressed with his goal scoring talent in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League, took responsibility for the kick despite the protests.
With what was the last kick of the game, Hartland went left and Bulldogs goalkeeper Jarrad Howells dived the correct way and collected the ball into his arms. Following this heroic save the full-time whistle was blown and a fantastic three points were secured against difficult opponents.
Ton Pentre’s next match is on Saturday, 6 February at the Centre for Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach, where the Bulldogs will play Aberbargoed Buds in Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division One.