This will be a game that Ton Pentre will want to forget about very quickly after they were eventually outclassed by Cambrian & Clydach Vale in the latest Rhondda Derby between the two teams.
Although a goal down at half-time, the Bulldogs dominated large parts of the first half and deserved a goal but their second half display was disjointed and Cambrian took full advantage for a deserved victory.
Cambrian’s win was even more impressive considering the inexperience within their team, relying upon the talent that is coming through their academy set-up with at least eight players stepping-up to the first team squad.
The Bulldogs were put on the back foot immediately from kick off with a shot going inches wide of the post after just 45 seconds. Less than a minute later Cambrian fired themselves into the lead with a lovely strike from outside the box that went up and over Jarrad Howells in the Ton Pentre goals.
Ton Pentre were dejected but were soon beginning to control possession and with 8 minutes on the clock, Leon Jacka thought he’d levelled matters when his shot from the edge of the 18-yard box hit the underside of the crossbar before dropping down to the goal line. There were calls for a goal but nothing was given as Steven Hall clutched the ball into his body.
It was end to end and shortly after, Howells was forced into making a pointblank save from a header at the far post following a corner from the left. Cambrian really should have scored but the save and the resulting clearance denied the home team a chance to increase their lead.
Before the half-time interval, Jacka went through one-on-one with Hall and looked certain to come out on top but the Bulldogs attacker appeared to take one touch too many, allowing the Cambrian goalkeeper an opportunity to narrow the angle and dive onto the ball at his feet.
A double half-time substitution appeared to indicate that the Bulldogs were going for the win when striker Sam Small and attacker Rob Blatchford came off the bench to replace midfielder Andre Griffiths and winger Lewis Hitchcock.
The changes didn’t seem to work as the team and formation failed to click and the Bulldogs play became very disjointed.
The match for Ton Pentre was being lost in midfield as Cambrian were enjoying time, space and possession as the result of misguided passes. It seemed inevitable that the home team would score again and they did just that in the 59th minute with a lovely strike from outside the box to make it 2-0.
The Bulldogs poor display was compounded in the 79th minute when Howells was lobbed by a shot from the outskirts of the 18-yard box.
Tom Billing headed a goal back for the Bulldogs in the 87th minute but it was nothing more than a consolation and didn’t muster any celebratory response from the Ton Pentre fans, who had already accepted defeat to their arch rivals.
The defeat will hurt Ton Pentre for sometime, particularly since it meant Cambrian had done a double over the Bulldogs this season, but this was an uncharacteristically poor performance from a team that has shown in recent matches how good that they can be.
Ton Pentre are sure to assess what went wrong in this Rhondda Derby during their training sessions ahead of the visit of Briton Ferry Llansawel to Ynys Park on Saturday, 2 April at 2.30pm.