Going into this match, an already relegated Garden Village were still looking for their first win of the season and had scored just 22 goals, the lowest amount in Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division One. Nobody would have given them a chance against Ton Pentre but the Swansea-based club produced a committed performance to beat the Bulldogs 2-1.
Ton Pentre were left red faced in front of a large crowd at Stafford Common and the unexpected result once again has the Bulldogs looking over their shoulders towards the bottom half of the Division One table.
The Rhondda club have some big games coming up against the teams below them and they must quickly put this disappointment behind them and focus on the matches ahead.
After Garden Village broke away and went one-on-one with Bulldogs goalkeeper Jarrad Howells, who produced a fine save, Ton Pentre began to completely dominate proceedings and spent most of the time camped in their opponents half of the pitch.
A nice ball forward from Thomas Davies in defence was brought down by Leon Jacka inside the Garden Village box. He turned and took a shot at goal but the home team goalkeeper was equal to the effort.
With half hour of the match having been played, Lewis Hitchcock did well running up the left wing at the Garden Village defence before sending an excellent cross into the box for Jacka. However, the ball was taken off Jacka’s head by a defender for a corner kick.
From the corner, Jacka sent a lovely ball to the far post where Tom Billing connected with a header. The striker thought he’d scored as his attempt had the goalkeeper beaten but the ball hit the crossbar.
Having survived this scare, Garden Village were dealt some good fortune when the referee, who awarded a free kick against an innocent Nickie Jones in midfield, unfairly broke down a Ton Pentre attack.
The free kick set in motion an attack for Garden Village, who capitalised on some lacklustre defending by the Bulldogs in the 36th minute for Michael Morris to make it 1-0.
Ton Pentre nearly equalised immediately after when Jacka’s swerving strike from outside the box caused the Garden Village goalkeeper a problem. He managed to get a hand on the ball and despite being unable to hold onto possession he quickly gathered for safety.
Early in the second half Sam Small and Jacka combined, allowing the ball to be fed to Billing in the box for a header. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Billing’s header was saved.
Ton Pentre finally got the equaliser they desired in the 52nd minute when Billing was fouled outside the box allowing Jacka to send the ball into the danger zone from a free kick. Davies was on the end of the cross and his strike made it 1-1.
From here everyone in the ground probably expected the Bulldogs to go on and win the match, however, credit must be given to Garden Village as it generated even more determination from the home team to get their first win of the season.
Garden Village forced a corner in the 62nd minute and Sam Matthews took full advantage of some poor marking to head his team into a 2-1 lead.
The Bulldogs failed to create many equalising chances during the remaining time until Liam Hutchinson’s long-range effort in the 89th minute. It was a well hit shot but Hutchinson’s effort went wide of the post.
Upon the full-time whistle Garden Village’s players and management were ecstatic to have finally achieved their first victory of the season and it was even more pleasing for the club to have got it at their Stafford Common home and in front of a large crowd.
Ton Pentre’s next match is on Saturday, 23 April against Goytre United at Ynys Park. Kick off is at 2.30pm.