Report – Afan Lido 3 – 3 Port Talbot Town
The home side came into the match just 1 point below their opponents and were in exceptional home form. On the other hand their opponents, Port Talbot, were in brilliant away form. There was no favorite. This was a derby that was worth seeing. As well as the tight competition, this was bound to be a high scoring match because the two top scorers of the league would be on the same pitch. In fact the big story of the match was the battle of the league’s top scorers: Afan Lido’s Mark Jones who had 18 goals, and Luke Bowen for the away side, who also had 18 goals.
The pitch in the Marston Stadium was wet and muddy, which would force plenty of errors. But what it also did, was make the game a tennis match as the two teams kept playing long balls from one end to the other. Possession couldn’t be maintained in the first 10 minutes. Afan Lido had started the better though and were confident until Owen Williams broke the deadlock for the visitors on the 11th minute. Luke Bowen received the ball on the left wing from a long free kick. He played a ball across the face of goal. At first, it was not attacked. But eventually, the ball came to Owen Williams on the edge of the box who fired it towards the top corner, giving Port Talbot Town the lead.
Like any derby, this match was a rough and scruffy game. Tackles flew in and a few minor fights broke out. Afan Lido replied to going 1 down well as they pressurized the Ptt defense and got a lot of half chances. They were still playing with confidence. Then their confidence was ripped out of them again as Luke Bowen scored his 19th of the season. Jon Hood, who controlled his team’s attack all game, was played through and unselfishly passed the ball to Bowen who had an easy tap in. 10 minutes later, just before half time, Bowen scored again and Hood got another assist. There were a lot of questions of a possible offside on Hood as he was played through again. But that didn’t distract him as he put the ball on a plate for Bowen who finished with composure. At half time, the Blues lead 3 – 0 but the scoreline did not reflect the performance.
Afan Lido came out in the second half all guns blazing and got a few good chances. The best one coming from Mark Jones who had a close range shot that was brilliantly saved by McCreesh. McCreesh in the Blues goal was determined to keep a clean sheet. But it wasn’t to be as Cai Owens headed in from close range to give the hosts a glimmer of hope. Lido seemed to be a different side in the second half and were playing incredibly, frustrating the away side. Port Talbot had a good spell in the game for 10 minutes of the second half, dominating the possession. All of a sudden, Afan Lido were on a counter attack and within 30 seconds, had scored. Mark Jones lead the counter attack and got an assist as he played a ball to Hanbury who tapped it in for Lido.
Was the comeback on? It seemed to be as Lido made the Ptt defense nervous and they started to use scramble defense in hopes of holding on to the lead. It seemed to work until the 90th minute. Super Sub, Josh Webber capitalized on a switched off Port Talbot defense and ran the ball into the box, scoring with only the keeper to beat. The comeback had been completed surely. Or had it? With time left, Port Talbot had the chance to win it and would have won it, but for a blatant foul from Carl Evans. To add to the drama, he was sent off because of a double booking. The resulting free kick was wasted though, and Ptt would have to settle for a point. Some would say it could have and should have been more.
Images by Lewis Mitchell http://lewismphoto.blogspot.com/
Read our live report as it happened on Y Clwb Pel Droed here: