The Red of Afan Lido hosted the Blue of Goytre United in yet another fiercely contested local derby. Lido started with their three new additions while their in form winger, Noah Daley had also kept his place in the starting XI.
Lido got the game underway and within the first 2 minutes United’s defence was tested when Noah Daley got in behind the visitors’ line. Luke Martin came out to meet him but instead of opting for the shot he chipped it across goal aiming for Jack Todd but United’s defense held firm.
The young right winger ran the show as Lido began to dominate possession. Goytre were pinned back, and it seemed only a matter of time that Lido would score. Daley pounced onto a nicely weighted pass and burst into the box. With the defense terrified to touch him, the 8 in red cut inside on his right and tried to place his close range shot into the opposite side. It looked sure to hit the back of the net, but instead, the ball went agonizingly wide.
After that, in the way of chances, nothing was to come for the entirety of the first half. The pattern of the half was that Lido had the stats on the board, but not the goal to show for it. A positive for the away side though was that Lido were giving them opportunities on the counter and giving away un-needed fouls through frustration. Just a little bit less wasteful, and Goytre United would have scored a goal against the run of play. Nevertheless, the score at the break was 0 – 0. Something had to change, for the sake of entertainment.
Did it change? For the majority of the second half… No. There were half chances here and there for both sides but the game continued to disappoint the large crowd of fans.
Heading into the last 10 minutes Lido started pushing wide down the right where Daley found and created space with quality to set up Lido’s opportunities, while United were still knocking on the door with quick counters.
Liam McCreesh, the home side’s skipper, found space late in the game and should have scored. Again, Luke Martin was alert, and came out to block the number 7’s free shot from inches out. The attack may not have been at its best, but both defenses refused to break.
Goytre United eventually broke the deadlock. Afan Lido switched off and an incoming Goytre corner was allowed to be brought down under control easily by substitute Scott Jewel, who showed great skill in a crowded area to maneuver a ball across goal which was thumbled in from one of the Goytre United men at the back post.
Given the preceeding stalemate and late stage of the game it seemed United had found the winner. However, at the restart Lido immediately put pressure on United’s defence. Liam McCreesh was given a chance to redeem himself after he missed a golden opportunity earlier on. He drove into the box, drew a foul and went down. The referee pointed to the spot and with remarkable pressure on him, he was the coolest man in Port Talbot as he placed the ball into the top left, sending Luke Martin the wrong way.
Was it over? Not in Goytre’s view. They had the chance to take all three points away and lead once again, just seconds after they had conceded. A close range shot was brilliantly saved by Rory McCreesh who was not needed for most of the game between the sticks for Lido. Diving low to his left, he was able to save his side a point with a great quick reaction parry. The full time whistle followed shortly after and both teams would have felt that they deserved more.