On an overcast Saturday in the Valleys, Ynys Park hosted a massive bottom of the table clash between the Bulldogs and an in form Pontypridd Town. The visitors came in to this one in 13th place knowing win would take them 7 points above their opponents at the foot of the table. For Ton Pentre, win was vital to take them out of 16th.
With the North London Derby coming to a dramatic close, a local derby in the valleys was just the perfect match to follow it. Ton Pentre played in red while Ponty played in white – Sound familiar?
The Bulldogs started with intent and endeavour and dominated the first 10 minutes. But as the visitors settled, attacking chances became a rare site for the hosts throughout the half. Though Ponty went on to protect possession for the majority, there was always a chance for a counter. Skipper Leon Jacka got down the left for Ton and played an inviting ball across goal. It was met by a goal-Hungary Callum Hopkins who arrived for what seemed like a tap in. But despite having little to do in the match, Cameron Clarke in between the sticks was wide awake. He came out rapidly to make a fantastic block before diving to his right to deny the rebound.
That was a warning for the confident away side. As half time approached, Ton Pentre began to find their feet again and had their own spell of territory and possession. You thought the home fans would be disappointed to see the break, but it was just before that, when they were silenced. It seemed that goals weren’t coming easy and something special would be needed to break the deadlock. Ponty’s centre forward who had troubled the defence all half had popped up to provide that special moment. A high ball dropped to Luke Gallick who had his face turned away from the goal. He took a touch and struck the ball with his left on the half volley while turning around to watch is magic shot fly into the top right corner.
At the break it was advantage Ponty, but how would Pentre respond after having their efforts wiped away. They came out in the second with intent, but soon the pattern of the first half would re-emerge and Ponty would begin to dominate. It wasn’t long before they doubled their lead. However this time, it was through Aiden Lewis who produced a strike even better than Gallick’s. The ball fizzed out to him and 30 yards out, he tried his luck. If you blinked, you would have missed the ball fly into the net and pass an immobile Ryan Fleming.
The mountain just got steeper for Pentre as Luke Gallick bagged his brace on the 72nd minute to make it 3. He collected the ball on the right cut inside past the last defender and slid the ball past the keeper to top off an excellent solo goal. The three points were made certain 5 minutes after when the gargantuan substitute Gavin Beddard scored a Peter Crouch like diving header a few yards out from a deflected, lose high ball. Ton Pentre were all of a sudden 4 down and knew that all of their endeavour would see them stay rock bottom at the end of the afternoon.
But the fans did have something to cheer about as number 10 Josh Maksimovic netted a consolation 10 minutes before the final whistle. But the final whistle blew to end a widely frustrating day for Ton Pentre and their caretaker manager. For Ponty, another win and another 3 points places the new boys in 10th with 8 games to play.