Dinas Powys Athletic 1-8 St Athan
St Athan roared into 2017 with a massive away victory as they looked to kick start their season.
Josh Morgan and Josh Harfoot both bagged hat tricks with Karl Steel adding a brace as Saints got back to winning ways in the league after two games without a victory.
Saints were rocked by a work related crisis with many missing through their day job and Leigh Lewis ruled out by injury, but did welcome back Nicky Cox from suspension, Steve Stock returned between the sticks and Tony Pugh and Josh Howells were called up to the bench.
St Athan took time to settle but soon started to knock the ball around well. Saints made the breakthrough on 12 minutes as Reece Lewis clever lifted pass on the edge of the area found Steel to drilled home the opener.
Dinas immediately looked to fire back and a looping effort from distance required the finger tips of Stock to push it behind.
Saints pushed for a second with Steel seeing an effort blocked and Richie Humphreys blazing wide from long range.
St Athan doubled their lead on 26 minutes, Cox’s powerful clearing header was latched onto by Morgan, his pass found Harfoot who drifted inside of the defenders and shot low into the corner of the net with his left foot.
Saints were now rolling and Dinas were against the ropes and soon had a third after the half hour. The ball played through saw Steel walking back from an offside position and therefore not interfering in play, the Dinas defence stopped by James Austin never stops and he raced through to pick up the ball on the right and drill a low cross for Morgan to steer in close range.
Morgan had the ball in the net again moments later but was ruled offside.
Saints went in 3-0 up and in full control.
St Athan looked to pick up where they left off and Austin saw a stinging effort palmed away and Harfoot put the rebound narrowly wide.
Saints found the fourth soon after Brad Young played the ball forward to Steel, his cross was half cleared to Harfoot with flicked the ball up and struck it on the half volley to see it fly in off the post for his second of the game.
Then controversy, the referee awarded the home team a penalty. The Dinas forward raced onto a through ball but the excellent Jordan Mortimore made a superb tackle in the area taking the ball but a spot kick was awarded to the bemusement of both home and away players. The referee proceeded to book the Saints captain who protested his innocence and received a second yellow and was sent off.
Dinas dispatched the penalty and Saints had half an hour to go with ten men.
Any thoughts of a miraculous comeback were quickly extinguished as Laing released Morgan quickly down the right, his vision saw him switch the ball to the left to put Harfoot in on goal to finish with aplomb to complete an impressive hat trick.
Dinas were now deflated and a Lewis’ through ball found that man Morgan again and his strength saw him out muscle the defender but the keeper made the tackle but only for the ball to break to Steel and he finished from 25 yards into the empty net.
Josh Howells was introduced and almost on the scoresheet as Lewis played him in but his low drive was tipped wide.
Saints were soon in seventh heaven as a ball over the top saw Morgan run from his own half to be clear in on goal, Morgan opting to drive the ball low from twenty yards past the on rushing keeper.
Morgan then competed his hat trick and his 16th goal of the season as Austin played the top scorer in to finish well and wrap up the scoring.
After a blip St Athan came back with a tremendous performance spoiled only by a poor refereeing decision. Saints can take confidence from this game as they look to somehow close the gap on leaders Vale United.
St Athan: Stock, Young, Cox, Mortimore, Humphreys, Lewis, Laing, Steel, Harfoot, Austin, Morgan – subs Howells, Pugh.
Meanwhile, the seconds unfortunately lost 6-2 to division two high fliers Barry Saints. Craig Howells and Alex Harry getting Saints goals.
St Athan B: McDonald, Burgess, Richards, Butcher, Cleave, Pickering, Rogers, George, Wolfe, Harry, Howells – subs: Morgans, Keen.
We’d like to thank our sponsors, Owens Motor Services, Llandow, Diving & Marine Engineering, Green Future Landscaping, Llantwit Valet & Car Wash and The Four Bells in St Athan.