Island Marine 3-3 St Athan
The premier division title race took yet another turn as leaders St Athan were held by Island Marine in a thrilling 3-3 draw.
A hat trick by Karl Steel wasn’t enough as Saints needed a last minute equaliser to rescue a point and stay alive in the quest for the league title.
St Athan came into the game missing regular number one James Andrews with Rob West coming in between the sticks. Bill Laing also handed a first team start to 17 year old Seth Talbot after impressing off the bench in recent games.
St Athan came into the game after their Barry Cup success last week and certainly seemed to be carrying a hangover as they made a sluggish start.
Island Marine were the better side in the opening half hour and soon forced West into an early save.
Island Marine took the lead when a long ball into the area was spilled by West and the Marine forward had a tap in.
A tactical reshuffle and Nathan Williams was brought on. His high energy made a big difference and his industry saw the ball drop to Karl Steel who cut inside from the left to drive home the equaliser.
The second half started better for St Athan and they soon took the lead, Jordan Mortimore’s perfectly weighted return ball put Steel in again, and although his first effort was blocked, the rebound crept in.
Saints now looked comfortable but Island Marine battled their way back into the game and now they levelled. A well worker move down the left, found the Marine inside the area and his low drive nestled in the net.
Now it was end to end with West having to palm away a goal bound effort and the Island Marine keeper tipping a Talbot lob wide.
With minutes remaining it was Island Marine who looked to have sealed the points as the ball was cleared out to their midfielder who unleashed an unstoppable volley into the top corner to cue scenes of jubilation.
However, there was a sting in the tail to come. In the final minute Steel picked the ball up on the edge of the area and danced his way from left to right to strike low across the keeper into the net for his hat trick and to level the game.
Last week’s cup final hero Joe Laing then picked the ball up on the edge of the area but it was not meant to be this week as his strike was held by the keeper.
The game finished all square and true result after both teams worked tirelessly throughout.
St Athan now go into their final game of the season against FC Barry Belgrade next Saturday knowing only a win will keep their title bid alive, Belgrade are still the favourites with four games still to play and six points behind the leaders.