St Athan 1-2 AFC Rhoose
St Athan crashed to a home defeat as Rhoose edged an enthralling contest to take all three points.
Rhoose made it four league games unbeaten and now are roaring up the table after a slow start to the season, Saints however remain second, five points behind leaders Vale United having played a game more.
Saints welcomed back Richie Humphreys and James Austin while Jimbo Thomas came into the first team squad on the bench.
Both teams set a frantic early pace and few crashing challenges underlined the usual competitiveness of this fixture.
Both teams created early chances with Josh Morgan firing over for the home team while Rhoose headed a half chance wide.
Rhoose then saw a looping effort crash back off the crossbar before Jordan Mortimore had a header cleared off the line for St Athan.
The game seesawed back and fore but it was Rhoose who took the lead on 19 minutes. A corner was driven in low to Dave Bevan on the edge of the area, catching Saints unaware, and drove a low strike into the net.
The full bloodedness of the contest was coming to the fore and at times threatened to boil over, but both sides knew they were in a game.
St Athan poked and probed for a way past the away defence and Mortimore saw another header cleared off the line from a Reece Lewis corner.
It was Reece Lewis who saw Saints next effort well saved, as his corner kick almost looped straight in but for a fine stop from Jamie Jones in the Rhoose goal.
It was all Saints now and Leigh Lewis cut in from the right and his low strike brushed the wrong side of the post.
Half time arrived and Saints still couldn’t find a way through.
Rhoose started the second period better and saw a low drive well held by Paul Lucas in Saints goal before a shot was steered inches wide of doubling the lead.
Karl Steel, who had been excellent, provided a pin point cross and Mortimore headed narrowly over.
St Athan built pressure and it paid off as Josh Morgan was caught by a wayward boot to the gut in the area and penalty awarded on the hour. Morgan stepped up and converted from twelve yards, despite Jones getting a hand to it.
The goal forced Rhoose to come back out in search of a goal and the game really opened up.
Steel saw an effort high and wide from a Harfoot cross, before Deon Garrison denied Rhoose a certain goal with a fantastic last ditch block tackle.
Josh Morgan then pounced on a wayward pass and raced away toward goal and unleashed a stinging shot but Jones produced a fantastic save to deny the Saints top scorer.
With ten minutes to go Rhoose broke up field, a pin point through ball to Josh Bryan on the left and he produced a fine finish to restore the away teams lead.
Saints tried desperately to find another equaliser but could not find a way through and Rhoose took the spoils.
A good game between too fully committed sides. Saints can feel aggrieved not to take something from the game after giving their all, with Reece Lewis, Joe Laing and James Austin working themselves into the ground. Nonetheless a deserved win for Rhoose to continue their good form.
St Athan : Lucas, Austin, Harfoot, Humphreys, Garrison, Laing, R.Lewis, Steel, L.Lewis, Morgan, Mortimore. Subs – Thomas, Young, Ball.
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.