St Athan 3-2 Barry Athletic
Saints fought back from two goals down to take all three points. Jordan Mortimore and then Josh Morgan bagged a brace to win it in a tremendous game.
Saints welcomed back Reece Lewis and Nicky Cox from suspension, the former going straight back into the starting line up with Karl Steel carrying a knock.
The home side came into the game on a good run of results having won seven out of their eight games this season. Athletic, however, travelled to the village with only one win in their last five league games.
Saints started brightly and opened with some sublime link up play between Leigh Lewis and Josh Morgan. Lewis seeing a right foot effort wide, then Jordan Mortimore fired over a free kick.
Despite the good start from the home side, it was Athletic who took the lead just before the quarter hour mark. A free kick just a few yards into the home half was whipped in at pace, alluding all in the box and bouncing wickedly straight into the net.
Saints were shaken and were nearly two down as a deflected pass fell perfectly to the Barry striker but Deon Garrison was able to pull off a good save to deny him.
Athletic looked confident now and soon doubled their lead. A corner whipped in was not cleared well enough and the second ball into the area was smashed into the net from eight yards.
St Athan were stunned but had to compose themselves quickly and looked to settle back to the football they had played merely fifteen minutes prior.
Saints found their lifeline as they pulled a goal back on twenty five minutes. Reece Lewis’ cross field pass found brother Leigh expertly, who in turn centred for his strike partner Morgan to side foot in. St Athan were back in it.
Buoyed, St Athan searched for the leveller and Leigh Lewis almost had it but for the width of the bar, as the veteran 28 year old steadied himself but saw his vicious strike cannon back off the underside of the bar. But it was coming.
Minutes later Saints won a corner, Reece Lewis whipped it in, Athletic half cleared, Morgan picked up the ball and popped it through to Mortimore who had stayed up after the corner, the skipper left the defender for dead on the right of the area and unleashed a stinging strike from an acute angle to the near post that the keeper couldn’t keep out due to the sheer velocity of the strike and the home side equalised.
The game ebbed and flowed, Morgan saw a chance wide and the away side had a penalty appeal turned down. But just before the half time whistle the comeback was complete.
Reece Lewis lifted the ball on the half volley exquisitely into the path of Morgan, the away defender unable to live with the youngsters pace, Morgan raced away to finish with aplomb for his tenth of the campaign.
A fine half that saw five goals and superb comeback by the home side.
The second period started well with Joe Laing seeing his long range effort well held by the away keeper.
Athletic now were the ones searching for an equaliser, Saints defence of Drysdale, Mortimore, Humphreys and Young were as solid as ever, and the one time there was a kink the Athletic strike was blocked by their own player inadvertently, although thankfully for the home team.
The game began to bubble under the surface as the away side began to become frustrated with their endeavours.
Saints were keen to put some breathing space between themselves and their guests, and when Leigh Lewis danced his way past a seemingly endless array of defenders in the area, he was denied by the extremely tight angle he mustered for himself.
Morgan and Lewis saw efforts off target as St Athan tried to kill the game off. But the home side required their keeper to be in top form as Garrison tipped over a dipping free kick from Athletic.
The simmering tension between the sides often threatened to boil over but the referee managed to keep the reigns on both teams.
St Athan saw out the victory after great game against extremely capable opposition. A win that sees them go into second place in the league, six points behind the leaders with a game in hand.
St Athan: Garrison, Drysdale, Young, Mortimore, Humphreys, Ashton, Laing, Austin, R.Lewis, L.Lewis, Morgan. Subs – Steel, Cox, Ball.
Meanwhile, down Barry Island……
Island Marine B 1-2 St Athan B.
Saints seconds ground out a fine victory, their first in four games. The side produced an excellent team performance coming back from a goal down with Craig Howells equalising with a fantastic goal. Then in the final minute, Shane Campbell popped up to win it for the away team. Saints still needed Jamie Butcher to perform a last ditch goal line clearence at the death but Saints hung on for the points. Performances of note from the evergreen Craig Howells, Rogers, Pickering and Butcher.
St Athan B: McDonald, Richards, J.Howells, Butcher, Cleave, Pickering, Campbell, George, Pugh, Rogers, C.Howells. Subs – Burgess, Watson, Colwill, Stock, Wolfe.
We’d like to thank those who came out to support us and our sponsors, Owens Motor Services, Llandow, Diving & Marine Engineering, Green Future Landscaping, Llantwit Valet & Car Wash and The Four Bells in St Athan.