St Athan 1-2 Cowbridge Town
Bottom of the league Cowbridge upset the odds to stun second place St Athan in this coupon buster of a west vale derby.
Saints handed a debut to big name signing Nathan Fletcher Williams after he defected from title rivals Barry Athletic in a pre-January coo.
It was a competitive start with both sides looking to put themselves about and lay down a marker.
Karl Steel saw an excellent chance blocked by the keeper when one on one, before Nicky Cox had the ball in net from a corner but saw it ruled out for a foul.
More too-ing and fro-ing saw Saints take a firm grip of the game and begin to control proceedings and soon it paid dividends.
International import Alex Copilescu whipped in a teasing corner for Cox to head goalwards, the ball dropped to Craig Howells two yards out with his back to goal, defenders all around him, Howells called upon his experience to cleverly hook the ball over his head into the roof of the net to give Saints the lead on 15 minutes.
St Athan worked incredibly hard, especially in the middle of the park as Reece Lewis and Joe Laing were industrious as usual, if not more.
For all of Saints hard work and control of the game a clear cut chance couldn’t be carved out to get that all important second goal.
The back four of Sutch, Cox, Reid and the marvellous Brad Young were impervious and looked impenetrable as they defended the goal of James Andrews who was left with very little to apart from a long distance effort that was easily held by the expert stopper.
Saints went in a goal to the good and in complete control of proceedings.
The second period saw more back and fore between the sides. The speed of the British game catching up with Copilescu and he was replaced by a rare appearance from Jonathan Ashton before Jake Sutch had to hobble off with Tony Pugh entering the fray.
Cowbridge edged their way into the game as Saints found their grip on the game begin to loosen. Town applied the pressure but Saints battled back.
An exhilarating run by Pugh saw his cross knocked down by Howells for Laing to volley narrowly wide.
But then game a body blow Saints didn’t see coming. The newly introduced Cowbridge right winger burst down the flank, his low cross found the darting near post run of the Town striker and the black and Reds were level!!
Saints were dazed by this unforeseen turn of events. But Cowbridge were buoyed. Cowbridge despite coming in bottom had come with in a kick of dispatching the league leaders Barry Athletic two weeks ago before a last gasp equaliser denied them, and it could be seen that their green shoots of recovery continued here.
Cowbridge took full advantage of Saints’ weariness now and a corner was whipped in, half cleared and dropped to the Town forward completely unmarked to lash home from seven yards.
Saints switched shape to try and fashion a chance of an equaliser but it was the same story as the rest of the match with the home side not quite able to create a clear chance, with Lewis and Cox firing over their best efforts.
Cowbridge held on for a famous win to lift them off the bottom of the table, Saints drop to third two points off top who they play next week.
An impressive debut for Fletcher Williams, with Young, Reid, Cox, Lewis and Laing standing out today.
St Athan: Andrews, Young, Sutch, Reid, Cox, Laing, Lewis, Steel, Copilescu, Howells, Fletcher-Williams. Subs Ashton, Pugh.
The second side were held 2-2 by Barry Albion with little and large strike force Paul Lucas and Seth Talbot scoring.
Many thanks to our sponsors Llantwit Car Valet and Kinsale Stone Co (Wales) Ltd.