Martin Rose’ goal secured Port Talbot the points (Gareth Elms).
Port Talbot Town picked up a second consecutive 1-0 victory to climb into fourth spot in the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League table, after a spirited performance overcame Carmarthen Town on Friday night.
Martin Rose claimed his first goal since returning to the club in the January transfer window as the Blues’ discipline and work-rate shone through.
Substitute Chad Bond could have added to the Blues’ lead late on but Rose’s strike proved to be enough to secure the points, in what had been billed as crucial game for both sides’ aspirations of European qualification.
“We created enough chances to win the game by three or four,” said manager Scott Young post-match. “We knew that Carmarthen were going to launch the ball in the box and fight and scrap for things, but if our quality of possession had been a little bit better in the final third, then we would’ve scored a few more goals.”
“Carmarthen are a very tough team to play, it was a local derby and they came here to try and upset us and spoil the party but we’ve done the job,” he added.
The Blues force a nine-point lead over Carmarthen, whilst overtaking Prestatyn to go within three points of next week’s opponents, third-placed Airbus UK.
“The most pleasing thing is that we’ve kept two clean-sheets, which to do in the top-six is a challenge. The lads are now standing up to that challenge and hopefully they can continue that next week,” surmised Young.
Steven Hall recorded a successive clean-sheet with another eye-catching performance, with the former AFC Porth goalkeeper influential at both ends for Port Talbot.
It was Hall’s huge kick up-field which troubled his opposite, Steven Cann, who miscontrolled the ball, allowing Rose to nip in and apply the finish, ten minutes before half-time.
The goal was as good as Port Talbot had deserved. More precise and inventive when in possession, the hosts troubled Carmarthen from the off.
David Brooks almost jinked his way through into the box, lifting the ball over the head of Craig Hanford before the full-back – one of five former Town players in the Carmarthen line-up – was able to recover and see out the early threat.
Mid-week loan signing Lloyd Grist quickly found himself involved and his flighted cross from the left was almost met at the near post by Rose, who was sporting just one boot. And it was Grist’s threaded ball from wide, which was poked over the cross bar from James Bloom as Scott Young’s side showed greater urgency and application throughout the first-half.
The Steelmen continued to harass Carmarthen after the break and Lewis Harling was both inventive and workmanlike as he started to show dominance in the midfield battle, in which he thrives.
Harling has grown in considerable measure, coinciding with the side’s progress since January and another imposing performance from the number 8 shirt will only add to his burgeoning reputation at the GenQuip stadium.
Likewise, David Brooks demonstrated all the craft that Mark Aizlewood’s Carmarthen so often lacked. A fierce strike from the winger saw the ball rattle around dangerously in the Carmarthen goalmouth before Cann, got across his line to produce an outstanding reactive save to beat out a goalbound attempt from the hustle of bodies around the six-yard area.
The outcome of the game would ultimately be decided by the form of the two goalkeepers. And Hall produced a save, equal in quality moments later as Carmarthen created their best opportunity to level.
Geoff Kellaway’s cross found its way to substitute Christian Doidge, who was denied Hall flashed across his line to make a one-handed save, palming the ball to safety.
As Carmarthen played with increasing freedom in the Port Talbot half during the latter stages of the game, the threat of the Blues snatching a second goal on the break became more apparent, particularly with the introduction of second-half substitutes Chad Bond and Adam Wright.
Bond, perhaps unfortunate to find himself out of the starting line-up considering his match-winning strike against Prestatyn last-time out, came close to putting the game beyond reach of Carmarthen and adding to his two-goal tally this season.
Bond broke through as Port Talbot countered and drilled a right-footed shot across Cann’s goal, only for the ball to rebound back out, off the inside of the far post, in what looked destined to be the winner.
And Bond would see another chance go begging soon after. Ashley Evans, the creator, showed great technique to deliver a looping, angled cross into the path of the Port Talbot striker, but his low drive fizzed past the wrong side of the post, as Rose’s first-half goal proved decisive.
PORT TALBOT TOWN 1-0 CARMARTHEN TOWN
Martin Rose 35’
Port Talbot: 29. Steven Hall, 7. Lee John, 23. Matty Crowell (31. Chad Bond 82′), 9. Martin Rose (18. Adam Wright 82′), 11. Lloyd Grist, 39. David Brooks, 5. Lee Surman, 6. James Bloom (12. Leigh De Vulgt 90′+2), 4. Ashley Evans, 24. Ryan Green, 8. Lewis Harlin
Carmarthen: 1. Steven Cann, 3. Ian Hillier, 6. Carl Evans (5. Matthew Rees 81′), 26. Luke Cummings (36. Casey Thomas 85′), 16. Nicky Palmer, 25. Liam McCreesh, 2. Corey Thomas, 24. Craig Hanford, 11. Geoff Kellaway, 9. Craig Hughes (30. Christian Doidge 60′), 18. Liam Thomas
Attendance: 310 Referee: Richard Harrington
All images courtesy of Gareth Elms