SINGLE STRIKE SINKS CLUN
PONTYCLUN 0 PONTYPRIDD TOWN 1
Second Division Pontypridd Town were the visitors to a grey and damp Ivor Park on Wednesday evening for a Nathaniel Cars League Cup tie.
Playing in a white strip Pontypridd got proceedings underway kicking towards the village end of the ground. After a quiet opening few minutes the first chance of the match fell to Pontyclun. The ball was crossed in from the right into the Ponty six yard area where James Gronnow, who had lost his marker, headed the ball against the post.
Pontypridd had to wait until the twelfth minute for their first opening of the game but none of their forwards were able to connect with a high cross into the Pontyclun box. With very little in the way of goalscoring opportunities being created by either side, in the eighteenth minute Pontypridd had their best chance of the game so far. The ball was played into the Pontyclun area from the right. Some weak defending by the Pontyclun back four saw the ball eventually bobble to a visiting player six yards out but his fairly tame shot was blocked by James Billington in the Pontyclun goal.
The visitors had another opportunity to open the scoring on the half hour mark when a Pontypridd forward just failed to get his head to a cross into the Pontyclun area from the left. The visitors were probably just shading the amount of possession at this stage but Pontyclun were far from being overawed against a team who had narrowly missed promotion to the top division at the end of last season.
Indeed in the 37th minute the visitors had a scare when an acrobatic overhead kick from Joel Woodington clattered against the Pontypridd bar. However, the linesman was already flagging for an infringement by the Pontyclun centre-forward.
A minute later Ponty Town opened the scoring. A long diagonal forward ball on the right created indecision in the Pontyclun defence. This allowed the visitors James Hill to nip in and tap the ball into the net from 8 yards.
Four minutes later the opposition came close to doubling their lead when the Pontyclun defence was forced to scramble the ball away a corner on the left. Two minutes later another good chance fell to Pontypridd. A long ball was played down the wing to a visiting forward who found himself one-on-one with James Billington. However, the Pontyclun custodian was alert to the danger and managed to palm the ball behind for an ultimately fruitless corner.
Right on the stroke of half time Pontyclun had an opportunity to draw level. A long diagonal ball into the Pontypridd area left Pontypridd goalkeeper Callum Meyer, uncertain whether to come for it or stay on his line. When he decided on the former he was beaten to the ball on the edge of his area by Clun’s Connor Berry. With the goalkeeper out of position the Pontyclun forward put in a shot towards the unguarded goal but his effort hit the roof of the net. This proved to be the last significant action of the half and the interval arrived with the visitors leading by a goal to nil.
Pontyclun kicked-off the second half in what was now an increasingly gloomy evening. After a cagey opening Pontyclun had a chance to draw level in the 53rd minute. Joel Woodington broke down the right wing and squared the ball to the unmarked James Gronnow in the six yard area. However, much to the frustration of the vast majority of the large crowd present, his effort, although eluding the Pontypridd keeper, could only dribble wide of the post.
Play at this point was generally confined to midfield with very few opportunities being created by either side as the visitors used their greater experience at this level to stifle Pontyclun. Indeed but for a shot from Jordan Lawrence which went wide midway through the half Clun did little to trouble the Pontypridd keeper.
Despite manager Barry Quinn ringing the chances by introducing all three substitutes as the light continued to fade chances were very much at a premium for either side. Indeed Clun had to wait until the 87th minute for their next real opportunity but James Gronnow’s high shot was comfortably gathered by Callum Meyer.
This proved to be the last significant action of an increasingly tame game and the final whistle sounded with the visitors victors by a goal to nil.