STUDENTS END UP WITH FULL MARKS
PONTYCLUN 0 SWANSEA UNI 2
Swansea University were the visitors to a bright and sunny Ivor Park on Saturday for the eagerly awaited opening Welsh League Division 3 fixture of the season.
Pontyclun got proceedings underway kicking towards the Cowbridge end of the ground. After an evenly contested opening the first real opportunity of the game fell to Pontyclun in the fifth minute of the game. Good battling by Jonathan Welsh on the right eventually resulted in him squaring the ball across the Swansea area but unfortunately no Pontyclun player was on hand to turn it into the net.
Three minutes later the visitors had their first chance of the match. Their tall centre forward dispossessed Aled Davies in the middle of the field. He then proceeded to power towards the Pontyclun goal before getting in a shot from the edge of the area which flew just wide of the left hand post.
With play swinging from end to end at the point, another chance fell to Pontyclun on the quarter of an hour mark. James Gronow advanced with the ball down the left wing before getting in a high cross which unfortunately just eluded the several waiting Pontyclun players in the Swansea area.
Shortly afterwards it was the visitors who had an opportunity to open their account when they were awarded a free-kick on the right hand corner of the area following a foul by Jarrad Hill. When the ball was lofted high and deep into the Pontyclun area it was missed by James Billington in the Pontyclun goal and dropped to a Swansea player on the far post. However, fortunately for Pontyclun he could only put his effort wide of the upright.
As the half progressed Pontyclun were more than holding their own against a very young, well drilled and extremely fit Swansea eleven. Indeed in the 27th minute they once again came close to opening the scoring. Tom Tweedy’s lofted ball found Jonathan Welsh in the Swansea University area. The Pontyclun player, who was making his league debut, brought the ball under control, swivelled and put in a low goal-bound shot which the visiting keeper managed to block with his legs.
A minute later the same player had another good chance to open the scoring when he did well to win the ball in the Swansea box. However, his firm shot on the turn flew just over the bar.
Play continued to flow from end to end and in the 38th minute another good opportunity fell to the visitors. The ball was played into the Pontyclun area and after some indecision between James Billington and Chris Bell a Swansea player nipped in to take possession of the ball. However, fortunately for Pontyclun, James Billington did well to turn the goal-bound effort around the post for a corner.
Two minutes later the visitors again came close to taking the lead when a cross cum shot from forty yards was pushed around the post by James Billington for a corner. A few minutes later the same player was in action again when a visiting forward seized on his poor clearance. However, the Pontyclun custodian atoned for his mistake when he got down well to gather the ball at the feet of the visiting forward.
This proved to be the last significant action of the after and the interval arrived with the teams locked at 0-0.
The visitors got proceedings underway in the second half and straight from the kick-off forced a free-kick on the right hand corner of the Pontyclun area which was headed behind by Matthew Trigg for a corner. From the ensuing kick the ball found its way to an unmarked Swansea player in the area and his glancing header was well saved by James Billington.
Six minutes later Pontyclun had their first real opportunity of the half. James Gronow picked up the ball on the right wing. After twisting and turning past a couple of visiting players he advanced into the Swansea area and put in a firm diagonal shot which flew just wide of the left hand post.
Play continued to flow from end to end as the two evenly matched teams tried hard to open the scoring with both goalkeepers being called into action. In the 62nd minute Pontyclun had a strong claim for a penalty. Connor Berry picked up the ball deep in the Swansea half on the left and as he advanced into the Swansea area he looked to be hauled down by a visiting defender. However, much to the consternation of the vast majority of the very large crowd and the Pontyclun players, the referee ignored the strong appeals for a penalty.
Stung by this decision Pontyclun continued to take the game to their opponents and two minutes later again came close to taking the lead when a powerful Matthew Trigg header form a corner on the left flew just over the Swansea bar.
Shortly afterwards Pontyclun had another opportunity to go in front. Substitute Joel Woodington received the ball on the left hand side of the Swansea area. After twisting and turning and strongly holding off the challenges of a couple of Swansea defenders he squared the ball to Connor Berry. However, the Pontyclun forward was slightly off balance when he received the ball and could only stab his effort straight into the hands of the Swansea keeper.
After a game of many opportunities for both teams it was Swansea who took the lead in the 79th minute. A low ball was played through to Swansea number 10 Nick Heaton from midfield. Despite the appeals of the Pontyclun defence for offside, the referee waved play on and the Swansea player rounded James Billington before putting the ball into the net.
This goal knocked the stuffing out of the home team and as the minutes ticked by it was Swansea who enjoyed more and more of the game and in the 83rd minute James Billington did well to palm away another goal-bound effort.
Two minutes later though the visitors did succeed in doubling their lead when a firm drive from Adam Orme on the right hand edge of the Pontyclun area evaded the dive of James Billington and nestled in the far corner of the net.
With Pontyclun now totally deflated it was the visitors who finished the game much the stronger team. Although they had a further couple of chances to extend their lead they were unable to capitalise on them and the game, which had been a credit to the quality of two of the newly promoted teams into the Welsh League, ended with Swansea University the victors by two goals to nil.