Friday night football action under the floodlights returned this season at CCB Centre for Sporting Excellence as the hosts Risca Utd clashed with Port Talbot Town. We headed along to check out proceedings and catch up with some fans of either club to gauge their pre and post match analysis.
Pre Match Thoughts
From my perspective we feel that the advantage should be with the Cuckoos ahead of this game. They had a solid campaign last season and under the guidance of Paul Michael are playing some great pass and move football. The Cuckoos will also be confident having obtained a midweek cup win against Monmouth Town and they play on a 3G pitch which they are used to playing on should see the three points staying with the hosts.
Port Talbot supporter Brandon Arthur
It’s going to be a tough game after going for 120 minutes on Tuesday against Aberbargoed in the cup ironically at the same stadium, but we are keeping the faith and I am confident that we can get the job done. Marley bishop will be a big miss but we’ve got enough depth to win the game.
Risca Utd supporter Alan Thomas
I am looking forward to the game, Risca Utd have had a good start better than last year’s opening, it will be interesting to see a team relegated from last season WPL and their famous fans coming to our ground, I feel this should be a good test for Risca Utd. After Liam Shaw’s spectacular goal in the week it would be nice to see another one. With teams of Port Talbot pedigree coming here I hope the attendances will improve and get stronger.
Both teams were heading into this game off the back of midweek cup wins and would be feeling confident that they could get the three points. Port Talbot Town, relegated from the Welsh Premier League last season, are in uncharted waters this season and whilst a few players have remained with the club, it’s been a rebuilding job for gaffer Paul Evans during the summer months. Unfortunately for the Steelmen, Marley Bishop was injured against Aberbargoed Buds midweek and would be forced to miss the game.
The game kicked off in glorious sunshine and there was a healthy crowd inside the stadium, including several travelling PTT supporters. The early stages saw Risca Utd pressing and moving the ball very well, finding space particularly down the flanks and getting some great balls into the PTT penalty box. PTT in the sixth minute however pressed forward and a great defensive tackle saw Risca Utd clear the lines.
Literally within a minute Risca had pushed forward and a rasping drive produced a good save by the PTT goalkeeper. PTT talisman Luke Bowen was leading the line very well and some good interplay saw PTT have a few opportunities in the early stages. It was however to be the home team looking much the better team in the opening first 20 minutes and a superb shot by Risca after some good play out wide saw the shot fly across the penalty box, but there was no one on the end to connect with the cross.
Midfielder Jandir Zola broke through for the away team on the half hour mark and forced a good save by the home keeper. A few minutes later saw Risca Utd break and some good play from the hosts saw a shot blaze over the crossbar; the Cuckoos were flying and a goal looked likely.
HALF TIME 0-0
The second half kicked off and Risca Utd took an early lead after some great work by Kyle Williams out wide, he ran from the half way line and delivered a superb ball cut back across the box which was smashed home by Seb Haggett. The hosts nearly made it two goals in as many minutes as a PTT back pass nearly lobbed the PTT goalkeeper. However shortly afterwards on the 49th minute mark it was 2-0 to the hosts it was that man again Seb Hagget showing fantastic composure to slot the ball home latching onto a wonderful through ball.
The hosts were now playing some great football and on the 56th minute some great interchanging passing saw Risca shoot but the ball flashed just wide of the posts. Risca were dominant at this stage and another incredible effort on the 62nd minute saw a shot smash against the visitors’ crossbar. Port Talbot kept going but their busiest player at this stage was the goalkeeper and on the 66nd minute he pulled off a tremendous save with his legs to prevent a third goal from going in.
The remainder of the game saw the hosts score another two past the visitors, this time it was Kyle Williams grabbing the third goal powering in a head from a corner, and in the dying stages of the matches the Cuckoos scored an outstanding goal. Great play out wide saw a tremendous cross come over and Brad Baker was on hand to power home the header on the 88th minute. A great moment for the lad with his first Welsh League goal. Port Talbot did keep pressing and created a few corners in the latter stages including a powerful shot but it was straight at the keeper and as the final whistle blew it was the hosts taking the three points.
POST MATCH VERDICT
There can be no doubt that Risca United were deserved winners tonight, the win was fully merited. Paul Michael has the Cuckoos playing some great football and confidence is flowing through the team. They will be looking to build on this result and push on for the remainder of the league campaign and trying to improve on last season’s league finish. As for the visitors its a transitional period for the club, Luke Bowen is no doubt a quality player and they will be hoping Marley Bishop can recover from his injury. Liam Evans worked very hard for the visitors and can be proud of his efforts, but it’s back to the drawing board for Paul Evans and PTT
Brandon Arthur Port Talbot fan
Well where do I start? We were taught a proper footballing lesson by the hosts, the second half and the goals that we conceded were so frustrating. To lose 4-0 after being 0-0 at HT is hard to stomach but we go again. We just need to improve physically and show some character. We will keep the faith.
Alan Thomas Risca United fan
Nice to see the Port Talbot fans enthusiasm, pity they could not bring their instruments in probably due to health and safety. As for the game it was a quiet first half but Risca came out in the second half and totally dominated and even a Rob Earnshaw goal celebration thrown in for good measure. I love Friday night football and why not.
Report by @therovingsheep.