Town’s crisis continues with late Cambrian loss

By Monmouthshire Beacon/Chepstow Beacon in Football

Monmouth Town 2 Cambrian and Clydach 3

ON a rain sodden December afternoon, at the Sportsground, Monmouth Town welcomed fellow strugglers Cambrian and Clydach. The Kingfishers, who sat 10th in Welsh League Division 1, were searching for a much needed win to push them up the table and out of the relegation battle. Andrew Smith made no changes to his side that drew 2-2 with Goytre United. Cambrian sat 13th in the league, with only goal difference separating them from relegation.

Both teams started the game well and were required to battle the elements throughout, with the wind having a huge effect upon proceedings. The Kingfishers started brightly, maintaining possession well and causing Cambrian numerous problems with their combination play and midfield rotations. The Town’s early pressure almost paid off when Nick Harrhy floated a ball into the Kingfishers target man Richard Greaves, but Cambrian keeper Luke Evans rushed out, closing down the angle, forcing Greaves to hit it straight at him.

Cambrian responded well with some impressive possession play, forcing Kieron Blackburn into early action when Cambrian midfielder Jacob Mathews attempted to chip him. The stopper had it covered all day and tipped it over the bar. Cambrian continued to press, having a golden opportunity when Jacob Guy played a misplaced back-pass to the town’s keeper who carelessly hit it straight to Cambrian striker Jaimie Wearne. With Wearne’s touch letting him down, Blackburn was able to come out and smother the ball.

With the visitors piling on the pressure, the Town eased the storm, playing their counter attacking football and eventually winning a free kick on the edge of the box. A venomous shot towards goal ricocheted to Nick Harrhy, but once again Cambrian stopper Luke Evans rushed out making himself big, forcing Harrhy to hit it straight at Evans.

The match had been tightly poised, and on the stroke of half time Cambrian striker Jamie Wearne missed a golden opportunity when he worked his way past the Town’s defence but Wearne snatched at the chance and put his shot over the bar.

Both teams started the second half positively showing fantastic resilience, maintaining possession on the ground and continuing to play fantastic fast flowing attacking football. It was the home side who had the first chance of the half when Nick Harrhy showed great skill to beat his man. Harrhy then floated a ball into the box finding Elliot Ford who leaped like a salmon, but his header lacked accuracy and power and tickled over the bar.

Perhaps against the run of play, the away side then broke the deadlock, winger Josh Ryall turning his man and firing his shot into the top corner. In the 65th minute, Smith turned to youngster Jack Hardman to make the difference. The Kingfishers dominated the next five minutes playing their attacking play through the thirds.

Monmouth’s resilience and determination would finally pay off when Dan Macdonald beat his man and squared it across goal finding Rob Laurie, who calmly slotted it home. Macdonald continued to trouble Cambrian’s defence when he beat his man and went one-on-one with Cambrian’s keeper, but Macdonald snatched at the chance and hit it over the bar.

Both teams continued to attack one another searching for a winner. Cambrian then earned their reward, when winger Josh Ryalls ambitious shot flew into the top corner. The Town replied straight away when Hardman played the ball into Nick Harrhy, who had his back to goal, and then back heeled it to Dan Macdonald, with Macdonald slotting it home.

While both sides would have probably settled for a point, there was to be one more twist to a dramatic second half. In the 90th minute, Cambrian got the winner when a corner was floated in and scrambled to Cambrian centre half Scott Hayward who tapped it in.

Manager Andrew Smith described the loss as “naïve and spineless.”

“I felt our loss didn’t hurt enough, were not taking our chances when were on top, conceding soft goals is a recipe for relegation,” he said.

The Kingfishers are at home to Afan Lido next week, looking to escape the relegation battle.

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