Gwent Premier League Premier Division

Cwmbran Town 2 Monmouth Town 4

A HAT-TRICK from inform front man Josh Maksimovic and a fine finish from Kingfisher legend Craig Lewis was enough to overcome a good Cwmbran Town side 4-2 at the weekend.

Monmouth Town headed to the high-flying Crows looking to avenge a 2-1 home defeat earlier in the season and looking to end a three-game losing streak.

The Kingfishers brought youngster George Gouldingay into the side in place of the injured Dan Macdonald.

And Lewis Lloyd and Jacob Perella both made returns to the squad after suspension and illness, respectively.

The game on an artificial 3G surface started at a quick pace with the front three of Maksimovic, Gouldingay and Oscar Elias causing the hosts problems all over the pitch, alongside wide men James Greaney and Finn Thorp.

And it wasn’t long before some great work by Greaney down the left found Thorp on the right who squared to Maksimovic for his first of the afternoon, netting from close range.

Monmouth were in the ascendancy and apart from two great stops from Town keeper Dan Keane, the back line of Rob Laurie, Luke Tiller-Cleaves and Callum Uttley, ably assisted by holding midfielders Matt Jones and skipper Ash Ford were seldom troubled and were controlling the pace and possession of the game.

The visitors were unlucky not to be further ahead after a string of corners, the last being forced after a great long-range effort from Gouldingay.

The resulting corner was only cleared as far as the edge of the box where Maksimovic made it 2-0 with a stunning left-footed half volley which flew past the helpless Cwmbran keeper.

Monmouth were good value for their 2-0 half-time lead, and a forced second half change of formation for Cwmbran didn’t stem the onslaught, as the Kingfishers continued to control the game in all departments, Maksimovic completing his hat-trick with a stunning header from a Matt Jones corner.

The game should have been over as a contest, but Cwmbran made it a tense affair with two quick-fire goals against the run of play.

With 30 minutes remaining Monmouth were absorbing a lot of pressure but Keane and his back line looked comfortable.

Nick Harrhy and Jack Alderdice shuffled the pack and introduced Jacob Perrella and Lewis Lloyd for Elias and Greaney, both players adding fresh legs and plenty of endeavour.

The final change saw Kingfisher, legend, Craig ‘Chewy’ Lewis replace Man of the Match Maksimovic.

Lewis, sent on to keep possession and run down the clock hadn’t read the script!

With minutes remaining and Monmouth surviving wave after wave of Cwmbran attack, Cleaves found Lewis in space 30 yards from the Cwmbran goal.

With the Cwmbran keeper off his line, Lewis was faced with a dilemma of running for the corner to run down the clock or shooting at goal.

And he did what he has done all his career and opted to shoot, a caressed volley bulging the back of the net for a 4-2 lead.

Cue pandemonium, the contest was over and huge celebrations amongst the players ensued, a fitting end to what was arguably the best performance of the season for the Kingfishers.

The result saw the Kingfishers leapfrog Caerleon to seventh, just behind Abertilley Excelsiors on goal difference who drew 1-1 at home to RTB Ebbw Vale.

Other results in the division saw Clydach Wasps beat Newport Civil Service 2-1, Croesyceiliog draw 1-1 with Lucas Cwmbran, and Rogerstone roll over Wattsville 6-1.

Monmouth next travel to Wattsville this Saturday (March 23).