Gwent Premier League Premier Division Monmouth Town 4 Wattsville 2
MONMOUTH Town FC once again came from behind twice before eventually scoring twice in stoppage time to earn a hard-fought home win, reports DAN KEANE.
Victory over Wattsville extended the Kingfishers’ unbeaten league run to four games, as they went fifth.
On a frustrating afternoon in which Wattsville`s defensively pragmatic approach nullified the hosts’ attack, referee decisions dominated proceedings as Ashley Ford and Josh Maksimovic spent time in the sin bin, meaning Monmouth played 20 minutes with 10 men.
But despite this Makismovic equalised twice to extend his scoring run to six goals in four matches, before an own goal and a last-minute George Gouldingay strike extended the Kingfishers’ perfect home record.
Monmouth came into the match boosted with the signing of hotshot Dan Macdonald from Ardal South East Aberbargoed Buds. Part of the Kingfishers’ winning Welsh League Division One side, he notched up 29 goals and four assists in the Gwent Premier Division last season, having helped Abergavenny Town win promotion the previous season to the JD Cymru South League.
Monmouth started slowly, struggling to hold possession and looking sloppy and disjointed. Wattsville`s approach was evident in the early stages, setting up in a low block to nullify the Kingfishers’ attacking threats whilst looking to hit them on the counter attack.
Chances were limited in the opening 25 minutes, and whilst Monmouth dominated possession they were ineffective in creating any threat in the final third.
Refereeing decisions added to the frustration and Maksimovic was sent to the sin bin for dissent after half an hour.
Soon after Wattsville made the numerical advantage count and broke the deadlock when a long ball from Brad Summerhayes was played over the top of the Town defence, before Kelan Mccoll ran on to the ball untracked and was easily able to head the ball over oncoming keeper Dan Keane.
The away side’s lead lasted a matter of minutes though after Maksimovic’s return., as he ran down the byline after being fed by Macdonald with his shot deflected past the goalkeeper.
But once again a decision left the home side with 10 men after Ford`s frustrations resulted in him being sent to the sin bin just before the break.
The second half resumed in similar fashion with the game being tight and a cagey affair lacking any real quality and authority from Monmouth.
Still a man down, the Kingfishers again went behind five minutes in when a Wattsville corner was uncleared and the ball dropped to Garin Davies at the back post who slotted the ball past the oncoming keeper at the back post.
The hosts were fortunate to not go further behind moments later when once again a long ball over Monmouth’s defence was easily met by goalscorer Davies, who went one on one with Dan Keane, but this time the keeper came out on top, narrowing the angle and making a smart stop to deny him.
After the return of Ford and a number of substitutions, Monmouth started to sustain possession and impose some threatening attacks on Wattsville for the first time in the match.
Captain Ford`s move into midfield proved instrumental in controlling the match, and the Kingfishers looked increasingly dangerous.
And their positive response to going behind was rewarded on 65 minutes, when Macdonald expertly picked up the ball in a central area and played a perfectly weighted pass for Maksimovic to run on to and go one-on-one with the goalkeeper and place the ball into the bottom corner of the net for 2-2.
The Kingfishers continued to search for a deserved winner and had two great chances in the last ten minutes.
Substitute Ebrima Ndure`s effort from outside the box went just wide of the post and a snapshot from Macdonald - whose intelligence and vision was causing Wattsville increasing problems – hit the woodwork.
In stoppage time it developed into attack vs defence with Wattsville content to protect their draw.
But deep into stoppage time, the Kingfishers were rewarded, as a ball forward from James Greaney was brought down by Macdonald on the penalty spot before an onrushing Wattsville defender deflected it into his own net, sparking jubilant scenes for the home side.
And moments later Town scored a fourth after a corner wasn’t cleared and Gouldingay thrashed the ball into the roof of the net.
Joint Manager Nick Harrhy described his side’s late win as a “relief” and “deserved”.
He said “On the balance of the second half I thought we deserved to win in the end and fortunately we were able to break down a well organised Wattsville.
“In the first half we weren’t at our best, however a win is a win and I can see us continually improving in different areas each week, which is encouraging”.
Kingfishers have now only lost once in their last seven league matches.
Monmouth travel to seventh-placed New Inn on Saturday (Oct 28).
Elsewhere, Chepstow Town lost 5-0 at home to high-flying Goytre in Ardal South East, all the goals coming in the second half, while Blaenavon Blues blitzed Hay St Mary’s 12-1 at home, new signing Chris Ham firing six.
Other results included – Abertillery Bluebirds 2nds 0 Chepstow Town 2nds 2, Usk Town 1 Trinant 2, Blaenavon Blues 3rds 2 Usk 2nds 2, Caldicot Castle 4 Rockfield Rovers 5, Portskewett & Sudbrook 3 Undy 3rds 5, Underwood 1 Sudbrook CC 1, Sudbrook CC 2nds 6 Port & Sud 2nds 3, Tintern Abbey 2 Caldicot Castle 2nds 2, Westbury Utd 2nds 2 Redbrook Rovers 2nds 12.