Gwent Premier League Premier Division

Abertillery Excelsiors 1 Monmouth Town FC 2

MONMOUTH Town FC came from behind to beat Abertillery Excelsiors, despite Jacob Perrella’s red card and Ashley Ford’s second half sin-binning, reports DAN KEANE.

Monmouth played  ten minutes of the match with nine men and the last 20 with ten after Perrella’s red card and Ford`s sin-bin. 

Two goals inside the opening ten minutes of the second half from Nick Harrhy and Dan Macdonald put the Kingfishers ahead, after going a goal down on the stroke of half-time after a magnificent  strike from Macauley James. 

However, the context of the match changed drastically when Perella was controversially sent off for a challenge which the referee interpreted as serious foul play. 

Matters got much worse for Town after the red card, when captain Ford was awarded a blue card for dissent, reducing their number to nine for the next 10 minutes.

Despite the mammoth challenge, Monmouth displayed their improvement in discipline and desire with several heroic performances, despite Excelsiors’ late pressure. 

The away side held out to ensure they earned three valuable points on the road, highlighting just how far the young Kingfishers have come this season. 

The win extends Monmouth’s unbeaten run against Abertillery to five games. 

The sides demonstrated why only one place separated them in the league before kick-off, with both having good chances to take the lead in the opening 25 minutes. 

Perrella’s effort after a cutback from George Gouldingay was well saved by Ioan Fisher, and Cristino Lisboa’s shot flew just wide of the right post for the hosts after the Kingfishers failed to clear their lines. 

Town had a huge penalty shout with five minutes of the half to play after James Greaney got his shot away, saved by Fisher, but was taken out from behind in the process. 

However, the home side then took the lead right on half-time, Monmouth clearing the ball out of the box to James who hit the ball perfectly first time into the top corner. 

Despite going a goal down, Monmouth started the second half encouragingly and had success in wide areas through their combinations and pace. 

Nick Harrhy’s equaliser exemplified this after smart play from Gouldingay, beating his man and floating a ball into the former Hereford United and Newport County man, who had time to chest the ball down and calmly volley past Fisher.  

The Town’s dominant start to the second period was further rewarded, when they took the lead within five minutes. 

Gouldingay was again instrumental as his run forced Fisher into a smart save from close range, with the ball falling to former England Schools star Macdonald, who expertly slotted the rebound into the net. 

The Kingfishers looked comfortable with their lead until Perrella’s controversial red and Ford’s sin binning, which drastically transformed the situation. 

Excelsiors sustained attack after attack against Town, who were forced into a low block with men behind the ball to try and preserve their lead. 

Ford was reintroduced to the match after his sin-bin with 20 minutes to play as the hosts continued to dominate and create opportunities. 

Kingfishers keeper Dan Keane was forced into two excellent saves, the first from close range to deny Lewis Jones and the second from a Jones header which the goalie tipped around his right-post. 

The hosts threw everything at Monmouth and constant balls into the box were courageously defended, while the introduction of their substitutions also contributed in keeping Excelsiors out. 

And the Kingfishers managed to hold out for an exceptional win, with Abertillery`s Charlie Hamer receiving his marching orders for a second yellow card late on for a late challenge.  

The win means that Monmouth are unbeaten in their last seven league games and have now only lost one of their last ten, with the three points seeing them overtake Abertillery to move fifth. 

Player-manager Jack Alderdice described his side’s performance  as “superb” and “courageous”. 

“I thought on the balance of the match in the opening hour we deserved our lead,” he said. 

“Obviously the sending off and sin-bin completeley changed the match, but to defend like we did and hold out goes to show how far this side has come since the start of the season.” 

Elsewhere, the 2nds lost 1-0 though at Sudbrook CC in East Gwent 1, having beaten them 4-2 at home the previous Saturday.

Fellow Monmouth outfit Rockfield Rovers also lost 2-0 at home to basement  side Caldicot Castle, although they stay top. 

But Chepstow Town fought back from being 1-0 down at the break to win 3-1 at Abercarn United in the Ardal South East League, Thomas Doidge, Iestyn Davies and Marcus Forrest with the goals.

Usk Town lost 3-1 at Cwmcarn Athletic in Gwent Premier 2,  while Chepstow’s Thornwell R&W lost 3-2 at home to Pontypool Town.

Redbrook Rovers lost 3-1 at Broadwell A in North Glos 1, Callum Wheatley with the cosolation, but their 2nds won 3-2 at home to Westbury 2nds in NG3, Logan Griffiths, Jayden Makondora and Jason Powell on target.

Also in East Gwent 1, Caldicot Town 3rds beat Portskewett & Sudbrook 4-0, while in EG2, Port & Sud 2nds  beat Sudbrook CC 2nds 3-1. Usk Town 2nds also won 3-1 at home to Forgeside in Gwent Central 2.

Fixtures this Saturday (December 2) include – Lucas Cwmbran v Monmouth T, Lliswerry v Chepstow T, Monmouth T 2nds v Caldicot Castle, Chepstow T 2nds v Cwmbran Celtic, Graig Villa Dino v Thornwell R&W, Usk T v Pontnewynydd, Talgarth T v Usk Town 2nds, Port & Sud v Underwood, Undy Ath 3rds v Caldicot T 3rds, Caldicot Castle 2nds v Sudbrook CC 2nds, Chepstow T 3rds v Thornwell 2nds, Port & Sud 2nds v Severn Tunnel, Redbrook Rovers 2nds v Sling 2nds.