CDP Ton Pentre AFC


Fixtures and Results 2001/2002

May 11th: Ton Pentre 4 v Neath 1

This was a game that Ton had to win to retain their league title for the 5th time. The match was played in front of a large crowd some of whom were from Ponterdawe who needed Neath to win to give them the league title.

Ton kicked off and there was a nervous tension in the ground amongst the Ton supporters however the players were in a determined mood, attacking Neath from the start. The opening was a little nervy by the home side with so much on the last game of the season, even from a very experienced team that had been through this before. In the 5th minute a mistake at the back for Ton let Carl Shaw in for Neath, he had a good chance which he headed wide, this was a let off for the home side. From this point this scare seemed to settle Ton down and they developed a more controlled approach to the game.

Then in the 11th minute captain "fantastic" Andrew Hughes got on the end of a Ceri Harding cross to score the opener, it came from good build up play and as usual Hughes broke into the box from midfield. This was the goal Ton needed 1-0.

Ton kept the pressure on Neath, who were working hard and giving their all, Dai Withers went close in the 13th, forcing Williams in the Neath goal to save from his headed attempt. In the opening 20 minutes Neath had very little forward play getting into the Ton half only on a couple of occasions. The 22nd minute saw Hughes getting into the near post where Lee Randall played the ball to his feet Hughes with his back to goal, controlled the ball and turned to get his effort in on goal, Thomas cleared for Neath.

The half continued with Ton still keeping Neath in their own half with Shaun Fackeral and Dean Morris providing good service from midfield, resulting in wingback Lee Tapper getting into the box and shooting just wide. The pressure was relentless and the 38th minute saw Williams in the Neath goal pull off a superb save, a free kick played forward by Neil Davies was headed down by Withers to Hughes who hit in the ball goal wards from 16 yards, the keeper dived to his left to parry the ball out. This spurred Ton on and with Ceri Harding and Tapper getting wide they were able to get the ball into the Neath area. Neath to their credit were working hard right up to the half time whistle and as long as the score remained 1-0 they were in with a chance.

The first few minutes of second half saw Neath attacking Ton without any penetration. After the initial pressure from Neath Harding was put clear by Randall, his shot went just wide. 10 minutes into the second half Ton had another corner, Jason Roberts and Mike Jones went forward, Roberts getting his head to the ball and sending it goals wards Williams did well to push it around for another corner. This was a good period of play for Ton, with Neath pinned back. Ton then got their second goal. Withers sent the ball wide to the right where Tapper bravely got to the ball and squared a low cross into the area, and who should be there running in to score his second was the dynamic Hughes, he calmly put the ball into the net, making it 2-0 in the 55th minute. The second goal was needed and there was now a little less tension amongst the Ton faithful.

Ton continued going forward and on the hour Hughes had a decent chance to score Ton's 3rd and complete his hat trick, however his shot went wide. Ton were now playing in a more relaxed way, however a mistake at the back by Ton on 61 let in Neath, they were unable to capitalise on it and Neil Davies as usual was on hand to clear the danger. With 65 minutes gone the came the best move of the match, Mike Jones played the through for Tapper who in turn put in another great driving cross into the area and from 6 yards out Withers threw himself at the ball and headed the ball into the net, it was a brave effort as there were defenders trying to kick the bal away. With the score now 3-0 the game was won and Ton kept the ball and still going forward. Then Ton got their 4th on 75, again Hughes was involved, he played the ball to Withers who ran into the box and when the keeper had committed himself he unselfishly squared the ball for his strike partner Randall to put the ball home and take the score to 4-0.

Then a controversial incident, Ton wanted to make a substitution and the assistant referee was preparing for this, Tapper making his way to the touchline and all the Ton team were waiting for this to go ahead. However, the referee Mr Griffiths from Merthyr allowed Neath to kick off and attack the space left by Tapper, before the Ton side reacted the ball was put into the net by James making the score 4-1, the reaction of all the Ton players was disbelief and anger. The substitution was then allowed with Ian Shepherd replacing Tapper. This was not the only poor decision Mr Griffiths had made in a very inept performance on the day.

After the goal Neath raised their game and tried hard to get back into it, however the far superior outfit of Ton did not allow Neath any time on the ball and the Ton defence was not troubled and the home side played out the remainder of the game comfortably in control. This was a true championship performance by the men in red. When the chips were down they came up with the goods, during their last 5 games they won them all scoring 17 with only 1 against losing only 4 games all season.

To win the league for the 5th year is a tremendous achievement with player manager Kevin Richards assistant Graham Bassett and physio Keri Bassett having done a superb job. Some of the Ton side have now won 6 championship medals, Ton have won the league the last 6 times they played for it.

Teams

Ton Pentre: Ellacott, Tapper, Roberts, Davies, Mike Jones, Hughes (Capt.), Fackeral, Morris, Randall, Withers & Harding. Substitutes Shepherd, Richards and Phillips

Neath: Williams, Timothy, Parry, Thomas, Vaughan, Richards, Edwards, James, Nicky Jones, John & Shaw. Substitutes, Skyrme, Cleverley and Taylor

Report by Gary Matuszczyk


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