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January 18th: Cardiff Civil Service 1 v Ton Pentre 2

This Welsh League match is the last time that Ton Pentre and Cardiff Civil Service will ever meet. Sadly, in this modern era of football where money is the ruling factor, we see another team with their backs to the wall standing on the brink of non-existence. With their Sanatorium Road ground facing extinction due to housing development, Cardiff Civil Service have found no other option than to withdraw from the Welsh League. The most disturbing thought is that at the end of the season the club will disappear without anyone noticing, and with no indication of help from the Football Association of Wales this blight could be mirrored by many other clubs, Llanwern and Milford are examples of other struggling clubs. The Rhondda Bulldogs will hopefully stay clear of this fate.

So the last ever meeting between the clubs started with a Ton Pentre goal scoring opportunity. Craig Thomas was fouled about 30 yards from the Civil Service goal. The ball was passed into Carl Thomas whose tricky turn provided space to shoot, but Billy Clarke was heedful and tipped the ball over his cross bar.

Lee Tapper was fouled at the midway point of the first half, while out wide on the right wing. Ceri Harding sent the free kick into the box where Mike Jones saw his robust header saved well by Clarke who managed to get down low enough to his left to deny the effort.

Carl Thomas saw his diving header just miss the target after a triangular movement that also involved Alex Lawless and Harding. Lawless started the motion with a pass that confused the Civil Service back line.

It was the home side that had the last action of the half when a useful corner was saved well by John Howe in the number one shirt. Had the 'keeper not executed the ball there was a hat full of players on standby to head the ball into the net.

Just 18 seconds had passed of the second half before Ton Pentre took a 1-0 lead. The Rhondda Bulldogs had a clean break from kick-off with a Tom Billings run that saw the player fire in a confident shot.

Moment's later Tapper nearly doubled the lead after he won possession but Clarke tipped his strong shot over the bar. From the corner Billings came close but the 'keeper got his fist to it. Carl Thomas headed goalwards after the clearance but missed the target.

Ton Pentre's lead lasted 12 minutes as Cardiff Civil Service clawed their way back as Lee Piotrowski broke through the defence to supply Ian Sutton with his goal.

The Rhondda Bulldogs didn't feel dejected for long as they strafed for the winner. Jason Roberts ran onto a loose ball and launched a shot from 25 yards out that crashed against the cross bar leaving it needing a coat of paint.

A Ton Pentre attack soon after with Mark Evans in possession emulated into a small furore after Civil Service veteran Ashley Griffiths clearly grabbed Evans round the neck to pull him back. However, both the referee and his assistant missed the dirty deed. This sparked a little brawl between the players that eventually the referee noticed. Griffiths was booked, luckily escaping a red card, and was soon substituted after.

The spark finally lit the fuse when an effective run from Harding saw the player curl his body round the defence to enable a plain pass to Lawless who scored with a half volley 12 minutes from full-time.

The defence withstood Civil Service pressure in the closing minutes to hang onto the three points that Ton Pentre most certainly need.

The called off match against UWIC from Saturday January 11 has been rearranged for Wednesday January 22 with the kick off at 7.30pm. Saturday 25 January will see Ely Rangers at Ynys Park with the Welsh League match kicking off at 3.00pm.

Ton Pentre: John Howe; Lee Tapper; Jason Roberts; Mike Jones (Nathan Prygodzicz, 76mins); Neil Davies; Alex Lawless; Mark Evans; Craig Thomas; Carl Thomas; Tom Billings; Ceri Harding.</>
Subs not used: Richard Johnson & Kevin Richards.

Match report by Rob Dowling.


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