Port Talbot Town moved up to 2nd place in Welsh League Division One with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Caldicot Town at a wet and windy Jubilee Way. Jackson Hall’s second goal in four days was enough to earn the Blues three points on the road in bitterly torrid conditions.
A full squad made the long midweek journey east and they were met with gusty conditions and constant rain on a heavy pitch. They soon had a chance with Jordan Edwards being put through goal, but he collided with the Caldicot goalkeeper before Conor Harris met the loose ball only to have his strike blocked.
Jordan Edwards was forced off with the injury gained from the collision, suffering a suspected broken eye socket that will likely see him out injured for the rest of the season. He was replaced by Morgan Thomas and the Blues were forced to slightly change tactics.
After an eventful opening, Jordan Pike was agonisingly close to opening the scoring when he struck the post direct from a corner as he cleverly utilised the gusty conditions. The away side continued to apply attacking pressure with Tom Blizzard’s goal bound effort being cleared off the line when a goal looked certain.
Port Talbot’s attacking pressure paid off after twenty minutes when Jackson Hall worked the ball into space and unleashed a rocket of a strike from 25 yards that went straight in with the standstill keeper unable to do anything other than watch it go over his head and under the bar in front of the jubilant away support.
Things were doubly bad for Caldicot as Simon Crook was sent off whilst the Blues were busy celebrating for dissent towards the match referee, citing an unlikely foul in the build-up to the Port Talbot goal. The hosts really weren’t happy with how the game was going as just four minutes later their manager also went into the referee’s book with a yellow card for his complaints.
Owen Williams performed well on his return from injury after his layoff following the ankle damage sustained in the 3-0 win at Risca United in January. He broke through the midfield shortly before half time and unleashed a fierce strike from the edge of the box that the keeper did well to hold. The Blues went into the break with a deserved 1-0 lead.
Conditions only worsened for the second half after a torrential half time downpour and Owen Williams saw his return from injury shortened as he was replaced by a lively Dylan Llewellyn. Jordan Pike was chopped down on the touchline, but Port Talbot played advantage with Tom Blizzard’s well-struck effort deflecting over.
Blake Morgan, on his first league start since suffering ankle ligament damage in the 4-4 draw at Afan Lido last April, linked well with Llewellyn and the pair managed to find Conor Harris unmarked. His wicked effort was just tipped over as the Blues continued to search for a second goal that would put the game beyond Caldicot’s reach.
Another chance fell to Blizzard after more good work from Llewellyn on the wing, but his strike ended up going well over. With fifteen minutes to go, the hosts found some initiative as Benjamin Smith squandered a great opportunity from close range after advancing through a resolute Port Talbot defence.
The Blues continued to attack with Blizzard again in the action, this time meeting a Jordan Pike corner at close range, but his looed header was comfortably held by the Caldicot keeper. With a minute to go, Jordan Gibbs came on for his league debut as Port Talbot looked to hold onto the slender lead.
That advantage was nearly doubled in added time after the Caldicot goalkeeper missed his kick from a comfortable back pass with Morgan Thomas being ever so close to capitalising on the error. The Blues were forced to settle for a corner and they professionally saw the game out to hold on for a superb 1-0 away victory.
It was a win that delighted Port Talbot Town manager Mark Pike and we caught up with him after the game for his thoughts on the midweek away victory:
“It’s another three points on the road and at this point of the season that is what we are looking for. The performance as a whole was much better than Saturday’s win at Llwydcoed on yet another poor and heavy pitch in difficult conditions.”
“The lads knew what we needed to do and that was to increase our intensity. Tonight, we did just that, but we have got to be more ruthless in front of goal. The game could have been put out of site early on with many good chances missed.”
“That was the same story all game, but another great strike from Jackson Hall gets us the deserved points. Positively, Blake Morgan came through ninety minutes for the first time in nearly a year and he was colossal for us.”
“However, a nasty facial injury in the first five minutes to Jordan Edwards could see his season over with what looks to be a fractured lower eye socket along with a nasty gash on his eyelid. We wish him well and a speedy recovery. I am gutted for the young man who has been so influential in our second half of the season.”
The Blues are back in action this Saturday (14 March) and are once again on the road. This time we make the trip to Pen-Y-Pound to take on Abergavenny Town in more league action (2.30pm). You can catch all of the match updates on the club’s official Twitter account.