Port Talbot Town advanced into Round 3 of the FAW Trophy with an epic 4-3 win over Gorseinon Athletic at Parc Y Werin, thanks to a sensational late winner from Owen Williams.
The away side stayed unbeaten with the victory and started brightly in unfamiliar surroundings before quite a large crowd. Morgan Thomas continued his fine goalscoring form as he headed the Blues ahead inside ten minutes, meeting a long Ryan Morgan throw to loop the ball up and over the goalkeeper.
That lead was nearly doubled five minutes later with Dylan Llewellyn hitting the post after cutting in on the inside and dancing his way past the home defence.
Gorseinion were gifted a way back into the game after a slow start as Ryan Morgan gave away a clumsy penalty. Tom Blackburn converted the resulting spot-kick straight down the middle to level the scores.
That goal gave the home side a new lease of life as they controlled large parts of the game, but the chances still came for Port Talbot. Morgan Thomas was unlucky to not double his tally for the day as a Jordan Pike free kick was saved with the rebound bouncing off him and trickling wide.
John Hall also sent the ball over from a free kick and things turned troublesome when Ryan Morgan had to come off injured. He was replaced by debutant Tom Evans who coped well with the pressure.
The ball was somehow kept out by the Blues on the forty-minute mark with the Gorseinion attack flashing the ball across the penalty box on three occasions, but James Harris stood strong in goal to keep the score at 1-1.
In first-half stoppage time, that all changed. The impressive Tom Blackburn was causing problems for the away defence all game and he wiggled his way through, assisting a fantastic strike from inside the box that Harris had no chance of saving. Conor Harris nearly equalised immediately for Port Talbot, but his shot was straight at the keeper, meaning Port Talbot went into the break behind for the first time this season.
The Blues started the second half much brighter and hit back thanks to some sublime work on the right flank by Dylan Llewellyn. He found space brilliantly to cross to Rhys Jones who headed into the bottom corner for the 16-year-old’s first goal for the club.
The goal did little to affect the home side’s confidence though, as their defender nearly put them straight back in front, but Matthew Beynon did well to block the effort. It was just before the hour mark and Gorseinon took the lead once again as a goalmouth scramble somehow saw the ball end up in the net for the Carmarthenshire League side.
Fifteen minutes later and Port Talbot once again levelled with Rhys Jones once again on the scoresheet as he rose highest to meet a Jordan Pike corner with a powerful header to make it 3-3. A few minutes later he nearly had his hat-trick, as yet another header went close.
A quick-free from Matthew Beynon nearly caught Gorseinion out but after the home side talked themselves into a re-take, John Hall blazed over. James Harris was forced into action straight after with a smart save at his near post keeping the scores level with just a few minutes remaining.
As extra-time loomed, Owen Williams took command of the game and unleashed a sensational half-volley from all of thirty yards to put Port Talbot ahead in the 89thminute. It was an incredible strike that will surely take some beating in any goal of the season contender and was a justified reward for his dogged performance in midfield.
Gorseinon nearly clawed an equaliser in stoppage time from a corner as their striker met the ball, and with every away fan’s heart in their mouths, it was just slightly over. The full-time whistle was met with huge celebrations after an incredible FAW Trophy tie in which both teams more than played their part. It was a wonderful advertisement for Welsh football.
Port Talbot Town manager Mark Pike echoed those sentiments and was expectedly delighted to progress into the next round. “What a game!”, described the gaffer. “On arrival, we knew the small size of the pitch was going to be an issue.”
“This game was a total contrast to last week where we scored just the one and missed a hatful of chances, but this week we did everything that was worked upon in training during the week.”
“We made some fantastic play and got caught up in a typical cup tie. Fair play to the lads for digging in and not being phased by the tough atmosphere on the pitch. Credit to the boys for coming back twice and a wonderful winning goal from Owen Williams, as well as two great goals from young Rhys Jones.”
“It is all about the result in cup fixtures and we were clinical in the final third. It is another step in the right direction as we continue building for our future. I was very pleased to win the way they did in what has been an extremely difficult week.”
The cup fixtures keep on coming for the Blues as next week we travel to Ynys Park to take on Ton Pentre in the 2ndround of the Welsh League Cup. Kick-off for that one is at 2pm.