Port Talbot Town kicked off 2020 with a fine 3-1 victory over Pontardawe Town in Welsh League Division One, with Jordan Edwards, Tom Blizzard and Conor Harris all netting at Victoria Road. Craig Davies headed in at the death for the visitors, but it was nothing more than a consolation on a wet Tuesday night.
It was a first half performance of attacking intent by the Blues with Dylan Llewellyn threatening early on to set the tone for the night. He was fouled on the edge of the box after just seven minutes, but Blizzard could only fire over from the resulting free kick.
Six minutes and Port Talbot had their deserved lead. Jordan Edwards was delicately put through on goal and he struck early from the edge of the area with a lovely strike that was slotted past Steven Reeve in goal. It was a second goal in as many matches for Edwards following his return to the club.
Dylan Llewellyn, probably having his best game in the Blue shirt, continued to attack down the right, and he delivered a wicked cross that was cut out at the last moment before Blizzard could tap in. Owen Williams then struck wide from long distance with the Steelmen showing no signs of letting up the attacking pressure. Jordan Edwards nearly doubled his tally soon after with a lovely chipped effort going just over.
After 25 minutes of Port Talbot dominance, Pontardawe began to find their way into the game with an impressive run from Callum Silcox finding Joshua Dorward but his strike was well saved by James Harris. The home keeper was once again called into action soon after, this time keeping out the free kick of Silcox before the defence scrambled away the rebound.
Port Talbot manoeuvred themselves through a brief flurry of away attacks and doubled the lead on 33 minutes. Captain Ryan Morgan delivered a sensational cross into the box and Tom Blizzard made no mistake with his flicked header finding its way into the corner. A fantastic goal to send the Blues 2-0 up.
Five minutes later and the lead was nearly halved with Silcox, a constant threat up top for the away side, having the ball in the net but his effort was correctly ruled out for offside. He was desperate for a goal as immediately after he then had a goal bound effort brilliantly cleared off the line by John Hall after the striker found his way past James Harris.
The away pressure continued at the end of the first half with Silcox yet again going close with a driven effort going wide. Joshua Dorward was then put through on goal, but James Harris saved excellently to ensure that Port Talbot Town went into the break with a two-goal advantage.
The second half started in much the same way that the first did. Dylan Llewellyn showed fantastic skill to round the goalkeeper who could only bring him down for a clear penalty. Conor Harris stepped up and made no mistake in slotting home to put the Blues 3-0 to the good with just 48 minutes on the clock.
With the rain pouring, the second half turned into something of a sluggish affair. Rhys Piper fired wide from inside the box for Pontardawe on the hour mark before Jordan Edwards had a header from a corner saved for Port Talbot.
With twenty minutes to go, there was a bizarre moment in the wind and rain as Pontardawe keeper Steven Reeve saw his clearance sail into the Port Talbot box and strike the post after a misjudgement by the home defence. Harris had his blushes spared by the woodwork.
That seemed to provide Pontardawe with some much-needed inspiration with Craig Davies going close at the near post and then James Harris being forced into a sublime double save to evade Dorward.
The away side had the goal their attacking display deserved in stoppage time with Craig Davies beating James Harris to the ball to head in. It would be nothing more than a consolation goal though as the Blues comfortably saw out the last few minutes.
It was three points that delighted Port Talbot Town manager Mark Pike and we caught up with him after the game for his reaction.
“Tonight was all about getting game time, getting through it and gaining a valuable three points. With the weather postponements and Christmas break meaning playing just two games in five weeks, this had definitely taken its toll on our fitness. It is something we are looking at and will work on.”
“Pontardawe are a very inventive attacking team with energy and on times it looked like they had an extra man. Credit to our lads though who dug in when they needed to and managed the game very well.”
“It was another superb first half performance and we now have to work on taking that energy into the second half. These lads showed tonight when there are times we are out of possession, they know how to defend. They have to go through brick walls.”
“We scored two superb goals executed by young Jordan Edwards and the other off Tom Blizzard. Then there was a great energetic run from Dylan Llewellyn to be brought down in the box and the resulting penalty well executed by Conor Harris.”
“In all, it is three points and I am happy with the result to take us into the FAW Trophy encounter with Risca this coming Saturday.”
You can catch Port Talbot Town in that fixture this Saturday (11 January) as they host Risca United in the last 16 of the FAW Trophy. Kick off is at the slightly earlier time of 1.30pm.
All image credits: Russell Morris