Port Talbot Town continued pre-season preparations with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Ardall Leagues South West side Pontyclun. It was a welcomed return to action for the Blues at Victoria Road, albeit behind closed doors. A double from Daryl Hughes along with a Cameron Harris strike was enough to see off the visitors in an entertaining clash.
In what was a largely tame first half, the Steelmen started bright and had an early penalty appeal after Cameron Harris broke through the away defence and was tackled late after a cross, but nothing was given. Pontyclun sparked briefly after eighteen minutes with two shots in quick succession going over and wide.
A sublime run from Dylan Llewellyn down the left ignited the Blues’ attack and he did well to find Jordan Edwards whose sumptuous effort struck the post. Just a minute later and Port Talbot were on the front foot again with Harris testing his luck from the edge of the box as his shot was just wide.
It was a largely familiar starting line-up for the home side, and a centre-back pairing of Jordan Gibbs and Rhys Jones looked comfortable dealing with former-Blue Jason Bertorelli of the opposition. He tested his luck from the edge of the box but in the absence of James Harris, makeshift goalkeeper Morgan Thomas gathered comfortably after a Dylan Thomas block.
Thomas then produced a superb save from close range to deny the visitors from close range after a penalty appeal against Rhys Jones went unanswered to ensure the first half ended goalless.
It didn’t take long for the second half to kick into action as the Blues lead inside the first two minutes thanks to a delightful, chipped finish from Daryl Hughes after good work from Harris in the build-up.
Six minutes later though and Pontyclun had their equaliser thanks to an excellent strike from distance from Bertorelli that had the beating of Thomas. He nearly doubled his tally on the hour mark after beating the offside trap, only to slice his effort just wide of the post. He was at again shortly after, but Thomas saved fantastically to deny Bertorelli in the box.
After sixty-seven minutes, Port Talbot retook the lead after some brilliant work from Tom Blizzard to force his way through the Pontyclun defence and force a save from the visiting goalkeeper, only for Daryl Hughes to fire in the rebound from close range to double his tally. That lead was quickly extended three minutes later as Cameron Harris brilliantly broke through from midfield and coolly slotted home to make it 3-1.
The visitors refused to go down without a fight as after a well worked corner, Tom Tweedy produced a thunderbolt from the corner of the box that fired into the top corner to half the defecit and ensure a nervy final ten minutes. They nearly had an instant equaliser after the Pontyclun midfield capitaised on a misplaced pass only for the away winger to strike the post to add to the drama.
Dylan Llewellyn was agonisingly close to putting the victory beyond doubt in spectacular fashion as his delightful looped and dinking effort drifted just wide beyond the reach of the Pontyclun ‘keeper.
The Blues controlled possession well in the final five minutes to hold on for victory in what was another great runout that saw a mix of familiar faces, youth players and new signings all get minutes at Victoria Road.
The pre-season fixtures continue to come thick and fast and Port Talbot Town will be back in action on Wednesday 30 June with a visit to Ynysygerwen (6.30pm kick off).
All image credits: Russell Morris.