Port Talbot Town made a thrilling return to action with an entertaining 7-2 victory over Sandfields under the bright lights of Victoria Road, thanks to braces from Blake Morgan and Jordan Edwards, a comical own goal, and strikes from Jordan Gibbs and John Hall.
It was hasty but very much welcomed outing for a Blues side that hasn’t taken to the field since February 1, and they managed to shake off a lot of cobwebs whilst giving a number of youth players the opportunity to step up into the senior setup.
Tom Evans impressed throughout at right back and he had the Sandfields goalkeeper flapping with a wicked cross after just three minutes. Two minutes later and Port Talbot opened the scoring through Jordan Edwards. He raced through the offside trap and slotted past the advancing ‘keeper to give the Blues an early lead. Moments later Edwards raced through on goal again but couldn’t quite find the unmarked Blake Morgan in the box with his cross.
Sandfields had their equaliser after ten minutes after their striker met a long ball to head home ahead of the advancing James Harris, who will probably feel he should have done better. The away side went search of the goal that would put them ahead, but scuffed efforts were their downfall in a very open match.
There were big chances for Port Talbot with headers going incredibly close from sublime Tom Evans corners into the box. Somehow the ball stayed out on a number of occasions. Sandfields continued to press forward though, and another scuffed effort from their full back this time prevented the away side from going ahead.
They were denied a sensational goal on 26 minutes with the Sandfields winger striking the post with an audacious drill from thirty yards. The youth element in the backline nearly showed with a shaky decision to let the ball roll nearly resulting in a Sandfields goal. If only a finishing touch could be applied.
Port Talbot Town turned on the style as the first half headed for an end with Jordan Gibbs, in his first appearance for the club, finishing in style on the turn inside a crowded box to make it 2-1. James Harris was at full stretch moments later to maintain the lead, saving brilliantly to his right.
That save proved vital as Jordan Edwards had his second of the game a couple of minutes later, once again racing through the offside trap and coolly slotting home through the keeper’s legs to double the advantage and see Port Talbot head into half time with a 3-1 lead.
Just seconds into the second half and Blake Morgan forced a fine save out of the Sandfields goalkeeper, but Jordan Edwards could only scuff the rebound in front of an open goal that was begging. That miss nearly proved costly as Sandfields had the ball in the net only for it to be ruled out for offside.
Port Talbot went straight up the other end and extended their advantage through John Hall who controlled the ball brilliantly before turning and curling finely beyond the goalkeeper to make it 4-1 on 54 minutes. The goals kept coming as the Blues made it 5-1 before the hour mark after Blake Morgan broke the offside trap this time around and skipped past the goalkeeper wonderfully well before tapping into an empty net.
Morgan was rapid fire as he had the ball in the net again just a minute later, but that one was ruled out for offside. Dylan Llewellyn and Blake Morgan linked very well on the wing and the former’s cross found John Hall who headed over from six yards.
On 64 minutes there was a comical moment as Port Talbot’s advantage was extended to 6-1. A mazy cross from Tom Evans ended up smashing the post before bouncing in off the helpless Sandfields goalkeeper. Laughter ensued in a spent away defence.
Jordan Edwards was intent on securing a hat trick but after racing through on goal he ended up slotting his effort well wide. He was then found unmarked in the box but his header from four yards was brilliantly saved by the keeper, whose blushes were spared after the rebound was inches away going on off his own defender. No second own goal on this occasion.
Dylan Llewellyn was causing chaos on the right wing and he did superbly well to get past the defence and perfectly set up Blake Morgan for his second goal of the night who couldn’t miss from 3 yards out to make it 7-1.
The goals continued to come at Victoria Road with the visitors getting themselves on the scoresheet with a fierce strike in the centre of the goal powering its way past the young Port Talbot goalkeeper to pull a goal back on 75 minutes and make it 7-2.
Blake Morgan was desperate for his hat trick and was inches away from getting it with a header after meeting a corner on the edge of the six-yard box, but he could only divert it back into a crowded box with Sandfields managing to clear. John Hall nearly had an unlikely brace in the final minute as he met Llewellyn’s cross at close range, but the keeper did well to hold the save as the goal fest ended at 7-2.
Manager Mark Pike reflected on a very useful friendly after the game: “Tonight was all about exploring the youth and getting some of those players returning from injury back onto the pitch.”
“I was delighted to see Blake Morgan make his first start since that horrific injury almost twelve months ago at Afan Lido and bag a brace. It was also great to see John Hall and Conor Harris come back from their recent injuries.”
“It was also a good opportunity to see our new signings Jordan Gibbs and Adam Llewelyn in action for us for the first time.”
“All in all, it was a very good workout for the youngsters tonight who all acquitted themselves very well. It’s a learning process for them and it is important that we develop them and prepare them for the next stage at this football club.”
“I’d just like to say a massive thank you to Sandfields of Swansea for agreeing to play the fixture, who themselves played a huge part in the game.”
Port Talbot Town will (hopefully) make a return to league action this Saturday 7 March as they travel to Merthyr Road to take on Llwydcoed in Welsh League Division One action (2.30pm).