Port Talbot Town advanced into the 2ndround of the Nathaniel Car Sales League Cup despite playing with 10 men for 70 minutes, as a Ben Rose-Miles hat-trick secured an impressive 3-0 victory over West End at Pri Deri Park.
The Blues started brightly and quickly gained control of the match against their WFL2 opponents who shared an unbeaten start to the season with the visitors. Ben Rose-Miles threatened early on with a header going over in a positive spell inside the first ten minutes.
Jackson Hall went close to giving Port Talbot the lead as he met a corner and enforced a great save at the near post from Jacob Ireland in the West End goal. A big penalty appeal was immediately turned down in the aftermath with Hall on the receiving end of a strong challenge.
Twelve minutes in and Port Talbot were impressing. Jack Underwood went very close with his goal bound curling effort from the edge of the box just being headed over for a corner. Seven minutes later though and he was on the end of a late foul and reacted badly, resulting in a red card for the striker. The Blues would play over seventy minutes with 10 men.
The sending off did little to affect the game as Port Talbot maintained control and saw another penalty appeal waved away following a potential handball by Nathan Wickham. Rhys Jones was impressing on the wing and he worked things well to find Ben Rose-Miles unmarked in the box, but he fired his resulting effort straight at the keeper.
A neat Jordan Pike free-kick found Jackson Hall in the box but he was unable to divert his header towards goal. It took the home side nearly half an hour to carve out their first effort on goal, but James Harris made a good save to deny Samuel Lewis.
Port Talbot continued to apply pressure and Jackson Hall again went close but saw his header well saved before Ben Rose-Miles capitalised on a goalkeeper error only to see his effort cleared off the line.
Nathan Lewis nearly had West End ahead just before half-time as some good work saw him skip past Jordan Pike and John Hall in the away defence, but his shot was straight at Harris to keep the scores level.
The break for the Steelmen finally came a minute before the break as some superb work from Dylan Llewellyn on the right wing saw him glide past the full back and find Ben Rose-Miles unmarked in the box to slot home. Port Talbot deservedly led at the break despite the man disadvantage.
West End started the second period brightly with a good ten-minute spell bringing them chances and confidence, but other than Nathan Lewis heading over, the Blues still looked defensively sound. Samuel Lewis did have the ball in the net for the home side but the whistle had already gone for offside.
Ben Rose-Miles nearly found himself on the scoresheet again as he took advantage of a misplaced header in the home defence but couldn’t find a way past Ireland in goal and the rebound was cleared away. Jackson Hall and Dylan Llewellyn were linking beautifully on the right and Port Talbot showed no signs of letting the lead slip.
Twenty minutes into the second-half and Ben Rose-Miles would have his second goal. A long ball forward was not given up on by Morgan Thomas and after winning the ball at the corner flag, he delivered a delightful cross that Rose-Miles met superbly with his head sending the ball into the top corner and doubling the Port Talbot lead.
Elliot Gowen nearly pulled one back for West End three minutes later, forcing a smart save from James Harris at his near post and Nathan Lewis somehow missed from five yards out as he found himself in space with the goal gaping, but he blazed over.
The hat-trick was soon completed by Ben Rose-Miles after he was put through and finished in impressive fashion with a powerful strike flying into the bottom corner. The Blues were well on their way to the next round.
West End applied some late pressure in search of an unlikely comeback, but all they got to show for it was a yellow card for Connor Cullen following a nasty challenge on the hat-trick hero. Sion Lewis, Bailey Jones and Ronan Whalley all came on for the away side late on, gaining valuable experience as the game concluded.
It was a very impressive performance that maintained Port Talbot Town’s unbeaten start to the season, and the gaffer was expectedly delighted. “The boys were magnificent today,” said Mark Pike. “Everything about them was spot on.”
“We had a game plan that we had worked on all week and the result demonstrated that. West End is a very difficult place to go, but the lads rose to the occasion. Having Jack Underwood sent off so early on was a big bow, but we kept going and the hard work paid dividends.”
“Ben Rose-Miles gets his deserved hat-trick since his time with us at Port Talbot Town and he deserved it. It was also great to see young Rhys Jones make his debut at just 16-years-old, as well as giving minutes to youngsters Bailey Jones and Ronan Whalley.:
“We are going in the right direction and it is important that we keep working hard in the weeks leading up to games so we can reap the rewards like today.”
The draw for the 2ndround of the Nathaniel Car Sales League Cup was carried out shortly after full-time, and it is another away tie for the Blues as we will travel to Ynys Park to take on Ton Pentre. Tie to be played 20/21 September.
Check out some footage of the League Cup victory below: