Port Talbot Save Their Best For The Cameras

Port Talbot Town 2-0 Neath

Despite being without Martin Rose, Gareth Phillips and Lloyd Grist, Port Talbot Town claimed a comfortable derby victory through two superb goals and a fine save from Lee Kendall. With the match being televised live on S4C both sides started slowly with chances few and far between despite Port Talbot having the better of the early possession. The first controversial incident came midway through the half when Port Talbot Town had a strong penalty appeal waved away when Liam McCreesh appeared to be pushed in the area.

The home side forced a couple of early corners but failed to create any chances from them but the first real chance fell for the visitors as Richard Ingram volleyed from close range but Lee Kendall produced a top draw save to deny the former Merthyr Tydfil midfielder after 36 minutes. It was then Port Talbot’s turn to attack as Drew Fahiya went on a mazy run through the Neath defence and was brought down at the third attempt 30 yards from goal. Lee John and Scott Barrow stood over the ball and it was Barrow who would make the headlines as he drilled an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net. The goal stunned Neath and minutes later Daniel Thomas found Drew Fahiya on the left and his perfect cross was met by incoming midfielder Neil Thomas who finished in style to double his sides advantage just before the break.

Port Talbot came out for the second half two goals ahead and defended their lead well despite Neath pushing forward in numbers from the start. Neath could not find a way of testing Kendall however but did force a series of corners as Port Talbot defended and only pushed forward on the counter-attack. Frustrations increased for the visitors as they began to run out of ideas and two soft penalty appeals were turned down by referee Mark Whitby. Matthew Thompson made a welcome return as a second half substitute for Port Talbot Town as they comfortably held on to their advantage to claim a deserved victory over their local rivals.

28th December 2009 – Evening Post

Port Talbot save their best for the cameras

Three moments of class leading up to half-time earned Port Talbot Town a crucial 2-0 victory over Neath at the GenQuip Stadium yesterday. The victory took the Blues ahead of the Eagles into fourth spot, while the visitors slip to sixth, although they have matches in hand on all five sides above them. The sides were well matched in the first period, but a magnificent save by Port Talbot keeper Lee Kendall in the 36th minute maintained the deadlock. Richard Ingram must have thought his volley was destined for the net, but Kendall’s instinctive save to his right at full stretch denied the visitors.

The drama continued four minutes later when Port Talbot were awarded a free-kick 30 yards out after a dazzling Drew Fahiya surge was brought to an abrupt halt. Up stepped Scott Barrow and his fierce left-foot shot fizzed into the top right corner of the net with Neath keeper Wyn Walters having no chance. It was a stunning goal but the second, on the stroke of half-time, was almost as memorable. Daniel Thomas won the ball in the air and found Fahiya, and his inch-perfect pass was met by a superb 20-yard shot by Neil Thomas that Walters again had no chance of keeping out. Neath never looked like recovering after the interval and only the brilliance of striker Chris Llewellyn kept Neath’s interest alive. But the Steelmen easily held out to gain a memorable and deserved victory in front of a live television audience and a season’s best crowd of 678. They have now taken 19 points from their last seven matches and look a good bet to challenge for European football.

Neath, who suffered their first defeat in 13 matches, have much to contemplate ahead of the New Year’s Day return at The Gnoll as they have now won just twice in six matches. “There were three defining moments in the match, a great save and two fantastic strikes, but I’m disappointed with our performance, which lacked energy and desire,” said Neath boss Andrew Dyer. “We gave the ball away too cheaply and didn’t turn up, especially in the second half. But we played a very good Port Talbot side.” Port Talbot manager Mark Jones was elated. “It was a fantastic victory,” he said. “We said before the game that this was a special occasion in front of the cameras and the players did not disappoint. Kendall’s save was the best I have seen in the Welsh Premier and Scott’s free-kick the best goal I have seen at this level. Our back four were superb and Leigh De Vulgt deserves special mention as he is an unsung hero at this club. Our midfield won their battle and the two lads I brought in as Martin Rose was suspended — Drew Fahiya and Daniel Thomas — were both magnificent. But all 14 played their part in an important win for us.”

28th December 2009 – Western Mail

Port Talbot’s great run continues

Port Talbot gained the bragging rights after they comfortably held off a disappointing Neath side in this eagerly-awaited west Wales top-of-the-table derby at GenQuip Stadium. Victory takes the Blues up to fourth spot and they are on a season-changing run of seven undefeated matches. But Neath’s campaign is desperately in need of energising. Although this was their first loss in 13 league matches, the last six games have produced just nine points. The match was decided in the 10 minute period leading up to the interval, with three dramatic incidents sealing Port Talbot’s success. Neath looked on in disbelief as Richard Ingram’s well-struck volley looked en route for the net but home keeper Lee Kendall took flight to his right to pull off a super save.

Four minutes later Scott Barrow smashed a magnificent left foot free kick into the top right corner of the net from fully 30 yards. It was a goal, captured on live television, that would have graced any ground in the country. On the stroke of half time, the Steelmen doubled their lead with another exquisite goal. Daniel Thomas won an aerial battle and Fahiya seized on the ball to set up Neil Thomas, who crashed home a beauty from 20 yards. Port Talbot boss Mark Jones said: “The live TV audience were treated to the best save I have seen at this level and also the best goal. They were two magical moments and our second goal was also out of the top drawer.”

27th December 2009 – www.neathfc.com

Eagles unbeaten run ended by Barrow

We saved our worst performance of the season for the live TV cameras at Victoria Road in a dour game, where chances were few and far between. The game hinged on two critical first half events – a point blank save from Lee Kendall to deny Richard Ingram and a wonder strike from Scott Barrow that to be fair was good enough to win any game of football. We lacked the heart and desire required to compete in this fixture and this will need to change for the return fixture on Friday. Both sides struggled to gain any fluidity during the game and chances were at a premium and it was the home team that added a second with another decent strike – this coming from Neil Thomas, on the stroke of half time.

We created a few other chances but none were taken and we faced up to defeat for the first time since late August and are now faced with going on another significant run if we are to maintain our League position towards the top end of the WPL. Manager Andrew Dyer commented,’I’m disappointed with our performance, which lacked energy and desire. We gave the ball away too cheaply and didn’t turn up, especially in the second half, but we played a very good Port Talbot side’.

Principality Welsh Premier League

Sunday, 27th December 2009

at The GenQuip Stadium, Port Talbot

Port Talbot Town 2-0 Neath

Goalscorers

Port Talbot Town

Scott Barrow (40)

Neil Thomas (44)

Neath

None

Referee – Mr Mark Whitby

Port Talbot Town

Team – Lee Kendall, Leigh De-Vulgt, Scott Barrow, Karl Lewis, Matthew Rees, Lee Surman, Lee John, Neil Thomas, Daniel Thomas, Liam McCreesh, Drew Fahiya

Subs – Gary Bansor (rep D.Thomas – 76), Matthew Thompson (rep McCreesh – 88), Nicky Holland (rep John – 85)

Yellow Cards – Liam McCreesh (87) – Red Cards – None

Goalscorers – Scott Barrow (40), Neil Thomas (44)

Neath

Team – Wyn Walters, Carlos Castan, Rob Folland, Ian Hillier, Liam Hancock, Ashley Evans, Stephen Pockett, Craig Steins, Chris Llewellyn, Andy Hill, Richard Ingram

Subs – Sean Cronin (rep Ingram – 61), Anthony Williams (Unused), Kieran Howard (rep Evans – 74), Matthew Harris (Unused), Stephen Davey (rep Castan – 84)

Yellow Cards – Rob Folland (67) Red Cards – None

Goalscorers – None

Attendance – 685