Scorers : Ryan Prosser 13
Date : Saturday 28th March 2015 - 3:00pm kick off - Evo-Stik League Southern South & West Division 1
Sholing : Matt Brown, Kevin Brewster, Joe Griggs (Dan Mason 81), Pete Castle, TJ Cuthbertson, Jack Smith, Marvin McLean (Sam Olaofe 72), Alex Sawyer, Lewis Blackmore, Barry Mason [c], Tobi Adekunle. Unused subs : Nick Watts, Les Mwenze, Rory Anderson
Yellow Card : Jack Smith 54
Merthyr Town : Tom Bradley, Dan Summerfield, Adam Davies, Kyle Patten, Jarred Wright, Ryan Green [c], Ryan Prosser, Gavin Williams, Kayne McLaggon (Kerry Morgan 71), Guillermo Bauza (Matthew Harris 61), Ian Traylor (Corey Jenkins 78). Unused Subs: Richard Evans, Jake Harris
Yellow Card : Adam Davies 35, Jarred Wright 84
Attendance : 143
Man of the Match : Pete Castle
Referee : James Vallence (Reading) Assistant Referees: Colin Hopkins (Stockbridge) & Rudi Burton (Chandlers Ford)
Team News: Skipper Byron Mason injured last week at Tiverton was still troubled by an Achilles problem. Dan Miller was away with his University. Good news as Pete Castle came through a training session midweek to bolster the defence. So Manager Dave Diaper made five changes from last week’s defeat at Tiverton. Returning to 1st team action was Matt Brown, Pete Castle, Joe Griggs, Tobi Adekunle & Marvin Mclean with Nick Watts, Dan Mason, Sam Olaofe & Rory Anderson dropping to the bench. This meant a home debut for Gosport Borough loanee Lewis Blackmore following his debut at Tiverton last week.
Merthyr Town came into the game probably expecting a similar result when we last met at Penydarren Park back in September. Merthyr currently lead the division by eleven points and require a minimum of seven points from their last six games.
The game kicked off on a grey, blustery afternoon which created a bit of a sombre atmosphere, with Lewis Blackmore spearheading the Sholing attack. Sholing looked full of running early on and were well organised, giving Merthyr little time to set an early rhythm. However Lewis Blackmore was being put under pressure from the long ball game to him and was mainly marshalled out of the game by the Martyrs defence
Merthyr’s first chance fell to midfielder Gavin Williams who overhit his cross field pass out of the ground. This was then followed by Merthyr goalkeeper Tom Bradley slicing his attempted clearance out of the ground leaving the Sholing Ultras singing “Top of the league your having a laugh.”
However on thirteen minutes midfielder Ryan Prosser conjured up a goal a little against the run of play when he linked up with Spanish player Guillermo Bauza, Prosser evaded a couple of tackles before coolly slotting the ball home past Matt Brown from 14 yds. Sholing rocked by this goal took a further seven minutes before they pressurised the Merthyr goal Kevin Brewster’s deep free kick found Pete Castle but his shot was easily collected by Tom Bradley.
This kickstarted Merthyr again and on 22 minutes former Saints player Kayne McLaggon should have doubled their lead after winger Ian Traylor had beaten the Sholing defence and crossed only for McLaggon to hit his effort just wide of Matt Brown’s upright. Merthyr continued to press forward and two quick corners by Gavin Williams had Sholing on the back foot. Jarred Wright met the first corner but headed over the bar, then skipper Ryan Green headed the ball down and was collected by Matt Brown.
As the half progressed Sholing looked comfortable with Merthyr and started to grow in confidence. As Sholing started to match Merthyr they started pressing forward and on 35 minutes left back Adam Davies was penalised for a handball and eventually talked himself into referee Vallance’s notebook. From the resulting freekick the ball was cleared and fell to Tobi Adekunle whose long range effort went wide of Bradley’s goal. Lewis Blackmore & Marvin McLean linked up and won Sholing’s 1st corner on 39 mins, Kevin Brewster’s corner was punched clear and again Tobi Adekunle had another long range shot go wide
Kayne McLaggon beat Jack Smith and set himself but shot over Matt Brown’s bar. With the game going into stoppage time Sholing had a scare when midfielder Alex Sawyer stretched to defend the ball in his 18 yd box and was left prone on the ground. Alex received treatment on the field and left the field as the referee restarted play he immediately blew for half time. HT 0-1
Early in the 2nd half Kayne McLaggon had two early chances for the Martyrs but he put his 1st effort into the side netting before hitting his next effort over the bar. Jack Smith became the second player to go into referee Vallace’s notebook when he got in the way of onrushing Williams on halfway in the 53rd minute.
Once again Sholing got back into their stride Tobi Adekunle forced a corner Kevin Brewster’s delivery found the head of Pete Castle who saw his header hit the top side of the bar on the hour. At this point Merthyr made their 1st substitution taking off Guillermo Bauza and replacing him with Matthew Harris. Seven minutes later Merthyr thought they had increased their lead but McLaggon had his goal ruled out by referee Vallance for a foul in the build up. Ian Traylor then put his effort wide of Matt Brown. This was followed by skipper Mason clearing the ball off the line.
A double substitution ensued when Kayne McLaggon was replaced by Kerry Morgan and Marvin McLean McLean was replaced by Sam Olaofe. Just after this Merthyr made their third substitution taking off winger Ian Traylor being replaced by Corey Jenkins, then three minutes later Dan Mason replaced Joe Griggs with Sam Olaofe reverting to left back. Corey Jenkins made ground down the left wing and drilled the ball into Kyle Patten whose shot was deflected wide for a corner. On 84 minutes referee Vallance finally had enough of Jarred Wright questioning his decisions and he became the third player to be cautioned. As the game fizzled out Lewis Blackmore got down the left and hit a ball to the back post but no Sholing forward was able to connect leaving the Martyrs win a slender but deserved win. FT 0-1
View from the stands: Despite an above average crowd the atmosphere was strangley a little subdued, however the result didn’t reflect the two teams sixteen places apart in the League. With this in mind, it did appear as though Merthyr were going through the motions and were capable of stepping up another gear if they wanted. However, they seemed set on arguing with referee over his decisions and were happy to take time out of the game. Obviously as we are in a transitional period we still need to compete for ninety minutes and treat each game as if it were a cup final, this I’m sure will ignite the supporters to become vocal which the players need. Onwards and upwards.
Report by Greg Dickson