Lack of strik­ers leaves Mar­tyrs’ at­tack blunted

Cynon Valley - - FOOTBALL -

MERTHYR Town are still with­out pro­lific striker Ryan Prosser who has not been in ac­tion this sea­son be­cause of a back prob­lem.

And with ex­pe­ri­enced front-run­ner Stu­art Fleet­wood serv­ing a three­match ban un­til the week­end, the side were left with a lone striker, Mo Touray, on loan from New­port County. And he missed two games after be­ing called up for the Wales Un­der-19s.

The Mar­tyrs at­tack didn’t trou­ble Ket­ter­ing on Satur­day as the lead­ers in­flicted Merthyr’s heav­i­est de­feat since the club were re-formed from the ashes of Merthyr Tyd­fil – 5-0.

On Tues­day Merthyr faced an­other tough game – home to sec­ond-placed Slough Town.

Mar­tyrs boss Gavin Wil­liams said, be­fore the Ket­ter­ing clash, that they weren’t sure when Prosser, who took his goals tally for the club up to 150 last March in the home win over Cam­bridge City, would be ready to re­turn. “Pross of­fers some­thing dif­fer­ent but the doc­tors have ad­vised him not to train at the mo­ment,” said Wil­liams.

Wil­liams had not con­sid­ered bring­ing in an­other for­ward, ex­plain­ing that if he did, in a few weeks’ time they could find them­selves with four for­wards.

All Merthyr’s play­ers are non-con­tract and are not paid when not in the squad.

The loan pe­riod of de­fender Cameron Pring, from Bris­tol City, was due to end in mid­week. Is a fur­ther ex­ten­sion likely? Wil­liams would like that, say­ing the player has im­pressed man­age­ment and fans. “I would like to keep him for the sea­son but he is a Bris­tol City player,” Wil­liams said.

Wil­liams, the former West Ham and Ip­swich mid­fielder, said that in re­cent games, play­ing a 3-5-2 for­ma­tion meant that Ian Tray­lor and Jaye Bowen could en­joy free roles.

On Satur­day Merthyr are home at The Load­Lok Sta­dium, Peny­dar­ren Park, to strug­gling bot­tom team Gosport Bor­ough (3pm). So Wil­liams will clearly be look­ing for max­i­mum points. Gosport have one point from 11 games, hav­ing scored seven goals and con­ceded 35.

At the week­end vol­un­teers were called for at Gosport to carry out ur­gent ground grad­ing cri­te­ria needed to be done by Sun­day.

On the field, Mick Catlin, who left the club in Jan­uary as as­sis­tant man­ager, re­turned re­cently as man­ager after the de­par­ture of Alex Pike. Then ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mark Adams re­signed.

The new man­ager quickly acted to bring back Jamie Brown who played a big role for the club when they reached the FA Tro­phy fi­nal in 2014. Af­ter­wards, the 36-year-old played for Bas­ingstoke and Winch­ester.

Gosport went out of The Chal­lenge Cup, los­ing 4-3 on penal­ties after 2-2 on 90 min­utes, to Money­fields, Catlin’s pre­vi­ous club. In his first league game back, Catlin saw Gosport go down 3-0 at home to Hitchin.

Last sea­son Gosport faced four wind­ing-up or­ders from HMRC and they were rel­e­gated from The Na­tional League Di­vi­sion One South.

Next Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 17, Merthyr are sched­uled to travel to Wey­mouth (7.45pm ko). Wey­mouth moved to sev­enth after beat­ing King’s Lynn 3-1. Fleet­wood net­ted 17 times for the Dorset side last sea­son while on loan from Bath City. THE Northants team, with only one league de­feat this cam­paign, tipped as one of the pro­mo­tion favourites, took all three points on Satur­day as had pos­si­bly been ex­pected judg­ing by their form.

So Merthyr crashed to their sec­ond league set­back this sea­son, show­ing they have much to do if they are to get to the Va­narama Na­tional League.

The home team could have scored more with Merthyr col­laps­ing al­to­gether in the sec­ond half.

Merthyr were a goal down on 24 min­utes after poor de­fend­ing. A free kick by Tose­land evaded ev­ery­one and the ball ended up in the cor­ner of the net via a header from Matty Stevens.

Stevens later made a great turn to get the ball away from three away de­fend­ers but the shot was blocked. Rhys Hoenes got the ball to the by­line but Merthyr cleared. Merthyr broke but a cross floated away for a goal­kick.

On the half-hour, Merthyr stepped up their play and got the bet­ter of ex­changes as heavy rain came down,

Jor­dan Wright was com­fort­able in the home goal to deal with any Merthyr efforts as the pace slowed down for a while.

But Ket­ter­ing got a cru­cial ad­van­tage be­fore the break. Mulligan set up Richens who drove the ball de­ter­minedly from 30 yards and Stevens was there to flick the ball past goal­keeper Oliver Davies after 43 min­utes, mak­ing it 2-0 after an as­sis­tant ref­eree con­firmed he was on­side.

Ket­ter­ing were quickly into at­tack at the start of the sec­ond pe­riod. Merthyr broke after a Ket­ter­ing cor­ner but Berry did well to clear. Merthyr broke quickly again and forced a flag-kick. Former New­port County player Aaron O’Con­nor laid the ball off for Milnes and there was a de­flec­tion for a cor­ner.

A sec­ond cor­ner fol­lowed and Merthyr gained a free kick after a foul on Ash­ley Evans. Richens cleared in the six-yard box after a free kick fol­lowed a sloppy foul. Stevens set up O’Con­nor but Davies saved. Mo Touray had a chance for Merthyr but missed the tar­get.

Then Merthyr brought on Corey Jenk­ins and Cur­tis McDon­ald for Scott Tan­cock and Jaye Bowen. But al­most im­me­di­ately, Ket­ter­ing got a third goal. A great ball through to Stevens saw him ex­e­cute a per­fect pass to O’Con­nor who beat Davies in goal.

Stevens and O’Con­nor both had shots blocked by Merthyr. Gary Stohrer fol­lowed up on a through ball to get around the keeper and net from a tight an­gle – 4-0.

And a fifth goal fol­lowed when a Tose­land free kick was helped into his own net by Merthyr’s Eliot Richards. LOWLY Short­wood United, of Di­vi­sion One, with the worse de­fence in the Evo-Stik South­ern League swept aside Merthyr Town’s devel­op­ment squad last mid­week to boot them out of The Cup (League Cup) in the first round.

Merthyr boss Gavin Wil­liams de­cided to leave out all the first-team play­ers who trained on the same night, with at­ten­tion be­ing given to some who were nurs­ing in­juries be­fore the game at Ket­ter­ing.

The young­sters were a goal down in the first minute and de­spite bat­tling, they were well beaten. Merthyr won the tro­phy two sea­sons ago by beat­ing Cam­bridge City over two legs, when Steve Jenk­ins was boss of Merthyr.

Levi Jones sent in an ef­fort which al­most replied to Short­wood’s early goal be­fore Ja­cob Flow­ers had a fierce drive saved by goal­keeper Pick­er­ing.

On 32 min­utes Jamie Jones set up Flow­ers and he chipped his shot over the keeper. But Merthyr trailed at the break by 4-1. It was 5-1 on 52 min­utes but three min­utes later Merthyr scored.

Flow­ers and Levi Jones com­bined only for Noakes to tackle for pos­ses­sion. Then Flow­ers robbed Pick­er­ing to put the ball over the line.

Ye­shaya Lometey (3), Will Hawes (2), Liam Mered­ith and Joe White were the marks­men for Short­wood. For Merthyr Ja­cob Flow­ers 2.

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