MARTYRS STILL HOPE FOR PLAY-OFF SPOT
MERTHYR Town can still make the Evo-Stik South Premier play-offs for The Vanarama National League Division 1, says manager Gavin Williams.
A win at Redditch on Saturday would have given them a boost but despite having much of the play, they had to settle for a draw. And, in fact. it was only a last-gasp goal which earned them a point.
Before the weekend clash Williams said: “It’s been a tricky few weeks for us. Has our confidence taken a knock? I suppose you could argue that we’ve dropped points at games where we shouldn’t have because of errors influenced by a lack of confidence but it’s not all doom and gloom. We are just a few points away from the play-off positions and a good run in the league could elevate us further up the table.
“There’s plenty to play for and there’s still time to turn it into a good season for us.”
At Redditch, Merthyr did most of the pressing but couldn’t turn the domination into goals.
All focus is now on the league after their FA Trophy defeat at Taunton a week last Saturday.
Williams said: “We are out of all three cups this season; will this give us a better opportunity to concentrate on the league? Of course. It’s disappointing but ever since I have been at the club we’ve never really had a good run in the cups apart from the League Cup the other year.
“But we know that cup competitions can generate finances for the club, so yes it’s a shame that we haven’t been able to get more ties under our belts this season. When you have a good cup run, a lot of league fixtures will get postponed and moved to a Tuesday night when the lads will have to endure more travelling. So spinning it into a positive, it does give us more time to rest and prepare for league fixtures but we would much rather be in the hat for the next round, that’s for sure.”
The Taunton clash was a tough one, which at times boiled over, and Williams was sent from the dugouts to the stand, with one Merthyr supporter ejected from the ground for misbehaviour.
At the weekend, Merthyr were in eighth spot, five points away from play-off positions but having played one more game. They were 10 points behind leaders Kettering Town.
This Saturday Merthyr are without a fixture as original home opponents Banbury are at Farnborough in the FA Trophy. And the home game with Basingstoke has also been postponed because of the Wales v Panama friendly, on the same date, November 14, It’s Chesham away on November 18 and Dorchester home on November 25.
Arrangements are going ahead for the league home game with wellsupported Hereford on Boxing Day.
After discussions with the Police, it has been decided on a 1pm kickoff. It will be an all-ticket match with details to be announced soon. A 2,000plus gate is likely.
REDDITCH UNITED ..... 1 MERTHYR TOWN ......... 1
A BIZARRE goal so nearly meant for Merthyr their fifth successive away defeat (including a cup game) but substitute Kyle Copp became the hero with a last-minute leveller.
Merthyr were without Jarrad Wright and Mo Touray. Scott Tancock returned to the back four with Matthew Harris, who has been on loan to Briton Ferry, on the bench, and under-19s player Jacob Flower.
It could so nearly have been three points for the Martyrs so much did they control matters. Merthyr especially impressed in the opening period with Eliot Richards driving through in midfield and Kerry Morgan, Stuart Fleetwood and Ian Traylor tormenting the Reddiitch defence.
Evans did clear off the Merthyr line but his side forced several corners.
After seven minutes, wide-man Morgan threatened but the keeper on loan from West Brom, Ethan Ross, dived full stretch to take the ball off Morgan’s head.
Merthyr missed chances, as in recent games, with Richards and Traylor failing to hit the target. Curtis McDonald headed just over after a free kick and Orrin Pendley intercepted to beat Richards. At the other end Merthyr keeper Oliver Davies held a long-range effort.
Redditch stepped up the pace after the interval with Pendley and Angus Dior putting the ball over the bar.
Merthyr still looked lively, however, and Nathan Fox cleared off the line from Richards.
A Traylor effort from an awkward angle was saved by Ross in the 77th minute. Then the Reds went ahead in the 83rd minute. Ashley Evans tried to find Scott Tancock only for referee Scott Postin to get in the way.
The ball came off him and Danico Johnson squared the ball for Kevin Da Veiga to crack it home. Flower and Copp came on as substitutes, and on 89 minutes Copp sent in a free kick which went past everyone and into the net to the joy of players and fans.
Dean Clarke, Merthyr assistant manager, said: “I was chuffed for the boys today.
“They worked so hard and we got the least we deserved. Away support great again.”
Kyle Copp scored the equaliser for Merthyr against Redditch United