MAR­TYRS STILL HOPE FOR PLAY-OFF SPOT

Cynon Valley - - SPORT08 -

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.”

PETER HAR­MAN

Kyle Copp scored the equaliser for Merthyr against Red­ditch United

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.