Cynon Valley - - SPORT08 -

ABER­DARE pro­duced their best per­for­mance of the sea­son earn­ing a wellde­served point af­ter a tremen­dous tus­sle with league lead­ers Caldicot.

Show­ing one change from the pre­vi­ous week with the re­turn of El­liot Mor­ris, it was the hosts who started bright­est with an early suc­ces­sion of cor­ners and keeper Clint Forbes pulling out the stops to deny Ben AhMun and Ash­ley Palmer. The lat­ter is well known on the cir­cuit as a long throw spe­cial­ist and is in­vari­ably used as a weapon for any throw-ins within 20 yards of goal. He was to have a di­rect im­pact on the fi­nal re­sult pro­vid­ing an early threat set­ting up a strike cleared off the line by Matthew Flynn.

Aber­dare be­gan to find their way into the game with a Mor­ris drive well couched by home keeper Gareth Wes­son and a strong ap­peal for a goal as a Seb Haggett ef­fort from a tight an­gle ap­peared to cross the line at the near post but not given by the lines­man. But the visitors did not have to wait much longer for the opener with Josh Pow­ell find­ing the non-stop Ross Daniels who, as he en­tered the penalty area, was bun­dled over by cen­tral de­fender Matt James with ref­eree Schofield point­ing at the spot. Flynn pow­ered home for a 23rd-minute lead.

Caldicot should have been level min­utes later but Ah-Mun skewed wide from feet out.

The same in­ci­dent saw a head in­jury to Flynn who was im­me­di­ately re­placed by An­drew El­lis.

Young Levi Jones, who was again dis­play­ing his ver­sa­til­ity in a mid­field role, re­verted to cen­tral de­fence to ac­com­pany man of the match Rhys Williams.

It had been an ex­cel­lent first-half per­for­mance with Rhys Tandy a con­stant men­ace to the home de­fence and Matthew Glassey in only his sec­ond game for the club al­ready prov­ing a great ad­di­tion to the squad.

Aber­dare thought they were two-up within min­utes of the restart but from a set piece the ref­eree blew for push­ing as Mor­ris drove home.

De­spite the en­deav­our showed by both teams in a pul­sat­ing sec­ond half, the game will be more re­mem­bered for ref­eree Schofield bran­dish­ing no less than 10 yel­low cards in a game where it would be hard to re­mem­ber a nasty chal­lenge with few fire­works and flare-ups, even on Guy Fawkes night eve.

The odds were that Caldicot were only go­ing to score from one of Palmer’s pro­jec­tiles and this came to pass just af­ter the hour, as the ball found the six­foot-plus frame of Ja­cob Guy who headed home for the equaliser.

The game con­tin­ued end to end giv­ing the spec­ta­tors great value for their en­trance fee. The hosts had thought it would be a rel­a­tively easy af­ter­noon con­sol­i­dat­ing their po­si­tion at the top of the pile but the only re­sort ap­peared to be for Palmer to keep pep­per­ing the Aber­dare box with his throws as things be­came more des­per­ate.

Clint Forbes was equal to the task but James, who was not hav­ing a day to re­mem­ber, did head and fire wide from close range.

At the other end, Haggett forced Wes­son into an ex­cel­lent save and Rhys Tandy was pulled down as he ap­proached the penalty area with Palmer for­tu­nate only to be shown a yel­low card.

Ex­cit­ing prospect Corey Thomas was in­tro­duced late on and he was soon in the ac­tion set­ting up El­lis whose ef­fort was well held by Wes­son.

So Aber­dare re­turned from the shad­ows of the Sec­ond Sev­ern Cross­ing with a well-de­served point and can now look for­ward with op­ti­mism and be­lief to a Fri­day night home game against an­other Mon­mouthshire out­fit, this time Aber­gavenny fresh off a win­ning seven-goal thriller.

If Aber­dare can main­tain the com­mit­ment shown here against the ta­ble top­pers then there is ev­ery rea­son to hope for a much needed first league win of the sea­son in front of their long suf­fer­ing fans, with a 7.30pm kick off at Abera­man Park.

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