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Saturday, 09 May 2015 18:07

Pontlottyn battle to CW Bruty Cup win and double

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Saturday 9th May 2015: Corporation Park, dry but breezy

PENYDARREN BGC 0 PONTLOTTYN 0  after extra time. Pontlottyn win 4-2 on penalties. (CW Bruty Cup final)

Another Saturday, another cup final. This week it's the South Wales Senior League's CW Bruty Cup final, in fact the last ever time this cup will be contested, as the league is superseded by the new South Wales Alliance League from next season. It's quite a fitting end to the competition, with the league's top two sides in the final, and the venue chosen because it's the home of the cup's first ever winners, Grange Albion.

It's turned into a reasonably pleasant afternoon, dry now and even sunny, although a stiff westerly breeze is taking the edge off the temperature. A fair three-figure crowd has assembled, many of them coming down from the top of the Taff and Rhymney valleys where the finalists are based, and though some moan about the venue, the league has marked the occasion properly with a nice match programme, and the host club have set up a tea bar.

With the league season now receding into the past, the question is which of these sides can best find the energy and strength to triumph today: will Pontlottyn, champions and seemingly assured of promotion without a play-off, already beaten in one cup final, lift themselves - or have they relaxed after a hard campaign ? Penydarren maybe have a point to prove, having again missed out on league honours.

What is apparent from the outset is that while the teams may be tired, they're going to give everything. There are some fierce early challenges, and Penydarren get an early free-kick on the edge of the Pontlottyn box; but the chance isn't taken. The Merthyr side have the better of early exchanges, but Pontlottyn look solid again in defence, and as the half progresses they create a few chances of their own. But neither side manages a shot on target in a disappointing 45 minutes. Pont's Andrew Llewellyn is the busier keeper, but never looks troubled. The half is short on incident, though Pontlottyn's manager has by now been banished from the dugout, though not very effectively, as he still conducts the half-time team talk, for which eventually he's again reprimanded by the referee.

Already at half time neutrals are talking of a 0-0, of extra time and dreaded penalties. The second half initially does little to challenge such views, as both teams continue to squander chances. Then, a flashpoint, and potentially a turning point: Pontlottyn's Adam Jackson receives a red card for a swinging arm in the face of an opponent. There are protests, and criticism of the referee, though it hardly looks a contentious decision and he could not really have done anything else. But will the extra man make a difference? The answer is no, Penydarren fail to capitalise, though Llewellyn does have to make the first real save, tipping a low drive round his post. We come to the end of 90 minutes, still no score.

The first period of extra time is completely uneventful; attention drifts as we await the seemingly inevitable shoot-out, although Pontlottyn keeper Llewellyn continues to take the eye with some athletic catches. The second period is livelier, and with ten minutes remaining Pontlottyn are reduced to nine men, Matthew Rowlands dismissed for an offence spotted by a linesman. With two extra men, you'd expect Penydarren to apply heavy pressure, but they are either too tired or too cautious, and Pontlottyn manage to see out the closing stages without coming under siege.

There's a brief intermission for the sides to prepare for penalties - the banished Pontlottyn boss still manages to communicate his instructions to his team ! - and eventually the two central figures in the shoot-out, the keepers, trudge to the Bus Station end. Andrew Llewellyn has been the game's outstanding personality so far - will he be the hero? Well, he's the first to save a spot-kick, Penydarren's second, but after that advantage is cancelled out by a miss, he does it again, saving Penydarren's fourth kick from Sam Gamble. Pontlottyn only need to score their fifth kick to win, and of course Llewellyn himself is to take it: he scores, Pontlottyn celebrate the double. They had to battle for today's victory, and they've inspired admiration for their will to win, though not for their conduct. The neutral is bound to feel sorry for Penydarren, but they failed to capitalise on a two-man advantage, and have only themselves to blame for letting it slip away.


Read 5019 times Last modified on Sunday, 21 June 2015 20:19

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