Pontypridd Town showed their promotion credentials on Saturday afternoon, as they cruised to a stunning victory over top of the table STM Sports at the USW Sport Park.
Before the game, STM hadn’t suffered defeat in the league competition whilst Pontypridd were two places below their opponents.
Danny Hooper and Adam Johns netted before halftime. Adam Smith and Nyran Bird got in on the action. Captain Dale Gardiner pulled back a consolation for the away side.
The game started at a fast pace and both sides showed their intents early on as one tried to get one up on the other with some challenges flying about.
Pontypridd didn’t have to wait long for their first goal though as Tom Barry brought down James Hill in the box, presenting the Dragons the perfect opportunity to score. Danny Hooper took responsibility and slotted home a low penalty into the corner.
STM responded brightly though as they earned a free-kick just outside the box. Lee Gardiner’s shot went just inches over the crossbar, an agonizing miss for the away side.
Hooper provided the game with a moment of magic minutes later as he hit a powerful shot from distance which keeper Chris Golton couldn’t reach, as he wheeled away in celebration.
Refusing to beaten, STM’s bright spark Jack Kinnerly took the ball into the box, as he tried to find Callum Bateman but Pontypridd skipper Scott Hillman made a telling block.
In the 25th minute, Pontypridd took control of the game as the net for the third time. A dummy from usual free-kick taker Danny Hooper allowed Jamal Easter to catch the STM defence napping, as Adam Johns bundled the ball over the line.
STM tried to find a route back into the game after numerous corner kicks were lofted into the box, but the Ponty defence stood firm.
It was four just before the break, Jamal Easter beat the offside trap and tried to roll the ball over the line but Joel Queni blocked, Adam Johns was there to grab his second of the game though as he forced the ball into the net.
The halftime whistle blew and Pontypridd went in at the break with a commanding four-goal lead, as they looked impressive in all areas.
As play resumed in the second half, Pontypridd picked up where they left off before the break. Nyran Bird slid the ball into the net, following Golton’s initial save from Scott Hillman, after Danny Hooper swung in the corner.
The away side was forced to shooting from distance, Lamin Conteh tried to catch out keeper David Burnett, but Kinnerly got a touch to it, as the shot deflected out of play.
It was six of the best for Pontypridd just before the hour mark, Adam Smith had only the keeper to beat as he bared down on goal and he coolly slotted the ball into the net, completing the scoring for the home side in a dominant display.
Frustrations then got the better of STM, as influential attacker Lamin Conteh received a straight red card, after throwing the ball away.
Despite being a man less, STM had their consolation goal as Jack Kinnerly scored with a composed finish to ensure STM at least had something to take from the game.
The goal seemed to give the Greens a small bit of life as they tried to orchestrate some kind of revival. They were hit with a major blow again though, as their skipper Dale Gardiner received a red card for a foul, meaning STM had to defend with only nine players on the pitch.
Pontypridd almost made the most of it as top scorer Luke Gullick was played in, but he dragged the ball too far wide of the goalkeeper, whilst James Hill could only force a save from Golton.
Hooper almost grabbed his hat-trick as he forced a low diving save from the STM keeper, whilst Gullick tested Golton with a shot as he cut into the box. Pontypridd tried to add to their six goals but STM stood firm for the remainder of the game.
STARTING XI: Burnett, Wheeler, Hooper, Iheanacho, Bird, Hillman, Johns (Gullick 65), McCarthy, Smith(Beddard 72), Easter, Hill (Cordle 72).
Cordle, Hibbs, Bellamy, Gullick, Beddard.
STARTING XI: Golton, Barry, Gardiner, Hajgato, Queni (Burns 86). Biggs, Kinnerly, Gardiner, (C), Bateman, Worsley, Conteh
Burns, Gardiner, Francombe, Graham, Davies.