With just four games postponed due to the weather this weekend it was refreshing to have such a full fixture list in the first Welsh Football League weekend of 2018.
There were plenty of eye-catching results with key fixtures at the top and bottom of all three divisions. All the usual thrills and spills were plated: red cards, controversial penalties, comebacks, last-minute goals, with eight and nine-goal thrillers in Division Two and Division Three respectively.
This is your Welsh League review for matchday 20.
On Friday night Llanelli Town ensured they would finish the weekend top of the Welsh League with a 3-1 win at Ton Pentre. However, it wasn’t quite as straight forward for The Reds as it would seem.
Charlie Loss fired the Rhondda Bulldogs in front inside the first few minutes, then Lee Trundle squandered a chance to equalise from the penalty spot. With a half-time lead, winless Ton Pentre threatened a massive upset. The league leaders showed their class in the second-half though. A second penalty award allowed Llanelli captain Joe Clarke to level the scores, further strikes from Lee Trundle and Jordan Follows gave The Reds all three points.
Haverfordwest County maintained the pressure on the leaders with a 2-1 in over Cwmamman United at Bridge Meadow, courtesy of goals from Declan Carroll and Kristian Speake. Penybont and Goytre lost further ground as they held each other to a 2-2 draw. In an eventful game, Penybont were reduced to nine men after player-manager Rhys Griffiths and defender Dave Allen were sent off (Griffiths for a reported hack on a Goytre player). However, a late Kieron Howard goal ensured the Bridgend club took a share of the spoils.
That result means Cambrian & Clydach Vale moved back into 3rd in the table after their 4-0 thrashing of Taffs Well, Liam Reed with a hat-trick as he continues his outstanding form this season.
Ton Pentre 1-3 Llanelli Town
Afan Lido 3-1 Monmouth Town
Cambrian & Clydach Vale 4-0 Taffs Well
Goytre United 2-2 Undy Athletic
Haverfordwest County 2-1 Cwmamman United
Penybont 2-2 Goytre
Port Talbot Town 1-1 Cwmbran Celtic
In the second division’s big game STM Sports beat joint-leaders Garden Village 3-0, leapfrogging their opponents to move behind Pontypridd Town into second. That result means Pontypridd Town moved clear at the top following a 4-1 home win over AFC Llwydcoed, second-half goals from Gavin Beddard, Luke Gullick and James Hill giving The Dragons the points.
Caldicot Town ended a run of five consecutive defeats with a 3-1 home win over Aberbarged Buds, a double from Tyrone Tucker-Dixon helping ‘Caldi’ on their way. It moves the Monmouthshire side up to 3rd.
At the bottom, Porth have beaten again, although they did lead at home against Croesyceiliog with Connor Ray scoring 30 seconds into his debut for the Black Dragons. Ryan Hayward and Jordan Jones goals turned the game around for the Gwent side as they prevailed 2-1. One quirky coincidence in this game is that both sides fielded a Jordan Jones (no relation to our editor/founder).
There was also an incredible eight-goal thriller in the Cynon Valley as Aberdare Town and West End drew 4-4. Aberdare took a 4-2 lead early in the second half, but a red card for Matthew Flynn gave West End a way back into the game and they earned a share of the points courtesy of a 90th-minute penalty.
Aberdare Town 4-4 West End
AFC Porth 1-2 Croesyceiliog
Caldicot Town 3-1 Aberbargoed Buds
Pontardawe Town 0-0 Risca United
Pontypridd Town 4-1 AFC Llwydcoed
STM Sports 3-0 Garden Village
The top two both won. Trefelin defeated Ynysygerwn 2-1 at home with goals from Dylan Thomas and Jordan Edwards. Swansea Uni trailed 1-0 at half-time away to Trethomas Bluebirds but second-half goals from Nick Hyden, Seif Abouarram, Jamie Noble and Wyn Thomas saw them recover to win 4-1. Bridgend Street’s Cardiff derby with Ely Rangers was postponed.
In the clash of the bottom two Neuadd Wen and Treowen Stars drew 1-1; a result that probably helps neither side.
The game of the weekend was undoubtedly at Chepstow Town, who hosted Panteg in a Gwent derby. In a ding-dong battle, Chepstow twice led in the first half, but Panteg fought back after the break, scoring three times in ten minutes, to take a commanding 4-2 lead. Chepstow dug in themselves and earned parity at 4-4. However, Luke Dyke would have the final say, his goal a couple of minutes from time enough to give Panteg a 5-4 win.
There also late drama at Newport City, with the home side succumbing to a last-gasp Penrhiwceiber Rangers goal in a 2-1 loss. A reversal in fortune for Newport who did the same thing to Chepstow Town in midweek.
Chepstow Town 4-5 Panteg
Neuadd Wen 1-1 Treowen Stars
Newport City 1-2 Penrhiwceiber Rangers
Tredegar Town 3-2 Caerau
Trefelin BGC 2-1 Ynysygerwn
Trethomas Bluebirds 1-4 Swansea University
(Featured Image: Lewis Mitchell)