Trefelin BGC extended their unbeaten run this season in Welsh League Division Three to 21 games with a 1-1 draw away to in-form Trethomas Bluebirds.
However, Richard Ryan’s side will see this as two points dropped after squandering several clear chances, as well as playing more than half an hour against ten-men.
Jamie Latham’s chipped finish from 25 yards after a mistake by Trethomas goalkeeper Gareth Williams gave Trefelin a half-time lead, but a second-half own goal levelled the game. Despite playing the majority of the second-half with an extra player after Trethomas midfielder Ricky Jones was sent off for a horror tackle on Joseph Jones, the Port Talbot side struggled to break down a determined rearguard by their hosts.
This result means Trefelin close the gap between themselves and leaders Swansea University to four points. Trefelin do have a game in hand over their rivals and it looks increasingly likely the destination of the Division Three title will be decided when the clubs meet at Sketty Stadium at the end of April.
A cold but calm night at the Centre for Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach brought together two sides in a rich vein of form. Trethomas welcomed unbeaten Trefelin on the back of five consecutive wins and placed 4th in the table as they continue to enjoy a successful campaign in just their second-ever season in the Welsh League. The pressure was on Trefelin to win; postponements and relentless winning form for Swansea University has seen them lose their long-held position as Division Three leaders.
On an excellent 3G surface, Trefelin settled quickly into the patient possession-based play they favour. However, the organisation and physicality from Trethomas meant Trefelin were slow converting possession into chances.
A perfectly weighted pass from Michael Waters presented an early chance for Jordan Edwards, but he failed to get his effort on target from a good position. This and a booking for Adam Williams, when referee Daniel Barclay cautioned Trethomas for their robust approach and tactical fouling, were as good as the action got in the first half hour.
The game eventually swung in Trefelin’s favour in the 33rd minute but it came through a mistake at back from the hosts. Trethomas goalkeeper Gareth Williams charged off his line to intercept a long ball behind his defence and initially did well to take the ball away from Trefelin’s Ceri Williams, but he overplayed and his poor clearance presented Jamie Latham with an open goal to aim it. The forward showed excellent composure and technique to clip the ball over the retreating defenders into the net from the right wing.
For the rest of the half Trefelin dominated and really should have gone in at half-time with a bigger lead. Shaun Best was the biggest culprit, squandering a couple of good chances inside the penalty area. Jamie Latham had a chance to repeat his goal after Gareth Williams blocked namesake Ceri’s effort, but this time his radar was off and his chip drifted wide.
As a reminder of their fragility on the lead, Trethomas centre forward Andrew Gomer was inches away from connecting with a dangerous Owen Davies cross on the stroke of half-time.
Trethomas manager Andrew Diggle looked to change the flow of the game with a substitution at the start of the second half, introducing the more mobile Thomas Neville for Gomer and the replacement gave notice of his threat with a good run in behind early in the second-half but he fluffed his lines in front of goal with just Matthew Stanton to beat.
Not to be denied, Trethomas were level in the 55th minute. A corner from the left wasn’t dealt with by the Trefelin defence and after the ball bounced back off the post a Trefelin player miskicked into his own net.
Having worked hard to get themselves back into the game, Trethomas soon found themselves up against it once more. On the hour a late shin-high challenge by Ricky Jones rightly saw him shown a straight red card. The tackle left Joseph Jones requiring over eight minutes of treatment before being forced out of the game through injury.
The introduction of Travis Monks for Jones brought an injection of energy to Trefelin’s play in the final third, but with ten-man Trethomas very much in a defensive setting, space was limited and the visitors found it very difficult to penetrate the home side’s backline.
Trefelin were limited to hopeful shots from long range, the best opening inside the penalty area falling to Jordan Edwards after a smart turn. The challenge from a Trethomas defender brought penalty appeals, but referee Barclay waved them away.
Through nine minutes of injury time Trefelin continued to plug away in search of a winning goal, but were ultimately left frustrated by a dogged and determined defensive effort by Trethomas.
FEATURED IMAGE: Jordan Forster