Caerau Ely secured back to back Welsh League wins for the first time in 12 months with a comprehensive win over Ton Pentre amidst torrential downpour at Ynys Park.
A goal in each half was enough to give Craig Sampson’s ‘Young Guns’ a valuable three points, while the Rhondda Bulldogs remain rooted to the bottom of Division One, seven points adrift of safety.
At the start of play Ton Pentre and Caerau Ely were 16th and 15th in the table respectively, separated only by goal difference. Both sides came into the game on the back of a win. Ton Pentre’s last outing was on February 17th when they defeated Caerau Ely at Cwrt-Yr-Ala; the visitors had put that loss behind them to record a 5-2 win at Cwmamman United 11 days earlier.
The on-field struggles of both sides and the enormity of the game was reflected in a largely scrappy first half with a clear emphasis on competing rather than trying to establish a defined pattern of play. As a result, much of the first half passed as a non-event, both sides playing some low-risk football with a lot of speculative balls forward to be chased down.
Ton Pentre were the more assertive in the opening half hour, but with little build-up play through midfield, their most likely source of inspiration came through the long passes of right-back Adam Lewis. The problem for the home side was that too often their forwards failed to remain onside and capitalise on the space behind Caerau Ely’s defence.
However, on one occasion when Lewis’ high balls into the channels materialised in a chance, Jason Davies blazed over from a good position inside the penalty area. That, and a yellow card for Lewis Holder for unsporting behaviour were the main incidents to speak of in the first 35 minutes.
As the game moved towards half-time, Caerau Ely’s counter-attacking game began to bear some fruit, particular through the running power of Rameer Outlaw and Ayo Ajijedidun. Twice Ajijedidun had good opportunities to score: the first coming from a Ton Pentre corner and as Caerau broke Ajijedidun was put through one on one with Ton Pentre goalkeeper Steven Hall but shot wide.
Minutes later, Sam Cawley found space on the byline for a low cross that Ajijedidun look certain to tap in from inside the six-yard box, but he couldn’t make a strong enough connection and Ton Pentre cleared the threat.
With the game beginning to open up, Caerau looked the more threatening. A good move five minutes before the interval involving Rameer Outlaw, Ben Rose-Miles and Sam Cawley ended with Cawley forcing a good save from Hall. From the resulting corner, Joshua Hardy’s headed clearance fell straight to Caerau captain Huw Corne on the edge of the D and his first-time half-volley was too good for Hall, finding the top corner to give the visitors a half-time lead.
If the visitors were expecting a strong reaction from Ton Pentre after half-time it didn’t materialise and after navigating the early exchanges, Caerau Ely began to dominate the game. Sam Cawley twice produced forced saves from Steven Hall from distance, while Scott Hayward and Lewis Baldwin were both booked for cynical challenges on Rameer Outlaw as Ton Pentre struggled to stay afloat.
As a torrential shower began to fall on Ynys Park, Caerau Ely grabbed the goal that put the game to bed in the 63rd minute. Ben Rose-Miles was allowed time to turn around the edge of the penalty area and his low shot on the turn beat the dive of Hall and nestled in the bottom corner.
Ton Pentre manager Kevin Richards made changes in an attempt to alter the course of the match and one of his substitutes, Cameron Thomas, brought a bit of life to the Rhondda Bulldogs attack. Good play down the right from Thomas presented two opportunities for Josh Luker, but neither could be taken. There was also a half chance for Ross Daniels, but he wanted too many touches and the danger was smothered by Caerau goalkeeper Scott James.
As the match entered the final ten minutes Ton Pentre’s hopes of getting anything from the game all but disappeared when referee Kim Fisher showed Lewis Holder a second yellow card for an apparent off the ball incident. Ton Pentre kept huffing and puffing until the very end, but a lack of quality in the final third meant they rarely threatened the Caerau Ely goal.
The defeat means Ton Pentre’s prospects remain as miserable as the weather on the night, while Caerau Ely headed back to Cardiff with a valuable three points and with games in hand, Monmouth Town in 13th are very much in their sights.
FEATURED IMAGE: Jordan Forster