Mardy went into Saturday’s Gwent Amateur Cup Game minus six first team squad members and it was a handicap that proved costly against a classy Newport Saints team, reports CLIVE HARRY.

It didn’t help that players also suffered visibility problems as a result of a garden fire which a neighbour started in pouring rain.

The visitors from a division above started the game confidently and troubled a reshuffled home defence, although Sam Jones almost put the home team ahead after five minutes with a shot that was well saved by keeper Nathan Florence.

Play soon switched to other end, however, and Mardy stopper James Edwards was forced into several smart saves including a tip over from a powerful shot by the pacey Blair Bailey.

A goal looked on the cards and it arrived after 22 minutes when the outstanding David De Almeida set up a chance for Jon Vowles to put away.

The lead was increased only four minutes later when Edwards made another full length save which unfortunately rebounded against Ben Jones, playing out of position at centre back, and into the net for an own goal.

The home side finally began to settle with Cody Simmonds working hard on only his second start for the team and the returning Craig Norman looking for openings, but they were hard to find against an efficient Saints defence with centre back Dwaine Bailey, brother of Blair, proving to be commanding in the air and on the deck.

By this time the garden fire was blanketing the field with smoke, making it tough for players and spectators alike.

The interval arrived with no further addition to the score but Edwards was forced into another excellent save almost straight from the resumption.

Nevertheless, Mardy were competing well in a much more even half although clear cut opportunities were few and far between with the closest to a goal being a well struck shot from distance by Matt Wham which was safely held by Florence.

An already depleted home team were forced into more reshuffles as a result of having to replace Sam Jones, Simmonds and Nathan Price through injury, but were given a boost when Saints’ Aaron Rowberry was given a red card for a rash tackle on Wham.

This encouraged Mardy to push forward but when another goal arrived, it was scored by the visitors, as a huge clearance by Florence bounced over the home defence and left Josh Richardson clear on goal to score.

Mardy almost pulled a goal back when a Craig Norman lob came back off the crossbar but the scoring was completed by Saints in identical fashion to the first goal with De Almeida setting up Vowles to make the final score 0-4.

Mardy return to Division Two action this Saturday (March 18) needing two points from a game away to Cwmcarn to secure the title.

The 2nds put in another improved display but were unlucky to go down to a 3-2 defeat away to the New Inn Development team.

Scorers were Mark Hughes and Aaron Faulkner. This Saturday they will be at home to Race FC.