Plough Road boys dig in to peg back high-flying Bluebirds
Ardal South East League
Goytre FC 2
Trethomas Bluebirds 2
A fair-sized crowd saw the second-placed visitors pegged back from 2-0 up at half-time in a feisty Friday night affair at Plough Lane, reports ANDY GULLEY.
Bluebirds set about fifth-placed Goytre from the start and took the lead from a corner after only four minutes.
Home goalkeeper Sol Susso flapped at the ball as it came across and Trethomas centre-half Adam Jones was on hand to head home from inside the six-yard box.
The visitors were looking much the better side taking the game to Goytre, who were at full stretch defensively.
Home player Josh Graham was shown a yellow card for a challenge that referee Gavin Townsend judged a foul for the follow-through catching his opponent in the 18th minute.
The under-siege hosts held out until the half-hour mark when defender Abbu Sama was adjudged to have fouled an opponent in the box and the referee pointed to the spot, although no card was shown for the infringement
Jordan Needs stepped up to send Susso the wrong way and make it 2-0 to the visitors in the 31st minute, with the hosts’ near five-month unbeaten home run now at real risk.
The home side immediately made a substitution, replacing Sama with Finn Ryan-Phillips.
Then in the 38th minute linesmen Scott Brown flagged for an off-the-ball incident that took the best part of five minutes to sort out, resulting in a yellow card for Goytre midfielder Joey Evans.
It remained 2-0 until half-time, when Goytre replaced midfielder Joey Evans with striker Lamin Conteh.
And the change immediately made a difference as the hosts went on the attack, Ryan-Phillips brought down in the box just two minutes after the restart, leaving the referee no option but to award a penalty.
League top scorer Chris Ham needed no asking to convert the chance to reduce the deficit.
But referee Townsend then took exception to something said by Trethomas assistant manager Bobby Briers and showed him a yellow card as tempers boiled over.
The hosts now fully on the attack and fired up set about trying to level the score.
Josh Graham was through on the counter attack on 54 minutes, only for the striker to be cynically brought down outside the box.
A free-kick was awarded but no further punishment for the foul, which resulted in a yellow card for Goytre manager Eston Chiverton who voiced his opinion.
The referee now began to struggle to control the game, with a further yellow card shown to outstanding home side centre-half Tom Burridge for pulling back striker Gareth Tedstone.
The hosts made their third change in the 68th minute when winger Michael Murphy made way for young striker Isaac Wigley, and three minutes later Goytre made another change with a like-for-like swap as midfielder Nathan Davies replaced Owen Bancroft.
Goytre were now fully committed to finding the equaliser, and won a free-kick in the 76th minute that saw Bluebirds midfielder Jordan Harding shown a yellow card.
And from the free-kick, centre-half Ross Davies equalised for Goytre, who were now the team looking most likely to take all three points, with wave after wave of attacks.
But 19-year-old keeper Harry Irving was equal to all they could throw at home, while the visitors were now slowing everything down and wasting as much time as possible.
Conteh had a header saved, before Ham tested the shot-stopper with a volley.
In the 89th minute, Burridge was adjudged to have committed a foul earning himself a second yellow card, but also a serious injury to his left knee which resulted in another lengthy stoppage.
From the restart, 10-man Goytre went looking for the winner, but tempers were boiling over and the referee was struggling to keep any sort of control on the game.
With the last attack, the hosts felt Conteh was clearly fouled in the penalty area, but Townsend waved away claims for a penalty before blowing for full-time.
After the whistle, Trethomas keeper Irving and Goytre striker Conteh went at it and had to be separated with the referee showing the latter a yellow card.
It ended all square at 2-2, and hopefully the injury to Burridge isn’t as bad as it looked.
With leaders Abergavenny Town losing 2-1 at home to lowly Tredegar the same night, Goytre - docked 15 points for fielding an ineligible substitute earlier in the season - are now sixth, 14 points adrift with four games in hand.
This Friday night is another potential six-pointer, though, with Abertillery Bluebirds, who leapfrogged Trethomas into second on Saturday, the visitors.
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