Ton up for hotshot Hughes, but title hopes slip away

Gwent Central Division 2

Mardy 2nds 2 Tranch 2nds 4

Friday 18th March 2022 10:00 am
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(Pic from Mardy AFC )

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There were celebrations for striker Mark Hughes as he notched his 100th goal for Mardy, reports CLIVE HARRY.

But celebrations were muted as a determined second-half comeback by table-toppers Tranch turned a two-goal half-time deficit into a title-clinching 4-2 victory.

With yet another first team fixture postponed, a good crowd assembled at Mardy Park for the clash of the top teams in Gwent Central Division Two.

A minute’s silence was observed by teams and spectators in honour of popular local man Nathan Davies before kick-off.

And it was the visitors who started brighter and went close twice before Mardy went even closer when an Aaron Marfell corner was headed against the bar by Hughes with keeper Sean Watkins beaten.

Kieran Dobbs was also causing problems with several dangerous runs and Hughes went close again with a turn and shot which went just wide.

The woodwork came to Tranch’s rescue again after 28 minutes when Dobbs curled a free-kick over the defensive wall only for the ball to hit the bar and rebound to safety.

However, the breakthrough finally came after 38 minutes when a Dobbs free-kick was headed home by Callen Gregory.

And the lead was doubled only two minutes later when Hughes reached his century by bundling the ball home at close range from a Marfell assist.

Despite looking dangerous on occasions, the visitors looked rattled and by the interval had received five yellow cards.

But they looked a side transformed after the break and the deficit was cut six minutes in when a Conor Worwood free-kick was headed home by Matthew Timbrell.

Hughes then had a shot well saved by Watkins, but the visitors looked the more threatening and an equaliser arrived just after the hour when Timbrell headed a Luke Gulliford cross past keeper Nathan Holley.

With Tranch now on top, a seemingly inevitable third goal arrived after 70 minutes when Ryan Cleary scored from close range before Timbrell completed his hat-trick with a fine goal seven minutes before the final whistle.

The result means that Tranch clinch the Division Two title and promotion but the two teams could still meet again in the Benevolent Cup with Mardy Reserves playing at home to Crickhowell Reserves in the semi-final this weekend.

Tranch travel to play Blaenavon Blues 2nds in the other tie.

Mardy 1st XI will also return to league action away to Usk Town 2nds.

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