1st XI - Report
Abergavenny Men Fight Back in 8 Goal Epic
Abergavenny looked towards Saturdays fixture vs Bridgend as an easy opportunity to stabilise their ship and establish an unbeaten run.
Abergavenny arrived at the Coychurch Road venue with a very mixed side, consisting of much of ‘the old guard’ but including debutant Mathew Goldsmith playing his first competitive league fixture for the men’s 1st XI. There were also a few important faces missing from the side, Kevin ‘duracell’ Phillips, Owen Donovan, Gareth Brinn and Alex Schofield all unavailable on this occasion.
With the usual midfield players absent, skipper Nick Fackrell asked a lot of Isaac Pritchard and Mathew Goldsmith trusting them with the important pivotal role of the central mid-field. This is a difficult task, as the teams formation is dictated by the ability of the mid field to distribute the ball with timing and precision whilst also looking to man-mark their opponents and weed out any early signs of an opposition attack.
With two players in unfamiliar territory, it was always going to take a little while to settle in, man marking proved challenging and Abergavenny looked on the rocks with two goals in quick succession being fired in from the Bridgend side. Abergavenny however were not short of effort with Goldsmith in particular putting in a high work rate in both attack and defence. It was poor structure rather than lacking effort which let the team down in the first half, and this was shown with a positioning error by Fackrell late in the first half which blocked the path of Luke Rees in diving to save a third goal.
Being 3 down at half time was not the order of the day and a somewhat vocal half time team talk ensued. All of the Abergavenny players were involved and all agreeing that the game was still there for the taking and that Aber needed to pull out all the stops to restore some self respect.
This change took place in instantly in the second half, with the ball being easily turned over in mid field and spread down the left hand flank of the pitch. Geraint Davies initially looked to have done too much but rolled out well and laid on a well struck pass to Melville who fired home. Hope was restored to the relentless Abergavenny side who were intent on winning the game.
Andrew Spencer has now become a confident player and worked hard to create several opportunities down the left wing, combining well with Davies and Clements. Andrew also looked like scoring on two occasions but the chances were thwarted by the Bridgend defence. A second and third goal came from accurate hitting by Banks reverting back to a central midfield position, these hits found the open stick of Clements who netted twice in quick succession.
The Bridgend morale had dropped, all of their attacking efforts being easily snubbed by defenders Fackrell, Hewinson, McGlynn and Davies and some fine goal keeping by an ever confident Luke Rees. Hewinson and McGlynn have developed a reliable partnership in their central defensive roles and did not disappoint on this occasion. The Abergavenny work rate had doubled in intensity and substitutions were made, in order to maintain this fast pace. Charles Donovan played the entire second half and combined well with Melville on the right wing. Pritchard had now returned from his early hangover and made light work of the opposition, also able to add his name to the goal tally after some great tackling in the midfield and some one touch passing with Clements allowing him to enter the D and find the backboard to put Abergavenny in front for the first time in the game.
Goal scoring was becoming a routine for Clements who managed to find his third hat-trick of the season, scoring his 23rd goal of the season, (48% of the entire mens tally for the season to date).
At the final whistle, the score was Bridgend 3, Abergavenny 5. Abergavenny more than restored their reputation and where happy with the second half revival. Although the team did not chose to select a man of the match on this occasion, mention must be made of the noticeable improvement from Andrew Spencer who looked to attack with the ball and also create several good chances for the surrounding strikers. Al McGlynn for his normal reliability in Defence, Pritchard for his outstanding recovery and first goal of the season coming one day after his birthday and Clements for his third hatrick of the season. (You can buy all three jugs next week tony!) Mathew Goldsmith also battled throughout and has shown he is worthy of a regular place in the men’s XI.
Next week Abergavenny are looking forward to their long awaited minibus trip to Aberystwyth and hope to provide a reason to celebrate as the night out in Abergavenny after this trip has already planned.