Gwent County League Division Three - Caldicot Castle 1 Sudbrook CC 7
IT was never likely to be a classic but this derby was entertaining, despite the awful conditions.
Leaders Sudbrook wanted the win to maintain their nine points advantage over second-placed Machen while Castle, third-from-bottom, hoped to pull away from the relegation area.
For a few minutes before half time, there was a glimmer of hope as Castle scored but the visitors responded with a third and from then on, it was a case of damage limitation for the home team.
After a fairly even first 15 minutes, with both teams having a chance or two to open the scoring, Dave Sinden diverted a goal-bound shot past Castle’s stand-in keeper Ian Cross and then Keenan Perrett doubled the advantage with some neat footwork and finishing.
But Castle, with a team comprising players from all three of their teams, were not totally out of it and Rick Woodland reduced the arrears minutes before the break.
Sudbrook keeper Steve Hepple failed to hold a shot in the windy and wet conditions and as the ball bounced free, Woodland poked it over the line.
The goal proved to be nothing more than a consolation as Steve Wilson restored the visitors’ advantage with the first of his three goals.
After the break, apart from the occasional counter-attack, Castle offered little resistance as Sinden made it 4-1, Wilson completed his hat-trick with two typical strikes and Tom Turner finished off a fine personal performance with a 20-yard chip which Cross could only help into his net at the far post.
Castle boss Dave Adamson was gracious in defeat and praised Sudbrook’s performance.
“We were well beaten, Sudbrook are the best team in the division by a mile and don’t look to have a weakness in them,” he said later.
“I’m sure they’ll finish as champions so good luck to them.
“It was a pretty depleted team I had to field, with seven first team players missing, so the scoreline isn’t surprising.
“Credit to my lads because they kept going. I thought Ian Cross had a decent game despite the score line and with three of our back four not usually defenders, I thought they acquitted themselves well until the game got away from us.
“We’ve got five games left and need to give everything we have in order to remain in this league.”
Sudbrook’s assistant manager Drew Main said his players were keen to put last week’s disappointing home defeat behind them.
“The lads have been looking forward to this game all week,” he said.
“We are a very close dedicated squad and we didn’t have to say much about where we went wrong against Rhymney.
“We welcomed back a number of players back to the squad which allowed us to start with an aggressive and attacking formation and at half time, we stressed the importance of not becoming complacent and the lads responded well.
“Now we have six games left and we don’t want to drop any more points.”