Welsh League Division One - Caldicot Town 0 Monmouth Town 1
CALDICOT made it four losses in a row as a close encounter with Monmouth ended in a late win for the visitors.
Starting with a game in hand over Monmouth, Caldicot knew that a win here would give them a bit of daylight with only seven games remaining of the season. The visitors, who themselves have struggled of late, also knew how important it was to them to get the victory at Jubilee Way.
On a heavy but playable surface, and facing blustery conditions, the game got underway having passed an earlier inspection.
The first chance of the game went to the visitors when Luke Cleaves played a ball down the line and found Craig Lewis on the edge of the box, but his shot was an easy save for Caldicot keeper Gareth Wesson.
Both sides had chances, as first Monmouth’s Sam Oxley failed to convert as he rounded the keeper and a chance from Caldicot winger Alex Jarman was pushed wide.
With few clearcut chances, the first half was marked as Caldicot centre forward and former Monmouth player Safian Stupinski was sent off for violent conduct after an off the ball incident when he seemingly raised his hand to a Monmouth player.
With Caldicot down to 10 men, the visitors settled into the game and had what was perhaps the best chance of the half when Jake Robinson beat his man and whipped a ball towards the back post which found Sam Palmer, however he was stretching for the ball and his header went wide of Wesson’s post to leave the scores 0-0 at the break.
Despite their man advantage Monmouth started the second half on the back foot, as Caldicot’s players attempted to make the most of having the wind behind them. The home side had the first clear chance of the half, as Garin Withers found himself through on goal in a foot race with Monmouth’s defender but Withers hesitated slightly too long in pulling the trigger and the visitors cleared their lines.
Monmouth continued to dominate possession, but again Caldicot were causing them problems at the back. They nearly took the lead on the hour mark when a whipped corner into the box looked destined to go in, but Luke Cleaves was there to head it off the line. A fine strike later forced Monmouth keeper Lee Williams into a magnificent one on one save.
The visitors themselves came close to taking the lead from a corner, and were in the ascendancy as 10-man Caldicot attempted to hang on.
A flurry of substitutions saw Slape and Smith enter the field of play as Caldicot’s manager Mark Williams seemed intent on winning the game and not hoping to shut-up shop and hang on for a point.
Monmouth manager Ross Kennedy meanwhile turned to youngsters Brad Flay and Robbie Atkinson, who both looked a real threat. With time running out Kennedy’s substitutions paid off when Flay picked up the ball on the edge of the box and picked out an unmarked Rob Laurie at the back post, whose header bounced and flew into the corner of the net.
With seven games remaining Town have two remaining at home. Next week’s visit of Haverfordwest and the visit to Cwmbran Celtic the week after could prove vital for the team who will be looking to pick up some valuable points.
Photos courtesy of Mark Anderson.