Basement boys pull up drawbridge to frustrate off-target Kingfishers

By Jake Chown  
Thursday 4th November 2021 11:00 am

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Ardal South East League

Monmouth Town FC 0 Rhayader Town 0

SATURDAY’S home clash with basement boys Rhayader proved a frustrating afternoon for the Kingfishers as they failed to score for the first time at home this season, writes Nick Hartland.

The visitors followed up a 2-2 draw at Abergavenny Town with another solid point, although the Kingfishers will rue two missed points after the neutral was forced to endure a fairly scrappy game.

On a day that saw only the one Ardal South East League fixture, the Kingfishers showed their support for the ’Give Racism the Red Card’ campaign by posing for a photo with cards before the match.

And after kick-off, they had plenty of possession but were unable to really create any substantial threat on the away side’s goal.

The only shot on target came midway through the first half from winger Lyndon Jones, but his tame effort from the edge of the area was easily saved.

It was evident that Rhayader were set up to frustrate and look to defend first before going long when given the opportunity, a tactic they found successful throughout the game as they continued to defend resolutely and scupper the Monmouth attacks.

Robbie Atkinson playing in a makeshift No 9 role for the game worked hard but with little reward, as chances came but missed the target.

As the game was drawing to an end a free-kick for Rhayader saw their defender win the ball at the back post only to see his header go high and wide, which was the best chance for the away team.

Then with several Rhayader players getting injuries in the final 10 minutes the game finally spluttered to an end, with a draw probably a fair result in a game with precious few chances.

Kingfishers boss Scott Russell said: "It feels like two points dropped.

’’They had a game plan and throughout the game they weren’t really in a rush to get the game going but fair play their tactics worked.

"They played with wingbacks but for the majority of the game it was a bank of five and four in midfield with their big No 9 up top to hold up the long balls.

"We just couldn’t get going. We lost our striker Paolo (Marenghi) on the morning of the game due to work commitments, so it meant we had to change how we were going to operate going forward and what our tactics were going to be going into the final third.

"I counted only about four or five chances off target and only one on target, and I’d like to have tested the keeper more, but that’s something we will go over at training this week.

"If I can take a positive from the game then it’s another game without a loss and keeps the unbeaten run going."

The draw leaves Monmouth 10th, with between two and five games in hand on everyone else in the leage owing to the Kingfishers’ cup runs.

Next up at Blestium Stadium this Saturday (November 6) are seventh-placed Croesyceiliog, kick-off 2pm.

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