THIS was a game that was unquestionably a game of two halves, as the Kingfishers looked to continue their recent good form against the league leaders.
From the offset they took the game to their high-flying visitors, as early chances came and went as Bluebirds struggled to cope with the Monmouth’s forward play of.And it was no surprise when the hosts broke the deadlock after a great break down the left from Luke Cleaves saw the ball fed the ball through to Paolo Marenghi who drove to the by-line.A Bluebirds defender tried to get a tackle in, but Cleaves picked up the ball to set up the onrushing Lewis Davies who fired in for his second of the season to make it 1-0.The hosts continued to bang on the Bluebirds door with Monmouth recording over 10 shots on target in the first half, but couldn’t get that important second goal before half-time.The second half was full of promise for the Kingfishers to continue their dominant display, but the Bluebirds had other ideas and came out determined to get back into the game.All of a sudden, they had the lion’s share of possession and it was backs-to-the-wall for the home team as they looked to keep their 1-0 lead.Sadly, after some soft yellow cards, it resulted in Monmouth manager Scott Russell bringing striker and top scorer Paolo Marenghi off after the hour, as it was felt Bluebirds were looking to get the prolific striker his second yellow and his marching orders.This meant a change in personnel, with Jay Taneri coming on for the striker and Robbie Atkinson moving into the No 9 role.But five minutes later, the Bluebirds get their deserved equaliser with Ashley Price scoring on the 66th minute.As the game became more open, Monmouth started to look more dangerous going forward again with the Bluebirds keeper making a smart save off a Lyndon Jones free-kick from the edge of the area.As both teams went looking for the winner, a great attempt from 25 yards on the turn from the Bluebirds midfielder saw a top corner save by Travis Wood, just able to divert the ball away from the what looked like a certain goal.This wasn’t the last time he was called into action as in the final five minutes a slip by a Monmouth defender allowed the Bluebirds striker to be one-on-one with Wood, only for a ’Kasper Schmeichel-esque’ save with his outstretched foot that saw the ball deflected away from the net, a save which could be key come the end of the season.Manager Scott Russell said after the final whistle: "They were top of the table for a reason, they have a never-say-die attitude which showed in the second half."I thought we were brilliant in the first half and caused them so many problems which they didn’t have answers to, but again we missed key opportunities at key points of the game and it allowed them to get back into the game."We are very close to being ruthless, but for whatever reason we just aren’t taking our chances."One of the games we play we will score four or five, I’m sure of it, but I can’t fault the lads, it’s a point against one of our rivals."It was a shame we lost our way in the second half and the players were gutted after the game as they felt they were in a position to put the game to bed and get a victory."Credit to Bluebirds, they deserved the equaliser and I think overall the draw was a fair result. We go again next weekend when we host Newport City (Saturday, November 27)."The result sees the Kingfishers, who still have three to five games in hand on most of the teams above, move into the top half of the table in eighth, with 18 points, one place behind this Saturday’s opponents.Bluebirds slipped from top spot to second on goal difference, with Caldicot Town, 4-1 winners at Rhayader, now in pole position.Chris Hilton and James Greaney scored for the Kingfishers’ 2nd XI as they lost out 5-2 away to Caldicot Town Reserves.They next travel to face Abertillery Excelsiors 2nds in the FAW Cymru South East Reserves League on Friday night (November 26
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