St Athan 2-1 Island Marine
After a second enforced winter break Saints returned to action with a win and returned to the top of the league.
St Athan were desperate for a return to action to put right the defeat last time out against Rhoose, and an own goal and a first Saints goal from Nathan Williams saw all three points sealed.
St Athan came in missing Tony Pugh and Lee Reid, but Leigh Lewis was handed a start after a string of impressive outings from the bench for the veteran winger.
Saints started well but couldn’t quite carve out a clear cut chance despite being in control of the early going. Josh Harfoot volleying over was as close as Saints came.
Island Marine were energetic but couldn’t break down the organised Saints back line, being reduced to a long range effort over the bar.
Island Marine rallied though and James Andrews was called upon to make a smart low save to deny the away side after a good move.
St Athan started to click and a well worked chance was fashioned as the impressive Josh Harfoot was put in but his effort saved by the keepers legs. No finish with aplomb by Harfoot there.
Leigh Lewis continued to cause the away side problems and, when brother Reece played the ball down the flank, Leigh’s low cross saw Jake Sutch’s shot well held by the keeper.
Stalemate at half time with Saints the slightly happier but Marine looking dangerous.
St Athan started the second half with a real bite and more good work by Williams in the middle saw Joe Laing play in Harfoot, who’s low cross saw Karl Steel with a big chance but couldn’t quite get the ball under his command and the ball cleared.
However, Steel wasn’t deterred and moments later, a similar move saw Harfoot again produce a low cross for Steel to get on the end of and steer goalwards only to be turned in by the Marine defender for an own goal to open the scoring. Was the ball going in anyway, Steel would have you believe yes.
Saints soon doubled their lead after two penalty appeals were waved away. The resulting corner was whipped in by Reece Lewis and Williams turned the ball in at the near post. A first goal for the club by the all energy midfielder after his big money December move from Barry Athletic.
Island Marine came back at Saints looking for a way back into the game, but Saints defence was irresistible, calm and confident. With Andrews laying claim to any crosses into the box with ease.
Reece Lewis saw a cross come shot effort off the bar before Aaron Rogers teed up first Steel and than Harfoot but the crosses couldn’t be converted.
Island Marine asserted more pressure and it paid off as a defensive mix up saw the away forward get a nick on the ball to turn it in. A nervy last fifteen minutes awaited.
But Saints managed it well, controlling the tempo and not allowing the away team to push them deeper.
Saints saw out the three points and with two of their titles rivals not in action, returned to the top of the pile.
St Athan : Andrews, Cox, Young, Mortimore, Laing, R.Lewis, Williams, L.Lewis, Sutch, Harfoot, Steel. Subs -Rogers, Ashton, Howells
Many thanks to our sponsors Llantwit Car Valet and Kinsale Stone Co (Wales) Ltd.