St Athan 2-3 AFC Rhoose
Four minutes of madness ultimately saw Rhoose take all three points in this pulsating encounter, as St Athan lost the game and were knocked off top spot in the Premier Division.
With the game perfectly poised and Saints on top, Rhoose struck three times in four minutes right at the death of the first half to leave Saints shell shocked, and despite a second half fight back, condemned to defeat.
St Athan welcomed back tailsman Jordan Mortimore as Saints returned to action after the Christmas break and looked to build on their 5-1 over Barry Athletic last time out that put them top.
Saints started very brightly and it only looked a matter of time before they took the lead. Nathan Williams saw too efforts saved before Mortimore’s sharp turn was held by the keeper, Nathan Gahan.
Craig Howells saw an effort narrowly over the bar and then moments later raced onto a Mortimore through ball but his low shot was comfortably saved. Saints continued to push and Karl Steel’s cross was headed against the bar by Mortimore.
Then came the shocking end to the first half, Rhoose scoring with their first effort from Jordan Owen. This stunned Saints and Owen waltz through again to double their lead, before two minutes later a well worked goal saw Luke Llewelyn Davis made it 3-0 to the visitors.
Feathers flew at half time as Saints frustration and disbelief boiled over.
Josh Harfoot and Brad Young were introduced at the break and made an impact.
St Athan made chances again with manager Bill Laing bringing on Leigh Lewis and switching shape. The change paid dividends as Lewis’ shot was adjudged to have been blocked by a Rhoose defenders arm and penalty awarded.
Mortimore dually displayed from the spot for his 18th of the season and it was game on.
Saints threw caution to the wind as a Rhoose began to creak but Gahan as in imperious form between the sticks, making several smart stops.
Saints then grabbed a second as Leigh Lewis’ cross saw the otherwise flawless keeper slip as did Mortimore but managed to nod in a yard out.
With ten minutes left Saints were in the ascendancy and sensed an equaliser or even better.
Good work from Mortimore teed up Joe Laing but his effort was agonisingly wide.
More pressure by Saints saw Williams rise to head goalwards only for Gahan to produce a save of the highest quality.
Saints pushed on and excellent work by Harfoot put him in on goal but once again found the Rhoose stopper making the block.
Saints battled to the end and threw everything at Rhoose but the away side clung on.
St Athan now drop to third, one point ahead of Rhoose. Barry Athletic go back top with FC Barry Belgrade moving second. Three points separate the top four. Saints travel to Maslin Park next week to play Island Marine.
St Athan: Andrews, Steel, Sutch, Cox, Reid, Laing, R.Lewis, Rogers, Williams, Howells, Mortimore. Subs – Harfoot, Young, L.Lewis, Pugh.
St Athan B had a day to forget as they were trounced 8-1 by Llantwit Major in division two. The Welsh league clubs reserve side running riot with former Saints front man Josh Morgan bagging a hat trick, Max Morgan a brace, with Coyle, Gethin Jennings and Grafton adding the others. Deon Garrison getting the Saints seconds consolation.
Many thanks to our sponsors Llantwit Car Valet and Kinsale Stone Co (Wales) Ltd.