Vale United 4-2 St Athan
Vale Stand United as St Athan Fall
Jenkins Debut Double Seals Win
Vale United made a giant statement of intent in their debut season in the Premier Division as they defeated last seasons runners up St Athan with an emphatic display in this west vale derby.
United turned it on in the second half and ran the Saints defence ragged with Dan Hanson and debutant Nathan Jenkins double adding to skipper Richard Evans first half penalty. St Athan’s captain Jordan Mortimore bookended the scoring when he put the away side in front and then nabbed consolation at the death.
The game started out as a cagey affair with both sides wary of the other. St Athan having finished runners up last season and Corntown based Vale Utd on a good run following successive promotions since their inception in 2014.
United created the more clear cut chances early on as they blazed over from the edge of the area and then tremendous wing play saw a cross fizzed across the six yard box without a telling touch.
But it was the away side who made the breakthrough on 25 minutes. Reece Lewis corner was met by Deon Garrison and Mortimore headed in the opener.
But Saints struggled to create many clear cut chances and United slowly started to take control of the game.
Vale pushed on and won a free kick 25 yards out. The resulting strike was excellently saved by Nicky Cox in the Saints goal.
The leveller came as the ball was lost up the field, the break found players out of position and the United forward was brought down for a penalty, which Evans dispatched with aplomb.
Vale United were in the ascendancy as the half drew to a close.
Saints management looked to make changes to reap more reward in attack and it almost made dividends when Josh Morgan crossed to Mortimore, the ball dropped to Craig Howells on the volley but was met by a superb save by the United stopper.
United fired back and a well worked move saw them shoot over the bar before St Athan came back down the other head with a Morgan header wide.
United then forced Cox into another sublime save but there was not a lot the brilliant keeper could do in the next few minutes as Vale took the lead.
United broke on St Athan and their through ball was pin point perfect for Hanson to latch onto and calmly finish.
St Athan were rocked as United were buoyed and they looked to take full advantage and saw too more efforts wide soon after.
Saints attempted to fight back but Mortimore’s header was wide of the target.
It was more doom and gloom for the away side as United struck again, a through ball was again not cleared and Nathan Jenkins was onto it to score on his debut.
Saints misery was compounded moments later as their defence failed to clear their lines and Jenkins grabbed his second to round off an impressive first game.
St Athan got their consolation as Jonathan Ashton’s long throw was headed in by Mortimore.
An excellent performance by Vale United who showed an excellent will to win and really laid down a marker for what they want to achieve this season while St Athan will really need to improve on this performance if they want to better last season.
St Athan: Cox, Ashton, Young, Mortimore, Garrison, Laing, R.Lewis, Austin, Pugh, Howells, Morgan. Subs – Charles on 45, L.Lewis on 60.
Meanwhile, St Athan’s miserable day was doubled as the second side were thumped 3-0 at home to Island Marine B.
St Athan B: MacDonald, Morgans, Wolfe, Robinson, Cleave, Campbell, Williams, O’Brien, George, Watson, Morgan. Subs – Pickering, Harry.