STM Sports moved to the top of Division Two after an impressive second-half performance against a ten-man Aberbargoed Buds.
The St Mellons side have won their last three matches under new manager Dale Gardiner, who took over after the departure of Gareth Morgan.
Aberbargoed began the game with clear attacking intentions. Gavin Mecham swung in a free-kick into the box with Matthew Jones heading at goal, deflecting for a corner. Meacham delivered again and Scott Jones forced Golton into the save.
STM Sports had their own chance early on, Chris Hajgato found David Biggs and headed just over with a looping header.
Leon Young was putting pressure on the STM Sports defenders and intercepted Conteh’s backpass to Golton, but he couldn’t direct his shot on target. Young then set up Meacham for their best chance as his diving header hit the post, proving to be a big let-off for STM Sports.
Despite all their attacking intent, the Buds work was undone when Leon Young was sent off for a stamp in the middle of the field, with the referee showing a straight red card.
Being reduced to ten men didn’t affect them in the closing stages of the first half. Meacham put the ball just over the bar after taking the ball off of Michael Hodge, as he had the last opportunity of the first half.
STM Sports were presented with the perfect opportunity to open the scoring, with the evidence of being a man down showing. Lamin Conteh was brought down for a penalty, which Andy Gardiner dispatched, despite the fingertips of Cael Jones.
Scott Armitage came on to replace Thomas Davies in the 63rd minute as they added an attacking player, to try and push forward.
STM Sports took a firm hold on the game later on, with Chris Worsley setting up Joey Evans who broke into the box from the far side and he tucked the ball home, low past the keeper into the corner of the goal.
Michael Hodge and Callum Bateman made way for the Greens, as they were replaced by Jordan Francombe and Josh Graham, freshening things up for Gardiner’s side, as they looked to attack the tired legs of Aberbargoed. Andrew Hughes came on for Scott Jones, to counter STM’s substitute.
The home side then had the chance to put the game beyond any reasonable doubt, after Joey Evans was caught late in the box. STM opted to change their penalty taker, allowing Chris Hajgato to take it. For Hajgato, he was denied by Jones who went the same way for the first penalty.
Gardiner was STM’s last substitute as he made way for Ashley Park. Moments later, STM had their third as Chris Worsley held the ball and pulled a shot away, Jones denied Worsley but substitute Josh Graham was there to score on the rebound.
Graham then turned provider for the game’s final goal, as he held the ball up, spraying the ball to Lamin Conteh who scored with an easy finish, as he finished a well-worked move which was made on the counter-attack.
The referee brought the game to an end, with STM Sports scoring four goals in the second half, after a game which was even until the sending off.
(Featured Image: Mike James)