Crickhowell v Cefn Fforest Match Report
Crickhowell cruised to a 4-0 victory over Gwent County League Division three mid table rivals Cefn Fforest at the Elvicta Field.
Following a tentative start from both sides, the first chance of the game fell to visiting captain Luke Bowen after 5 minutes but the failed to control a defence splitting pass allowing home keeper Dan Murphy to snuff out the danger.
Clear cut chances were at a premium and much of the first half was fought out in midfield by 2 evenly matched teams. The visitors were restricted to long range efforts for the most part and found it difficult to break down the home defence despite the best efforts of the skilful Bowen.
The breakthrough came 5 minutes before the interval when a Nick Francis free kick was charged down and Mike Ling reacted quickly, lashing the ball goalward.
Visiting number 5, Tommy Leonard tried in vain to keep the ball out but only succeeded in helping the ball into his own net to give the home side a 1-0 half time lead. Crick dominated until the break and could have gone in 2-0 but Ian Davies could only slice the ball wide after a wonderful crossfield ball from veteran midfielder Nick Francis.
The second half started as the first had ended and the hosts doubled their lead in the 48th minute with a bizarre long range effort from right back Matt Stephens.
Following the award of a corner, the ball was cleared off the line by Geraint Williams following a scramble in the box. Stephens returned the ball back into the danger area with a speculative cross and as it bounced on the edge of the 6 yard box, keeper Craig Morgan could only push the ball into the roof of his own net to put the hosts 2-0 up.
Now in the ascendancy, Crickhowell looked to put the game beyond any doubt and following some excellent interplay from front paring Mike Ling and Alex Aitken, the latter could only shoot tamely at visiting stopper Craig Morgan.
To their credit, Cefn Fforest responded positively and after a foul on the skilful Bowen, went close themselves with a 30 yard free kick which skidded just wide of the post.
Captain Bowen was a constant threat to the home side and it was he who won a disputed penalty on the hour mark when he was the on the receiving end of a clumsy challenge from home centre back Andy Slater. Andrew Davies stepped up to take the spot kick but saw his effort saved by Murphy who was in sparkling form all afternoon.
The visitors continued to threaten but could not find a way past the home custodian as he thwarted a number of dangerous Cefn Fforest attacks.
Despite the pressure from the visitors, Crickhowell always looked dangerous on the break and wasted a chance themselves to put the game beyond doubt when Ling rolled shot wide following a long ball from Alex Aitken.
With 10 minutes left, Murphy once again denied the home side, tipping over a Bowen free kick from an acute angle. It was clear the next goal would be vital and it came 5 minutes later courtesy of a low drive from Aitken
Five minutes later the home side were awarded a corner which evaded everyone except the ever-alert Aitken who drilled the ball low inside the near post to put the result beyond doubt.
As the clock ticked towards the 90th minute there was still time for Aitken to bag his second of the game as right midfielder Ian Davies burst into the visitors penalty area and squared the ball unselfishly, allowing the striker to tap in from close range.
Crickhowell were good value for their 4-0 victory and will look to build momentum as they go into the business end of the season. Whilst they may not have a say in the promotion race, the future looks bright for the boys from Elvicta Field.
For the visitors it was certainly a case of what might have been although they certainly won’t come up against a keeper of the calibre of Man of the Match Dan Murphy every week.