Tredegar Town give themselves hope in relegation battle

Bottom of the Welsh League Tredegar Town bagged themselves an injury time winner against a below-par Bridgend Street to give themselves hope of avoiding the drop.

With just three league wins to their name all season, improved performances had to start changing into results quickly if there was to be any chance of Town maintaining their Welsh League status and they managed to secure a huge three points thanks to an Ian Pettit strike deep into injury time after a header had come back off the cross bar.

The match turned on a second half penalty awarded to Tredegar with 25 minutes left to play. A hopeful ball into the box seemed to be met with a routine headed clearance, only for the referee to point to the spot amidst much bemusement, and some anger (Street manager Craig Dale was later sent to the stands).  Pettit didn’t need any luck from the spot, drilling the ball home to bring the home side level at 1-1.

The game had looked so different in the first half, the visitors employing a 4-4-1-1 formation in the absence of Nicky Davison, giving Paul Fowler a more advanced role, had more of the ball and got themselves into the better positions in the game.  Town had set up with Ian Morris in a holding midfield role, which made them hard to break down, but left Pettit with little support when the ball did make its way forward.

Visiting Street had already had two good chances when, just after quarter of an hour, Jeff White received a throw in from Mike Lewis, held up the ball beautifully under pressure on the edge of the box and laid back into the path of Fowler. He beat a defender with a shimmy onto his left foot and drilled home from outside the box. 

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After the 6-0 reverse at The Willows, the home side may have feared the worst.  Indeed just two minutes later Dale, playing in midfield, swept the ball right for Nathan Gulley who crossed well only for centre half Ross Dingle to head over.

Town have been playing teams tougher in recent weeks, though, and their determination meant the rest of the first half was a midfield battle – with little to write home about – although Owen Thomas should have done much better when stealing possession to run through on goal. He then fired wide.

The second half started in much the same vein. Then came the penalty decision and a more open game followed. Gulley seemed set to score when Burge squared six yards out, but it seemed like the ball got stuck under his feet on a heavy surface and he couldn’t finish.  

Further half chances came and went for both sides, Nicky King made two good saves for Street, and then Harry Burge was set free in the inside of the box to the left and fired hardl, but straight at Kris Morris in goal. The spoils looked set to be shared, but then Pettit pounced at the last.

Tredegar Town Assistant Manager Liam McCann said, “We weren’t happy at half time, the work rate should have been better and we let Fowler have too much space on the edge of the box – but we were always in it and expected a little bit more from them if I’m honest.

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“It was a soft penalty, yes, but we’ve deserved that bit of luck.  We’re absolutely delighted with the win. We’ve two big games coming up now, and we want another four points.”

Street Manager Craig Dale didn’t have much to say about the game. “We weren’t at our best again, but until the penalty I really didn’t think they were threatening.”

FT: Tredegar Town 2 (I Pettit 65p, 90+2) Bridgend Street 1 (Fowler, 17)

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