Bridgend Street 2-4 STM Sports: Gardiner’s side secure crucial victory over Cardiff rivals
STM Sports recorded their fifth win in a row at the Willows to move up to 2nd place in the Welsh League Division Two table and within touching distance of promotion.
Two goals from Lamin Conteh and one apiece from Tom Rutherford and substitute Calum Bateman sealed a 4-2 win over Bridgend Street. The two teams are separated by just 3.8 miles between Llanrumney and Splott.
Street’s Captain Paul Fowler scored on his return to the side when he had earlier netted an equaliser from the penalty spot to cancel out Conteh’s opener, then Jeff White clawed it back to 3-2 before Bateman’s late goal secured three points for Dale Garidner’s men.
Conteh, who celebrated his twenty fourth birthday last Wednesday, could have fired home within the first 25 seconds when he was set clear – but his effort was straight at goalkeeper Damian Lack.
However moments later, the in-form striker – who scored two goals in their last game against Caerau Ely – wasn’t to be denied. When sent clean through he showed great composure before delightfully dinking the ball over the onrushing Lack to give STM the perfect start.
A wonderful over-the-top ball from Nathan Gulley sent White clear. Nicky King came out to narrow the angle but the striker was able to get there first – causing King to bring him down. Captain Fowler, on his return from injury and suspension after missing the last seven weeks, stepped up to slot home into the bottom right hand corner past the despairing King.
An eventful first half was far from over and another penalty was awarded towards the end of the first half. Much to the disarray of the coaching staff, players and the fans of the home team, who felt that the ball to Conteh was offside. Lack rushed out of his goal to close down the angle, but the forward was able to get there first and earned himself an opportunity to make it four goals in two games. In doing so, he calmly stoked home to the bottom left corner, sending Street’s keeper the wrong way to put STM in front again.
It could have been three moments later when Conteh again found himself clear and one on one with Lack, but the latter stood strong and saved well forcing a corner.
STM started the second half as they did the first with an early goal, and it was Riccardo Mckenzie who was involved. A lovely run from the defender down the left saw him get into the penalty area. His strength and composure allowed him to deliver a pin-point low cross across the face of the goal and into the path of Rutherford. The midfielder, who was playing in his fourth game, fired in for his first goal for the club to spark wild celebrations.
The Splott side pushed forward in search of getting themselves back into it, and they did through Jeff White, who was in the right place at the right time. After a quickly-taken free-kick from Fowler found David Brooks down the left, his low cross was met on the volley by White who guided home inside the six yard box.
The Llanrumney side could have doubled their lead but Lack again was in their way as he denied Joey Evans and Marcus Jones, before Conteh, on a hat-trick, could only see his shot go wide.
It was Bateman who would make the game safe with a well-taken finish. The substitute found himself one on one with Lack before cooly slotting home to make it three goals in two games to move his side into the promotion places ahead of Saturday’s big game away at top-of-the-table Swansea University.
STM Sports: King, Yohanes, Riccardo Mckenzie, Biggs, Burridge, Rutherford, Evans, (Gardner, 84) Jones, Ahmun, (Bateman, 78) Worsley and Conteh
Bridgend Street: Lack, Carro, Gulley, (Finn, 88) Angle, Berry, Bancroft, Brooks, (Martin, 86) Fowler, White, Davison and Smith (Murphy, 56)
(Featured image: Mike James)