Mathern Wanderers win sealed with late penalty
3:29pm Wednesday 13th February 2013 in Sport
EAST GWENT SENIOR LEAGUE GILL CUP QUARTER-FINAL
MATHERN WANDERERS A 3 UNDY ATHLETIC MATHERN 2
Wanderers used their ‘get out of jail free’ card on Saturday as they bid to monopolise this season’s silverware.
Having played only one match since December 8, Mathern were rusty to say the least and facing a beefedup Undy Athletic side who put them under pressure from the start on a heavy pitch, they were a shadow of the side which has swept all before them this term.
Undy, beaten 3-1 at home by Underwood a week before, played to a plan devised by manager Ben Garner and for an hour they had the home side reeling, But Mathern have a great deal of experience and it was that which saw them through to the semi-finals of the Gill Cup.
“We were definitely not at our best,” admitted their manager Gareth Moore.
“Some of that could be the lack of games recently.
“Undy came at us and they must be gutted after a great performance, but I’m pleased we ground out a win when not at our best. Alex Bell was outstanding, scoring our first equaliser and he was always strong in the tackle.”
Undy’s skilful striker Ben Smith put them ahead, beating keeper Jason Johnson with a low drive from just inside the area, a lead they held until half-time with neither keeper troubled too much.
Bell equalised soon after the break although there was a suspicion of offside about it.
A free-kick was hoisted into the Undy goalmouth, but despite the defence’s efforts to play offside, no whistle came and Bell pivoted and shot past keeper Mike Lambert.
Within minutes, Undy regained the lead when Simon Owen broke free, rounded Johnson and stroked the ball home.
That reverse stung Mathern and they exerted more pressure resulting in a second equaliser, Steven Jones rising highest to head home a corner.
The home side were more productive from then on and had a lucky break when Shane Dash appeared to be brought down just inside the area, referee Greg Lenthall awarding a penalty.
Despite the visitors’ protests, Wayne Duffield placed the ball on the spot and despatched his 30th goal of the season to put Mathern through.
Disappointed Undy boss Garner said he was pleased with the way his team stuck to the game plan.
“Mathern are a good side but I didn’t want to give them lots of time on the ball,” he said.
“We were very unlucky and I am gutted for the lads.
“We matched them in every department and it was a really good game. I think both sides had a lot of respect for each other after that.”