East Gwent League

CALDICOT Castle A took the opportunity to return to the top of Division 1 without kicking a ball in anger.

As title rivals Thornwell A continued their Amateur Cup adventure, Castle were due to welcome Underwood but the visitors were unable to fulfil the fixture so Castle were awarded a 5-0 victory and three points to lift them to the top on goal difference.

Thornwell have a game in hand and will be back in action on Saturday when they visit Castle’s B team while Castle A face a potentially tough home match against Chepstow Town who will no doubt want to put Saturday’s 7-1 home defeat at the hands of Mathern A behind them.

Wayne Duffield was Mathern’s hero, scoring a hat-trick, with Ash Pearce (2), Nick Wright and Steve Cox completing a victory that Mathern’s manager Simon Bajjada described as a morale booster.

“It was a very good win for us, coming on the back of last week’s 4-2 success at Caldicot Town,” he said later.

In the other matches played, Portskewett & Sudbrook found Rockfield Rovers too hot to handle going down 8-1 at home while Chepstow Athletic and Tintern Abbey met on the 3G surface at Caldicot Leisure Centre.

“Both our pitches were deemed unfit to play,” explained Tintern’s Darryl Reynolds.

It was a real game of two halves because Abbey went 3-0 up in the first half through Tom Collins, Sam Gluning and Reynolds himself but after the break, Athletic came back strongly and made it 3-2 thanks to Athletic’s player manager Jake Parkinson whose pinpoint crosses and free kicks were headed home by Will Morgan.

“We were shocked we had let Athletic back into the match after looking so good in the first half,” Reynolds said after the match.

“But Will Creswick’s cross was nodded in by Sam Gluning for his second of the match to restore our two-goal cushion.”

Despite the setback, Athletic scored again through Luke Harris to make it 4-3 but there was to be no second comeback as Tintern skipper Pip Seabury settled it from the penalty spot after Steve Morgan was brought down in the box.

Later, Reynolds said Tintern’s players had an extra incentive to win the match.

“We are chasing a place in the top half of the table when the league splits into two divisions and we are now up to eighth place,” he added.