Gwent Intermediate Cup

Thornwell Red & White 5 Pontnewydd United 1

THORNWELL conquered their nerves to book a place in the final of the new trophy, writes Bob Cypher.

Red & White’s boss Richard Jones saw his men fight back from a goal down to record a convincing win.

But he was the first to admit he had been baffled by the team’s start.

“For the first 35 minutes I didn’t recognise the men out there,” he said.

“There were a lot of nerves and we weren’t playing as we usually do.”

The conditions were different, with the home match switched to Caldicot Leisure Centre’s 3G pitch because Thornwell’s ground was waterlogged.

Thornwell had keeper Jordan Doyle to thank for a couple of point-blank saves early on.

But he was out of position after United’s Nick Jenkins rose at the far post to head his side ahead from a corner.

The lead was short-lived as Stephan Reynolds’ free kick sailed over United keeper Paul Jones.

That spurred Thornwell into action and Wayne Duffield - usually reliable in one-on-one situations - was denied.

But the impetus was with Red & White and Duffield added the final touch to Ben Corbett’s low cross.

Tyler Morgan-Huggett made it 3-1, glancing the ball past Jones at a corner delivered by his twin brother Tudor.

Tyler capped a man of the match performance with a superb 25-yard free-kick early in the second half.

Reynolds will be grateful there is no Dubious Goals Committee ruling to stop him claiming his second and Thornwell’s fifth.

Reynolds skipped past the advancing keeper but was forced wide.

He spotted Rob Wood at the far post but his square pass struck Jones and deflected into the net.

As all good strikers would, Reynolds raised his arms in triumph, claiming the goal and Jones is unlikely to argue!

At the final whistle manager Jones praised the defence.

“It’s the best I’ve seen them play this season,” he said.

“Tyler Morgan-Huggett was superb throughout and gets my man-of-the-match, just shading it ahead of Jordan Doyle who kept us in it in the first half with some important saves.

“He will gain confidence from such a performance.

“I’m proud of the way they came back. Going a goal down when you are nervous and lack confidence is not good but they responded well and we look forward to the final.”

The date and venue have still to be decided and Thornwell don't know who they will face as the other semi-final between Fairfield United and Pontnewynydd FC was postponed.