Monmouthshire Windows East Gwent League

Division 1

Caldicot Castle 2 Iscoed Tafarn 1

A ‘SOFT’ penalty and a Joe O’Brien one-on-one sealed three points for Castle in a match marred by a bumpy pitch on a blustery and sunny day, writes Bob Cypher.

Neither team tamed the conditions and it was difficult to judge a pass on the ground or a corner in the air.

Josh Codd was busy for Tafarn and he and home wing back Joe Shaw-Jones had a number of close encounters.

At the other end, player-boss O’Brien was always available for the ‘out ball’ but he too found the wind troublesome.

Castle lined up with striker Rick Woodland in goal after losing Dave Hayward and Sean Marsh through family and work commitments.

“Rick volunteered to go in goal but admitted the last time he played there was with the Under12s many years ago,” O’Brien said later.

But with Kyle Williams and Matt Kinchin on good form at the heart of the home defence, Woodland was rarely called upon.

At the other end, Chris Jackson’s main contribution was to tip one goal-bound shot over the bar.

But in the classic game of two halves, Castle upped the tempo after the break and O’Brien was twice put through for one-on-ones with Jackson, the keeper coming out on top on both occasions.

The deadlock was broken when the referee pointed to the spot after a coming-together.

“It didn’t look like a penalty to me but when they are given, you take it,” O’Brien said.

Tafarn boss Ashley Edinborough and most of his players thought the decision was harsh.

Castle skipper Craig McCluskey’s first effort was parried by Jackson who was still on the deck as the skipper smashed in the rebound.

Minutes later, Zak Niblett delivered a 30-yard cross-field pass to O’Brien who scored the second.

Castle were reduced to 10 men when McCluskey picked up a second yellow card and in the final quarter hour Tafarn were given a lifeline when a Castle defender put it in his own net, but despite being put under renewed pressure the home side held out.

O’Brien admitted the conditions affected the game.

“The wind was a killer, the pitch was bobbly and the low sun made it difficult too,” he said.

“But it was the same for both teams.

“Now we look forward to next Saturday when Nantyglo come here in the fourth round of the Gwent FA Amateur Cup.”