Gwent FA Amateur Cup Round 4

Caldicot Castle 2 Nantyglo 4

CALDICOT Castle’s cup run came to an abrupt end with the home side contributing to their own downfall, writes Bob Cypher.

Castle might have been leading had a good shout for a penalty not been waved away early on, but as the visitors came to terms with the bobbly home pitch, they began to create chances of their own and home keeper Dave Hayward twice dived to his right to keep out goal-bound shots.

But he was powerless when a back pass was woefully under-hit leaving him in no-man’s-land as Ross Hancock accepted the gift from 12 yards.

Although going behind, Castle have the fire power to trouble any defence and with Sean Marsh, Gary McGrath and Joe O’Brien happy to shoot from anywhere, Nantyglo’s defence was kept on its toes.

All three had chances for an equaliser before the visitors increased their lead, Brogan Southway scoring with a fine volley just before half-time.

During the break, player-manager O’Brien rallied his players and within minutes of the restart he was first to a Marsh free-kick, dinking the ball over the keeper to reduce the deficit.

Castle were enjoying most of the possession and created half-chances but no-one was able to convert them.

Jake Withey thought he had scored the equaliser, stabbing home a low cross from the left, but his effort was ruled out for an earlier offside decision.

Then a needless foul out on the right flank gave the visitors the chance to deliver a deep cross.

Castle’s keeper saw the danger but slipped as he attempted to punch the ball clear and Lewis Francis nodded the ball into an empty net.

Despite the setback, Castle kept plugging away, but the killer punch was delivered by Nantyglo sub Tom Smith.

O’Brien ended the match with a last-gasp goal, bending his shot around keeper Rhys Williams inside the far post.

“We were awful in the first half,” O’Brien admitted later.

“But I thought we were the better side in the second half.

“We haven’t been past the first round in the last few years so to make it to the quarter final is a bonus and shows we can mix it with the county league teams.

“We missed our skipper Craig McCluskey through suspension and the pitch wasn’t the best, but at times we played good football.

“We gifted them two of their goals and that’s something we have to work on.

“Jake (Withey) ‘scored’ but the ref said Kyle Williams was offside, although he never touched the ball. If that had stood, it might have been a different story because we were definitely on top at that time.

“We are still in the title race and two cup competitions so we have a lot to play for this season.”