They say you can’t judge the table until the ten-game mark and Saturday’s loss against Rhyl reached the magic figure for Port Talbot.
Manager Andy Dyer must be wishing his team could revert to their early season form and even the dour goalless draw of the first match. At least the precarious defending that has riddled the team for the past few weeks was missing then.
On Saturday it was again prevalent and accompanied with toothless finishing.
Versus Rhyl, they were competitive if lacking any real threat in an uneventful first period. Matthew Long and Martin Rose saw their shots comfortably dealt with by Terry McCormick in the visitor’s goal. Fast forward to the second half and the breakthrough which came from match winner Connor Bell. First John Owen steamrollered into the blues penalty area, then finding Bell, who stroked the ball past Cann.
Andy Dyer looked to alter the pattern of play that had seen Port Talbot over-run in midfield, bringing on new signing James Loveridge for a first team debut. However, it did little to disrupt Owen and Bell from replicating their first goal with the latter grabbing a second – from a team that Port Talbot beat only a fortnight ago 1-0 and are rooted at the foot of the table.
Things got worse when Craig Jones was given his marching orders for upending a Rhyl player in the six-yard area. However, the subsequent spot kick was rifled over the crossbar by Rhyl Skipper Dean Keates.
Aaron Rey was next to try his luck with a rasping drive that Cann could only parry into the path of the advancing Bell. The outcome was undoubtedly going to be a hat trick for the Rhyl man on a miserable afternoon for the Steelmen.
Without wishing to sound like a broken record and lament the defence too much, the manner in which Rhyl scored was preventable. It should be a mantra to stop teams going through the middle of the field , as Rhyl did at will. Next up is a cup tie against Carmarthen in a much-needed break from the league.