A forgettable first half in which both teams were harried in midfield and chances at a premium, was only livened up by the Port Talbot ultras rendition of “Martin Rose is better than Pele”. The chances that did come, came to Jones for the home side as he swivelled and lashed an effort high and wide. He had the best of Port Talbot’s chances when his strike went narrowly over the cross bar and after 20 minutes he hit a rasping strike on the outside of the area directly at Jones. In truth, Joseph Jones was the player that wanted the ball most and looked the most likely to break the deadlock. It was his team mate, Kurtis March, that nearly did though, only to watch his header loop agonisingly over the cross bar.
Port Talbot had difficulty dealing with Newtown’s long throws and it was a Luke Boundford bullet throw-in that culminated in the best chance of the match. The ball fell to Kieran Mills-Evans and after taking a touch, he struck the ball just past the left post. On the half hour mark came a double chance for the visitors to take the lead. First from a Craig Williams corner that was headed goal bound by Matt Owen; fortunately Cortez Belle diverted the ball behind. Belle looked a frustrated figure and long balls aside, lacked any quality service. The proceeding corner was attacked by Shane Sutton who had escaped his marker and a clear connection that ricocheted off the cross bar.
The side in blue and white raced out of the blocks and Jones effort whistled wide and Rose volleyed over. Rose’s next opportunity was put on the plate in the penalty area by Jonathan Hood’s cross and he must have wondered how he didn’t make any connection. The game ebbed and flowed from end to end with neither team able to gain any prolonged momentum. The Robins responded to Port Talbot’s offensive play with a chance of their own. Matt Owen on the left of the field hit a shot delightfully and forced Steve Cann to tip the ball over.
Joseph Jones looked like he was on a one-man mission to score and went close again however his strike swerved wide of the goal. The breakthrough was made through a cross that arrived at the feet of Jones and he prodded under the keeper from close range. Not to be outdone, Newtown equalised within five minutes after head tennis between Sutton and Boundford and the latter nodded into the top right corner.
Neil Mitchell tried an audacious lob from ten yards ahead of the half way line but the angle was acute and Cann gathered. Newtown were probing and both sides were now searching for the elusive winner. Football purists would have appreciated Jones dancing around his marker and jinxing into the area, however his team mates couldn’t finish his cross that flashed the goal mouth. Chris Jones volleyed from outside the area in the final stages and the ball looked to have landed perfectly for Cortez Belle although the burly forward had an air shot,making no connection with the ball.
The point leaves the steel men positioned 4th in the Welsh Premier league and difficult to beat despite the injuries they have suffered.
Man of the Match & Final Thoughts
Joseph Jones was a nuisance for the Newtown midfield and kept possession ticking in a way that is unsurprising given his previous spell with champions TNS. He rounded off his game with a neat finish.
A point was a fair result and Port Talbot will look to build on this when they face Haverfordwest on Tuesday night away. They will have to work on their potency in the final third beforehand and the organisation from set plays. That said, Port Talbot were without a string of players including Liam McCreesh, Kaid Mohamed and Luke Bowen, so performances should improve.
Port Talbot – Cann, Craig Jones, Parry, Vincent, J Jones, Clarke, C Jones, March (Jeanne 83), Hood, Rose (Fowler 64), Belle
Subs not used – McFenton, Long, Williams, Langley, Hartson
Yellows – Clarke 22, March 57, C Jones 79, J Jones 88
Robins – Jones, Williams, Sutton, Mills-Evans, Sutton, Edwards, Goodwin, Cook, Boundford, Owen, Hearsey (Price 76), Mitchell
Subs not used –Hughes, Harris, Griffiths, Perry
Yellows – Mitchell 54, Hearsey 71, Williams 73
Attendance – 196