Merthyr Town v Gosport Borough
23 September 2023
Merthyr Town FC, Penydarren Park, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 8RF
In the opening stages the Martyrs were by far the better team and the performance had the perfect start. In just the 2nd minute of the game, Olly Mehew broke down the left inside channel cutting the ball back across the penalty area to present the perfect chance for Ricardo Rees to side foot home from two yards.
The sliding doors moment of the game came in the 17th minute. Kieran Evans was injured on the right touchline and after lengthy treatment was forced to retire, to be replaced by Tom Stokes. In the very next phase of play Aneurin Livermore, in an attempt to win back possession of the ball that he had initially lost, was shown a red card and the home side were reduced to ten men for the remaining 73 minutes of the game.
Gosport took full advantage of the disruption caused by the two incidents and equalised immediately when Alex Barsa turned a free kick past Jamie Cogman at the near post.
As the home side regained their composure they almost restored their lead when Olly Mehew hit the inside of the post and the ball ran across the goal line before being desperately cleared. This let off allowed Gosport to score just before half time when Barsa’s header looped over the stranded Cogman.
Losing 2-1 and down to ten men, from that moment onwards everyone could see where this was going. It was a valiant attempt to claw their way back into the game that saw Tom Handley push forward on the hour mark, as Bradley Tarbuck exploited the space left by the full back to race into the penalty area and squeeze the ball between Cogman and the near post.
In a vain attempt to rescue the game the Martyrs were caught on the counter attack in the fifth minute of added time as substitute Jonathan Efedje broke clear from half way to beat Cogman unopposed.
Suffering a second home defeat in 2023/24 so far, we are now without Callum Ryan-Phillips, Frazer Thomas, possibly Kieran Evans and soon Aneurin Livermore will also join those missing - key individuals.
This particular nightmare will hopefully just feel like a bad dream if we get good results in our next few games. So, a very disappointing day, one from which we’ll have more regrets than anything else at what could have been.