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Merthyr Town v Salisbury

2 December 2023

Merthyr Town v Salisbury

Kick Off:




Merthyr Town v Salisbury

Merthyr Town FC, Penydarren Park, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 8RF

Match Report:

With covers laid to protect the surface from freezing with temperatures minus six degrees overnight, the glistening frost was brushed off the pitch during the morning to ensure that the surface was fit to play.

Nick Rhodes and Matthew Harris were both restored to the side after missing the game in midweek, in place of Alex John who was serving a one match suspension and Lewis Powell who was suffering with a hamstring injury. After a period of lengthy treatment Rhodes suffered an ankle injury early in the first half and despite continuing was forced to leave the field after just eleven minutes to be replaced by Joe Woodiwiss.

However, this further disruption didn’t affect the Martyrs who breached the league leaders defences with a glorious strike from Kieran Evans after 19 minutes. Cutting inside from the right hand touchline he curled a sumptuous strike from 20-yards into the top corner to provide Josh Gould, who had previously played on loan at Merthyr, with absolutely no chance of keeping it out.

Poor finishing from Salisbury provided a major let off for the Martyrs after a miss kicked clearance from Fuller went straight to Coppin, who could only push his effort wide of the upright.

The scores were level after 39 minutes when a cross from the right was curled into the box and Harry Williams lost both his markers with a well timed run to glance his header past Fuller from close range. Perhaps a goal that could have been prevented, but the Martyrs were back in front within minutes as Tom Handley broke through a crowd of players to the right hand of the six yard box and easily beat Gould for his sixth goal of the season.

It was Handley who had an opportunity at the far post to stretch the Martyrs lead early in the second half but his shot was saved low to his right by Gould. Another Tom Handley effort was blocked with the rebound arriving at the feet of Frazer Thomas who struck his effort wide.

There was nothing complacent about the Martyrs second half performance as they defended the slender lead in a well orchestrated rear guard action. Seeking their third win in the last four outings there were very few opportunities to finish with a flourish as Salisbury sought the equaliser in the closing stages. The visitors did manage to find the back of the net after 75 minutes although substitute Dan Fitchett’s header was ruled out for offside.

With eight added nervous minutes to wait for the final whistle, virtually the last action of the game saw Fuller grab the ball before it crossed the line from another Fitchett header, as the Martyrs inflicted only the second loss of the season on the league leaders.

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