Merthyr made it 6 points out of 9 in the last 3 away games and the 1-0 scoreline to the Martyrs was not a true reflection of the game. In fact, Shane Gore, the home keeper was named as Man of the Match which says it all.
After Saturday’s defeat at Weymouth, manager Steve Jenkins rang the changes with Bloom, Reffell, Prosser and Traylor all returning to the starting line up. Davies moved to right back to accommodate Bloom and Merthyr played with McLaggon and Prosser upfront with Reffell in the hole. The bench consisted of Tancock, Clarke, Chappelle, Jenkins and Keiran Davies.
Chesham kicked off and for the first 10 minutes or so they were in the ascendancy with Pearce shooting wide of Garner’s goal within the first 2 minutes. Then after a long ball into the Merthyr half, Bloom did well to get it behind for a corner. Smith took the corner high into the area which Wright headed clear but it was picked up by Blake who sent the ball across goal to Pearce who stepped inside and his shot came back of the Merthyr bar and away to safety.
Merthyr began to assert their authority and after a long kick from Garner, Reffell was kicked in the head which lead to a free kick taken by Traylor which was sent high into the area but Gore made a good, safe catch. Traylor then latched onto a ball in the Chesham half and put it through to Reffell who sent it across the area but Fenton got a foot in to get it behind for a corner which was punched clear by Gore under pressure from Brown. After more attacks from Merthyr which were either defended or saved by Gore, Chesham were defending every way they could and Evans was fouled after the ball had gone. Traylor took the kick which bounced around in the Chesham box and Baggridge got his foot to it and it seemed to come off Hamilton-Forbes but referee Mr Aylott waved play on.
Chesham were now rarely getting into the Merthyr half and when they did Blake was their fulcrum and Hayles was heading on the odd long throw but Gore and his defenders were largely keeping the Merthyr attack at bay although McLaggon did get a volley in which went just wide of the Chesham post after being set up by Brown. Reffell then found Traylor on the touchline and he did really well to beat his man and got it across the box into Brown whose shot was saved by Gore, although even he didn’t know he managed to do that. A few minutes later, Bloom took the throw which was headed down by Reffell to Traylor who hit a cracking volley just wide of Gore’s right hand post. Then Bloom did really well to get to an overhit pass near the goal line and earned a corner which Traylor took and his kick was punched away by Gore, under no pressure and away to safety. Prosser then sent a great ball forward to the Chesham area which Reffell got to but Gore made an excellent save at Reffell’s feet. Gore than did well to keep out a near post cross from Traylor under pressure from Prosser. Ujah then fouled Reffell when he was getting into the area which earned him a yellow but Traylor’s kick came to nothing. Towards the end of the half, Chesham did make a couple of breaks with right back, Smith to the fore but his efforts were fruitless and Mr Aylott brought the half to an end with Merthyr well on top but had to settle with a 0-0 scoreline.
Merthyr kicked off the second half and it was Blake who got the first effort on goal which want into the side netting. Bloom then did well to intercept a cross which he sent high over Garners’s bar and away for a corner which came into the Merthyr area and was headed towards goal but Garner made a safe catch. Merthyr then resumed their attacking play and after Traylor was fouled inside the Chesham half, his kick found Brown but his attempted through ball ran straight through to Gore. After further Merthyr attacks which were well defended Traylor was fouled by Blake near the touchline who was booked for his pains but the resulting free kick was cleared. Gore again did well to claw away yet another Merthyr free kick under pressure from McLaggon. Traylor, who was a constant thorn in Chesham’s side sent the ball right to Reffell who crossed towards the edge of the area and Davies, who had done everything else but score this season sent in a shot which went just wide of Gore’s left hand post. Traylor then sent over another cross which Prosser volleyed high over Gore’s bar from 10 yards. Mclaggon who had worked hard upfront was replaced Jenkins.
Jenkins got immediately into the action when he ran down the left towards the byline and his cross was cleared but only as far as Reffell whose shot was charged down. However both Reffell and Jenkins didn’t have to long to wait before being involved in what proved to be the winning goal. With about a quarter of an hour left, Jenkins again broke into the Chesham half and sprinted down the left and sent a low ball into the middle of the park which was met by Reffell and from about 16 yards out he sent in a superb low shot which beat Gore all ends up and Merthyr were deservedly a goal to the good.
Traylor then picked up a loose ball in the Chesham area after a good bit of play from the Martyrs but his shot was charged down in a challenge which left Traylor lying on the ground in the Chesham area and the ball broke to Jenkins and he got to the right hand edge of the area and got the ball across and Traylor who was still on the ground managed to get his foot to it and straight into the arms of Gore. After receiving treatment, Traylor was fit to continue.
Merthyr continued in the ascendancy with Jenkins & Traylor causing Chesham problems on the flanks but they couldn’t increase their lead and Merthyr easily saw out the game and came away with a well deserved 1-0 win.
It was a very entertaining game which Merthyr thoroughly deserved to win and the margin of victory could have been more and it was fitting that the Martyrs were on the attack when the final whistle was blown. The whole team played well and were full of energy, endeavour and no little skill.