MacWhirter Welsh League Division One
Monmouth Town 3 (Nicky Harrhy 2, Elliot Ford)
Cwmbran Celtic 0
TWO goals from Nick Harrhy secured maximum points for Monmouth Town, who climbed second place in the table over the weekend.
Despite the scoreline however, Celtic were far from pushovers and indeed dominated large chunks of the first half with the hosts looked subdued in attack. MacDonald did draw a sharp save from Church in the Cwmbran goal but at the other it was Blackburn who had to be at his commanding best, dealing with a succession of corners and free kicks in dangerous positions. Celtic sit nervously above the bottom three, albeit with three games in hand and were left to rue a toothless display in front of goal. Monmouth’s attack during the first-half, on the other hand, seemed have put their teeth in a glass next to the bed for the second successive week.
Two minutes after the break Harrhy’s breakthrough changed the complexion of the game. Town pieced together a move which pulled the visiting defence apart and Harrhy took his time before calmly picking his spot from close range. It was inevitable that the game would open up. And it did to a degree but both teams still found chances at a premium, as the aerial aspects of the game dominated. Cwmbran crashed a free-kick against the crossbar and a few headers flew high wide or both. Elliot Ford ballooned one over the bar when well-placed but there were signs that any decent passing from Monmouth would bring further rewards. The introduction of the effervescent Dean Lee proved to be the trigger, as his injection of pace and energy into the Monmouth front-line unsettled the tiring Celtic rearguard. Ford was moved to the left to allow him to drive inside and within minutes, former Cinderford starlet Lee’s superb reverse pass set up Ford who waltzed in on goal before sliding the ball to Harrhy his took his tally for the season to 12. With Hyde replacing Palmer, Monmouth continued to outpace their opponents. Hyde was all vim and vigour putting some exceptional crosses in his 20 minute appearance, although he should have done better with a volley from another superb piece of work by Lee. Celtic’s introduction of the burly Williamson livened proceedings a little but Guy and Evans were more than equal to the challenge. Ford got on the end of another good move to wrap things up with just four minutes remaining, though there still time for a red card for violent play as the Celt’s centre-half let his frustration get the better of him by kicking out at Town’s Polish debutant Safian Skupinski.