A goal 3 minutes from time denied Shortwood’s progress to the 1st Round proper of the FA Trophy on Saturday. To be honest a victory for Shortwood would have been harsh on the visitors who controlled the second half and put enormous pressure on the home side and created many chances. For all that, however, their goal was their first real shot on target and even then Tom King got a hand to it but it was hit with such power that he could not keep it out. Traylor was the visitor’s star player and was a constant thorn in the flesh while Ash Thomas marshalled his troops superbly and had an excellent game at the back for the Wood.
John Evans said: “I am gutted to have conceded a goal so late but Merthyr deserved it and quality all over the pitch!”
Shortwood started brightly but right from the start Traylor showed his trickery down the flanks. Shortwood had a golden chance after only 7 minutes when Tustain’s through ball caught the Merthyr defence square and Slack raced through. The striker delayed his shot too long, however, and Harris got back to tackle him. Slack did not make the same mistake 4 minutes later. Haddock put him in and he drove a terrific shot inside the post to give Wood the lead. It almost 2-0 a minute later when Tustain hit a powerful shot that took a slight deflection and Town keeper Cutlan did well to parry it. Merthyr had a good chance to level when Welsh headed a corner goalwards and Harris, sliding in, shot wide. The home defence looked generally comfortable as Merthyr started to gain confidence and play the ball around and it was Parrott who came close before the break when his shot was deflected inches over the bar.
Cutlan dived bravely at the feet of Slack early in the second half but Merthyr started to push Wood further and further back and the pressure grew. Shortwood became more reliant on break aways and set pieces and from a Parrott free kick Cutlan did well to claw the ball off the head of Haddock as he seemed set to head the ball home.
Axton made a great clearance from a Traylor low cross and then Traylor shanked the ball wide from 6 yards. Merthyr made a triple substitution after 65 minutes in an effort to find their way back into the game and one of the substitutes Prosser shot wide from a great position. Still Wood looked dangerous on the break and Langworthy fired an effort wide and Parrott had a shot blocked.
Finally, after 87 minutes, Merthyr broke at speed and when the ball found Prosser 20 yards out he lashed a great rising shot past Tom King to take the tie back to Merthyr on Tuesday evening.
Team: King, Coates, Axton, Pritchett, Thomas, Baldwin, Tustain (Brown 82), Parrott, Slack (Langworthy 59), Cornwall (Cant 70), Haddock