After a few weeks away due to the weather St Athan returned to action, this time in the historic ASRS Cup, to host Island Marine at the newly-named Paul Lewis Memorial Ground.
A competition the club haven’t won since 1977, Saints progressed to the semi-finals after a hard-fought game with Josh Morgan notching all four to add to an excellent overall man of the match display from the 18 year old.
Saints saw a couple of changes from their last outing with Jordan Mortimore and Richie Humphreys missing through work commitments and Leigh Lewis suspended.
In came Nicky Cox and Jonathan Ashton into the back four with Aaron Rogers up top and Gareth Richards between the sticks. Deon Garrison was named captain for the game.
Island Marine started the better side and looked to carve early openings, Saints only early effort was from Karl Steel, whose low drive was inches wide.
The away side continued to cause problems and soon reaped their rewards as a ball through the middle was missed by the home defence allowing Marine to steal in to open the scoring to much jubilation.
St Athan were working hard all over the park but their efforts weren’t converting into chances. Marine meanwhile were causing problems down the left and should have doubled their lead off a fine low cross but nobody could get on the end of.
St Athan started to make inroads into the away defence and finally saw the benefits; Brad Young lifted a superb ball over the Marine defence for Josh Morgan to race away and finish exquisitely with a chip into the top corner.
Saints soon had the lead as Nicky Cox was caught by a high boot in the area and a spot kick awarded. Josh Morgan dually dispatched the penalty with aplomb.
Saints were rolling now and playing some good football as their confidence started to drain back into them and a third wasn’t far away.
Steel picked the ball up on the left and produced a pass of such magnitude words cannot do it justice, the pass picked out Josh Morgan who let the ball run across him before firing right footed across the keeper into the net for his hat trick, tremendous finishing by the youngster.
The temperature may have been sub zero but the game really started to hear up as the tackles began to fly in. The game threatened to spill over after a late tackle by the Marine forward and a minor tussle followed which saw a Marine player receive a red card.
The second half saw the tempo drop right off until Marine pulled a goal back after some sloppy home defending, and this sparked Marine into life and they went close with two more efforts.
Saints looked to play on the counter-attack and one such attack soon paid off and put the tie to bed. Phil Morgan picked up the ball on the halfway line and proceeded to beat three players with skill and ease; he then played in his younger brother, Josh, who buried his fourth of the game and Saints were now through.
Saints advance to the semi-finals next month to play the winners of Barry Athletic and Vale United; the other semi-final is Cowbridge vs Rhoose.
In the meantime, this week sees Saints host Alliance League side Cardiff Airport in the last 16 of the SWFA Intermediate Cup.
St Athan: Richards, Cox, Young, Ashton, Garrison, Laing, Lewis, Austin, Steel, Rogers, J.Morgan. Subs. P.Morgan, Ball, Pugh.
We’d like to thank our sponsors Owens Motor Services, Llandow for their tremendous support of the club. Also many thanks to Diving & Marine Engineering, Llantwit Valet & Car Wash and Kinsale Stone Co (Wales) Ltd.