The Bluebirds’ starting eleven which had outclassed a top-three team a fortnight ago could never get going with any real head of steam and lost to a quick, direct and dangerous visiting side. It was the visitors who got off to the brisker start and, after Conah McFenton had scrambled to keep out Tyler Brock’s 6-yard shot in the 3rd minute, the Reds went ahead from the resultant corner, with IAN HILLIER driving in an emphatic header. From the start the Ferry looked a good side. Every ball reaching one of their back four came straight back out with a first time thump, and they attacked dangerously, racing forward at speed. After that 4th-minute jolt the Bluebirds got back into the game certainly, but they never came near to recapturing the flair and excitement of the game against Goytre. There was industry certainly but the touch and the final ball were often lacking. On the wings Danny and Steffan Williams chipped at the defence, keenly and often well, but their finishing, apart from one fine goal from Danny, lacked its edge. Kristian Speake often crafted some clever passes through the defence. Apart from that most of the side had one of their poorer games. The Blues did though get a deserved equaliser in the 18th minute, when a centre circle free kick from Mathew Broome was met with a fine and well-directed header from SEAN PEMBERTON. They could certainly have taken the lead eight minutes later when a fine long ball from Alaric Jones sent Danny Williams through in a one-on-one, but he delayed the shot and had to pass back to Steff Williams whose close-range shot was a foot or so over the bar. The Reds were still threatening, from corners in particular, and Broome had to race back once to pull off a fine saving tackle. The goal which put the Reds ahead in the 55th minute was a classic breakaway finish, a moment’s defensive uncertainty and the quick pounce, this time from BROCK. As the Blues fought back Dan Williams was set up with a golden chance, just six yards out, but he blazed the ball over. Alaric Jones and Ferry right back Sam Baker both went rather wildly for the ball and stretched each other out, causing a 3-minute stoppage but mercifully no bad injury. Referee Ryan Kenny ruled that Jones should be yellow-carded for being slightly late in the tackle and it seemed for a short while as if the game could get heated. But Kenny, who had a very good game, kept matters under control and the only red card came when Brock, already on a yellow and making his full debut, took it into his head to block a free kick from Broome at 2 yards’ range. The re-taken free kick had keeper Luke Probert stretching, before the Blues equalized again in the 69th minute, when an angled chip over the defence from Ricky Watts reached DAN WILLIAMS who floated a lovely lobbed volley into the far corner. That really seemed to have set the Blues up for a late surge for the winner but they were knocked right back with a third Ferry goal in the 73rd minute when MATTY HUGHES reacted to another hesitation to pounce for a winner. The visitors held on well to their lead and although keeper Probert caused a lot of niggle amongst the Blues fans with the leisurely quality of his goal kicks, he seemed to thrive on the drama and did in fact pull off several fine saves in the later stages. The Blues for their part were never able to get behind the defence with the frequency with which they had against Goytre and had to rely too much on pumping balls into the box from deep positions.
Two small stats: I am told that this was the Blues’ first home defeat in the league since October 2016. And when the side last won promotion, their one defeat in a strong late run was also to Briton Ferry Llansawel.
Next Saturday, the Bluebirds travel to play Cambrian & Clydach, before they return to the Conygar Bridge Meadow on Saturday 17th February to play Penybont.
County: Conah McFenton; Matthew Broome, Alaric Jones (Joe Leahy, 60), Sean Pemberton, Tim Hicks, Ricky Watts, Declan Carroll, Greg Walters (Nicky Palmer, 78), Kristian Speake, Dan Williams, Steffan Williams (Leon Luby, 85). Sub not used: Nick Jones (g/k)