Hartley Wintney and Merthyr Town played out a score draw in a very scrappy match at the Memorial Ground in Hartley. However the South Wales side will feel that they should have gone home with maximum points having dominated for a huge portion of the match.
In a tepid first half the Martyrs had the bulk of the play and produced what little quality that was on show. The visitors took the lead on 10 minutes when a free kick on the left from Kerry Morgan found its way through a few deflections to Tom Meechan who scored at the back post. The visitors continued to dominate until half time.
In the second period the Row continued to struggle as the visitors kept up the pressure. Play was of poor quality with many misplaced passes and poor control.
On 55 minutes the Martyrs should have increased their lead when good play by Meechan gave Evans an open goal. However the visitors skipper shot over an empty net. The Martyrs missed a few more gilt edged chances before the Row staged a slow recovery of sorts. Jacques Kpohomouth headed a Josh Webb corner narrowly over and substitute Mikey Campbell had an effort which went wide. Having been the better of two poor sides on the day the Martyrs were made to pay the penalty as on 90 minutes the Row equalised. A good flick from Mikey Campbell set Nic Ciardini free in the box before he was upended by a Martyrs defender. Ty Smith kept his nerve and blasted the ball into the net.
Dan Turkington said afterwards: “I describe the match as terrible, terrible and terrible. We were terrible but we knew somehow we would get a chance at some stage and sure enough it came along. Mikey Campbell and Nic Ciardini combined well for the penalty and Ty kept his nerve well.” He went on to say: “We were pleased to retrieve the point from a poor performance as we were lack lustre and seemed intent on trying to beat ourselves.”
The entertainment value for this match was given as 1 out of 5; one of the poorest games at Green Lane for many a day. However in a ‘sublime to the ridiculous’ situation this was in complete contrast to the previous week’s match at Staines Town which had a rating of 5 out of 5. A thrilling match with much action saw the Row completely dominate in the first half and should have been further ahead other than a headed goal from Liam Eagle and a free by kick from Nic Ciardini.
The Swans came out for the second half and quickly got on top. Their pressure was rewarded with three goals to enable them to edge in front 3 to 2. However Hartley showed great spirit and in the last ten minutes scored three times themselves. The goals came from a volley by Josh Webb, a penalty kick from Tyron Smith and a fine effort from Ross Cook. Full time score: Staines Town 3 Hartley Wintney 5.