Daniel MacDonald top dog for Monmouth

First published in Gwent Football

PROLIFIC scorer Daniel MacDonald returned to the top of the league’s goals charts with four in Monmouth Town’s 5-2 win at Margam-based Tata Steel.

However, that was the only bright spot for the region’s Division One sides as both Caerleon and Cwmbran Celtic slipped to away defeats.

In Division Two, Goytre won for the seventh straight game since the season’s start, while in the lower tier Llanwern remain top despite losing 1-0 at Treowen Stars.

Although he spent a three-month-long loan spell with Welsh Premier League outfit Carmarthen Town, MacDonald still finished as the league’s top scorer in 2011-2012 with 37 goals.

His quartet in the Kingfishers’ triumph takes his season’s tally to 10 and he is one ahead of Goytre’s Luke Prosser, who missed a penalty in firing a blank in his side’s 3-0 home win over Caldicot Town.

Monmouth moved up a couple of places to ninth and remain the county’s highest-placed club ahead of Caerleon (12) and Celtic (14) in the 16-strong section.

It wasn’t all plan sailing, however, for Monmouth, who had Max Fessey injured in one bone-crushing tackle during an often feisty encounter.

Caerleon were on the road at Swansea-based West End, but travelled home with nothing to show for it in a 2-0 defeat.

It was their second successive defeat following a recent 3-1 home loss to Aberdare, who made it a quick-fire double over Gwent clubs by hammering visiting Celtic 5-1.

It was Celtic’s fourth consecutive league loss, although it was the first time for them to have conceded more than two goals in any one game.

Assistant manager Rhys Redman offered no excuse for Celtic’s demise, and remarked: “It was a bad day at the office and we must re-group quickly.” Chris Ham netted for Celtic.

I travelled to Plough Road to see if Caldicot Town could become the first side to take a point off table-topping Goytre.

However, despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession before the break, manager Nathan Cadette’s men trailed 2-0 at that stage with Kyle Bassett getting them both – and it could have been worse had Prosser not blazed a penalty over the crossbar.

After the interval visiting striker Zaki Misbah missed a fairly easy chance to gain his side a foothold in the game and Caldicot were made to pay as substitute Graham Mason completed a 3-0 home success.

On one hand, it must be pointed out that Goytre could well have ended up with eight or nine goals on a better day because in the latter part of the second period they wasted some marvellous opportunities to have put the issue even further beyond doubt.

On the other hand that kind of scenario would have been extremely harsh on Caldicot, who played some neat and attractive football, especially before the interval, and indeed could well have scored twice themselves.

With 23 games still remaining, neither Goytre player-manager Carl Evans nor anyone else involved with the club is getting too carried away.

However, at the moment everything is going their way, and given that Saturday’s host Cwmaman Institute have conceded 31 goals in losing all seven of their matches, including 8-0 at Briton Ferry Llansawel at the weekend, it looks likely they won’t have to wait too long before their next victory.

Although they have played more games than all other teams, Aberbargoed Buds are now third following an emphatic 6-0 home win over struggling Cardiff Corinthians.

On the mark for player-boss Alyn Jones’ men were Dafydd Brewer (2), Ross Fowler, who alongside Leon Young has returned from Ton Pentre, Ross Mazurczak, Tony Rees and Matthew Jones.

Newport YMCA are fourth thanks to a 2-0 away success at Ammanford, where Olly Beckett and substitute Nick Potts scored, while Croesyceiliog were held to a 3-3 draw by visiting Garden Village – Jamie Arnold, Luke Fernquest and Zac Osbourne netting for the 13th-placed Woodland Road side.

Undy Athletic climbed three places to fifth as a result of a hard-fought 2-1 home triumph over Caerau, striker Gareth Cullimore’s goal double taking his season’s league tally to seven.

In Division Three, fast-improving Treowen are now fourth thanks to that 1-0 home success over still-top Llanwern, Jonny Dunn scoring but later picking up an ankle strain which will sidelined him for a number of weeks.

Third-placed Risca were held 1-1 at home by a good Pontypridd Town side at Ty-Isaf Park, where Rob Aldridge scored his fourth league goal for the campaign, but there was no luck for eighth-placed Newport Civil Service at Llantwit Major.

NCS were level at 2-2 thanks to goals via Darren Woodock and Phil Tranter, who had what looked like a legitimate effort ruled out in injury time – before the home side snatched a 3-2 victory with the game’s very last kick.

Chepstow are up to seventh after goals from Jason Thorn (penalty) and Richard Lloyd earned them a 2-1 win at Treharris Athletic Western, while Abertillery Bluebirds lost 5-1 at Bridgend Street.

There are no mid-week games involving Gwent clubs.

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