- Risca United v Monmouth Town - Match Report

Monmouth Town 3-1 Risca United

Two goals from Craig Lewis including a spectacular strike from twenty yards out saw Monmouth Town record a vital 3-1 victory at relegation rivals Risca United.

The visitors knew a win at Ystrad Mynach would be key for their survival chances, and came into the clash five points ahead of the hosts having played two more games.

The Kingfishers had managed to end their poor run off form the week before after controversially beating Gwent rivals Caldicot Town. The Cuckoos had also suffered poor form going into the game having only won one game in their last ten.

On an artificial pitch, and facing chilly conditions the highly anticipated encounter got underway.

The Cuckoo’s started the game the brighter of the two sides and dominated possession early on, playing out from the back well and causing Monmouth several problems with their midfield combinations and rotations.

The first chance of the game went to the home side when Risca’s defender played a pass into his teammate who then played a through ball in behind the Town’s defence. The Cuckoos winger ran at Luke Cleaves, cut in on his right foot and his shot went just over the woodwork.

The Cuckoos had another good chance minutes later when Mitchell Palmer lost the ball and Risca’s winger ran down the line and whipped a ball into the box which Dan Spence cleared out to the edge of the box. Unfortunately the ball found a Risca man who took a touch and shot. Again, his shot went just wide of the post.

The Kingfisher’s managed to adapt to Risca’s possession styled football and prevented them from playing out from the back as much.

The Kingfisher’s first chance of the game came when Brad Flay floated a corner into the box which found Luke Cleaves at the front post who headed just over the bar.

Risca went straight up the other end and nearly took the lead themselves when their player whipped a corner in which found his centre back at the back post who headed just wide of the post.

Despite the Kingfisher’s adapting to Risca’s game plan the home side still dominated possession and frustrated Monmouth with their passing styled play.

The Cuckoos should of took the lead after half an hour when Dan Spence lost the ball just inside his teams half and Risca’s midfielder played the ball out to his winger who beat his man and ran down the by line before squaring it to his teammate on the penalty spot. He shot first time; luckily, Mitchell Palmer was there to heroically block it off the line.

Against the run of play the Kingfisher’s broke the deadlock when Brad Flay floated a corner into the box which found Dan Spence who headed down and Craig Lewis was there to tap it in.

With half time approaching the Kingfisher’s doubled their lead when a long ball up the pitch was flicked on by Sam Palmer and Craig Lewis ran on to it and hit the ball on the volley twenty five yards out. His volley flew into the top corner.

Within a minute of the second half Risca got a goal back when they caught the Kingfisher’s back four asleep and their winger passed the ball across to his teammate on the edge of the box who calmly placed his shot into the bottom corner.

The Kingfisher’s reacted well and started to press Risca high up the pitch and prevented them from playing out from the back and forced them to play long.

The Kingfishers pressing paid off on the hour mark when Craig Lewis forced the Cuckoos keeper into passing the ball out to his teammate. Kazeem Kareem intercepted and went one on one with Risca’s keeper and calmly slotted it into the top corner.

Risca continued to attack at Monmouth with great intensity in the latter stages of the game and were desperately throwing everything they had at the Kingfisher’s defence.

With Risca attacking at Monmouth they were vulnerable on the counter attack and Craig Lewis had a great chance to score his hat-trick when Ash Ford played a ball over the Cuckoos defence, which Lewis ran on to,  went one on one with the keeper but Lewis’ shot went way over the bar.

Manager Ross Kennedy described the win as “adequate” and “pleasing.” He said “I thought the first half we were shocking and were lucky to be ahead.  I thought we played much better in the second half and looked much more solid at the back and deserved our win.” Kennedy added “Overall, I’m pleased with the result. Risca are a good passing team and I feel we dealt with their possession styled football well.”

The Kingfisher’s are home next Saturday to local rivals Goytre in another huge game as they look to survive the drop.