Craig Reddy has joined Merthyr Town’s battle to survive the 2017-18 season.
The Martyrs, a semi-professional Southern League Premier Division club, are facing a financial crisis and players who have stayed with the club are turning out for nothing.
Manager Gavin Williams was without injured players Kyle Patten and Corey Jenkins for their match against Banbury United on Tuesday, while Kerry Morgan was unavailable.
The Banbury fixture was rearranged and Morgan had arranged a trip away this midweek because the Martyrs had been without a fixture.
The arrival of central midfield player Reddy, who has played for Barry Town, Ton Pentre, Merthyr Saints, Treharris Athletic and Troedyrhiw, has added experience to the Merthyr squad.
Merthyr’s players are giving everything for the cause, but they were edged out 3-1 by Banbury United at the Loadlok Community Stadium.
“The injuries sustained at the weekend were a big blow to us, but we performed well at Tiverton with a similar squad and did not get the result we deserved,” said Williams. “The match against Banbury was tough home fans are getting behind the lads. We all need to stick together and work through this.”
Banbury earned their first win at Merthyr’s home stadium for 34 years, but the Martyrs played with a passion which kept them in contention.
The visitors started well and there was an early half chance for Ricky Johnson in the eighth minute as he headed a Charlie Hawtin cross from the left wide from 12 yards.
The goal United were threatening came after 23 minutes when Johnson put Conor McDonagh through down the right and his fierce shot from a narrow angle on the edge of the six yard box flew past goalkeeper Cameron Clarke into the net.
Four minutes it was 2-0 when a corner from the left was headed home by Luke Carnell from six yards.
Merthyr clawed their way back into the game after half-time and substitute Ryan Prosser pulled a goal back after 82 minutes.
The Martyrs had the ball in the net again 60 seconds later, but their joy turned to frustration when an assistant referee flagged for offside.
Merthyr sensed they could take some reward from the game, but they pushed forward were caught on the break with Leam Howards broke down the left and he knocked the ball over the advancing goalkeeper Clarke to make it 3-1.
Merthyr almost had the last word when in the second minute of stoppage time a Prosser header from close range hit a post.
Merthyr Town: Cameron Clarke, Adam Davies, Scott Tancock, Ashley Evans, Liam Martin, Jarrad Wright, Miles John, Marcus Hogbakken, Jacob Flower, Jaye Bowen, Ian Traylor. Subs: Matthew Harris, Craig Reddy, Ellis Holland, Jamie Jones, Ryan Prosser.
Banbury United: Jack Harding, Charlie Hawtin, Jordy Ngathe, George Nash, Luke Carnell, Tom Bradbury, Sam Humphreys, Jack Finch, Ricky Johnson, Conor McDonagh, Tom Winters. Subs: Matt Peake-Pijnen, Leam Howards, Elliot Sandy, Jamie Heapy, Charlie Wise.
Merthyr Town fixtures in December:
Saturday 9 v St Neots Town (away); Saturday 16 v Kings Langley (away); Tuesday 19 v Basingstoke Town (home);
Saturday 23 v King’s Lynn Town (home); Tuesday 26 v Hereford (hom3, 1pm kick-off).
Admission: Adult £10; Concessions £8 (Over 65’s, Cardiff City, Swansea City, Newport County season ticket holders); Merthyr RFC season ticket holders £5; Under 16 £1.