Merthyr Town 4, Cinderford Town 5
After extra time
The Martyrs were left shellshocked when they crashed out of the Buildbase FA Trophy after leading 3-0 and 4-3 at the MetCoaches Stadium.
Captain Ashley Evans was sent off during the second half of extra time for a second bookable offence when the teams were locked on 4-4.
Former Evesham, Kidlington, Shortwood United and Slimbridge winger Marley Thomas struck Cinderford’s winner three minutes left.
Cinderford now face Isthmian League Premier Division Potters Bar Town on Saturday with £3,000 in prize money for the winners and £1,000 for the losers.
Merthyr, meanwhile, have a BetVictor Southern League home fixture against Taunton Town (3pm).
— Cinderford Town AFC (@Cinderford_Town) November 6, 2019
It was a stunning recovery by Forest of Dean club Cinderford after Ian Traylor (penalty, 5), Gethyn Hill (16) and Eliot Richards (40) had put the Martyrs completely in control.
The goal by Richards followed an outstanding Merthyr move when Hill outmuscled a defender before squaring a delicious ball to Richards who fired into the bottom corner.
Traylor had the chance to score from a second penalty with 10 minutes gone, but his shot was saved by Devon-born goalkeeper Andy Hannah, who made a storming save to his right.
Sam Turl pulled one back just before half-time and Josh Hunt added Cinderford’s second with 56 minutes gone. Andy Lewis made it 3-3 just after the hour mark.
Merthyr regained the advantage on 80 minutes when substitute Corey Jenkins collected a loose ball inside the penalty area and showed great composure to slide his effort underneath advancing goalie Hannah, a former Plymouth Argyle player.
James Harding made it 4-4 two minutes later and there was a decisive moment when Evans was dismissed.
There are strong connections between Wales and Cinderford.
Warm Ups ✅
Kick off imminent …… ⏱ pic.twitter.com/wQufYg0kB9
— The Martyrs (@MerthyrTownFC) November 5, 2019
Paul Michel, a former player-manager of home town club Risca United and Haverfordwest County, is now in charge of Cinderford Town. Michell is head of physical education at Abersychan Comprehensive School, Pontypool.
His squad includes a number of players with Welsh links including midfield ball-winner Ben Watkins, who has played for the Martyrs and Cardiff City youth.
Liam Angel (ex-Wales under-19, Cardiff City and Newport County), Logan Bowkett (Newport and Barry Town United) and assistant manager Andrew Smith (Welsh Schools, Newport, Monmouth Town) also have Welsh connections.
Merthyr have four players who used to be with Cinderford – goalkeepers Alex Harris and Cameron Clarke, Gethyn Hill and Lewis Binns.
Merthyr Town: Alex Harris, Adam Davies, Kieran Lewis, Ashley Evans (capt), Jarrad Wright, Kyle Patten, Owain Jones (Corey Jenkins 62), Lee Lucas, Gethyn Hill (Gavin Williams 109), Eliot Richards (Camden Duncan 98), Ian Traylor (Ryan Prosser 62). Subs not used: Cameron Clark (gk), Gavin Williams.
Cinderford Town: Hannah, Norman, Turl, Lewis, Rhodes, Angel, Watkins, Sheehan, Moore, Welch, Hunt. Subs: Turley, Thomas, Harding, Dibble, Waugh
Merthyr Town FC have secured a new sponsorship deal with Europlas UK, who are new kit sponsors for 2020-21 season for the home and away strip.
Europlas have also sponsored this season’s new Boxing Day kit for the Martyrs BetVictor Southern League Premier South game against Yate Town at The Met Coaches Stadium.