Former Swansea City winger Kerry Morgan is tipping Merthyr Town for Southern League success in the new season.
The Martyrs have strengthened their squad in terms of quality and numbers, underlining their progress with wins against Swansea City under-23 team and Cwmbran Celtic.
Manager Gavin Williams and his team face another tough test on Saturday when they travel to play Cardiff Met FC.
“That’s a tough place to go and Christian Edwards, their manager, will have his team organised,” says Morgan. “Met have played in Europe already. They will be fit and ready.
“But there is a belief in our group that we can push on and be successful. We have 22 players in the squad and everybody is fighting for a place.
“You have to impress or you won’t be in the team. There are two players for every position and we haven’t had that for a while.”
Morgan, Gethyn Hill, Owain Jones and Jarrad Wright scored the goals for Merthyr as they fought back from 3-1 down to snatch victory.
Merthyr had already beaten Swansea City’s under-23 team 2-0, thanks to goals from Lee Lucas and Kieran Lewis, but started slowly against a Cwmbran side intent on taking control early on.
FAW Championship South club Celtic started on the front foot which and goalkeeper Cameron Clarke has to produce a fine double save keep the visitors out.
Merthyr went ahead after Camden Duncan produced a darting run down the left and squared a delicious pass to the feet of Morgan, who fired his sweet strike into the far top right-hand corner.
Former Cheltenham Town scholar Duncan, a teenager who was included in the Robins’ first team squad on several occasions, had a spell on loan at Hellenic League Premier Division club Lydney Town last season.
Cwmbran equalised 11 minutes later through former Afan Lido player Simon Prangley, who curled his free-kick into the far left-hand corner from an acute angle.
A minute later Celtic took the lead and when Chris Ham produced a phenomenal overhead kick just inside the box and powered past the stretching Clarke.
They continued to dominate and netted their third through Louis Feeley after 25 minutes.
Merthyr manager Williams made 10 changes at half-time with Wright the only player to stay on.
Owain Jones was denied by an excellent save from goalkeeper Scott James and the same player fired just wide.
Defender Wright showed great willingness inside the box, beating his man in the air to guide his header into the bottom right-hand corner for Merthyr’s second.
Soon after Jones equalised, showing great composure inside the penalty area before slotting past the advancing goalkeeper.
New signing Hill, a former Cardiff City trainee, netted Merthyr’s winner. Traylor’s amazing run down the left, beating his man before delivering a low driven cross, was calmly tucked into the net.
Hill has scored three times for Merthyr in three pre-season games.
Merthyr Town first half: Clarke, Martin, Jenkins, Patten, Wright, Duncan, Bird, Veale, Prosser, Morgan, Meecham.
Merthyr Town second half: Harris, Davies, Binns, McDonnell, Wright, Lucas, Lewis, Swallow, Jones, Traylor, Hill.
Cwmbran Celtic starting line-up: James, Patel, Trialist, Molyneux, Yeates, McDowell, Ham, Prangley, Osborne, Ross, Feeley.
Gavin Williams’ side start their BetVictor Southern League fixtures with a trip to Harrow Borough on Saturday, August 10 (kick-off 3pm) before hosting Weston-Super-Mare three days later at the MetCoaches Stadium (Tuesday, August 13)
The Martyrs festive fixtures consist of a home game against Yate Town on Boxing Day, before a New Year’s Day meeting with Swindon Supermarine at The Webbswood Stadium.
The final few weeks of the season see Merthyr host Tiverton Town a day after good Friday, travel to Yate Town on Easter Monday before the final game of the 2019-20 campaign takes place at the MetCoaches Stadium against Hendon on Saturday, April 25.
Merthyr Town FC’s full 2019/20 BetVictor Southern League Premier South fixture list:
Sat 10 – Harrow Borough (A)
Tue 13 – Weston-Super-Mare (H)
Sat 17 – Gosport Borough (H)
Sat 24 – Farnborough (A)
Mon 26 – Swindon Supermarine (H)
Sat 31 – Metropolitan Police (A)
Wed 4 – Southern Football League Cup preliminary round
Sat 7 – Emirates FA Cup Qualifying Round 1
Sat 14 – Chesham United (H)
Wed 18 – Tiverton Town (A)
Sat 21- Emirates FA Cup Qualifying round two
Sat 28 – Walton Casuals (A)
Wed 2 – Southern Football League Cup round one
Sat 5 – Wimborne Town (H)
Sat 12 – Blackfield & Langley (H)
Tue 15 – Dorchester Town A
Sat 19 – Beaconsfield Town (A)
Tue 22 – Salisbury (H)
Sat 26 – Buildbase FA Trophy Qualifying round one
Sat 2 – Truro City (A)
Wed 6 – Southern Football League Cup round two
Sat 9 – Taunton Town (H)
Sat 16 – Poole Town (A)
Sat 23 – Hayes & Yeading United (H)
Sat 30 – Hartley Wintney (H)
Wed 4 – Southern Football League Cup Round 3
Sat 7 – Hendon A
Sat 14 – Walton Casuals (H)
Sat 21 – Wimborne Town (A)
Thu 26 – Yate Town (H)
Wed 1 – Swindon Supermarine (A)
Sat 4 – Harrow Borough (H)
Wed 8 – Southern Football League Cup Round 4
Sat 11 – Weston-Super-Mare A
Sat 18 – Farnborough (H)
Sat 25 – Gosport Borough (A)
Sat 1 – Metropolitan Police (H)
Sat 8 – Chesham United (A)
Sat 15 – Dorchester Town (H)
Wed 19 – League Cup Semi-Finals
Sat 22 – Blackfield & Langley (A)
Sat 29 – Beaconsfield Town (H)
Wed 4 – Emirates FA Cup 5
Sat 7 – Salisbury (A)
Sat 14 – Taunton Town (A)
Sat 21 – Truro City (H)
Wed 25 League Cup Final 1st Leg
Sat 28 Hayes & Yeading United A
Wed 1 – League Cup Final 2nd Leg
Sat 4 – Poole Town (H)
Sat 11 – Tiverton Town (H)
Mon 13 – Yate Town (A)
Sat 18 – Hartley Wintney (A)
Sat 25 – Hendon (H)