Former Wales under-21 striker Owain Jones left EvoStik Southern League leaders Taunton Town reeling at the MetCoaches Stadium.
Swansea-born Jones, 22, scored twice after replacing injured Craig McDonnell with Ian Traylor completing the Martyrs’ tally from a penalty.
Former Swans, Yeovil and Nuneaton forward Jones is playing for Merthyr on loan and gunned down Taunton with his attacking quality in front of more than 500 spectators.
Merthyr won 3-1 and moved back into the play-off places and Taunton head of football Rob Dray admitted: “We were second best all over the park, a long way from our best.
“Merthyr celebrated like they had won the league at the final whistle. We are a scalp now and have to get used to that. Mental toughness and resilience will play a key part over the rest of this season.”
Merthyr were magnificent and Taunton simply could not cope with their attacking prowess. The home team were 3-0 ahead before Ed Palmer netted a consolation goal for the visitors.
The only setback for the Martyrs came when central defender Craig McDonnell dislocated his left shoulder after colliding with a defender just before the half hour.
He was dispatched to Prince Charles Hospital, doubtless remembering how the same fate fell to his right shoulder last season when McDonnell was with Taffs Well.
The injury took the number of players in their treatment room to seven and five of those are defenders.
The loss of McDonnell put pressure on other Merthyr players and Traylor was one of those, having to drop back and cover in defence along with dashing forward in wide areas to set up attacks.
Ryan Prosser and Traylor set up Tom Meechan and his cross-shot was desperately close to going in.
Merthyr went ahead on 33 minutes. Meechan set off on a late run and arrived in the penalty area onto a Traylor pass.
There didn’t appear to be any danger, but goalkeeper Mike Davies brought him down. Traylor drove in a perfect spot-kick to the left of Davies.
In an absorbing battle, play moved quickly, but Taunton were shocked by another goal just before half-time. It came after a free-kick and Prosser helped the ball on for Jones to tuck away the chance at the far post.
Start the year as we mean to go on! What a group of boys we’ve got @MerthyrTownFC ⚽️⚽️❤️
— Owain Jones (@owainjones39) January 1, 2019
Merthyr started the second period confidently. Jones sent a swerving drive wide, while hard-running Prosser had a shot blocked.
Conor Young did well at the back for Merthyr and Kyle Patten was solid.
Taunton hopes appeared over on 61 minutes when a run from Traylor down the right led to him to finding Jones in the penalty area. Jones finished in style, an outstanding goal appreciated by the fans.
Craig Reddy replaced Kerry Morgan, who had earlier received treatment after an off-the-ball collision with an opponent.
Cavan Williams took over from Meechan and the young player showed an impressive turn of speed.
Taunton snatched a goal after 81 minutes from a free-kick taken by defender Palmer
The visitors then forced three successive corners before Prosser went close at the other end from a Williams pass.
The next match for Merthyr is at home against promotion-chasing Salisbury FC, who have former Portsmouth, Bimingham and Leicester striker Steve Claridge in charge of their team.
Merthyr’s match against Taunton attracted a number of former Martyrs including Paul Keddle, Kevin Rogers, Colin Loss, Peter Jones, Carl Lewis and Andy Beattie.
Special treat for this one today at his dad s old stomping ground! Loved every minute! #martyrs #merthyrtownfc #footballmad #grassroots #bornsupporter #futuremartyr @MerthyrTownFC pic.twitter.com/vkUlWOFF33
— Lowri Keddle (@jlowh) January 1, 2019
Merthyr Town: Lewis Webb, Kieran Lewis, Craig McDonnell (Owain Jones 30), Kyle Patten Connor Young, Kerry Morgan (Craig Reddy), Ashley Evans, Lee Lucas, Tom Meechan (Cavan Williams), Ryan Prosser, Ian Traylor. Subs not used: Gavin Williams, Reuben
Taunton Town: Mike Davies, Shane White, Lewis Hall (Craig Veal 58), Ben Adelsbury (Josh Nelmes 58), Ed Palmer, Matt Buse, Ollie Chamberlain, Dan Sullivan, Matt Wright (capt), Keith Emerson, Rockey Neal. Subs not used:, Chandler Hallett, Pierce Mitchell. Ryan Brett.
Merthyr Town fixtures
EvoStik Southern League (all 3pm)
Saturday 5 v Salisbury (home)
Saturday 12 v Wimborne Town (away)
Saturday 19 v Basingstoke Town (home)
Saturday 26 v Tiverton Town (away)
Saturday 2 v Dorchester Town (home)
PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH LEAGUE TABLE