Division 2: Herbrandston 1-1 St Ishmaels

It wasn’t a classic ‘village derby’ this afternoon, the howling wind saw to that, but it was at least hard fought as a late goal from Adam Kingsbeer earnt St Ishmaels a point and denied Herbrandston a third straight league win.

A Mark Jones free kick looked like it would be enough for the hosts when with just two minutes of normal time remaining, Kingsbeer judged his lob to perfection to leave Herbie keeper Mike Doutch stranded as the ball dropped into the net.

Both sides kicked off with different aspirations. Tish are hanging in the promotion race and went into today in third place, with games in hand on the top two. With leaders Bridge 2nds and Hakin 2nds not playing today, here was a chance to go second and be just two points off The Wizards.

Herbie meanwhile, have been rejuvenated of late with the return of several former players. Following relegation last season, they seemed destined to drop again this time around before back to back wins this month lifted them off the bottom and to within sight of survival.

Jones makes a mark on the first 45:

Indeed, one of those to answer the crisis call, midfielder Jones, ensured they were ahead at half time.

For much of the first 45 minutes the ball swirled around as both sides understandably struggled to get to grips with the strong wind that was at Herbie’s backs.

It was therefore fitting that the opening goal came from when the ball was dead still. Ashton Plunkett was brought down by Brennan Devonald 20 yards out, and from the free kick Jones drilled a hard and low left foot shot through the wall and past the unsighted Andrew Pawlett.

Either side of that moment chances had been few and far between. Tish had tried to play football against the elements but with little to show for it. Joel Morgan had an angled shot parried away at his near post by Doutch and Kingsbeer whipped an effort just wide from the edge of the area.

For their part a lot of Herbie’s balls forward inevitably sailed into Pawlett’s hands or over the dead ball line, but just before half time they were inches away from a second.

Marc Gelona’s free kick from the right wing was met by Plunkett – who swiveled brilliantly with his back to goal only for his looping header to come back off the bar.

Herbie hang on:

With the wind now behind them you expected Tish to up the ante second half and they did create some early pressure as Kieran Rendell’s snap-shot was tipped around the post by Doutch.

Numerous scrambles in the box followed but to the credit of the Herbie defence they were resolute and were prepared to throw themselves around – but then came two moments at the other end which would ultimately prove pivotal.

Firstly Plunkett failed to convert Marc Boswell’s cross from point blank range before Dave Webb went through on goal only to see his shot cannon back off the post.

Kinsgbeer does the business at the death:

And yet, despite another flurry of Tish pressure which saw Doutch again do well to deny Lawrie, Rendell head over, and a sliding Devonald narrowly fail to meet a Ieuan Hawkins cross, it seemed Herbie were going to take three points.

However, with the clock ticking Kingsbeer latched onto a bouncing ball outside the area and given the conditions he did brilliantly to loft a shot over Doutch before seeing it dip into the net.

Both sides then frantically tried to push forward but injury time was marred by a red card to Herbie skipper Adrian Rees after he slid in rashly on Lawrie. It was more over eagerness than aggression and was a moment out of context with the game itself, but with studs showing referee Tom Bevan didn’t hesitate.

Honours even:

In the end, it was a point closer to the top two for Tish, and with Lawrenny losing today a point closer to survival for Herbie. For differing reasons, both will be disappointed it wasn’t three but in truth, a draw was fair.

With Hundleton also looking strong and Kilgetty still with numerous games in hand on everyone, Tish know they’ll have to fight to go up and there will be twists and turns aplenty between now and May.

As for Herbie, if they keep their new/old look squad together, they’ll be fine.

Herbrandston: Mike Doutch, Adrian Rees, Leigh Marchant, Celyn Owens, Dan Jones, Marc Gelona, Mark Jones, Dave Webb (Finlay Elrick 67), Marc Boswell (Sam Houston 80), Jonathan Bennett, Ashton Plunkett. Subs not used: Leigh Galdo.

St Ishmaels: Andy Pawlett, Andy Howells, Christofaro, Kieran Rendell, Joseph Bates, Adam Kingsbeer, Marc Devonald, Brennan Devonald, Owen Lawrie, Ieuan Hawkins, Joel Morgan (Graham Ninnis 78). Subs not used: Michael Evans, Gerard Gray.

Referee: Tom Bevan.