Wanderers beaten on the road.
“It goes to show that at this level if your attitude and application aren’t right you’ll come unstuck” commented manager John Lyons “All credit to Ystalyfera they stuck at it and deserved to come away with the points”
After the heavy overnight rain the sides were met with a surprisingly firm pitch and the Wanderers were swiftly out of the blocks. Going through the phases they probed the home side defence only to find a firm wall of tacklers to keep them at bay. Ystalyfera soon started to find their feet and they started to go through the phases as they searched for the breakthrough. Despite the endeavour the execution from both sides was poor and the game lacked structure. The Wanderers were forced into a reshuffle when centre Rhys Beynon had to be replaced by Paul Short and the deadlock continued until 20 mins into the half when the home side landed a long range penalty and gave Ystalyfera the lead 3-0. A period aerial tennis followed and then the visitors hit back. Playing an advantage from a high tackle they moved the ball wide to Cameron Gibbon in space. He took his chance outstripped the defence and crossed for an unconverted try 3-5. Back came the home side and what looked like a certain try was thwarted by a superb cover tackle from Gibbon with the line beckoning. More aerial tennis followed and there was little to cheer the crowd as both sides failed to bring continuity to their game. The Wanderers had failed to learn their lesson not to give away penalties in and around the halfway area and they were soon punished by a second long range kick 6-5. As the half entered its final minutes Ystalyfera edged further ahead with their third and fourth penalties both from distance and the sides went into the changing rooms with the home side ahead 12-5.
Despite some home truths in the changing rooms at the break the visitors continued after the break with their lack lustre performance. A poor Wanderers cross kick set the home side away and after some slick recycling they were away and they crossed under the posts for the first decisive move of the game. The try was converted 19-5. The score at last galvanised the Wanderers into some constructive play. The coaches sent on some fresh legs and for the first time in the game the impetus shifted. Short landed a penalty 19-8 and then after an attack of several phases a kick through by Short was gathered by Steve Drummond who crossed for the Wanderers second try. Short converted 19-15. All of a sudden an unlikely comeback was on the cards despite the visitors being second best for most of the game. More pressure was heaped on the home side and the Ystalyfera plight was made more difficult when a driving lineout resulted in a third try for the Wanderers in the hands of Dan Watts and also a yellow card for the home side. It seemed that the game had swung into the Wanderers hands but back came the home side. The visitors failed to nail the game down and with time running out Ystalyfera were handed a break. The visitors, having used all their subs, were reduced to 14 when a heavy collision in midfield meant Anthony Cox had to leave the field. This gave the home side a big advantage up front and with the game well into injury time they took their chance. A scrum penalty could have given them a draw but they wanted all the points and they used their powerful scrum advantage to push the Wanderers over for the winning score. It was what they deserved on the day and it taught the Wanderers a lesson that at this level there is no room for complacency. Final score 26-22.
Tries: Cameron Gibbon, Steve Drummond, Dan Watts
Cons: Paul Short (2)
Pens: Paul Short
Wanderers Management man of the match: Cameron Gibbon
Massiv man of the match: Cameron Gibbon