After their impressive victory over Premier League side Swansea City, Neath continued their preparations for the forthcoming Welsh Premier League season with a comprehensive victory over Western Football League Premier Division side Merthyr Town, and who was there to see it for us at The Gnoll? Yep, you’ve guessed it, Abi Davies, South Wales own Georgie Thompson.
The Eagles got the game under way and were quick to show their intent, coming close to breaking the deadlock early on with efforts from Kristian O’Leary and Kerry Morgan testing Merthyr keeper Joe Perry.
Martyrs striker Ryan Prosser’s long range effort looked destined for the top corner however a great save from Lee Kendall insured the visitors didn’t take the lead. Kendall was called into action again moments later with Scott Armitage and Prosser both working the Neath keeper.
After a host of chances for both sides early on, it was the home team who took the lead after 10 minutes of play, following some great work from Chris Jones out wide which saw the diminutive winger turn and leave full back Ryan Dorian in his trail, his inch perfect ball into the box was met by Garyn Preen who found the back of the net from close range.
Neath began to dominate proceedings after the opening goal, with the pace and quick feet of both Kerry Morgan and Chris Jones out wide constantly getting the better of Merthyr’s full backs, as well as Trundle’s deeper link role behind striker Preen working effectively as the two combined well on a number of occasions.
Terry Boyle’s side doubled their advantage through Kerry Morgan, following some great work from the youngster inside the area, the former Swans player’s shot beat Perry from close range and having dominated possession you could not begrudge them of their lead.
Lee Trundle came close for Neath with an attempted chip over the keeper before Merthyr danger man Prosser halved the deficit shortly before half time
Merthyr came close to levelling the scores after the break as Neath failed to clear their lines, however they were dealt a slice of luck as the ball rebounded off the post into the path of Lee Kendall who quickly collected.
As a result of the next attack, Chris Jones restored the home sides two goal advantage as Neath were looking by far the more prepared side for the start of the forthcoming season, posing a threat and looking to push forward every time they had the ball.
The Eagles were creating some great chances with highly impressive link play, but squandered the chance to further extend their lead as a number of great opportunities went begging.
Having been introduced into the game early in the second half, Toby Jones made an instant impact as he created a three goal margin with an hour gone.
Neath’s new recruit Adie Harris came close to pressing home Neath’s advantage only for his effort to be denied by the cross bar before Preen had a chance to compile further misery on Merthyr’s evening late on, however his shot was saved by Joe Perry, keeping the deficit at 4-1.