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Merthyr Town 1 Winchester City 4
24 Sep 2018, Monday

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AN embarrassing defeat against lower opposition saw The Martyrs' hopes of picking up a useful £9,000 comprehensively dashed in  this second qualifying round of  The Emirates FA Cup.Lively Tyrell Mitford hit  a hat-trick for an over-joyed Winchester.With Gosport last season, Mitford was clearly Man of the Match and tore Merthyr apart with his running and finishing in front of goal.
The last time the side visited Merthyr- on  April 6, 2013, the score was Merthyr 10 Winchester 0. Not quite the same for this fixture.
Loanee Owain Jones was promoted from the bench with Tom Meechan changing places. With seven substitutes for The FA Cup, Merthyr included manager Gavin Williams among them as well as Matthew Harris.
Merthyr controlled early play but just as against Metropolitan Police, they were hit  by breakaways and so the opening two goals for the Hampshire outfit were against the run of play.Overall, the City were too fast for Merthyr, chasing through balls and leaving opponents chasing shadows.
Ashley Evans had a run halted  before the first goal, and then Corey Jenkins sped down the left only to put the ball out of play.Perry foiled an effort from Brett Cunningham.Good build-up with Kieran Lewis, Morgan, Adam Davies and Jones led to Davies finding the net but a goal  was disallowed for offside.
Winchester led with captain Jamie Barron, just outside the box, beating Perry, back in  goals after injury, with a shot to his  left on  25 minutes which screamed into the net.
Evans and Jenkins combined well with Traylor pursuing only for the away side to clear.
Winchester defended solidly once they had opened the account and The Martyrs found it hard to prise them open.
The ball fell to Mitford who duly made it 2-0  on 42 minutes when he lobbed Perry,as  he came out,to home fans' dismay.
Jones' efforts were thwarted up front for Merthyr who pushed up a lot only to be met  by a crowded defence in the box.
Meechan replaced Joe Hunt after the turn-around with boss Williams trying a new tack to get back in the match.
But after just a couple of  minutes, it  was  an uphill task when 3-0. after an error by Kyle Patten who was dispossessed with Mitford gleefully accepting the chance  and netting to the delight of visiting fans.On 55 minutes  Cunningham hit the Merthyr crossbar.
Williams made a rare appearance this season, replacing Jenkins, and Lee Lucas came on for Patten who demonstrated that his exit was not a happy one as he walked to the dressing room.
It was all Merthyr again and on  58 minutes it was 1-3 with Lucas' cross finding the far corner of the net for a surprise goal and a possible lifeline.
But with the home side  inevitably pinning faith on all-out attack, they were exposed and Mitford burst through again to complete his trio of goals after 70 minutes.
From then on Merthyr peppered in shots but just couldn't beat accomplished keeper Ryan Price, ex Salisbury, and he pulled off some good stops from Jones.Merthyr did everything but score as they chased a miracle.
But it was a lost cause and home fans started drifting away,easing their way on foot past the visitors' coach which had broken down at the entrance on arrival and was still there at the end.
The triumphant  away supporters,wearing their red colours, rushed to the bar. And the tribute band at Romans Bar in the night  was Simply Red!!
*Considering the prize money at stake, one would have thought there would have been  a reasonable gate but it was  just 291    and there was a good crowd from Winchester. Thus the gate has dropped by more than 200 since the Frome Town match.
Phil Howells

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