Despite conceding an away goal to the visitors the Martyrs gained a commanding lead in their quest to lift the Red Insure Cup as they blew Cambridge away in the last half hour of the match to win 5-1 in the 1st leg of the final.
Fielding their strongest available side the only changes to the Merthyr lineup saw goalkeeper Cameron Clarke in for the cup-tied Glyn Garner, and Ryan Prosser replacing the unavailable Kayne McLaggon up front. Despite reports of injured and available players it was seen that Cambridge were in fact able to name a stronger lineup than they had in the league match the previous Saturday.
With the game kicking off 20 minutes late due to Cambridge's late arrival it was the visitors who were quickly on the attack with a shot just wide of the near post in the first minute of the game.
Merthyr's first real effort at goal came following a corner when the keeper had to save a shot by Gethin Jones on the line, and the lead came after 17 minutes with a goal made by Keyon Reffell chasing down a defender wide on the right. He won the ball, made a strong run into the area and put the ball across to Ryan Prosser for him to sweep a shot across goal and inside the far post. But just a minute later Cameron Clarke had to do well to push away a good long range strike from a Cambridge player.
Cambridge came even closer on 33 minutes when a free kick from just outside the area came back off the far post.
The visitors then got an equaliser even earlier in the second half than they had done in the previous game - after just 46 minutes. The ball was worked across from the right and midfielder Buster Harradine sent in a spectacular shot that flew inside the top corner giving Cameron Clarke no chance.
Early in the half, Corey Jenkins who appeared to have taken a knock went off to be replaced by Jon Brown. Then seven minutes later Gethin Jones also went down injured and Chris Hugh came on. Before the effect of the substitutions could be absorbed the Martyrs were back in front with just over half an hour to go. A ball down the middle saw Ryan Prosser get to it first to lob it over the keeper from just inside the area.
The Merthyr substitutions saw a change in tactics by Steve Jenkins, with a reversion to the formation of playing with a lone striker. This allowed more space for the two wide players, Chris Hugh and Ian Traylor, and together with Keyon Reffell dropping back into midfield alongside Jon Brown the extra mobility this gave proved more than Cambridge could cope with for the rest of the match and they were simply swept aside.
After Jon Brown was played in on the left of the area to put in a fierce left-foot shot to the near post which drew a good save from the keeper the Martyrs made it 3-1 after 70 minutes. Chris Hugh chased a ball down the middle, and despite seeming to have lost it more than once kept going and eventually took it around the keeper to put it into the net from five yards for his first goal for the club.
A couple of minutes later Ian Traylor ran in from the right with no defender able to get near him and finished with a left-foot shot that was deflected just inside the near post to make it 4-1.
Although it seemed just a matter of time before another goal arrived it was not until the last minute. When Ian Traylor was fouled near the corner flag it appeared as if the tactic was to keep the ball in the corner, despite the 4-1 scoreline. However, with Ian Traylor and Jon Brown on the ball two corners were won, and from the second of these Jarrad Wright, who had stayed back ran forward into the area calling for the corner to put across to him. Not quite unmarked he was challenged for it but was able to chase the ball across and play it to Ryan Prosser on the right of the area and he hammered the ball under the keeper and into the net from a narrow angle to make it 5-1 and register yet another hat-trick for the club.