Subs: ???, Kristian James, Jason De Almeida, Joe Dyer, Ruben Barros
Matty Hughes(pic) scorer of a great second goal
Christmas came early for the Old Road faithful with an excellent 3-1 win delivered from Carl Shaw's team against one of the league favourites Goytre FC.
In an inconsistent season to date the Reds showed again that on their day they can more than compete with the leagues best with a thoroughly deserved three points with goals from Steven Hughes, Matthew Hughes and Steve Davey.
Manager Shaw rung the changes yet again with a number of injuries and suspensions and brought back old guard goalkeeper Luke Probert and centre back Joshua Cockings for their first starts of the season.
Kristian James and Dai Brown were late withdrawals with illness so Luke Harris was moved to right back with Sam Baker left of defence, captain Keiran Williams who has been in scintillating form was partnered by Steven Hughes in central midfield with Scott Tomlinson missing due to the birth of his son in the early hours. With Tom Da Silva and Rory Healey sitting out the last games of their suspensions Nicky Mooney and Steve Davey were the preferred wingers with Matthew Hughes partnering Gareth Jones up top, Portugese youngsters Jason De Almeida and Ruben Barros were joined on the bench with sub keeper Ashley Elsey and youth midfielder Joe Dyer.
The visitors have one of if not the best forward line in the Welsh League with Daniel MacDonald, Lewis Sommers and Luke Prosser at their disposal and the Reds knew they had to be at their best to keep them at bay.
In an excellent first half the hosts got the breakthrough within ten minutes when the ball fell to Steven Hughes outside the area, the midfielder showed a lovely bit of skill to lift the ball over two attempted tackles before driving a low right foot effort past keeper Giles Cutland for 1-0.
The visitors most dangerous outlet was ex-QPR and Cardiff City player Leon Jeanne on the left wing and from set pieces with 6ft 10" forward Lewis Sommers the main target.
It was from a set piece that Goytre equalised under controversial circumstances, a corner kick was attempted to be reached by keeper Probert and it seemed he was obstructed by forward Luke Prosser, however referee Leigh Jones allowed play to continue for the forward to prod home from a few yards to see the scores equal at half time.
A fast start from the Reds second half was rewarded with a goal on 53 minutes, albeit a superb bit of individual skill from forward Matty Hughes, with a ball driven high into the forward he chested, swivelled and sent a half volley from 20 yards in off the post past the despairing dive from Cutland for his 5th goal in ten appearances since signing in October.
The visitors then switched to a 4-2-4 formation to try and get the equaliser but Sawel defended valiantly in numbers with Cockings immense on his recall in central defence alongside Hillier, the change in formation also allowed Shaw to expose his opponents on the counter attack and had a number of good chances to kill off the game.
The relief was evident for all involved at the very death when finally another counter attack saw then excellent Gareth Jones pick out Steve Davey at the far post, this time the winger showed his usual composure to round Cutland and fire into the net for 3-1 and the much needed three points.
The win moves the Reds into eleventh on fifteen points with the last game of 2017 at Taffs Well on Friday 29th December.
M.O.M- STEVEN HUGHES- A number of good performances including Cockings and Williams but Steven Hughes takes it for a great goal and calmness personified when in possession especially in the final stages of the game.