Saturday saw the visit of Division 3 strugglers Ely Rangers, who having dropped from Division 2 last season, have found life in Division 3 is no easier. Ponty were on a run of 8 league games unbeaten, having not lost since 14 October and Ely Rangers are deep in the relegation battle with up to 6 team dropping out of division 3 this season.
Ponty started brightly pushed for an early goal. They didn’t have long to wait when after just 9 minutes, Luke Gullick picked up the ball on the edge of the box and passed out wide to James Hill. Hill struck low across goal into the bottom right corner for the opener. Just 90 seconds later Ponty were 2-0 ahead. This time James Hill turned provider when he burst into the box down the left, cut inside along the goal line and pulled the ball back for midfielder Tom Rutherford to slot home.
Ponty were controlling the game with Rangers not troubling Ryan Griffiths in the Ponty goal. After 37 minutes Ponty extended their lead when centre half Ilias Doumas hit a deft chip with the outside of the boot for top goal scorer Luke Gullick to head home for his 22nd of the season.
HT Ponty 3 – 0 Ely Rangers
Ponty started the 2nd half as they finished the 1st, with plenty of pace and attacking intent. It took just 9 minutes for Ponty to get a 4th when a good build up play saw Luke Gullick race into the box down the right and cross for James Hill to smash home at his near post. Ponty were rampant at this stage, and Ely Rangers keeper Jan Davies worked hard to keep out several more shots from Gullick, Hill and Doumas.
With 10 minutes left and the points in the bag for Ponty, or so they thought, the fightback began. Rangers substitute Ryan Harries raced down the left touchline in a quick Rangers counter attack and crossed high into the box. The ball found the unmarked Sam Johnson who headed off the crossbar and in.
4 minutes later Johnson was on the score sheet again when Ryan Harries attacked down the left once more, cut inside along the goal line and went down for a penalty. The Ponty players were up in arms as no contact was made, but the penalty was awarded and Johnson coolly struck straight down the middle.
Just a minute later Johnson got his hat-trick when confusion between Ponty keeper Ryan Griffiths and the defence saw Johnson poach his 3rd of the game. It was all a too little too late for Rangers though as Ponty closed out the game and secured the points.
At the halfway point of the season, Ponty find themselves top of the division on 42 points from 17 games (just 12 points off last season’s total of 52 points). With A number of games to be played between the top 5 teams and fixture congestion expected to prove tiring for teams, Ponty have put themselves in a good position for promotion, they just need to keep up the solid performances of late to keep the pressure on the chasing pack.
FT Ponty 4 – 3 Ely Rangers