Calor League Division One South & West
Merthyr Town 3 Yate Town 3
YATE Town’s play-off hopes are hanging by a thread despite their thrilling comeback at Merthyr, which saw them become just the second side this season to take points off the league leaders at the Cigg-E Stadium.
Rob Cousins’ side showed great resilience and fighting spirit to come from 3-1 down with 23 minutes to go as goals from stand-in captain Joe Chandler and substitute Jake Jackson earned them a share of the spoils.
However, even three wins from their last three games is unlikely to be enough for eighth-placed Yate to gatecrash the top five as they are now six points behind Paulton Rovers, who currently occupy the last spot with a game in hand and have a much superior goal difference.
Merthyr had previously won 13 and drawn one of their 14 league games on the 3G surface installed at their ground earlier this season, but they were stunned when Yate took the lead after 31 minutes, Jordan Ricketts blasting the ball home after a long throw-in.
The Martyrs equalised three minutes later though when Yate were caught out by a through ball and Ian Traylor scored from ten yards.
Four minutes before half-time Merthyr went ahead following a break down the left with Kerry Morgan setting up Ryan Prosser to put the ball into the net from near the penalty spot.
Merthyr came out strong in the second half and a 30-yard screamer from ex-Premier League midfielder Gavin Williams was tipped onto the bar by Martin Horsell.
One minute later, another long range shot, this time by Kris Leek, was touched over by Horsell, but the resulting Williams corner was headed into the net from close range by Prosser in the 61st minute.
After winning a series of corners, Yate scored on 67 minutes, Chandler tapping the ball home at the back post from a great corner.
Cousins introduced Jake Cox, Jackson and Sam Kamara into the game, and they made an instant impact.
With 14 minutes left Jackson was sent free of the Merthyr defence and he finished brilliantly into the bottom corner to cap a truly great comeback, extending Yate’s unbeaten run to six games.
Yate Town: Horsell, Clifford, Chandler (c), Fletcher, Tippins, Harmer (Cox, 76), Staley (Kamara ,75), Ricketts, Abraham, Haldane, Rogers (Jackson, 70).
Yate are away to Mangotsfield United in the GFA Senior Challenge Cup semi-final on Tuesday night (7.45pm).