Merthyr Town made a storming start to the match and eventually ran out comfortable winners over struggling Hartley Wintney, writes David Graham.

The Martyrs wasted no time in taking a grip of the match and took the lead on five minutes. A fast break down the right saw Kieran Evans play in FRAZER THOMAS who shot home from a tight angle. (1-0).

On nine minutes Merthyr doubled their lead. A high ball from the right saw the Row struggle to clear. KIERAN EVANS gained possession and his powerful strike from the edge of the penalty area took a deflection and found the net. (2-0)

Hartley rallied and created a chance on 11 minutes. A long throw from the left by Reese Jones found its way to Shamar Moore who saw his partly blocked shot saved by Martyrs keeper Jaimie Cogman. On 19 minutes there was a repeat situation. Jones took another long throw which resulted in a scramble in front of the Merthyr goal before the ball was cleared.

 The Martyrs came close on 26 minutes. A free kick some 30 yards out was well struck by Liam Angel and the ball skimmed the crossbar. Two minutes later the home side worked the ball through midfield and this culminated in a fierce shot from Evans which Lewis Hoy in the Hartley goal managed to parry away. On 34 minutes Curtis Jermmett-Hutson showed good trickery coming in from the left and his powerful shot from a tight angle brought out a good save from  Hoy at the near post.

 Two minutes before half time and Merthyr added a third.  The home side got the benefit of an offside call down the right and play moved towards the Row goal. The Martyrs worked the ball across the edge of the penalty area and THOMAS HANDLEY slammed the ball home at the back post. (3-0)

As in the first period Merthyr started very quickly and increased their lead via the penalty spot. Thomas showed good control as he moved through the Row defence before he went down under a challenge from a Hartley defender. Ricardo Rees converted the resulting penalty. (4-0)

Things were to get worse for the Row a few minutes later as Toby Neville received a second yellow card and was sent off. On 54 minutes a corner on the left for the Martyrs from Alex John found Nicholas Rose who saw his header saved by a well-positioned Hoy.

Despite a man disadvantage the Row had a decent spell and scored on 59 minutes. A corner on the left from Anis Nuur found MATT DRAGE and his header found the net from 10 yards (4-1).

On 65 minutes with Hartley under considerable pressure Hoy was called into action twice in a minute. First a Martyrs move ended when a fierce shot from Jemmett-Hutson was pushed around the post by Hoy. Then from the corner the Martyrs had another chance and Hoy brought out a good save from Thomas.

On 73 minutes Jemmett- Hutson saw an effort pull out a smart save from Hoy. Eight minutes later a left wing corner from John saw a header from Jack Evans and again Hoy saved well.

Towards the end with the Hartley defence tiring and looking threadbare they were thankful to Hoy and central defender Germaine Dua who had an impressive debut with many timely interventions and tackles.