Only two matches survived the recent wintry weather in the MMP with Norman Lloyd Central Wales League (South) and those supporters present at the King George V Playing Fields were treated to an action-packed encounter.
Penybont United were left celebrating their first league victory of a tough campaign after defeating hosts Talgarth Town 4-1 in their basement battle.
While Italy and Wales were battling to avoid the wooden spoon, over 1200 miles away in the Stadio Olympico, these two local rivals were looking to prevent a similar fate in a competitive derby.
The visitors had the first real opportunity of the afternoon in the fifth minute, after Penybont United custodian Barry Evans launched a long clearance following a Talgarth Town corner, which Jack Duggan latched on to before seeing his 25-yard drive turned over the crossbar by Dan Bowen.
The Royals responded eight minutes later when former Brecon FC forward Kyle O’Shea headed on a ball played towards the Polecats’ penalty area and Rhodri Boosey saw his half-volley turned behind by Evans before the former Brecon Corries player headed over at the far post from the ensuing corner.
Conor O’Shea went close with a low 25-yard effort in the 22nd minute before Boosey drove into the Penybont United penalty area two minutes later but saw his shot on target blocked and cleared to safety. O’Shea was then denied by a well-timed challenge in the 28th minute just as he was about to test Evans’ reflexes.
Whilst the Royals had enjoyed the better of the goal-scoring opportunities in the opening quarter of the match, it was the visitors who opened the scoring after 36 minutes, when Isaac Price drove down the right flank and his inviting cross to the far post was met with a diving header from Paul McCambridge that beat Bowen.
The Royals were back on level terms five minutes later when Kyle O’Shea successfully converted a penalty that was awarded when his goal-bound shot was handled on the line.
The Talgarth Town goal scorer looked to put the hosts ahead before the interval but dragged his low 20-yard effort wide of the far post as the two teams headed back to the changing rooms on level terms.
No doubt Royals manager Jack Dodds was hoping his charges would start the second-half in a similar vein to the opening 45 minutes and take the match to Penybont United.
The experienced Boosey pulled his low 20-yard shot wide of goal in the 53rd minute before Duggan saw his curling effort from the edge of the penalty area drift narrowly wide of the far post.
That was to prove something of a warning to Talgarth Town, as the Polecats regained their lead in the 57th minute, when a free-kick into the Talgarth Town penalty area appeared to cause some confusion amongst the Royals’ defence and Alfie Stonefield was on hand to smash the loose ball into the net.
The Breconshire hosts looked to respond once again from going behind, as Boosey fired narrowly over from the edge of the penalty area in the 63rd minute, before the experienced Gavin Perry was unable to keep his first-time effort on target following a poor punch by Evans.
The former Brecon Corries midfielder went close with a 20 yard free-kick in the 66th minute that caused some concern for Evans but it was the Radnorshire outfit that extended their advantage six minutes later.
The impressive Duggan was picked out in the penalty area by McCambridge and his neat shot on the turn nestled into the far corner of the net.
Talgarth Town looked to respond immediately, to give themselves any chance of claiming something from the match, with defender Mark Walsh seeing his low shot turned behind by Evans from a 79th minute corner.
Penybont United were in dreamland two minutes later following a swift counter-attack, having defended another corner from the hosts, and Cian Bufton was on hand at the far post to convert Brandon Bailey’s low cross from the left.
Bradley Phillips went close to adding a fifth goal for the Polecats courtesy of his 83rd minute effort from the edge of the penalty area.
The drama was not finished there as both teams were reduced to 10 players in the final minutes of normal time.
Reiss Kinch was shown a second yellow card by referee Nerys Alaw Jones before Talgarth Town captain Dan Bowen received a straight red card for his part in an altercation with the Penybont United dugout.
But the visitors were left to celebrate their inaugural league victory of the season at the 17th attempt when the final whistle was eventually blown.