| Yr Wyddgrug / Mold (a) |
Buckley (h) |
Ruthin (h) |
Caernarfon (h) |
Llanfair (a) |
Cegidfa/Guilsfield (h) |
| Conwy (a) | Holywell (a) | Prestatyn (a) | Caersws (WC) | Caersws (HGC) |
Huws Gray Cup–Saturday, 8 October.
Conwy Borough ...............0
Tom Clarke 10
Joe Williams 59’
Chris Jones 65’
Cai Jones 81’
Port followed their 4 goal defeat of Caersws in the Welsh Cup by inflicting another 4 goal Cup defeat. This time it was the Huws Gray Cup and Conwy Borough were made to suffer at the hands of an in-form Port for the second time in a matter of weeks. Once again there were four different scorers and for keeper Tyler French it was a memorable afternoon, keeping his third clean sheet in four games.
Port dominated the first 45 minutes but went in at half-time just one goal to the good. That goal came just 10 minutes into the game. It was summer signing Tom Clarke’s first for the club. Jamie McDaid’s corner was only partially cleared and the ball was worked back down the left, where Julian Williams’ excellent low cross reached Tom Clarke at the back post and he coolly widened his angle beating keeper Kris Leigh from 8 yards. Port played some excellent passing football throughout the half with Ceri James, Chris Jones and Ywain Gwynedd dominant in midfield. Good chances were created with Jamie McDaid firing straight at the keeper just four minutes into the game. Just before the opening goal the home side were put under pressure by a long raking kick from Tyler French which Julian Williams latched on to. Keeper Kris Leigh failed to hold the powerful shot but the home defence managed to scramble the ball away. Around the half hour mark the Conwy goal led a charmed life. First there was a good block which denied Jamie McDaid and from the ensuing corner the ball struck both uprights of a lucky home goal. First it was Gruff John Williams striking the far post followed by Chris Jones clattering the near post. Somehow the home goal survived. Throughout this Tyler French was only tested once when Josh Breeze struck a good first time shot from 20 yards which the keeper saved well at the expense of a corner. This apart the home side only threatened fleetingly from set pieces but the Port defence looked strong and cleared well. Before the end of the half Leigh was forced into action again saving well at full stretch a speculative Julian Williams effort from 25 yards. The single goal advantage was scant reward for a dominant Port first half.
Port continued to threaten again from the off and a Tom Clarke header went close. But before the hour mark they had doubled their lead with a well worked goal. Ywain Gwynedd found Paul Lewis, who had made a good run into space down the left, and his low cross into the goalmouth allowed Joe Williams to score from close in. Six minutes on and Port had established a comfortable three goal advantage. Jamie McDaid’s short corner found Ceri James on the outer corner of the box and he placed a precise cross into the centre of the goalmouth where Chris Jones virtually made the game safe from close range. But ironically the home side now enjoyed their best spell of the game. This was aided by a double substitution bringing on Leigh Craven and Scott Williams. Tyler French twice had to pull off excellent saves tipping over Joe Chaplin’s goal bound shot and repeated this palming over Anthony Tierney’s free kick. The best Conwy chance of all, after 75 minutes, fell to Kelvin Jackson, who powered his shot wide from the centre of the box. In the 81st minute Cai Jones put Port beyond any doubt into the next round with a really well taken opportunist goal. He seized on a poor clearance and lobbed over the stranded keeper from 20 yards into the empty net.
Port will return to league action next Saturday when Flint visit the Traeth, and they do so in a particularly rich vein of form. The last few weeks has been a good test of the strength of Craig Papirnyk’s squad and competition for starting places is now really keen. The return of Dan Roberts is now imminent, leaving Richard Harvey and Josh Davies as the experienced sidelined players.
PORTHMADOG: Tyler French, Gruff Williams, Josh Banks, Ceri James ( Cai Jones 72’), Tom Clarke, Iddon Price, Jamie McDaid, Chris Jones, Julian Williams (Paul Lewis 55’), Ywain Gwynedd, Gareth Jones Evans (Joe Williams 50’). Unused subs: Craig Papirnyk, Dan Roberts.
CONWY: Kris Leigh, Jamie Smith, Ant Tierney, Columbus Iyayal, Chris Quinn, D’Quame Copeland, Kelvin Jackson, Josh Breeze, Joe Chaplin (Scott Williams 60’), Reece Deakin, Alex Tichimer ( Leigh Craven 60’) . Unused subs: Chris Rowntree, Jamie Parker, Dave Bryan.
Referee: Tom Owen (Wrexham)
Welsh Cup Round 1 –Saturday, 01 October.
Julian Williams 36’
Gareth Jones Evans 53’
Chris Jones 81’
Port are into the hat for Round 2 after a more comfortable than expected Welsh Cup win over the usually difficult Caersws. The win was well deserved, and was notable for the quality of the goals which produced the win. Though, for different reasons, they were all good goals, one stood out as a goal of real quality, Julian Williams’ superb first half strike from 35 yards, hitting the corner of the net. It was a candidate for goal of the season at any level. Noteworthy also was Tyler French’s second clean sheet in three games.
The first half opened evenly with both sides getting periods of possession but there was no real threat on goal until Gareth Jones Evans sent Caersws keeper Luke Evans scrambling back towards his own goal with a dangerous effort from 25 yards. The keeper was relieved to get a hand to it at full stretch and palm the ball away. The same player followed this with a dangerous burst down the right but lifted his shot over the bar. Then it was Tyler French for Port in the action, twice saving sharp shots at the expense of corners from the HGA’s leading scorer Sean Evans. But Port were looking strong in midfield with Ceri James in a holding roll and Tom Clarke setting up moves with some quality passes. A good Port move, with Chris Jones putting through Jamie McDaid after 28 minutes, threatened to open the scoring but keeper Evans was quickly off his line to block the shot. The visitors responded with a close call as Will Thomas, with the goal gaping, almost got on the end of defender Luke K Evans’s excellent ball into the box. Luke K Evans then won the ball midway inside the Port half and forced Tyler French into a good save low at the foot of the post. But with 36 minutes gone, the goal finally came for Port, and what a goal it was. Julian Williams received the ball in space 35 yards out looked up and struck a superb shot which dipped late and into the corner of the net. That goal separated the two teams at the interval.
Port started the second half strongly and looked likely, from the off, to increase their slender lead. It took just eight minutes for this to happen with Chris Jones setting up an excellent goal. He won the ball well in the Caersws half and sent an excellent low cross to the far post where he found Gareth Jones Evans racing in to finish off from close range. Caersws now pushed forward looking to reduce the arrears and this gave Port the opportunity to hit on the break. Jamie McDaid burst through firing narrowly wide on a couple of occasions and Chris Jones, who was now running the midfield, fired over the bar from 20 yards. While the score was 2-0 Caersws sensed there was a chance to get back into the game. Lance Jones tested French with a low shot and later Hartrick, at the back post, met a dangerous cross from Jack Hughes, but into the side netting. Sub Craig Harris crossed threateningly but there was no final touch. Port, with ten minutes to go, stepped up another gear scoring twice to secure entry into the second round. Chris Jones was involved again, breaking to the edge of the box holding off two defenders and netting with an emphatic finish. Then with four minutes remaining Joe Williams added a fourth goal, firing coolly just inside the post, having received on the edge of the box from Jamie McDaid. This was an excellent win, with Port controlling the game for most of the 90 minutes against a team who have started the season strongly.
The decision of the FAW to insist on all games in the round kicking off at 2 pm, badly backfired. Sky was showing the Swansea v Liverpool game live. That game was not scheduled to finish until almost half an hour after our game kicked off. Clearly this was a foolish decision and had a detrimental effect on the crowd, for what was one of the more attractive games in the round.
PORTHMADOG: Tyler French, Gruff Williams, Josh Banks, Ceri James, Steve Bratt, Iddon Price, Tom Clarke (Ywain Gwynedd 55’), Chris Jones, Jamie McDaid, Julian Williams (Cai Jones 75’), Gareth Jones Evans (Joe Williams 65’). Unused subs: Paul Lewis, Craig Papirnyk. Yellow: Gruff Williams, Iddon Price.
CAERSWS: Luke Evans, Luke K Evans, Jack Hughes (Phil Jones 86’), Paul Grant, Tom Richards, Iwan Lewis, Elliot Jones, Lance Jones (Craig Harris 67’), Will Thomas, Josh Hartrick (Rhys Thomas 75’), Sean Evans. Unused sub: Graham Evans.
Referee: Aaron Wyn Jones.
Huws Gray Alliance –Saturday, 24 September.
Mike Parker 55’
Chris Jones 53’
A first draw of the season for Port was enough to end Prestatyn’s 100% start to the season. After a disappointing goalless first half the game burst into action with the scoring coming in a 2 minute spell early in the second period. From then on in it was a battle between the set piece aerial attacks of Prestatyn and Port’s more measured build up aimed at getting the better of the home team’s offside trap.
From the start it was clear that Prestatyn’s well rehearsed set pieces would be a challenge and when Stead lifted his free kick to the near post after only two minutes Ben Maher got his head to it but steered it wide. A long throw from Jack Lewis further set the scene but, this time, Jack Kenny lobbed over the bar. Gradually Port got into the game and when Rob Evans broke on the left, he whipped in a low cross which the home defence was happy to clear for a corner. Perhaps the two best chances of the half fell to Port striker Joe Williams. For the first, he ran on to Gruff Williams’ threaded through ball to get one on one with home keeper Carl Jones. The keeper closed down quickly but also benefited from having his arm around the attacker to complete the save. The striker again got behind Prestatyn’s high defensive line, but this time the keeper forced him wide and completed the save with a good block. At the other end Tyler French saved from James Stead at the expense of a corner and saw a well struck free kick from the same player fly narrowly past the post. Near the end of the half Tom Clarke’s angled ball gave Rob Evans a shooting chance but the powerfully struck effort went wide of the angle. It was goalless at the interval, on a hard dry surface, in a game which had only produced rare flashes of entertaining football.
The game burst into life after the break and there were shots at either end with Tyler French saving well at his near post from Jordan Davies while at the other end Chris Jones drove inches over the bar after a good Jamie McDaid lay off. Seven minutes into the half and Port went ahead when Gareth Jones Evans raced behind the home defence down the right. Keeper Carl Jones could only get a hand to his dangerous cross and Chris Jones raced in to take advantage drilling into the net from 15 yards. The lead was short lived, with Prestatyn responding immediately and predictably it was a set piece goal. Jack Kenny’s free kick 30 yards out was cleanly headed in at the near post from 8 yards by Mike Parker. Neither side were prepared to settle for a draw and there were plenty of tense moments at both ends. Prestatyn enjoyed a good period of pressure in the middle part of the half but Tyler French commanded his box under the aerial onslaught of corners and free kicks and especially long throws, which were particularly testing on the tight Bastion Gardens pitch. As tension mounted Prestatyn had an appeal for a penalty turned down. Late on both teams had chances to clinch the three points. Jordan Davies, for Prestatyn, headed a free kick wide of the post and Tyler French saved well at his near post from sub Liam Smith. Very late and Port threatened again, Carl Jones saved well at Chris Jones’ feet, Jamie McDaid fired wide from the edge of the box and Paul Lewis was unlucky to see his shot take a deflection for a corner. In a grand finale Tom Clarke rounded the advancing keeper but was forced wide and the final cross lacked direction.
Following a really tense second half both sides will point to winning possibilities but in the end a draw was a fair reflection of the 90 minutes play. It leaves Port in third place as attention now turns to the Welsh Cup next Saturday and the Huws Gray Cup the following weekend.
PORTHMADOG: Tyler French, Gruff Williams, Josh Banks, Ceri James, Steve Bratt, Iddon Price, Jamie McDaid, Chris Jones, Tom Clarke, Joe Williams (Paul Lewis 81’) , Rob Evans ( Gareth Jones Evans41’). Unused subs: Iolo Hughes, Julian Williams, Craig Papirnyk. Yellow: Steve Bratt 76’, Tom Clarke 87’.
PRESTATYN: Carl Jones, Tom Kemp, Jack Lewis, Paul O’Neill, Reece Fairhurst, Noah Edwards, Mike Parker, James Stead, Ben Maher (Liam Smith 69’), Jack Kenny, Jordan Davies. Subs: Connor Shackleton, Alex Williams, Warren Adam.
Referee: Dave Wright (Wrexham)
Huws Gray Alliance –Saturday, 17 September.
Rob Evans 37’
This was always going to be a tight contest, with today’s visitors having only conceded four goals in their previous 7 games. It was not as entertaining as some of Port’s other games this season but needed a steely defensive performance to take all three points. Looking at today’s bench again underlines the strength of Craig Papirnyk’s squad, containing as it did, some of the match winners in early season games. It was a game of relatively few clear chances and indeed it took a goal of real quality from Rob Evans to break the deadlock. It was a good performance by on loan keeper Tyler French making vital saves in the latter stages of the game to ensure the clean sheet.
The competitive nature of the game became clear from the start as both sides found keeping possession difficult as both sides closed down quickly and there were no early goal threats. Then suddenly the game jumped into life with a chance at either end. First Tyler French pulled off a good save to deny Paul Williams from close range. Then a minute later an excellent through ball put Joe Williams in behind the Holywell defence. He rounded keeper Rushton and a certain goal was averted by skipper Steven Thomas’s last ditch rescue at the expense of a corner. Play remained even with neither keeper called into action too often but Tyler French did well to keep out Lee Hurley’s free kick which took an awkward bounce. But on 37 minutes Port found a way through the visitors defence and it took a quality ball from Gareth Jones Evans to do so. He whipped a curling ball around the retreating defence with Rob Evans running in at the back post, driving low into the far corner of the net. Port now looked threatening and Gareth Jones Evans cut across field past three defenders for a 20 yard effort to test keeper Rushton. The keeper was soon in action again as Gruff Williams let fly powerfully from 25 yards. Having just about edged the opening half, Port deserved their half-time lead.
Five minutes into the second half Tom Clarke, continuing in a new role in midfield, put Joe Williams through. The forward broke a tackle only to shoot narrowly wide. Clarke was soon in the action again rising well to meet corner but saw his header fly over the bar. Hurley then headed over at the other end as Holywell responded. Gruff Williams for Port attempted to repeat his free kick success of last Tuesday only to be denied by an excellent diving save by keeper Rushton. Play was more end to end in the second half as Holywell looked for the equaliser and Port searched for the second goal to ensure the three points. Port worked a good move, with the ball going from right to left where Rob Evans fired into the side netting. Almost immediately Julian Williams put an excellent ball into the Holywell goalmouth but Jamie McDaid just failed to make contact with the goal gaping. With the game going into its latter stages Tyler French saved well pushing away a close range header, Hurley headed wide and Steve Thomas fired over when well placed. In added time Jamie McDaid cut into the Holywell area but his left foot shot lacked power. In the 5th minute of injury time Tyler French went down in a goalmouth scramble of feet to gather in Hurley’s dangerous low cross. Having played 6 extra minutes, referee Paul Roszkowski finally blew the whistle to give Port their 6th win of the season.
Two wins in five days consolidates Port’s third place in the table and sets things up well for next Saturday’s visit to Prestatyn to challenge their 100% start.
PORTHMADOG: Tyler French, Gruff Williams, Josh Banks, Ceri James, Steve Bratt, Gareth Jones Evans (Julian Williams 56’), Chris Jones, Iddon Price, Tom Clarke (Iolo Hughes 90+), Joe Williams (Jamie McDaid 65’), Rob Evans. Unused subs: Cai Jones, Cai Parry. Yellow: Iddon Price 89’.
HOLYWELL: Jon Rushton, Ross Ankers (Matty Harvey 59’), Steven Thomas, James Graham (Ryan Davison 56’), Lee Emberton (Luke Wandless 72’), Gareth Sudlow, Graeme Williams, Tony Roebuck, Lee Hurley, Sam Jones, Paul Williams.
Referee: Paul Roszkowski
Huws Gray Alliance–Wednesday, 14 September.
Conwy Borough ...............1
Tim Bigland 21’
Chris Jones 67’
Joe Williams 76’
Julian Williams 81’ (p)
Jamie McDaid 84’
Gruff Williams 88’
A huge second half performance gave Craig Papirnyk’s much changed team three points and a big win. A goal behind at the interval, Port eventually began to take some of the numerous chances they were creating and went on to net four times in the space of 12 minutes in storming finish.
Following the early skirmishes it was Port who created the first real opportunity of the game in the 8th minute when Joe Williams, making his first start for the club, did well to break free behind the home defence only to screw his shot wide. The forward was a real threat and, with 15 mins gone, he got on the end of a Paul Lewis cross but again failed to hit the target. But after doing most of the early running, Port suddenly found themselves a goal down. A long goal kick bounced awkwardly wrong footing the Port defence. With keeper Tyler French having advanced from his goal, Tim Bigland was presented with the simplest of shooting chances into an empty net. Just after the half hour mark the same player fired a good opportunity across the face of goal. Bigland was again in the action heading Taylor’s corner to the near post, over the bar. But Port were still creating some good chances and Joe Williams with his clever runs was at the heart of everything. Three times during the last 10 minutes he got in behind the home defence with a clear chance on goal but the elusive goal just wouldn’t come and Conwy went in a goal to the good at the interval.
The second half belonged to Port but despite the pressure the goal refused to come. Joe Williams received from sub Julian Williams but his shot from 15 yards thumped against the post. Conwy enjoyed one good second half spell forcing a series of corners and keeper Tyler French was called upon to deal with several dangerous crosses. But with the strong travelling support in good voice Port were urged on to even greater efforts and after 67 minutes the equaliser finally came. Julian Williams’ deep right wing corner was headed back into the goalmouth for Chris Jones to score from close range. Second sub Jamie McDaid was also in the thick of the action and his angled shot was scrambled away for a corner by keeper Gethin Roberts at his near post. A Port counterattack in the 76th minutes put the visitors ahead. Chris Jones broke clear down the right and his excellent low cross was met by Joe Williams, for a thoroughly deserved goal, his first for the club. Third sub Tom Clarke also got in on the action and was instrumental in producing the third goal. He put the home defence under pressure with a strong, direct run and was brought down by the diving keeper. Referee Gareth Wyn Jones pointed to the spot and Julian Williams confidently converted from 12 yards. It was one way traffic now as Jamie McDaid scored an excellent 84th minute fourth. McDaid cut across from the left to fire low beyond the keeper. There was one more goal left in the Port bank; a superbly struck 25 yard free kick from Gruff Williams hit the back of the net with power.
The goals were a long time coming but the exciting run in thrilled the large travelling support who had kept the team going through a period when the goals seemingly would not come. Over all this was a well deserved win against a team who were on a winning three match run.
A delighted Craig Papirnyk tweeted at the end, “Great reaction, great feeling massive thanks to the Port followers who supported us tonight. Great support, on to the next.” It says it all.
PORTHMADOG: Tyler French, Gruff Williams, Paul Lewis (Julian Williams 48’), Ceri James (Tom Clarke 70’), Steve Bratt, Gareth Jones Evans (Jamie McDaid 61’), Chris Jones, Iddon Price, Ywain Gwynedd, Joe Williams, Rob Evans. Unused subs: Cai Jones, Cai Parry. Yellow: Gareth J Evans 32’,Tom Clarke 75’.
CONWY: Gethin Roberts, Jamie Smith, Jamie Harkness, Chris Rowntree, Josh Dures, Josh Breeze (Alex Tichimer 58’), Derek Taylor, Tim Bigland, Joe Chaplin, Leigh Craven, Jamie Parker. Subs: Ross Rule, Dave Bryan. Yellow: Jamie Parker 66’, Gethin Roberts 81’.
Referee: Gareth Wyn Jones
Attendance: Gareth Williams
Huws Gray Alliance –Saturday, 20 August.
Jamie McDaid 21’
Iolo Hughes (og) 57’
Lewis Irvine 70’
Aaron Edwards 74’
Jack Richards 82’
Gareth Jones 84’
Four goals in a 14 minute second half spell completed a great week for Guilsfield. Few would have predicted such a convincing win at the interval, with Port edging the opening 45 minutes and going a goal up. An own goal gave the mid-Wales side a foothold in the game and a blistering finish with some excellent goals sealed Port’s fate, leaving supporters to wonder how it all came about.
Guilsfield started the better but Port were soon in the game and looking good at that stage passing well and setting up some good moves. Following a corner the ball broke loose for Jamie McDaid whose shot flew only inches over the bar. Moments later Port could have gone ahead when Rob Evans put Cai Jones through on goal but he failed to get his shot away early enough, and struck the side netting. In between these two efforts Aaron Edwards turned well in the box but his shot went narrowly wide. With 21 minutes on the clock Port deservedly, at that stage, went ahead with a well worked move. A good Cai Jones lay off for Josh Banks to cross to the back post, where Jamie McDaid drove low into the net. Port continued to look the better, with their slick passing moves and Littleford struggled to keep out McDaid’s shot. With five minutes of the opening half remaining Port should have doubled their lead when a super through ball by Julian Williams put Jamie McDaid one on one with Littleford, but the keeper did well tto advance quickly to smother the shot. The Guilsfield threat in the first period came mainly from corners and free kicks and especially the accurate long throws of Chris Cathrall, but the home defence held firm. Port held a one goal lead at the interval but a storm was to hit them in the second half.
Within minutes of the restart Tyler French did well to touch a Henderson header over the bar following another Cathrall throw into the mixer. Ten minutes into the half and Port could have scored a second when a good Josh Banks cross found Cai Jones well placed in the box, but he turned his shot wide of the post. Almost immediately the visitors were up at the other end with Cathrall breaking down the left and his cross was turned into his own net by Iolo Hughes under pressure from Mark Davies. Despite the setback Port looked as though they could still win the game as they countered. But gradually the Guilsfield threat was increasing as Cathrall, cutting in from the left, fired wide and Tyler French had to turn a powerful Mark Davies effort round the post.
With 20 minutes remaining the Guilsfield onslaught got into top gear. A great finish by Lewis Irvine following good work down the left by Mark Davies put the mid-Wales club ahead. Just four minutes later and a good Aaron Edwards turn in the box to drill a low shot past French for Guilsfield’s third. As the game went into the final ten minutes there was no let up from the visitors with sub jack Richards getting on the end of Stuart Rogers’ low cross to touch it into the net. The fifth goal came when Irvine’s free kick cannoned off the crossbar out to Gareth Jones who blasted it into the back of the net from 18 yards. This completed the scoring as Port were left to lick their wounds after a comprehensive second half lesson.
Supporters were left shell shocked at the end and perhaps it is all well and good that there is an early opportunity to put things right on Wednesday at Conwy. But that will not be an easy game, as Conwy are on a three match winning run. At the end of the 90 minutes a stunned Craig Papirnyk tweeted to supporters, “No words to explain that .....Apologies to everyone involved.”
PORTHMADOG: Tyler French, Gruff Williams, Josh banks, Tomos Clarke, Iolo Hughes, Jamie McDaid(Gareth Jones Evans 63’) Chris Jones (Paul Lewis 77’), Julian Williams, Cai Jones (Joe Williams 71’), Rob Evans. Unused subs: Ceri James, Ywain Gwynedd. Yellow: Cai Jones 39’, Rob Evans 62’.
GUILSFIELD: Dave Littleford, Callum Bromley, Chris Cathrall, Stuart Rogers, Sam Litchfield, James Henderson, Lewis Irvine, Gareth Jones, Aaron Edwards, Adam Jenkins (Danny Barton 88’), Mark Davies (Jack Richards 80’). Unused subs: Nathan Leonard, Lee Andrew. Yellow: Adam Jenkins.
Referee: Mark Petch
Huws Gray Alliance–Saturday, 03 September.
Llanfair United ...............0
Jamie McDaid 16’
Chris Jones 27’
With torrential rain falling until just before kick off the new drainage at Llanfair came through the test with flying colours. The rain relented for the 90 minutes of the game and it proved to be a game of two halves with Port controlling the opening period to go two goals ahead but, with the travelling support expecting more of the same in the second half, the game deteriorated into a very scrappy affair. In many ways it was a similar Port performance to those at home to Buckley and Ruthin doing the important work in the opening period but then in the second half failing to dominate and put the game out of reach of the opposition.
Port, once the early skirmishes were over, took charge of the game with some excellent passing and movement. An early effort from Jamie McDaid was well saved by home keeper David Jones low near his right hand post. Shortly after that, Chris Jones put Iddon Price through, but the keeper was out well to save again. But with 16 minutes gone Port deservedly went ahead. Following some good work by Julian Williams down the right, his cross was deflected to Jamie McDaid on the left edge of the box. The forward looked up and drilled a shot across the keeper into the net. Julian Williams and Jamie McDaid were a constant threat and they combined again to provide McDaid with a shooting chance which was blocked for a corner. Almost inevitably the second goal came and it was the result of an excellent Port move. Gruff Williams set it up with a clever ‘round the corner’ flick, wrong footing the home defence and freeing Julian Williams whose cross provided Chris Jones with a heading chance which he took well at the back post.
Llanfair came more into the game in the latter stages of the opening half but Richard Harvey remained untested. Their best piece of pressure came after 35 minutes when Tom Clarke was forced to concede a corner under pressure from Astley. They went on to force two other corners but the half ended with Port coming close again and it was the same pairing at it again, with Jamie McDaid crossing to the far post and Julian Williams leaping high, only for his touch to send the ball narrowly wide.
The second half provided a direct contrast to the first, though Port started well ehough with Josh Banks finding Chris Jones in the box but, for once his first touch let him down and the chance disappeared. Keeper David Jones then saved well as Jamie McDaid fired powerfully cutting in from the left. But following this early burst the game increasingly scrappy and as the wind increased neither side was able to put passes together and create. But with Port unable to get the all important third goal travelling supporters were kept on tenterhooks with memories of Llanfair’s second half performance of last season came to mind. Just after the hour mark it needed a good save from Richard Harvey to keep out sub Rob Bennett’s well struck effort. Following more Llanfair pressure the ball broke for Nyasha Mwnamuke whose low shot was saved by Richard Harvey. But the closest the home side came to scoring was in the 88th minute. James Davies crossed into the box to set up an almighty scramble, with the ball being cleared off the line twice, a Richard Harvey save and a shot striking the Port post before it was eventually cleared. Port’s best second half chance when Jamie McDaid broke down the right and crossed to the near post where Julian Williams racing in was unfortunate not to apply a finishing touch.
Three points and the season’s first clean sheet sent the travelling support home happy. The only worry was seeing Richard Harvey limping off at the end.
PORTHMADOG: Richard Harvey, Gruff Williams, Josh Banks, Tom Clarke, Iolo Hughes, Rob Evans, Iddon Price, Ywain Gwynedd (Gareth Jones Evans 46’), Chris Jones (Cai Jones 72’), Julian Williams, Jamie McDaid (Paul Lewis 78’). Unused subs: Steve Bratt, Cai Parry. Yellow: Josh Banks 65’, Paul Lewis 90+.
LLANFAIR UNITED: David Jones, Alun Hughes, Matt Spencer, Nyasha Mwamuke, Ryan Davies, Steven Andrew, Joe Vaughan (Luke Gethin 46’), Dan Kenyon (Dan Jones 46’) , Josh Astley (Rob Bennett 46’) James Davies, Andrew Hughes. Sub: Jamie Waldron. Yellow: Steven Andrew 90+.
Referee: Andy Harms
Huws Gray Alliance –Tuesday, 23 August.
Julian Williams 43’
Nathan Craig 1’
Jamie Breese 13’
Caernarfon’s high tempo opening brought Port’s winning start to the season to an end. Conceding two goals inside the first fifteen minutes gave Port a mountain to climb. Having made flying starts themselves in their two previous matches, Port were now on the receiving end as Nathan Craig put the Cofis ahead, inside the first minute of the game, with a super strike. Jamie Breese’s deflected strike, after 13 minutes, doubled the advantage. Just as it seemed likely that Caernarfon would run away with it, to their credit Port gradually got themselves back into the game and cut the deficit just before the interval but, despite a great amount of second half possession and a huge spirited effort, there was no addition to the score in the second half.
A dramatic opening saw Nathan Craig making an early run from midfield and, before he could be closed down, sent a top quality shot which curled well out of Richard Harvey’s reach into the top corner of the net. The Canaries continued to threaten with their fast direct approach and Corey Williams took advantage of a partial clearance but his shot flew over the bar. Port then struck back themselves, with Cai Jones continuing his fine early season form to pull a cross back for Chris Jones, whose finish also went over the bar. Port then forced a couple of corners but before their recovery could gain momentum there was a second setback. Jamie Breese received a long ball from the back burst forward holding off two defenders to cut inside and unleash a powerful shot which was deflected beyond the outstretched Richard Harvey.
Port were enjoying more possession but without really testing Mike Jones in the Cofis goal. Chris Jones came nearest with a 20 yard effort which went narrowly over the bar. Caernarfon defended stoutly and looked to hit on the break with long balls forward for their pacy attackers. Midway through the opening half McGonigle rattled the post and Richard Harvey pulled off a smart save from the rebound which came off Tom Clarke. Misfortune struck again for Port as Cai Jones was forced off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Harvey was later in action again saving well from Breese, following a good break down the right. But with the half drawing to a close Port finally took advantage of their increasing possession to get a foothold in the game. Gruff Williams won the ball well wide on the left and his excellent cross to the back post was drilled into the net by Julian Williams for his sixth goal of the season. 2-1 at the interval.
Port came out strongly in the second half and the Canaries keeper was soon in action saving Jamie McDaid’s angled shot at his near post and soon after saving again from Rob Evans. Port continued the pressure as Gareth Jones Evans found Julian Williams on the edge of the box and a quality shot on the turn again tested keeper Mike Jones. But increasingly Port were being forced to shoot from outside the box with the best of these coming from Gareth Jones Evans. Caernarfon remained dangerous on the break and it needed another good Harvey save to keep out Breese. But Iddon Price and Ywain Gwynedd in midfield were driving Port forward and when Iddon Price broke into the box on the left it looked as though the chance had finally come as he was sent tumbling to the ground. But the referee ignored appeals for a penalty waving play on. Caernarfon’s best chance to seal the game came when a powerfully struck Nathan Craig free kick produced a difficult heading chance at the back post for Clive Williams. Port continued to search for the equaliser,forcing a series of late corners but the goal refused to come giving Caernarfon another victory by the odd goal.
Caernarfon get back on the winning trail having done the important work in the opening stages of the game. Port will be gutted to be pipped by the odd goal yet again but will be pleased to have matched last season’s champions in a largely even contest.
PORTHMADOG: Richard Harvey, Rob Evans, Gruff Williams, Tom Clarke, Iolo Hughes, Jamie McDaid, Chris Jones, Gareth Jones Evans (Cai Parry 75’), Julian Williams, Cai Jones (Yws Gwynedd 43’), Iddon Price. Unused subs: Steve Bratt, Josh Davies, Craig Papirnyk. Yellow: Gruff Williams 60’, Yws Gwynedd 71’.
CAERNARFON TOWN: Mike Jones, Joe Williams, Chris Williams, Tom Quinn, Gareth Edwards, Kevin Roberts, Cory Williams, Clive Williams, Corrig McGonigle (G Austin 88’), Nathan Craig. Unused subs: M. Johnson, S Ashworth, A Davies-Thomas, A Crofts (gk). Yellow: Kevin Roberts 58’.
Referee: Nick Pratt
Huws Gray Alliance –Saturday, 20 August.
Julian Williams 4’ Cai Jones 8’
Gruff J Williams 36’
Llyr Morris 22’
Port continued their good start to the season and, this week again, they put themselves on the road to victory even before ten minutes had elapsed. Plenty of chances were created as the visitors defence were given no time to settle. A quality goal from Julian Williams giving them the best possible start and a well constructed second followed, with Cai Jones putting the finishing touches. And though Ruthin cut the deficit, through Llyr Morris, Gruff Williams added the third before the interval and in so doing completed the scoring.
Port were on the attack from the off, keeping the ball well and building moves through the middle of the park. With just 4 minutes gone the ball was worked across from the right to reach Julian Williams on the edge of the box on the left. The forward looked up and seeing keeper Dylan Jones a couple of yards off his line, lobbed superbly over the stranded keeper. Two minutes later and Port opened up the Ruthin defence, with a move started by Ywain Gwynedd whose pass found Julian Williams wide left. The forward broke at pace getting behind the defence and his low cross provided Cai Jones with a simple tap in to put the home side two up.
Pressure on the Ruthin goal continued and a Chris Jones free kick hit the outside of the post. A Rob Evans effort went over the bar following good work by Chris Jones and Cai Jones. Ruthin were being served well by their keeper Dylan Jones cutting out a dangerous low ball from Chris Jones with forwards racing in on goal. But against the run of play Ruthin cut the deficit and it was a well taken goal with Llyr Morris outpacing the Port defence and scoring with a fine angled shot into the far corner. But despite this setback Port continued to create chances and could well have scored a couple more first half goals. In a slick Port move Ywain Gwynedd set up Cai Jones putting him clear on goal but keeper Dylan Jones kept his shot out. Cai Jones was having an outstanding game up front linking up play well and it needed another good save when the front man’s good lay off was fired goalwards by Ywain Gwynedd but Dylan Jones produced another good save. With the score at 2-1 however the visitors were not out of the game and Iddon Price had to clear another Llyr Morris effort off the line. But Port restored their two goal advantage when Cai Jones set up Gruff Williams but, despite getting a hand to the shot, the keeper could not prevent it rolling into the net. With half time approaching another shot from Cai Jones tested the keeper and Dylan Jones pulled off a good save to deny Gareth Jones Evans. 3-1 at the interval.
The second half lacked the quality of the opening half and it was perhaps not surprising that there were no goals in the second 45 minutes. Ruthin strove hard, knowing that a second goal would allow them back into the game. Just a minute into the half Garmon Hafal cut in from the left forcing a good save from Richard Harvey, lowdown. Ilan Hughes fired a shot from distance which curled wide of the angle. But by and large Port were able to keep the game under control and though they did not repeat the kind of movement seen in the opening half probably their best opportunity came five minutes before time when sub Cai Parry broke on the left and a good low ball would have found the net with even the slightest touch but instead it past everybody and ran across the face of goal. Ruthin continued to push forward to the end and there were late efforts from Luke Humphreys and Will Owen. However the final scored remained at 3-1.
Three wins out of three sets up things up well for Tuesday’s Gwynedd Derby game against the Cofis.
PORTHMADOG: Richard Harvey, Gruff Williams, Josh Banks, Iddon Price, Iolo Hughes, Gareth Jones Evans (Paul Lewis 62’), Chris Jones, Ywain Gwynedd (Steve Bratt 46’), Julian Williams (Cai Parry 75’). Unused subs: Craig Papirnyk, Jamie McDaid.
RUTHIN: Dylan Jones, Osian Davies, Jake Newell, Dan Jellicoe, James Etherington, Ilan Hughes, Josh Carney (Jason Williams 81’), Craig Wilkinson, Llyr Morris (Will Owen 62’), Tom Jones (Luke Humphreys 69’) , Garmon Hafal.
Referee: Alex Livesey.
Huws Gray Alliance –Saturday, 20 August.
Cai Jones 5’, 77’
Jamie McDaid 9’
Joel Haak 22’
Two goals in the first ten minutes put Port in the driving seat but Buckley got themselves back in the game with a goal midway through the first half and, from then on until a second Cai Jones goal with 13 minutes remaining, stayed in the game, creating one or two second half chances. The game was played in a strong wind often gusting to near gale force, blowing down the pitch. When Buckley had the wind at their backs in the second period, Port were grateful to Iolo Hughes and Tom Clarke at the centre of their defence for some sterling work which meant that Richard Harvey was not overworked.
Port took advantage of the wind at their backs in the first half to control the game in the early stages. It took them just five minutes to get themselves in front. Jamie McDaid played an excellent through ball for Cai Jones to run onto. He outpaced his marker and his well struck angled shot hit the foot of the post and into the net. Port continued to control possession, stretching the visitors’ defence and it was no surprise when they went further ahead. Again a through ball punished Buckley’s high defensive line with another through ball. This time Gareth Jones Evans was the provider allowing Jamie McDaid to race on and score with a clean finish across keeper Ben Roberts.
Whether it was a case of taking the foot off the pedal or a determined Buckley fight back, the visitors’ goal on 22 minutes changed the nature of the game. A good Tinsley corner and Joel Haak netted with a clean header. The game was now more even and on 35 minutes Buckley could have drawn level when a Andy Watkins free kick found Brad Flay in space but he screwed his shot wide. Towards the end of the half a Julian Williams free kick had keeper had keeper Ben Roberts at full stretch to turn the shot round the post. But at the interval it remained 2-1 to Port.
In the second half, play became scrappy and both teams found the blustery conditions difficult to contend with. It became a battle in midfield, with neither side establishing control and there were some beefy tackles going in. In the early stages Port managed a couple of headers with neither hitting the target. Twice near the hour mark Buckley had chances, first Asa Hamilton put Flay through only for Richard Harvey to save well. Then Tinsley intercepted a poor pass but drove wide of the far post. Following a period of Port pressure, forcing a series of corners, the deciding goal came. Julian Williams fastened on to a Gruff Williams free kick from the right to force keeper Ben Roberts into a save but Cai Jones was on hand to net from close range. Scoring the winner was no more than Cai’s performance deserved, giving the Buckley defence a hard time throughout with his strong physical game.
To their credit Buckley came again towards the end with Brad Cole unleashing a powerful shot from distance. In injury time sub Matty Roberts received at the back post and Richard Harvey was forced into a sharp save. But the score at the end remained 3-1 and Port deserved the three points.
This was a good follow up win to last week’s away victory, though Port were made to work hard and it needed a strong team performance to clinch the win. With another home fixture next weekend Port can build a good run of results.
PORTHMADOG: Richard Harvey, Gruff Williams, Josh Banks, Tom Clarke, Dan Roberts (Iolo Hughes 38’), Jamie McDaid (Yws Gwynedd 46’), Chris Jones, Gareth Jones Evans (Paul Lewis 61’), Julian Williams, Cai Jones, Rob Evans. Unused subs: Josh Davies, Craig Papirnyk. Yellow: Rob Evans 68’.
BUCKLEY: Ben Roberts, Dan Burgess, Chris Roberts, Dan Stanton (Josh Gannon 76’), Jamie Evans (Jake Skymer 62’), Joel Haak, Brad Cole, Andy Watkins, Asa Hamilton, Brad Flay, Sean Tinsley (Matty Roberts 71’). Unused subs: James Rumsey, Cory Leggett. Yellow: Brad Cole.
Referee: Andy Hames.
Huws Gray Alliance –Saturday, 13 August.
Lee Jones 54’ (p)
Julian Williams 30’, 37’, 68’, 83’,
Jamie McDaid 40’, 88’
Port started the season in style with a big win. It was a shaky start and they could have found themselves behind in the first two minutes. Gradually the much changed visitor’s squad settled and started to control things in the middle of the park and threaten down both flanks. There were good performances all round with last season’s top scorer (11 goals), Julian Williams, finding the net four times and Jamie McDaid netting twice and providing two quality assists. The two turned in star performances deserving to share the Man of the Match accolade between them.
The game was played on an excellent Alyn Park surface, which was a credit to the home club. An excellent clubhouse provided a warm welcome and it was also good to understand that the floodlights will be back in use this season. A summer’s hard work has certainly upped the facilities at Alyn Park.
The home team were off to an excellent start and the travelling support soon had last season’s disappointing opener against Rhayader in mind. Twice in the first two minutes Port could have found themselves behind and misplaced defensive passes were largely to blame. In the very first minute Josh Williams came close with a header and a minute later a defensive error allowed Nathan Munro in one on one with Richard Harvey who got a hand to the shot. But the lesson was not learned and another casual pass on 15 minutes allowed Mold to break forward and Nathan Munro, when well placed, headed wide. But on 19 minutes the home side deservedly went ahead with Rhys Nash rising well to meet a free kick and flick a header over Richard Harvey.
The set back seemed to rally Port and gradually they began to gain control in midfield and star forwards Jamie McDaid and Julian Williams were beginning to exploit the space down the flanks. With Cai Jones also working hard and linking up well at the front, it appeared only a matter of time before the equaliser came. On the half hour keeper Eric Nixon got a hand to a ball played in from the right but Julian Williams was on hand to net from close range. This was the start of a purple patch which saw Port score three times in the space of 10 minutes. Julian Williams’ second was probably the pick of some very good goals. Jamie McDaid received from Iddon Price and his pin point cross was superbly volleyed past Nixon by Julian Williams to put Port ahead. Three minutes later and it was 3-1 as supplier Jamie McDaid turned scorer. Tom Clarke found him with a free kick. Jamie turned well went past two defenders and fired across Nixon into the far corner of the net. But on the stroke of half time Mold came again and it needed a good defensive header from Tomos Clarke to clear a dangerous cross from Hassan. But Port retained their 3-1 advantage at the interval.
There was an early threat from Alex in second period and when a corner was only partially cleared Hassan thundered a shot against the crossbar. At the other end it was Chris Jones testing Nixon after a good break and shot. Then eight minutes into the second half and Alex were back in the game when Hassan got in on the blind side of Dan Roberts who brought him down and received a yellow card from referee Cheryl Foster, who also pointed to the spot. The penalty was emphatically converted by Lee Jones, 3-2 now and game on again.
But as in the first half, the goal only served to further inspire Port and in the 20 minute period between the 68th and 88th minute they netted a further three times. It was another assist from Jamie McDaid and inevitably it was Julian Williams who got on the end of it with a spectacular diving header at the back post. Seven minutes from time and a Port counter attack saw Josh Banks release Julian and he used his pace to outstrip the defence and finish clinically from a narrow angle for his fourth of the afternoon. The scoring was completed two minutes from time with Jamie McDaid getting back in on the act. He received just inside the box but with a bit left to do, he kept his head and when the opening appeared he coolly slotted the ball into the net. This capped a quality performance and showed that this team can go places if they are given time to gel and develop.
This game was also noteworthy for being refereed by Cheryl Foster and we understand her to be only the second female ever to take charge of a HGA match. Well, if today is anything to go by, let’s have more female referees. Congratulations Cheryl.
While an opening day result should never lead us to any rash predictions, a win is a win and will hopefully give the squad the confidence to build on this victory. One lesson to take from this game is that it is easy to blame strikers for a lack of goals but given the ammunition and the front men will deliver. The game also underlined the strength of the squad Craig is building, with Gareth Jones Evans, Ywain Gwynedd and Iolo Hughes coming from the bench as second half substitutes. Quite a trio and Ceri James and Josh Davies yet to return! A good day indeed, let’s hope for many more before next April.
PORTHMADOG: Richard Harvey, Gruff Williams, Josh Banks, Tom Clarke, Dan Roberts (Iolo Hughes), Iddon Price, Chris Jones, Rob Evans (Gareth Jones Evans), Julian Williams, Cai Jones (Ywain Gwynedd), Jamie McDaid. Unused subs: Steve Bratt, Craig Papirnyk. Yellow: Dan Roberts 54’.
MOLD ALEX: Eric Nixon, Reece Riley, Andreas Scnomides, Jordan Dilworth. Chris Rooney, Danny Brooks. Lewis Hassan. Rhys Nash. Lee Jones, Josh Williams. Used subs: Lionel Loik Agiedjan, Kenny Irons, Jordan Thomas. Yellow: Kenny Irons 62’.
Referee: Cheryl Foster