Welsh Premier (JT Hughes, Mitsubishi) -Saturday, May 1st
Porthmadog .... 0 Rhyl ... 2
Gary Powell 18
Andy Moran 89
Rhyl are champions! It was a triumph gained on the back of wonderful season
rather than by a brilliant season finale. In fact until Andy Moran punished
a defensive slip-up with only a minute left on the clock Port were always in
with a chance to spoil the party. Port can, in fact, count themselves
unlucky not to have gained a share of the spoils on the day.
During the opening phase of the game Rhyl enjoyed most of the possession and
controlled the midfield with Steve Walters showing up well. As early as the
second minute McGuigan was in action keeping out a close range effort and
soon Moran was breaking on the right and feeding Powell on the edge of the
box but the shot flew over the bar. Rhyl applied the pressure but Davies,
Webber and an outstanding John Gwynfor closed them down well denying Moran a
shot on target on more than one occasion -though Timmy Edwards had a shot
deflected for a corner. Then after 18 mins Jamie Brewerton created the
opening for the first goal when he received on the left and played a good
low ball into the box finding Gary Powell in space and the experienced
forward drove right footed low well past McGuigan. Apart from a shot over
the bar by Walters on the half-hour the league leaders failed to carve out
any more opportunities during the opening half. In fact the home side came
more into the game with Carl Owen outpacing the Rhyl defence in pursuit of a
bouncing through ball but Smith for the visitors rushed out of goal to do
enough to force Owen to screw his shot wide of the upright.
Port started well in the second period and after 50 mins they were very
unlucky not to find themselves back on level terms when Gareth Caughter
burst through the centre and supplied Carl Owen on the left who turned
inside his marker and sent a curling 20 yd. shot rattling against the
upright with Smith beaten. Carl Owen was soon threatening again down the
left outpacing Edwards but his shot was diverted for a corner. Then as the
home side continued to apply the pressure the referee Kevin Parry turned
down a loud 58th minute appeal for hand ball against Brewerton. The referee
must have been one of the few people not to have spotted the incident and
the TV cameras confirmed that indeed it should have been a penalty.
Rhyl realised that they needed to score again to feel secure and Limbert
received a good crossfield ball in space on the right to send a deep cross
to the far post and though Moran met it well his header went over the bar.
Another far post header this time by Powell from a Graves free-kick was
again over the bar. A timely tackle by Ryan Davies and a save by McGuigan
from Walters followed but another Rhyl goal did not appear on the cards.
Indeed Port picked the pace again and sub Tony Williams threatened with a
good run on the right and with two minutes to go Carl Owen controlled
superbly on the edge of the box and cut inside to fire a low drive just past
Smith's left hand post.
With a minute left Mike Foster appeared to lose his footing and Moran, who
had been well held up until that point, was on hand to take a typical
striker's goal with a controlled run and a clinical finish. It was then a
case of let the party start and soon players and supporters alike in the 837
crowd had started their well deserved celebration of a magnificent Welsh
Port will again take heart from another good all round performance and look
forward to next season hoping performances are turned into points.
Port: Gerard McGuigan, John G Jones, Ryan Davies, Lee Webber, Mike Foster,
Gareth Caughter, Dafydd Evans( Campbell Harrison), Ritchie Owen, Graham
Austin( Gareth Parry), Mark Williams( Tony Williams), Carl Owen
Rhyl: Paul Smith, James Brewerton, Mark Powell, Lee Atherton, Tim Edwards,
Steve Walters, Gareth Wilson, Mark Limbert, Andy Moran, Gary Powell, Stuart
Subs: Michael Jackson, Chris McGinn, Chris Adamson.
Welsh Premier (J T Hughes, Mitsubishi) -Saturday, April 24th
Porthmadog ... 2 Caersws ...3
Graham Austin 6 Hugh Clarke 42
Campbell Harrison 83 Andrew Davies 61
Graham Evans 76
Port started the game well against a Caersws side whose late run has taken
them into the top five. In the sixth minute a good passing movement enabled
them them get their noses in front. Dafydd Evans struck a fine ball inside
the back for Steve Pugh to race on to and the winger made ground to the
bye-line before placing a perfect cross for Graham Austin to head home his
first goal since joining the club. Caersws almost struck back immediately as
Graham Evans stole behind the defence but for once his strike was wayward.
As Port dropped back to protect their lead they conceded the centre field to
the visitors who now pressed forward in search of an equaliser. A Venables
corner from the left was cleared off the line by Pugh and this was followed
by a shot wide of the mark by Jamie Davies after good work by Andrew Davies.
McGuigan was then called upon to make the first of several fine saves when
with a one handed diving save he kept out Graham Evans at close range. Soon
Foster had to head off his line following a Kevin Scott free-kick. The home
side were defending too deeply and failing to close down in midfield.
McGuigan was in action again reacting quickly to keep out a Graham Evans
flick. Port were now confined to the occasional break as when Mark Williams
supplied Ritchie Owen whose shot was just off target. The almost inevitable
equaliser came just three minutes before the interval. Venables whipped a
powerful corner which was deflected at the near post straight into the path
of central defender Hugh Clarke who had the simplest of tasks to head home
from close range.
In the second-half both sides enjoyed periods of pressure. The visitors
started well but McGuigan kept Port on level terms with a superb 54th minute
reflex save to keep out Andrew Davies. Caersws deservedly went ahead after
61 mins when Venables beat McGuigan to the ball on the right of the box
before making a quick transfer for Andrew Davies to shoot into the empty
goal. Port did not allow their heads to go down and with the introduction of
Gareth Parry and Tony Williams making a difference they pushed forward. Good
build up work by Gareth Caughter and Gareth Parry allowed Tony Williams to
get to the bye-line but there was no one to exert a finishing touch to his
low cross. As Port pushed forward Caersws took advantage to counter-attack
and though McGuigan pulled off another fine save from Andrew Davies it was
Graham Evans who was on hand to score his 22nd goal of the season after 76
Port continued to push forward with the visitors beginning to show cracks at
the back. Gareth Parry caught Mulliner by surprise but could not get enough
power on his header. The introduction of Cambell Harrison brought back
memories of his wonder goal at Colwyn Bay. He scored on this occasion too,
but this time it was a close range effort. Tony Williams chipped the ball
over a static Caersws defence and Mulliner was faced with three home
attackers bearing down on him but it was Harrison who steerred the ball into
the net. Though Port were second best overall they continued to pressurise
but the equaliser eluded them.
All in all a good game with both sides attempting to play football.Port
missed out once more by the odd goal. Caersws are certainly one of the best
sides to visit the Traeth this season and had they started the season as
they are finishing then maybe TNS and Rhyl would have been given a run for
Port: McGuigan, John G Jones, Ryan Davies, Lee Webber, Mike Foster, Steve
Pugh( C Harrison), Dafydd Evans, Gareth Caughter, Ritchie Owen( Tony
Williams), Graham Austin( Gareth Parry), Mark Williams.
Caersws: ,Mulliner, Probert, Scott, Reynolds, Clarke, Howells, Venables,
Jamie Davies, Graham Evans, Graham Jones, Andrew Davies.
Subs: McPhee, Mark Lewis, David Jones.
Welsh Premier (JT Hughes, Mitsubishi) -Friday, April 16th
Caernarfon ... 0 Porthmadog .... 2
Gareth Caughter 22
Steve Pugh 72
Port resisted the temptation to engage in a long ball battle -choosing
instead to return to a refreshing passing game and in so doing secured a
valuable three points to complete the double over their Gwynedd rivals. Port
had made their intentions clear on the night by selecting wingers Steve Pugh
and Graham Austin.The visitors, however, took a little time to settle on
what was a bumpy and uneven surface and were grateful to see keeper McGuigan
quickly out of his goal to save at the feet of Kieron Durkan after 7 mins.
The signs that Port would take control of the game were soon apparent with
Mike Foster and Graham Austin combining well to set up Mark Williams on the
left of the home box but the striker's shot from a narrow angle was well
saved by keeper Willcock.
Port were now enjoying a good period of pressure with Dafydd Evans, after 19
mins, setting up Pugh on the right but though the winger did well to break
to the bye-line his cross was cut out by Brandreth. A minute later and
Caughter with a perfectly judged through ball sent Pugh clear on the right
of the box but the low finish was well saved by Willcock at the expense of a
corner. The goal which seemed likely as Port applied the pressure came after
22 mins when Mark Williams did well to control under pressure midway into
the Canaries half before turning well and measuring his pass perfectly for
Gareth Caughter supporting from midfield who found the net with a good
finish from 18 yds. Soon after Durkan, the former Wrexham and Swansea
professional, was withdrawn and striker Calvin Davies was introduced. Later
Willcock was forced to save at full stretch when Hobson headed back a flying
Austin header. The home side strove to get back on terms before the interval
but their route one high ball efforts were well countered by Lee Webber and
Ryan Davies who completely restricted the experienced pairing of Steve
Watkin and Calvin Davies. Behind them Gerard McGuigan was totally secure
under the high ball controlling his box confidently. Half-time came with the
visitors well worthy of the lead.
Port's superiority became even more marked after the interval and Pugh had a
hand in creating two openings for Graham Austin but the winger was narrowly
off target when well placed. Almost immediately Mark Williams set up
Caughter with a good cross from the left but the header flew wide of the
target. On the hour Austin returned the compliment to supply Pugh but
Willcock was quickly out to smother the shot. Caernarfon meantime created
little and their only real threat on goal came when Wayne Phillips, in the
70th minute, was adjudged to have been brought down on the edge of the box
and Dylan Owen's free-kick curled narrowly wide. Two minutes later and Port
scored the second goal which they thoroughly deserved. Once again it came
thanks to good work by Mark Williams who robbed a dithering Paul Roberts in
his own box and squared the ball for the advancing Pugh to shoot low past
Ther was now no way back for the Cofis and indeed the visitors were worth
more than a two goal victory against the expensively assembled home side.
Gareth Parry who came on for Austin late on gave notice that he is getting
over his injury sending a couple of sweeping 30 yard passes to both wings
which could have brought additions to the score. This was a good all round
performance by Port with McGuigan and the excellent back-four in front of
him ensuring that Caernarfon could not create a single worthwhile goal
scoring opportunity -producing a rare cleansheet. On this occasion
sufficient chances were also created and taken to give a well deserved
Caernarfon: Willcock, Paul Roberts, Mike Maloney, Wayne Phillips, Tim
Brandreth, Mark Hobson, Kieran Durkan, Leigh Williams, Steve Watkin, Dylan
Owen, Martyn Chalk.
Subs: Calvin Davies, Dave Norman, Luke Campbell
Port: McGuigan, John G Jones, Ryan Davies, Lee Webber, Mike Foster, Steve
Pugh (Danny hughes0, Dafydd Evans, Ritchie Owen, Graham Austin(Gareth
Parry), Gareth Caughter, Mark Williams(Tony Williams)
Welsh Premier (J T Hughes, Mitsubishi) -Saturday, April 12th
Aberystwyth ... 1 Porthmadog .... 0
M. Lloyd-Williams 23
Port were distinctly unfortunate to slip to yet another single goal defeat
against an Aberystwyth side who, despite their elevated league position,
they more than matched in all facets of the game. Once again a lack of goal
power let them down. The result of the game hinged on a freak incident in
the 23rd minute when following a poor clearance Mark Lloyd-Williams sent a
high speculative ball towards the Port goal from just inside the Port half.
The looping ball went high over the stranded McGuigan and to the amazement
of all and, none more so than Mark Lloyd Williams himself, it dipped under
the bar and put the home side ahead. Ironically this was the striker's only
contribution to a game where he was comfortably marshalled by the excellent
Prior to the goal Port had the better of the early play and they could have
gone ahead in the 8th minute when a Mark Williams flick fell to Carl Owen
whose shot lacked power and ran straight to keeper Worsnop. An excellent
Ryan Davies ball found Caughter on the right and the winger cut inside
Burrows and tested Worsnop again. The clearest chance of all came after 20
mins when Mike Foster caught out the home defence with a low free-kick into
the box and Carl Owen saw his shot fly just over the bar with the goal
gaping in front of him. Then came the freak goal and for a period Port
became unsettled and none more than McGuigan himself who was guilty of a
couple of misdirected kicks one of which provided Anthony Wright with a
clear chance on goal but his shot was off target. A glaring Ryan Davies
error went unpunished thanks to a well timed Webber intervention. Just
before half-time McGuigan confirmed that he was back on his game with a fine
reflex save from a Bari Morgan blaster. The half ended with Carl Owen again
threatening along the left for Port.
Port had the better of the play in the second period without creating any
clear-cut chances. The home defence held out with a mixture of defensive
scrambles and often heavy tackling. The game rarely flowed with the ball
spending far too much time in the air as both sides usually by-passed the
midfield relying on route one. Aberystwyth in the second period relied
mainly on counter-attacks and from one of these Morgan brought a fine save
from McGuigan who also pulled off a fine diving near post save from a
Hennigan free-kick. Port's best efforts came from a Caughter far post header
and then following a good build-up Lee Webber's shot few over the bar.
The introduction of Graham Austin on the left for Port opened up the game
and he made several dangerous runs on the wing. An unsavoury incident near
the end saw Carl Owen being withdrawn following a dangerous tackle by keeper
Worsnip who made no effort to play the ball. Amazingly he only received a
yellow card from the over tolerant referee. One last effort and after
applying more pressure Ritchie Owen's well struck effort from 18yds cannoned
off the bar to safety.
This was not an attractive game but Port supporters are at a loss to
understand how Aberystwyth occupy such an elevated position in the table.
Aberystwyth: Worsnop, Burrows, Lee, Aneurin Thomas, Short, Baker, M.
Lloyd-Williams, Morgan, Wright, Ricky Evans, Hennigan.
Subs: Lawless, Llyr Hughes, Brynmor Jones.
Port: McGuigan, John G Jones, Ryan Davies, Lee Webber, Mike Foster, Gareth
Caughter ( Graham Austin), Dafydd Evans, Gareth Parry (Danny Hughes),
Ritchie Owen, Mark Williams, Carl Owen( Tony Williams).