Kick off:14:30 Saturday, 21st Dec 2013
at The Book People Stadium, Nantporth, Bangor
Fixture Type: Welsh Premier League
Referee: Mark Petch
Les Davies on the attack for Bangor (Photo: Andre Pepper)
Bangor City’s leading goalscorer Les Davies produced an amazing match winning finish, applying a purposeful closer range header, to elevate the Citizen’s up to third in the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League, during the second minute of added time, in monsoon conditions against battling and defiant Afan Lido at Nantporth. (reports Robert Clement).
During the second half period the Gwynydd side dominated, with the assistance of a gale force wind and incessant rain, they ultimately left it late to make the breakthrough, following two score-less encounters at Prestatyn and Rhyl.
It was Bangor who began brightly after only three minutes, with Sion Edwards bursting forward at speed to provide Jamie Petrie with the chance of making a lightning impact, only for him to despatch the ball straight into the hands of visiting goalkeeper Craig Richards, from the edge of the penalty area.
Bangor continued to make life uncomfortable for Lido four minutes later, with Rhondda born skipper Mark Crutch producing an important clearance from a Joe Culshaw cross, but it resulted in Declan Walker then blazing a low thirty yard shot that whistled wide of the far upright.
There was an opportunity for the visitors to produce a scoring threat two minutes later, with the help of a Kieran Howard free kick from just inside the Bangor half which was seized upon by defender Ryan Batley, but despite the former Llanelli player successfully applying a headed goal threat, Lee Idzi who had not been beaten for just under one hundred and sixty minutes made a crucial save.
Lido, clearly encouraged by that purposeful threat were eager to increase the tempo, and when Casey Thomas directed the ball into the path of the advancing Keyon Reffell, the frontrunner shook off the attention of Michael Johnston to steer a low byline pass to the feet of Alex Chrystanthou, but he failed to compose himself and wasted the golden option, with his finishing curling wide of the post just before the half hour.
Ten minutes later it was Chrystanthou who was adopting a defensive role in the Lido penalty box, heading clear a Rob Jones cross, but Edwards regained possession for Bangor, with him setting up a chance which Jones took full advantage of to test Richards, with the keeper stretching up to fingertip the goal attempt over the top.
Lido made a spirited start following the interval, and Alex Gammond looked bright eyed and eager after latching onto a Thomas opening, but unfortunately he blazed a well time goal threat narrowly wide of the goal frame, from just inside the penalty box.
With the strong wind and rain in their favour, Bangor were probing the Lido rearguard with the help of a Rob Jones throw, Davies hastily gained possession to then set up Jones, with his on target effort being pushed away by the agile Richards at his near post.
Lido were forced to defend stoutly just after the hour period with play being confined to the visitor’s half, and after Davies had lost possession following a tackle by Howard, it was Walker who popped up to despatch a shot on target which was blocked by Richards.
Bangor gradually began to come more into the picture
, with the aid of a free kick by Johnston on halfway, Crutch then won the aerial challenge with Davies, only for the rapidly approaching Rob Jones to volley an excellent threat wide of the target.
The tide of Bangor attacks continued to intensify, with substitute Jamie Media a seventy eighth minute replacement for Petrie latching onto a diagonal pass from Edwards within six minutes of his introduction, but his route forward was halted by a challenge from Howard, Rob Jones then found Walker in space, with him bringing out a superb reaction save from the constantly involved Lido shot stopper.
With the South Wales travellers appearing to have successfully snatched a point, with Bangor’s domination destined to be in vain, there was joy and despair when a ninety second minute free kick was awarded to the Citizen’s on the edge of the Lido box.
Edwards ultimately whipped the ball into the congested goalmouth, for Davies to rise highest and powerfully head home the decider, with wild celebrations instantly following that epic breakthrough.
Relieved Bangor City manager Neville Powell later spoke with WPL reporter Robert Clement in the Nantporth Stadium Media Centre, with him responding to having got there in the end.
“We always leave it late, don’t we, but there’s one thing about that team, they keep going until the final whistle, and all credit to the two sets of players for trying to play football in them conditions”.
“You’ve never seen anything like it, but we were defending the wind in the first half with Afan Lido doing the same in second period, and we managed to put so many balls in the penalty box, one of them was going to fall to us, and we’re just thankful it fell to Les Davies during the second minute of injury time, because that was a big three points for us”.
Reflecting on the balance of play you deserved it?
“Yes I think so; I believe that we did. Afan Lido came here with a game plan to sit deep and hit us on the break, and they succeeded for more than ninety minutes, but what a set of players, playing with a never say die attitude, with them wanting that goal, and it could turn out to be a massive three points and that’s our quest for the top six”.
With a busy period, with four matches to go before the split, do you think that you can build on this performance today?
“Definitely, that’s a big three points today, I think that thirty points will make the top six with the way teams are taking points off each other, but we’ll prepare for Bala twice; it won’t be easy over Christmas, but as you see we’re on a great run now with an excellent set of players we’ve got here, and all credit to them, they’re buzzing”.
Afan Lido manager Paul Evans then provided his reaction to losing the match during the final threat in the game.
I’m extremely disappointed, conditions didn’t help the game for both sides, but we deserved at least a point out of the game with a couple of half chances in the final third, where we should have done better”.
He added, “As I’ve just said to the players in the dressing room, they should be proud of the effort they put in; seeing the way that Bangor celebrated at the end of the game, with it meaning so much for them to score in the ninety second minute. We put a great performance in, especially in the second forty five minutes, with the players effort and commitment being simply first class”.
(Photos; Andre Pepper)