Echoes of CHAMPIONEE'S, CHAMPIONEES reverberated around Maesdu Park at the end of a tense Cup Final in which Glantraeth and Bala Town went down to the wire in a game which was eventually won on the lottery of the penalty shoot out after neither side could be separated in normal time or in added on time. Hero of the day was Glantraeth Goalkeeper Steve Thomas who save a penalty from Bala's Llion Roberts and then coolly stepped up to take Glantraeth's fifth and final penalty to score making it 5-3 on the day before being mobbed by his team mates. One had to feel sympathy for Colin Caton's battling side who exited in what is the cruelest of way with a penalty shoot out, I think all Managers would agree with that, but one team has to win and it was Glantraeth' s day today.
Glantraeth started out as favourites, having already beaten Bala Town home and away in the league this season, but Bala Town are the Alliance League Cup Holders from season 2004/05 and they were not going to give up the trophy lightly and without a fight. In a scrappy first half both teams struggled to get going as passes went astray and the first tough was lacking. An early chance for Glantraeth fell to Richard Hughes, but his shot was blocked by Bala Town custodian Paul Evans, at the other end Neil Davies almost broke through. Twenty minutes were on the clock with hardly a chance on goal for both teams when Kevin Roberts of Glantraeth put a good free kick wide of the upright. Lee Dixon then blazed over the bar and Steve Thomas made a good save from Bala's Mark Griffiths. As the first half was coming to an uneventful close Richard Hughes headed wide from a Rob Williams cross and Kevin Roberts put a chance over the bar.
The second half started much the same as the first ended before on 60 minutes Lee Dixon shot wide with what was the best chance of the game so far. A minute later Craig Roberts set up Richard Hughes, but he shot high over the bar from 22 yards out. Mark Thomas hit a vicious dipping shot that the keeper did very well to to onto the crossbar and over. Then Paul Armour who was having a good game shot up field hit a shot that clipped the crossbar. With normal time almost up Neil Fisher hit a shot that Steve Thomas did well to push onto the post and away. A minute was left on the clock as the match official Paul Morgan from Aberystwyth pulled up and had to be replaced by the fourth official Pat Beech.
The game went into extra time and on 95 minutes Kevin Roberts saw Paul Evans pull off another good saving tipping over the bar. Then the dangerous Armour broke once again up field but shot wide. Simon Kay then came on and hit a fierce shot that deflected for a corner. The corner taken by Darren Gowans found Mark Thomas who was wide of the upright with his header. Glantraeth then had the ball in the net from Craig Roberts but the linesman ruled offside. Still no score after the extra time so onto the penalty shoot out.
First up was SIMON KAY who made no mistake, PAUL ARMOUR replied. WARREN GIBBS made it 2-1, veteran CRAIG LAWTON scored to make it 2-2. CRAIG ROBERTS kept the momentum going for 3-2. Then Glantraeth keeper Steve THOMAS saved Llion Roberts spot kick and MARK THOMAS made it 4-2. JASON WOOD pulled it back to 4-3 before Hero Goalkeeper stepped a coolly slotted past Evans into the top of the net, for 5-3 and with Glantraeth's 100% Penalty take there was no need to take the final Bala Penalty as Glantraeth won the game.
This was Glantraeth's first silverware under Paul Whelan's Management and congratulations must go to him and the players for all their efforts over a long long season. Part one of the dream has now become a reality. Lets look forward to what could be part two on Tuesday at Buckley in what could be the League Title decider.
SCORERS:- SIMON KAY (PEN)
WARREN GIBBS (PEN)
CRAIG ROBERTS (PEN)
MARK THOMAS (PEN)
STEVE THOMAS (PEN)