Cymru Alliance
10 Oct 2008
Holyhead Hotspur 1 Glantraeth 0
Report by Stan Strickland

Glantraeth had comfortably held the league leaders until the dismissal of defender Gafyn Lloyd Jones with 25 minutes remaining changed the game. Playing against the driving wind and rain it was backs to the wall time as Glan defiantly tried to hang on for a point but their resistance was finally broken six minutes from time as Marc Evans converted a Mike Kelly cross following a slip by Darren Jones.

It was Glantraeth who enjoyed the benefit of the elements during the first half with Emyr Rowlands twice trying his luck from long range in the opening eight minutes. A testing corner kick from Chris Evans was well dealt with by the home defence then Kevin Roberts tried his luck from a free kick fully 45 yards out with his wind assisted effort skimming only a couple of feet wide.

A surging run by Mike Edwards on 22 minutes proved the first real threat from the home side as they struggled to cross the halfway line in near farcical conditions. Three minutes later a long throw from Emyr Rowlands was met by Chris Saxon whose header on goal was caught under the bar by keeper Liam Shanahan. Good link up play down the right between Chris Evans and debutant Dave Hughes threatened for Glantraeth but the final ball in was disappointing.

The visitors were passing the ball around well but again were not carrying enough of a goal threat and it took a good tackle from Darren Jones to prevent Hotspurís Ian Williams bursting through eight minutes before the break.

Glantraeth went close to an opener a minute later as Shanahan fumbled a shot from Emyr Rowlands then had to make a point blank save as Chris Saxon pounced on the loose ball. From the corner kick Kevin Roberts met the ball on the volley at the far post but the ball flew off high into the night sky never to be seen again.

Playing into the wind and rain Glantraeth continued to look solid at the back as the second half opened with skipper Gareth Owen in particular having an outstanding game at the heart of the defence although there was a minor scare on 53 minutes as an effort from Kenleigh Owen was not too far off target.

Glan keeper Marc Newbould was called into serious action for the first time just past the hour mark, twice making diving saves from Curt Williams and Mike Edwards but a difficult task was made even tougher in the 65th minutes as central defender Gafyn Lloyd Jones was dismissed following a second caution after pulling back a Holyhead forward.

With leading scorer Marc Evans introduced from the bench Hotspur now went for the kill but Glan continued to defend superbly and even when Gareth Owen slipped as he went to clear substitute Andy Tower was there to block any further progress and when the ball did get through to Newbould his handling was invariably spot on.

With six minutes remaining it looked like Glan might hold out for the point their efforts deserved but tragedy struck as an attempted clearance by Darren Jones was sliced into the path of Mike Kelly whose cross to the far post was expertly put away by Marc Evans. Within a minute Glan almost snatched a dramatic equaliser as a shot from Chris Evans looked as if it might creep just inside a post only for Shanahan to make a last ditch save and push the ball for a corner. Chris Saxon met the corner kick with a firm header that passed wide.

In a spectacular finale to the game keeper Marc Newbould pulled off a stunning save from Hotspurís Mike Kelly. With the ball looking destined for the top corner an amazing leap from the keeper, who must be all of eight inches shorter than his predecessor Gareth OJ Roberts, saw him get a hand to the ball and push it just clear of the crossbar.

It is slowly coming right for Glantraeth. They defended magnificently tonight, enjoyed some good possession and played the ball around well in dreadful conditions but unless all this good work is converted into goals the struggle to escape the bottom three will not get any easier.

Glantraeth: Marc Newbould, Dave Hughes, Darren Jones, Gafyn Lloyd Jones, Gareth Owen, Emyr Rowlands, Paul Rowlands, Chris Saxon, Gerallt Jones (Andy Tower 71), Kevin Roberts, Chris Evans.