Fourth placed Ruthin Town finished very much second best to a Glantraeth side that has now taken on a new lease of life under acting manager Emyr Rowlands. It might be a little dramatic to put it all down to ‘player power’ but certainly the involvement of some of the senior players in team selection and match preparation has generated a spirit of togetherness that has been all too apparent in the last two performances against high ranking sides. Skipper Gareth Owen never stopped urging on his side and how they responded, every player totally committed over the full 97 minutes that referee Gwynne Vaughan elected to play!
It had looked like being another frustrating afternoon when Ruthin gained an undeserved equaliser ten minutes from time but heads refused to drop and David Alan Jones’ winner on 86 minutes was no more than the visitors deserved for a terrific display.
The opening ten minutes saw chances at both ends, keeper Marc Newbould going down well to save from Ruthin’s Shaun Williams on 4 minutes and a minute later Glan had their first chance as Alan Jones’ glancing header from an Adam Jones cross had home keeper Simon Williams diving to his left to save then Mark Owens met a long ball from Chris Evans but failed to connect cleanly with his volleyed attempt on goal. Will Roberts and Liam Jones both had efforts on goal for Ruthin in a bright opening from both sides.
The game gradually settled down into a midfield battle in which Glan were playing the ball around confidently but sprang back to life on 25 minutes as Ruthin’s Simon Hulse tried his luck with a dipping shot from outside the area only for the ball to drop on to the top of the crossbar.
Some neat passing between Mark Owens and Alan Jones gave Kevin Roberts a shooting opportunity four minutes later but the Ruthin keeper wasn’t troubled as the ball flew a couple of feet too high. Another good move from Glan led to an effort on the turn from Alan Jones but he failed to get any real power on his shot and it was easily saved. A twenty-five yarder from Chris Evans in the 31st minute was much better and this time Williams had to scramble quickly across his goal to save.
Glantraeth were looking the better side but it was again Ruthin who came closest to a goal on 36 minutes from their danger man Simon Hulse. His first effort was well saved by Newbould but as the ball came back out he got in another shot that came back off the upright.
With the half-time whistle approaching the home keeper saved from Mark Owens but failed to hold on to the ball, Alan Jones coming close to taking advantage as the ball spun loose.
With less than twenty seconds of the second period played Glan went close to taking the lead as a great ball in from Kevin Roberts was volleyed just wide by Mark Owens then Kevin Roberts himself had a fine attempt that passed inches wide with the keeper beaten.
A snap shot from Ruthin skipper Ben Collins was wildly off target on 50 minutes but it was now Glan that were getting on top and as a cross from Mark Owens came in Emyr Rowlands nicely set the ball up for Caerwyn Roberts to try his luck but he got under the ball and it flew harmlessly over.
Ruthin were struggling to keep the visitors at bay with Emyr Rowlands surging powerfully forward but he was beaten by the bobbly pitch as he lined up a shot then Kevin Roberts drove wide. Caerwyn Roberts, who was having a sparkling debut for Glan, then cut in from the right but lifted his right foot shot just too high.
A goal had to come and the arrival of Anthony Hughes from the bench on 64 minutes paid immediate dividends as a minute later he took on a defender to create the space for a shot on goal before burying the ball in the bottom corner.
The home side were not going to give up their chance of moving into third place without a fight and keeper Marc Newbould saved brilliantly at the feet of Liam Jones on 72 minutes as the Ruthin forward closed in on goal. Chris Evans wasn’t too far off adding another for Glan three minutes later as he spotted the keeper off his line and tried an audacious lob from fully 30 yards that dipped inches over with Williams frantically trying to get back.
It looked like it might all go wrong with ten minutes remaining as Liam Jones whipped in a corner from the left and Shaun Williams came racing in to head home at the near post and put Ruthin level. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves Glan immediately took the game back to Ruthin with Caerwyn Roberts almost catching the Ruthin keeper off guard with a shot from a free kick when he was clearly expecting a cross. Substitute James Burgess was only inches away from making contact with a dangerous cross from Chris Evans on 83 minutes but Glan got the winner their performance so richly deserved three minutes later as keeper Simon Williams failed to hold a corner kick delivered by Caerwyn Roberts and Alan Jones was quickly in to scoop the ball into the roof of the net.
The referee, who kept the game flowing well, seemed to be working to Fergie time (when they’re losing!) and didn’t help the nerves by playing seven minutes of added time but there appeared a new resilience about Glan as they comfortably played out time for a precious three points.
Glantraeth: Marc Newbould, Eppy McFadden, Adam Jones (James Burgess 66), Andy Tower, Gareth Owen, Caerwyn Roberts, Mark Owens (Anthony Hughes 64), Emyr Rowlands, David Alan Jones, Kevin Rowlands, Chris Evans.