Llanrug stay fourth after six-goal thriller
LLANRUG United missed the chance to close the gap on the Welsh Alliance Division One leaders after being held to a 3-3 draw at home by Llandyrnog United.
’Rug remain in fourth place in the standings, two points ahead of local rivals Pwllheli, but four points adrift of third-placed Llanrwst United.
Manager Mark Jat had to make two changes to the starting line-up following last week’s triumph over Bodedern Athletic. With full-back Mathew Phillips out ill and captain and influential midfielder David Noel Williams at his brother-in-law’s wedding, the experienced Daniel Bell slotted in at full-back for his first start for United, with Marvin Pritchard in central midfield.
United opened brightly and took an early lead on five minutes through central defender Liam Robertson’s powerful header at the far post from a corner kick taken by midfielder Jonathan Sadler.
United’s rear-guard were caught napping on 23 minutes, as striker Mark Roberts was allowed the space to run onto a 50/50 ball with United’s advancing goalkeeper Morgan Jones.
Roberts was first to the ball but was clipped by the United goalkeeper. The referee at first awarded a free-kick on the edge of United’s penalty area but, following consultation with his assistant, pointed instead to the spot, striker Roberts making no mistake to draw his side level.
Llandyrnog went ahead on 31 minutes as midfielder Billy Holmes capitalised on some sloppy passing by United’s rear-guard to go through on goal and coolly slot home.
United upped the tempo following the interval, and were soon rewarded on 52 minutes as striker Alan Mark Owen cut inside from the right flank and fired a low powerful drive into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Within four minutes the visitors had regained the lead, striker Roberts picking the ball up in midfield and driving forward to beat some halfhearted tackles and pick his spot.
’Rug again needed to find a way back into the contest and little after the hour mark were level as Owen notched his second and 11th of the season.
A long ball by Bell was headed into the path of the striker by midfielder Pritchard, Owen making no mistake with his effort.
Striker Luke Phillips thought he’d won the match for United on 85 minutes, but his flick on from Owen was ruled out by the referee assistant for offside.
The visitors were reduced to nine men in time added on, as full-back Shaun Thomson and central defender Les Brophy were given their marching orders, but United were not able to take advantage as the match referee blew the final whistle within seconds of the incident.
Up next for United is a Welsh Cup first round clash at Llay Welfare this Saturday (2.30pm).
Meanwhile, young full-back James Phillips has returned to Llanrug United following a brief spell at Nantlle Vale.
Phillips initially joined United in July 2015 and made 52 appearances in two seasons for Rug, scoring four goals.
United manager Jat said: “I am delighted that James has re-joined us, he is a speedy young full-back who loves to attack, and he will be again a great asset to our club.”