Llan­rug stay fourth af­ter six-goal thriller

Caernarfon Herald - - SPORT -

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.”

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