Al­liance hope­fuls seek­ing to bounce back in Cup clash

Bangor Mail - - SPORT - Dave Jones

BAN­GOR City en­ter­tain Holy­head Hot­spur in a much-awaited Welsh Cup third round bat­tle at Nant­porth this Fri­day (7.45pm kick-off ).

The all-Huws Gray Al­liance tie will evoke fond mem­o­ries for Hot­spur of their last meet­ing with the Ci­ti­zens in Wales’ top knock­out com­pe­ti­tion.

In this same De­cem­ber week three years ago, un­der­dogs Holy­head beat then Welsh Pre­mier side Ban­gor 2-1 at the New Sta­dium thanks to goals from Rhys Roberts and Dean Garmey.

As was the case on that mo­men­tous evening, Hot­spur will again be sec­ond favourites to progress on Fri­day, Dar­ren Garmey’s men cur­rently ly­ing bot­tom of the HGA with City much higher up in fourth spot.

None­the­less, Ban­gor will take on the Holy Is­lan­ders on the back of a 2-1 loss at Rhyl last week­end - a re­sult which ended a run of nine suc­ces­sive wins for Gary Tay­lor-Fletcher’s men.

Hot­spur, mean­while, were also beaten at the week­end, 2-0 at lead­ers Air­bus, but one plus for Garmey’s hope­fuls is the fact their cup per­for­mances have been much bet­ter than their league dis­plays this term.

Holy­head held the Wing­mak­ers for 77 min­utes be­fore Leo Ri­ley and Joe Chap­lin struck to stretch the ta­ble-top­pers win­ning run to 14 matches.

New Ci­ti­zens boss Tay­lor-Fletcher lamented his side’s show­ing at Rhyl, and as­sured fans he will be “putting his stamp” on the squad in train­ing this week.

“I’m all about pos­i­tiv­ity and come Wed­nes­day we’ll be train­ing a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent, we’ll have a bit more of an un­der­stand­ing about how I want us to play, keep­ing to how they have been but with a few lit­tle tweaks,” he said.

Rhyl took a 24th minute lead through James Mur­phy’s pow­er­ful fin­ish, while Mike Pritchard and Gareth Par­tridge had great op­por­tu­ni­ties to add fur­ther home goals be­fore the break.

Ban­gor were much im­proved in the sec­ond half, Mike Wil­liams see­ing his header cleared off the line be­fore in the 75th minute Alex Dar­ling­ton pounced to equalise af­ter Jon Hill-Dunt par­ried sub­sti­tute Sam Jones’ ef­fort.

Just four min­utes later, how­ever, Max Peate glanced home a Joe Cul­shaw free kick to win it for the Li­ly­whites, Mike Wil­liams strik­ing a post for the Ci­ti­zens in the clos­ing stages.

Tay­lor-Fletcher said af­ter­wards: “In the first half Rhyl out­worked us, out-bat­tled us, were first to ev­ery­thing and we stood off them too much.

“In the sec­ond half we changed it, we wanted to go a lit­tle bit higher, a bit more high tempo and we got the re­ac­tion we wanted. We got a foothold in the game, started on top, got the goal back - all that hard work and then to con­cede like that was soul-de­stroy­ing.”

The City boss ex­pects bet­ter on Fri­day with a place in the last 16 of the Welsh Cup up for grabs.

“We’re at home and we’ve got to be look­ing to dom­i­nate from the off,” he said.

“I used to love play­ing on our pitch and if play­ers can’t get up for an oc­ca­sion like Fri­day then they won’t be here long.”

Ban­gor hope to have de­fender An­thony Stephens back avail­able for the first time since he suf­fered a bad fa­cial in­jury in a 2-0 vic­tory over Pen­rhyn­coch at the end of Oc­to­ber.


Holy­head Hot­spur goal­keeper Dan Wil­liams pro­duced this fly­ing save from Asa Hamil­ton at Air­bus last Satur­day

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