Citizens earn first league win under boss
BANGOR City picked up a muchneeded three points as they upset rivals Rhyl 2-1 at Belle Vue in what was manager Pedro Pasculli’s first league win since taking over in October.
The Citizens, led superbly by captain Pavel Vieira, remained resolute to secure a morale-boosting victory on the road, leaving them in 10th spot ahead of another tough Cymru North trip to Colwyn Bay on Friday night.
Ross Stephens fired an effort over for the home side in the opening minute, but the influential midfielder was forced off with injury soon after to further deplete a squad that was already missing Cai Owen and Gethin Maxwell due to family commitments.
A series of robust challenges from the visitors went unpunished by referee Aled Williams during the opening exchanges, with Francesco Leghissa going close for City when his shot was parried away from danger by Rory Crowther.
Emmanuel Agyemang went into the book for a bad challenge on Max Peate and the forward notched the opener in controversial fashion on 34 minutes when he capitalised on a Ben Burrows error to find the net, which Williams allowed despite the assistant referee flagging for offside.
The Lilies responded well to the setback and got back on level terms when an Aaron Hassall cross was met by Sam Molyneux, who headed past Gabriele Brino on 39 minutes for the equaliser.
Pasculli’s men regrouped well and managed to regain the initiative a minute before the break thanks to a near-post header from Simone Rea, who steered in a Massimo Sammartino cross to restore the away side’s slender cushion.
More controversy arrived in first half stoppage time when Piero Cauterucci retreated from a foul that would have resulted in a red card, with Williams instead booking the wrong player and showing Leghissa a yellow card.
After the break saw Hassall and Arek Piskorski both spurn good opportunities for the home side, but despite controlling possession for long periods they were unable to come up with anything further of note in the final third as the City rear-guard held firm in the face of sustained pressure.
Substitute Callum Roberts’ late effort was superbly diverted by Brino as the Citizens held on for their first three points under their World Cup-winning boss.
Last week Bangor City announced that first-team coach Luke Purcell had left the club with immediate effect.
In a statement, the club said: “After the acquisition of Bangor City FC, the club is restructuring the management in order to achieve the goals and visions we want for 2020.
“For that reason, Mr Luke Purcell is no longer with the club.
“Bangor City FC would like to bid him farewell and wish him the best.”
Purcell also served as general manager under Vaughan Sports Management (VSM).
In September, a consortium headed by Domenico Serafino completed a deal to take control of the club from VSM, bringing to an end a tumultuous period, with the club suffering demotion from the top flight as well as having to fight numerous battles to avoid points deductions.