Port ready for top-two clash
PORTHMADOG’S Welsh Cup third round tie at Airbus Broughton this Saturday promises to be an absolute cracker, reports Gareth Williams.
The clash at the Hollingsworth Group Stadium with involve the top two teams in the Huws Gray Alliance as a result of Port’s excellent 4-1 win against Holywell Town last weekend.
Airbus are streets ahead at the summit, with 14 straight victories to their name and a 13-point lead over Craig Papirnyk’s second-place hopefuls, who nonetheless are capable of giving the Wingmakers a big test.
When the sides met in the league back in September, Airbus needed an 80th minute decider from James Hooper to edge a 2-1 triumph.
That was Port’s last defeat and they have since gone 10 unbeaten in all competitions, winning nine of those games.
The Traeth outfit may have left it late to clinch the spoils against Holywell last Saturday, but this was a convincing and well deserved three points.
Port got off to a flying start, opening the scoring after just three minutes. Flying wing Sion Edwards broke to the byline on the left and his low cross was turned in by Julian Williams from close range.
On 14 minutes, the Wellmen levelled when experienced striker Steve Lewis was brought down by Ceri James just inside the box on the left. Lewis himself took the kick and thumped an emphatic equaliser.
Port continued to dominate the play. An Edwards corner led to Jay Gibbs’ goalbound strike hitting a defender on the head to avert a certain goal.
A couple of minutes later, Edwards put Williams in behind the visitors defence and he squared the ball for Dan Dascalu. The referee turned down strong appeals for a penalty when a skirmish followed as Dascalu tried to tap the ball into the net.
Mike Platt pulled off a good save to keep out Ifan Emlyn’s 20-yard effort, while, at the other end, Paul Pritchard did well to thwart Lewis’ well-struck long distance free kick.
In first half added time, Williams netted his second when he headed home Edwards’ firmly hit corner.
The second half saw Port continue to create and spurn good opportunities and, with just a goal between the sides, Holywell were spurred on by the knowledge one break could put them on level terms.
Platt saved well from Iwan Lewis before Pritchard needed to be alert to keep out another Steve Lewis free kick. Lewis was soon denied again by Pritchard.
Then, much to the relief of home supporters, Port at last put the game to bed.
With six minutes remaining, Gibbs slotted Shaun Cavanagh in behind the home defence and the leading scorer applied a super finish just inside the far post.
The three points were now safe, but Gibbs still had one huge trick up his sleeve. With two minutes left he burst into space in midfield, saw Platt off his line and his 35-yard chip flew over the keeper’s head and into the back of the net.
Holywell were denied an added time consolation by the crossbar, when main threat Lewis went close again.
Porthmadog celebrate a goal against Holywell and, inset, Port’s Ifan Emlyn Jones wins a challenge