Gaerwen lose out in 8 goal thriller
Pwllheli 5-3 Gaerwen
Last Saturday (20th January) Gaerwen travelled to Welsh Alliance Division One outfit Pwllheli for a Barritt Cup tie. Gaerwen made the trip down, confident that they could advance into the next round having got back to winning ways against Blaenau Ffestiniog during the previous weekend.
The away side started the game well and were unfortunate to find themselves behined just after 10 minutes. Gaerwen failed to clear a poor corner kick that bobbled it's way in to the box, which found it's way right into the path of a Pwllheli player who swept home. The reaction from the Anglesey team was excellent who dominated the remainder of the half. Liam Morris went close on two occasions to equalize, one effort whistling past the post and the other was well saved by the goalkeeper. Gaerwen did equalize on 25 minutes, a great delivery into the box by Shaun Monument saw the Pwllheli stopper flap for the ball which hit the post and rebounded into Arwel Williams' path who made no mistake from 5 yards out.
Gaerwen continued to dominate the ball and were creating a number of chances, Morris again going close and Dafydd Jones very nearly getting himself on the score-sheet. However, on 40 minutes a counter attack from Pwllheli down the Gaerwen left saw their striker in space who hit a venomous strike towards goal, Josh Roberts saved brilliantly with his feet. The away side immediately went down the other side and Liam Morris saw his 25 yard strike hit the roof of the net. Just two minutes later Gaerwen should of had the opportunity to double their lead as a long ball by Lee Jones found Morris who was clumsily bundled over in the box, however both referee and the linesman waved play on. 1-2 h/t.
Pwllheli came out firing in the second half, evidently with a point to prove and on 50 minutes were level. Another cross into the box was not dealt with by Gaerwen's back line and Pwllheli's striker made no mistake to poke in at the far post. Just 5 minutes later Gaerwen restored their lead with the goal of the game and a goal of the season contender. Liam Morris unleashing an unstoppable strike from 30 yards out that found the top-corner giving the Pwllheli 'keeper no chance.
Gaerwen seemed to settle down at this point and started to get higher up the pitch again. However, the game was back level on 70 minutes, as the away side conceded yet another soft goal. A cross in from the Pwllheli left was cleared well by Paul Bryant however Gaerwen lost the ball in a poor area and the following cross into the box was headed in to his own net by the unfortunate Bryant. Pwllheli went ahead for first time since the 25th minute on 75 minutes. A long ball into the box caused chaos in the away side box, with the ball bobbling all of the place the ball fell kindly to a Pwllheli player who found the corner of the net from 8 yards out. Gaerwen continued to probe in the final 15 minutes in an attempt to get back into the game, Chris Bennett, Arwel Williams and Steve Jones all came close to an equalizer but there efforts were either well saved or just wide of the post. The Anglesey side thought they got the equaliser on 85 minutes. Morris and Gethin Davies combined well down the left which saw Morris drive into the box. Morris seemed to be brought down by a desperate lunge by the Pwllheli defender however with no whistle forthcoming Morris immediately got up to his feet and finished brilliantly from a tight angle. Unfortunately for Gaerwen their joy was short-lived as the referee bizarrely awarded a goal-kick. After some deliberation with his assistant his decision stood.
Pwllheli made sure that their name was in the hat on 90 minutes with their 5th of the game. A goal kick from Josh Roberts was headed back towards the Gaerwen goal by a Pwllheli player who found their striker through on goal, with linesman and referee unsure if the ball was headed by a Gaerwen or Pwllheli player play was waved on and the Pwllheli player who would have been around 10 yards offside ran with the ball and squared it to his team-mate who put the ball into the empty net. Final-score 5-3.
Manager Lee Jones commented:
I can't really fault the players for their efforts today. To come away not in the hat for the next round is a hard one to take as I believe we were the better team for large periods of that game. However, if you concede 5 goals you're not going to win many football matches. The goals we conceded were extremely poor from our point of view. 4 of the 5 they scored came from individual errors or us failing to clear our lines but that's the difference between teams in Alliance One and Two, sides like Pwllheli will punish your mistakes.
I thought the football we played for 60-70 minutes on a boggy and heavy pitch was excellent - especially in the first half, we created chance after chance. We looked like a team who were starting to get their confidence back after a testing run of results and performances. As I said I can't fault the players collectively for their efforts, if we play like that every week from now until the end of the season we'll win more than we'll lose that's for sure.