4th Straight Win for the Tigers
match report by Dave Barker
Calling all those Menai Bridge townsfolk, who couldn’t watch as we finished 9th last season. Come on back - this is a new Tigers!
Yesterday’s 3-0 win at Bontnewydd was the 4th win out of 4, as the good start to the season continued. For a lot of the first half, the young team of Bontnewydd held us and played some attractive passing football but only troubling the reliable Dave Clarke a couple of times. The defence held firm, with central rock Dafydd Healy heading everything away and the pace and interceptions of Tom Parry behind him cutting out some speedy Bont attacks. Ryan continued his excellent start to the season on the left side of defence, allowing Dale to make inroads down the left where he combined well with Shaun Lock. Callum 'Bernie' was a revelation at right back – calm, skilful, intelligent runs and always available.
However, it was very even in the first half and the first goal would be crucial. Shaun Lock had a couple of thunderbolts over the bar, Dave Baston showed his trademark nifty footwork with a drag-back and shot and Curly got through a mobile Bont defence, to shoot into the side netting. As the half wore on, travelling supporters agreed a goal with the wind was vital and Bont were always dangerous, encouraged by their management from the side. Slowly the midfield became the difference – Hogan and Gowans started playing neat, short one twos, developing a great understanding. Two key signings: Gowans in particular, began to stamp his class on the game, short passes, long passes and supplementing this with two lung-bursting runs forward, one ending in a curled shot past the post. ‘Brand Gowans’ has been re-booted: fit, nimble, vision and consistent dead-ball quality. We were drawing lots about who would pick him up from the 1hr 20m ‘Cardiff to R.A.F. Valley’ flight, as the League title might depend on it...
With 5 mins to go to half time, the crucial first goal came. Shaun Lock loaded up the torpedo bay, Dafydd Healy adjusted the periscope and as the bomb came in, Bont couldn’t cope with the twin presence of Curly and Healy and the big man glanced in his 2nd goal of the season. Relief from the side and the whistle came at the right time for Tigers to re-group.
Any danger of the wind working against us was soon dispelled, as the second half saw Tigers playing excellent football throughout. The head honcho’s of Sean and Spon (SAS) must have put emphasis on fitness for this season, as everyone pushed up a gear. Bernie was a constant outlet in the right back position and was creating chances by going past opponents, Dale showed no signs of holiday blues attacking from the left, Hogan and Parry played further up the field and if you thought Gowans should have been tired from the first half, he answered with a 40 yard slalom run past 3 players and almost ending up in a chance.
Topping all was ‘Duracell Dean’ Redmond up front. A defender’s nightmare, he runs and works and fights all day for the ball, till he drops - and then when he drops he gets up and runs and works and fights again. Half way through the 2nd half, brilliant approach play by Tom, Hogan and Gowans created a through ball for Curly: his pace kept him in front of one defender and he held off a second, to sweep the ball left-footed into the net.
This visibly relaxed the team and we could play with the confidence of an unbeaten outfit. Wiz came on for Dale, with Ryan moving to left back and within seconds of his return to the club had headed a ball clear and fitted neatly into the back to play with class. Danny came on for Dave and looked sharp and aggressive, resuming his old Beaumaris partnership with Dean, much to the dismay of a tired Bont defence. It wasn’t long before they cracked again, as bombs reigned in from Shaun L. on the young keeper and Sion H. and Darren G, pulled the final strings – good approach play allowing the ball to fall to Curly who swept in his second. SAS then unplugged the charger and he came off to applause from the visiting supporters, appreciative of the shift he puts in for the team week in week out. Young Sam had a run out and played confidently, soon using the pace he has to shoot up the right wing and sweep a low cross over for a chance.
Full Time Bontnewydd 0 - 3 Menai Bridge Tigers
Dafydd Healy (sponsored by DLE Plumbing - Dafydd Evans)
Dean Redmond 2 (sponsored by RJ Joinery)
Man of the Match
Darren Gowans (Sponsored by Gary Jones Fitness & Nutrition )
All in all: an excellent display and one which needs to be taken into the tricky Tues derby against Llangoed on Tuesday. However, cast your mind back to the de-brief wise man Spon gave after brilliant wins in the friendlies v Aberffraw and Gaerwen: ‘well done but don’t get carried away – it’ll take a squad not a team to win this league.’ Still early days, but after the disappointment of last season, what supporters can see is a squad playing with desire and commitment and a tremendous will to win. The brilliant victory v Bro Goronwy reminded us of the Tigers ‘Golden Generation’ (Brookwell, Hogan, Beno, Lance and the Barkers, etc). Football may not be coming home yet but it is edging its way toward the Suspension Bridge...