Bangor City signed off the 2018-19 season with a draw at Llanrhaeadr to lift themselves above Rhyl in the final Cymru Alliance table.
Or rather Bangor drew at Llansantffraid, on what was for both teams a difficult dry bumpy pitch on a boiling April afternoon. Given the recent dry sunny weather this was hardly surprising.
Llanrhaeadr started on the front foot with a couple of corners at the Social Club End and it was no surprise when they went ahead on nineteen minutes. But the goal surprised everyone as player manager Marc Griffiths gathered the ball on the left, close to the corner flag, and lashed home with a cross or shot which dipped over Nathan Wolland and into the roof of the net.
City raised their game with Alex Boss, a danger on the right, winning a freekick which Gary Taylor Fletcher headed over. Minutes later left winger Jacob Farleigh saw his shot blocked on the edge of the box before Osian Hughes was shown the yellow card by referee Dan Fogarty for reasons not clearly obvious. In between all this Iwan Matthews rushed on goal but was denied by a bravc block from Nathan Wolland on the edge of his area.
Player manager Gary Taylor Fletcher saw goalkeeper Jimmy Haynes off his line. lofted the ball goalwards but was denied by a fine backpeddling save . From the resulting corner on the right Robbie Parry crossed from the left and Osian Hughes stabbed an instinctive effort wide from six yards.
Ten minutes before the interval the game descended into near farce. Jacob Farleigh ran on goal, chased into the box and was stopped by a clear pullback from a home defender. With everyone expecting a penalty the referee waved play on, the bald linesman also unmoved. Comments from the home bench – directly below our position – to the effect of “we got away from one there” summed things up although referee Fogarty was not done as he yellow carded Taylor Fletcher for comments passed.
Buoyed by this let off Llanrhaeadr pushed forward with Tom Evans shooting on target before Iwan Matthews ran on goal and forced a fine save from Nathan Wolland who ran out to confront the breakaway striker.
On the stroke of half time a set back for the home side as leftback Iain Edmunds limped off to be replaced by Tom Bailey. In the three minutes added a foul on Gethin Thomas yielded a freekick fired over by Gary Taylor Fletcher and in the final moment some fine composed defending by Jordan Piggott as danger threatened.
So a slender deficit for City to overcome as they wandered off for a cold drink.
HALF TIME 1-0
No changes at the interval.
Now attacking the Social Club or Main Stand End the young blues side quickly won a freekick for a foul on Alex Boss but the cross was punched away by goalkeeper Hayns.
But on 50 minutes the scores were level as Jordan Piggott fought strongly for a bouncing ball on the left edge of the box before passing to Gary Taylor Fletcher. The veteran front man laid it on a plate for Gethin Thomas who made now mistake from eight yards out.
Another bizarre incident involving the officials followed as Joe Vaughan was yellow carded for appearing to kick Osian Hughes as he lay prone on the turf. This had to be either nothing if nothing happened or a straight red for violent conduct. Nonetheless both sets of players and supporters shrugged their shoulders and carried on regardless.
On the hour mark Bangor took the lead as Jimmy Hayns skied his attempted punch for Gary Taylor Fletcher to head nip in and nod home from six yards.
Five minutes the home player manager Marc Griffiths was also booked for dissent, and it is worth pointing out that the maverick hit and miss antics of the officials favoured neither side in the bigger picture.
Llanrhaeadr were determined to end the league season on a positive note and forced Nathan Wolland into some fine saves in particular from Iwan Matthews.
Then with twenty minutes to go a deserved equaliser as Marc Griffiths tapped home from close range as City struggled to clear a cross from the right.
With a quarter of an hour to go City made their only change as Sam Jones replaced young Jamie Thomas who had worked hard at right back, Jacob Farleigh dropping back to the defensive berth. Griffiths again went close for the home side before Gary Taylor Fletcher shot tamely on target from fifteen yards. Moments later Sam Jones fired over.
Sam Weaver trotted on in place of midfielder Sam Thomas and his arrival spurred Llanrhaeadr on to finish with a flurry of four or five corners mainly in the five minutes of added time. But City stood strong, Nathan Wolland clearing when needed and Jordan Piggott and young Cian Williams in the right place at the right time.
So a draw about right, a point which lifts City above Rhyl into fourth place and one which sees Llanrhaeadr end on a positive note.
FINAL SCORE 2-2
Much water to pass under the bridge before battle resumes in July or August but for now a well earned break…
Photo: City celebrate Gethin Thomas equaliser
Match Report; Mike Smith http://the-citizens-choice.co.uk/