Bangor City won at Conwy thanks to a second-half strike from Sam Jones and – minutes later – a wonderful penalty save from Nathan Wolland.
Regardless of shirt numbers City lined up with Michael Johnston alongside Mike Williams – both were superb – with sixteen year old Kian Owen on the left and Jordan Piggott – twenty last week – at rightback. Tom Reilly added spark and graft to midfield alongside Gethin Thomas and Gary Taylor Fletcher.
Attacking the Social Club end on a mild dry evening Bangor forced a couple of early corner with the home defence looking jittery. Behind them though former Bangor keeper Antoni Sarnowski was in fine form.
Conwy suffered an early setback on sixteen minutes when Sean McCaffery was forced off through injury as with former blues U19 defender Adam Pritchard took his place in midfield.
Left winger Alex Boss had the beating of rightback Nathan Williams and with Taylor Fletcher picking him out this was a regular source of progress for City.
Blues leftback Kian Owen was in charge of set pieces and his fourth corner before Conwy broke and fashioned a chance for Corrig McGonigle which he scuffed. Sam Jones shot across goal from the right but neither side really tested the goalkeepers. On 27 minutes a further setback for Borough as Keiron Jeffries limped off to be replaced by another former blues left footer Guto Hughes.
The disruption scarcely helped Conwy as Bangor had the lions share of the first half. On the half hour mark Gethin Thomas shot on target from distance whilst Corrig McGonigle fired narrowly wide from much the same range. Debutant Tom Reilly was busy and purposeful in the middle of the park, allowing Gethin Thomas to push forward more and player manager Taylor Fletcher to largely rule the roost.
Ten minutes before the break Adam Pritchard lofted the ball down the left for Dean Seager to chase but the former Llandudno man could not beat Nathan Wolland at his near post. City won a fifth corner which was half cleared to Jordan Piggott but his volley flew high over the crossbar. A sixth corner came and went without Sarnowski being unduly troubled and referee Walker blew for the break with the scoreline blank.
A good first half for City but with nothing to show for their efforts.
HALF TIME 0-0
No changes at the interval for either side.
Now attacking the Town end City attacked through right winger Jacob Farleigh whose shot was deflected for a seventh corner but again Conwy cleared. And then the injury curse struck Conwy again on 50 minutes as Dean Seager limped off with young Ryan Pope coming on in his place.
But despite this Conwy enjoyed more of the territory and possession in the opening stages of the second period with Corrig McGonigle more and more evident. The ginger left footer plays on the right and can appear disinterested before suddenly emerging to threaten. After the hour mark he raced in behind the blues defence but chipped the ball harmlessly across goal.
And City seized on this let off on 66 minutes as Sam Jones ran in behind the Borough defence to chip Sarnowski and celebrate as the ball bounced into the net. Moments later the ever alert Jones had sight of goal again but this time shot too close to the big glovesman. Alex Boss show electic pace to fashion a shot which yielded a ninth Bangor corner of the evening. But Conwy threatened as Adam Pritchard galloped straight through the midfield to release Corrig McGonigle but he fired over.
With twenty minutes to go a third Bangor debut of the evening saw Osian Hughes replace Gethin Thomas in midfield. A tenth Bangor corner came and went.
But the big moments were ahead. Ten minutes before the whistle a Conwy freekick blasted by Corrig McGonigle struck the arm of a City defender. Penalty. Again it was the determined McGonigle who placed the ball on the spot and fired low but Nathan Wolland dived full length to his right to pull off a fanstastic save against a well struck penalty.
Two more Bangor corners followed before on 85 minutes Benn Lundstram replaced Alex Boss who had run himself – and the rightback – ragged. Jacob Farleigh was now operating on the left wing and his menacing run forced a good save from Sarnowski and in turn a fourteenth and final Bangor corner which Sam Jones latched onto with an overhead effort but the Conwy keeper gathered comfortably.
Credit to the returnee Michael Johnston who was outstanding alongside the nuggety Mike Williams. Neither gave an inch and offered both stern resistance and sound advice to their young companions. Young Kian Owen appears to improve with every game, in particular in terms of decision making.
In what turned out to be three minutes of added time Dylan Summers Jones trotted on for goalscorer Jones and the youngsters worked hard alongside the experienced veterans to ensure the lead was not lost.
A fighting win for City who, despite the off field troubles, continue to work hard on the pitch under the guidance of Gary Taylor Fletcher.
Ruthin at home next Friday evening.
FINAL SCORE 0-1
Match Report: Mike Smith http://www.the-citizens-choice.co.uk