Hundreds of Bangor fans travelled to Manchester on Saturday to celebrate the first-ever match of Clwb Pel Droed Bangor 1876 Football Club against FC United of Manchester.
Both clubs already shared a bond before the game, Bangor 1876 were recently formed by Bangor City fans unhappy with club owners Vaughan Sports Management, and voted to form a breakaway club of their own. FC United were formed in 2005 by disaffected supporters of Manchester United, unhappy at the takeover by American businessman Malcolm Glazer.
FC United have progressed from the North West Counties League all the way to tier 6 National League North before being relegated last season back to the Northern Premier League. Bangor 1876 will begin life in the 5th Tier of Welsh football next season, the Gwynedd League.
From the start of the game the gulf in class between the two teams was obvious, but this wasn’t going to spoil the occasion for the travelling Bangor fans.
The crowd of 800 seemed much more as both sets of fans welcomed their teams, with Bangor fans singing and chanting throughout the game. Whatever happened on the pitch wasn’t going to spoil the day.
Bangor’s only effort on goal in the first-half was a Shaun Lock free kick which FC United goalkeeper Paddy Wharton palmed over the bar. The 7-0 score-line at the interval certainly wasn’t due to lack of effort from the Bangor players as they competed for every ball and never gave up.
Despite United adding five more goals in the second-half, Bangor looked more organised and continued to give 100% effort to the cause.
As the game neared its conclusion Bangor were pressing forward and managing a few more shots at goal, the fans could sense something and they weren’t to be disappointed.
In the 87th minute a shot from young striker Benn Lundstram crept over the goal-line to give Bangor that all important consolation goal and the historic first-ever goal for the club. Wild celebrations followed as the Bangor players ran to their supporters to celebrate the goal. The home fans also celebrated as they had been cheering Bangor for much of the second-half.
At the end of the game the 1876 players greeted their travelling fans before walking off to a standing ovation from the home fans who, in a special moment, sang “We love you Bangor, we do”
Both sets of fans mingled, chatted and sang together before, during and after the game. New friendships were formed and the hospitality shown by FC United, at least off the pitch, was overwhelming. There’s already talk of a return fixture next year.
The result wasn‘t important, the occasion was everything.
Final Score: FC United 12 – 1 Bangor 1876
Leon Jones, Jamie Thomas, Shaun Lock, Luke Steele, Michael Johnston (c), Cian Williams, Dylan Williams, Cameron Barry, Lukas Baltovic, Dylan Summers-Jones, Jamie Petrie. Subs: Benn Lundstram, plus trialists.
Photos: Both Teams before the games, Benn Lundstram scores the first-ever goalfor Bangor 1876, goal celebrations and shoes off if you love Bangor (various Credits – Video Dylan Ebenezer)