Llandudno FC 1-1 Bala Town
Llandudno FC Scorer: Marc Williams 21’
Bala Town Scorer: John Disney 78’
Riding the crest of a wave, it would seem, after their last-gasp victory over Bangor City in their New Year’s Day clash, Iwan Williams’ Llandudno got off to a very positive start in this game against The Lakesiders with Wes Baynes and Marc Evans – two of The Seasiders’ new signings – fitting in seamlessly and contributing an awful lot to the cause.
It was Marc Williams who had the first big chance of the game as he nutmegged Stuart Jones on the edge of the box before finding himself one-on-one with Ashley Morris, who saved very well, and Bala’s biggest chance of the first half came soon afterwards from a set piece, which Llandudno laboured to clear before embarking on a counter-attack with Evans troubling Morris down the other end as a result.
Baynes had a storming game down the right flank for Llandudno, particularly in the first half, as time and time again he found himself free at the back post to latch onto crosses, and fifteen minutes in he took a touch to control one of them and had Morris in another one-on-one situation, but again the keeper came out on top before Bala cleared the danger.
A goal was coming for the home side though, and it was Marc Williams who delivered it as he rose to head home a cross from Evans to give Llandudno a deserved lead after their very positive start to the game.
Toby Jones produced some crazy skill after half an hour down the left flank to leave three Bala defenders in his wake with one deft turn, before advancing to send a cross into the back post towards Baynes again, but this time he hit the delivery first time and struck the volley way over the bar. It was 1-0 to the home side at halftime, but it could have been two or three more in their favour had things fallen their way more often, so Colin Caton had his work cut out at the break.
The second half was much more evenly contested between the two sides as Bala came back into the game, somewhat, although Llandudno did have the lion’s share of possession and dominated territory for large parts. It was The Lakesiders, however, who had the best chance to score next in the game as Dave Roberts misjudged a cross as he came to claim it, spilled it and Lewis Short had his effort cleared off the line with some 20 minutes to go. It was Colin Caton’s other new signing, John Disney, who got the equalising goal, as he headed home at the far post to set up a tasty final ten minutes. Llandudno battled hard to try and get back in front, but it was to no avail, and the score finished 1-1 to take the top six battle into next week’s decisive MD22 action.
Connah’s Quay Nomads 3-0 Barry Town United
The Deeside Stadium
Connah’s Quay Nomads Scorer: Callum Morris 40’, Mike Wilde 64’, Declan Poole 80’
Hoping to start the game brightly and go some way towards securing their top six spot ahead of next week’s MD22 showdown, it was no surprise to see Kayne McLaggon burst through on goal after just a minute of play on Deeside, only for Nomads goalkeeper John Danby to smother the danger. Afterwards, Andy Morrison’s home side began to impose themselves on the game with Callum Morris, Michael Bakare and Jay Owen all attempting to make inroads into the visiting box.
Joe Massaro did well in goal to catch Bakare’s powerful, curling free-kick from some 20 yards out after eight minutes, before Bakare then sent in a dangerous corner that flashed across the visiting six-yard box, only for Mike Wilde to fail to connect with it by a matter of millimetres at the back post.
A slip in the home midfield enabled Louis Gerrard to pick up the ball and run through on goal, but again Danby made the crucial intervention to keep the scores level after half an hour, before Gerrard gave him something to think about again a few minutes later with Danby pushing his strike out for a corner.
The game looked destined to be level going into the break, only for Morris to break the deadlock with five minutes of the first half to go as he rose to head home from six yards out and give Morrison’s side a 1-0 lead.
With the late first-half goal placing the momentum firmly behind them, The Nomads sensed their opportunity to crank up the pressure on the visitors early in the second half and they duly did so as two efforts needed to be cleared off the line in quick succession following a corner for the home side, before Gerrard again caused problems for Danby from a free-kick which was struck with such force that it nearly caught the keeper out.
Morrison’s men soon doubled their lead, however, as Wilde after 64 minutes did manage to connect with a Bakare corner to head home and make it 2-0 to the Deeside club. A superb tackle from George Horan stopped McLaggon from notching an instant response for Barry Town United, before Gavin Chesterfield made a double-substitution to try and get his side back into the game.
Declan Poole made it 3-0 with ten minutes to go to seal all three points for the home side and send Barry into MD22 needing results to go their way to regain their place in the top six.
Carmarthen Town AFC 0-1 Cefn Druids
Cefn Druids Scorer: James Davies 45’
There arguably hasn’t been a more difficult time this season to face Carmarthen at Richmond Park, with The Old Gold’s confidence through the roof at the moment having cut the gap to survival in half over the festive period, so Cefn Druids had an incredibly tough task in front of them this weekend as they looked to secure a win that would make MD22 very interesting indeed against Llandudno.
The two sides exchanged half-chances early-on as Lewis Buckley squandered a couple of great opportunities to see the visitors take the lead – hitting the post after just four minutes in one instance – whereas the home side had a header cleared off the line from a corner, with Liam Thomas in particular proving a handful for the visiting defenders.
Midway through the first half, after a blistering start to the game, the tempo died down somewhat as both sides began to cancel each other out, with Druids starving Carmarthen of possession but The Old Gold wise enough to see any meaningful visiting attacks off before they became problematic. The crucial opening goal came moments before the break, as Lee Idzi saved well from a long-range shot delivered by Naim Arsan, only for James Davies to continue his fine form and send his diving header into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to The Ancients.
The second half couldn’t live up to the goalmouth action of the first, but Druids should have doubled their lead after an hour when Nathan Peate and Buckley both missed efforts from six yards out, with the latter having his effort deflected over, and Carmarthen had a late scramble in front of the Druids goal to try and score an equaliser but they couldn’t convert either so the score stayed 1-0 and Druids returned to sixth spot ahead of next week’s decider against Llandudno.
Cardiff Met 1-1 Aberystwyth Town
Cardiff Met Scorer: Eliot Evans 43’
Aberystwyth Town Scorer: John McKenna 58’
With the afternoon’s three fixtures providing plenty of drama and excitement from start to finish, attention turned to Cyncoed where Cardiff Met welcomes Aberystwyth Town to the capital for today’s live fixture on S4C, and what a game it was, too!
Whereas there have been examples where teams have gone to Cyncoed this season and struggled to deal with many aspects of Met’s play - the pace, the possession, the incision - Aber had their game plan nailed down to a tee and they made Met work hard for everything they got in the game.
New signing Tom Owens had a storming debut for Neville Powell’s side as he did the fundamentals exceptionally well and caused Met a few problems on occasion with his play, but it was Aber as a unit who stood out in this game, creating a lot of chances and battling well against a depleted Met side.
Malcolm Melvin and John Owen squandered a coupe of good chances in the first half where it seemed easier to hit the target than miss, but The Seasiders were made to pay for their lack of a cutting edge in front of goal as Eliot Evans curled a beautiful effort into the back of the net from a free-kick moments before halftime.
The visitors had some 17 efforts on goal compared to the half-a-dozen mustered by Met, but it was John McKenna - who scored two own goals in the reverse fixture earlier this season - who scored the crucial goal that got the visitors back on level terms after an hour.
Despite both sides threatening occasionally to get a winner before the full time whistle blew, 1-1 it stayed as Aber made their way back to Ceredigion with a share of the spoils that would ensure they’d finish Phase One out of the drop zone.