BRO GORONWY (Cae Nerys)
With the appalling arctic conditions which brought the sporting calendar to a shuddering halt over the last seven days, there were very, very few options to choose from today. Fortunately, the Isle of Anglesey appeared to have it's own little micro-climate and, with Bro Goronwy's website saying as early as thursday there wouldn't be any problems with the game being on, it was down the A55 I headed.
Bro Goronwy are based in the village of Moelfre and play at Cae Nerys, which is basically an enclosed, railed off (sloping)pitch sandwiched between a school and a farmhouse. Unsurprisingly there was no programme, but there was someone collecting an admission (£2) at the gate from the 33 hardy souls that had gathered. The visitors today were the reserves of Holyhead Hotspur, who are currently top of the Gwynedd League with Bro Goronwy tucked in behind them in second place.
I have no idea of the standard of the Gwynedd league but I was surmising it wasn't particulary high, but as i'm finding out recently, if you have no idea of what to expect then you usually end up with a stonking game. Today that proved the case. My words probably couldn't do justice to what a great cup tie this was.
With a place in the semi-final at stake, Bro flew out of the traps, going close in the opening 10 ten minutes. The homesters took the lead on 18 minutes when the goalkeepers clearance, from a bad back pass, was charged down and Alex Jones rolled the ball in the net from 25 yards. Three minutes later Sam Carter doubled the lead with a diving header from a throw in. Bro had further chances to extend their lead but were wastful in front of goal. How they would come to rue those misses.
Hotspurs got themselves back in the game after 34 minutes when Adrian Cousins tapped in at the far post, after an initial shot was spilled. On 40 minutes Holyhead were level, ironically from a Bro free-kick. The kick was whipped in and a header was pushed away by the keeper, then the follow up shot was blocked and the ball broke and Hotspurs were on the attack from which they equalised, Jason Owen's massively deflected shot finding the net. Right on the stroke of half-time Hotspurs found themselves unbelievably in the lead, Cousins tapping in when unmarked at the far post. I like most of the spectators was baffled how Bro went in 2-3 down. Holyhead had netted with their only three attempts on goal!
Holyhead appeared to have sealed the tie in the opening 10 minutes of the second half when, first, Matthew Thomas (47) turned a shot into the net after the ball dropped for him in the box and then, second, Cousins (55) used his height to head home a cross and complete his hat-trick. Bro kept attacking but looked vulnerable on the break, as you would when chasing the game, but they got back into the game on the hour when Alex Jones broke through and rounded the keeper to finish, for his second of the match.
On 70 minutes Bro made it 4-5 when Pat Roberts tapped in from a great cross. The home side had the whiff of a astonishing comeback, but Ricky Lavelle finally broke the hearts of the homesters when he chipped the goalie in the last minute to dseal the tie. Amazingly there was still time for Roberts to slot home to reduce the deficit once again to a single goal but saly it was too late. Holyhead marched on into the semi-final and both teams will meet again next week in the league. What odds on a boring 0-0?