An Epic Day

3 11 2007

Caersws 2 Bangor City 3
Welsh Cup

The love of football is built upon days like this. However for such a monumental day it started in such a banal way; Four of us met the minibus outside Farrar Road. Although it was only a minibus going but there were only 13 at the last supper and that’s become rather well known, as Tony Wilson once remarked. To continue on a related theme, the Sex Pistols only drew about 25 when they played Manchester in 1977 but, undoubtedly, more will claim attendence. This game might fall victim to a similar effect in years to come. A time when we can look back and say “this was the turning point, this was where our 10 years as champions started to take shape”. Thousands will have been present.

Owing to the size of Caersws we stopped in Newtown for our libations. As we drank a couple of new characters entered the rollcall of Bangor notables; Philly Minibus (the effect of mishearing) and Kevin Beattie (due to another mistake, the organiser of the sweepstake for first goalscorer had mistakenly rechristened Martin, After drawing Kevin, Ish demanded a recount.) They were today’s leitmotif.

Upon entering Caersws we wnet in their main pub, it was on the way to the ground. One local enquired whether we’d leave the changing rooms in one piece today. “Oh you have changing rooms then” was Davy Elwyn’s withering reply. The local in question probably wasn’t their chosen representative; he was mullet wearer with a weird accent. Criticism is so hard to take seriously from such a personage.

Entering Caersws’ ground can be hazardous. Before you arrive at a shed / turnstile you have to negotiate the low bridge, I cracked my head on this last time. The gap between the bridge and ground seemed to have shrunk, I may have grown of course.

We waited by the tea bar for the game to start. This was going to be our year in the cup. The game started and the assured feeling lastly roughly 10 minutes. Bangor had made a good start but then a free kick about 30 yards from goal bounced past the despairing dive of Smith. The familiar deflation fell on me. This was going to be just like the last few years; so much hope but so little to show for it.

Bangor seemed a little listless as they dealt with the pitch. The right wing seemed was covered in leaves whilst the other wing seemed to give the match ball the bouncing qualities of a rugby ball. Sion attempted to control a bouncing ball, we thought his foot was in the right place, more importantly he thought his foot was in the correct position. Then the ball bounced and travelled in a very unexpected trajectory over his waiting foot.

About 15 minutes from half time Bangor started to attack with more intent, chances were created and Stotty nearly scored. Then Stotty ran into the box but he was fouled, a penalty!!! Limbo scored and then almost straight away City were ahead. Michael Johnston rose and headed the ball into the top corner. A goal he could finally claim as his own without argument. We were ahead, It was that easy!!! We were back on course for the final. Unfortunately Johnno’s goal arrived three minutes too late for me to win the golden goal. I felt I could relax now as we were obviously in for an easy afternoon.

Then Caersws scored again. It was one of those afternoons. This thought came easily to mind after seeing Mulliner make a fantastic double save just before half time. At least both sides had eleven players at half time.

The rest of the match saw a legendary performance from the City players. Despite the fact that the ref saw fit to send off 2 of our players during the second half we still took the match to extra time. In fact for the rest of the game Bangor looked like the only team capable of scoring. Bangor had been creating chances until the fun started. After about 20 minutes Killackey was sent off for a second booking. It looked a little harsh as he’d won the ball.

Nevertheless less Bangor continued with the attacking, Les looked fantastic, Stotty wasn’t far behind in terms of effort. The mutterings about the ineptitude of the officials became louder after Swanick’s run into the box was halted because the referee wished to award a free kick, what’s wrong with advantage? This feeling increased when Swanick was sent off. This was becoming ridiculous as it looked like Swanick had been the victim of a foul; both players stretched to reach the ball but the Caersws player went down and so Swanick was off. The Caersws bench had added their own instructions to the ref, consequently a straight red was brandished. Now it appeared to be 9 against 12.

Even with 9 players Bangor still looked more dangerous than Caersws. In fact Peter Hoy’s run could have resulted in a goal but he didn’t pass into the middle of the area, he shot instead. Les, Walshy, Stotty and Hoy were perpetual motion in the second half. Near the end of the match Caersws actually managed to win a corner. They didn’t score so we were going to have to go through extra time.

Even in the extra 30 minutes Bangor still looked the likeliest team to score. Les appeared to be tiring, which was not a surprise after the work he’d put in today in. Beattie and Hoy kept pushing on so our attacking didn’t suffer. Les had a shot just wide and Seargeant put the ball wide when the utilisation of a steely nerve might have meant a side-footed shot into the net. Our nerves became frayed.

Some banter was exchanged with arithmetically challenged teenaged fans as we made our way to the other end. Bangor still continued to attack, chances were missed, the tension rose. Then a Bangor corner kick was played into the area. Walshy met the ball majestically and the ball was into the top corner of the goal. After a couple of seconds of disbelief we ascended into a state of delirium. The pantheon of Bangor Legends was added to today. The final whistle was blessed relief. It had been such an Epic day that we all felt drained. Roll on Tuesday



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