More often than not, cup finals can be quite an anti-climax event when two very nervous set of players head out in a weary atmosphere…
That’s not how it panned out at the Racecourse this afternoon. After a recent run of 4 months without a league win, not many people expected a serious threat from Prestatyn against ‘The Cup Club’.
Bangor, who had knocked out Airbus UK and The New Saints to reach the final were clear favourites to lift the trophy for the 9th time in their history. The closest Prestatyn had ever come were the Semi-Finals in 2010 where they were beaten 2-0 by who? Bangor, of course.
But with less than 2 minutes on the clock, the wild dream soon became a reality – Jason Price in the right place to direct Ross Stephens’ volley into the gaping goal to put Gibson and the gang in the driving seat.
The bubble was soon to be burst and it was a bit of a shock to everyone when referee Kevin Morgan pointed to the spot after what looked like a dramatic fall from Chris Simm after an aerial battle with Anthony Stephens in the box. But it wasn’t Bangor’s top scorer that stepped up for the pen, but the experienced head of Dave Morley who had the giant Jon Hill-Dunt sizing him up between the posts. And it was the DJ from Prestatyn that was dancing after diving low to his left to get two hands to the effort to deny Morley from equalizing.
Minutes before the break Hill-Dunt had to be on his toes again – a slick move down the right for Bangor and Ryan Edwards’ lovely cross was on a plate for Big Les who couldn’t believe his eyes when the bigger Jon jumped just in time to tip his header over the bar.
In the second half – Bangor came out flying and it was a matter of time before they would break their rivals down. But seeing as no one in the City squad had managed two goals in the cup this season they had to wait for their opponents to knock it into their own net for the third time in their 4 Welsh Cup games this year!
It was wing-back Chris Davies that joined Jamie Bradford from Aberdare and Danny Dobbins from GAP Connah’s Quay in the list of players to score own goals against Bangor to help them on their Welsh Cup quest. Chris Simm created the chance but his effort was going well wide when it struck Chris Davies who had worked hard to try and clear his lines.
1-1 and Bangor were pressing for the winner, their fitness showing and the red hearts of Prestatyn were tiring. But they weren’t going to give up and as we reached extra time all they had to do was to hold on, because if they could just get through to a penalty shoot-out – they had the dynamite Dunty to save them!
10 minutes into extra time, and the game was flipped onto its head. The persistent Andy Parkinson was brought down by the edge of the box by Michael Johnston who was given his marching orders after receiving his second yellow card. From the resulting free-kick, Parkinson drilled it low and with a nick off Ross Stephens the ball ended up in the back of the net to put Prestatyn back in front.
With the clock ticking and with only 10 men on the field Bangor had to try and gamble to get anything out of the game. The gaps appeared at the back and the experienced partnership of Price and Parkinson worked together to penetrate the Bangor defence for one last time with Price lifting the ball over Idzi to put the game to bed and to destroy the dream of a 4th cup win in 6 seasons for Nev Powell.
The final whistle cued the start of a Bank Holiday party in Prestatyn who become the 32nd team to have their name on the Welsh Cup. A truly wonderful story for a club that’s come so far in such little time.
Huge congratulations to everyone at Prestatyn Town Football Club.
On this day in 1961 one of the legends of Welsh football - Ian Rush - was born.