Llangoed Vs Holyhead 29/11/14 NWCFA Cup 3rd Round
Llangoed hosted Holyhead in the third round of the North Wales Coast FA Cup. Holyhead were on the rebound from a 2-1 defeat to Llangefni the week before and had turned up in force with a full squad. In comparison, Llangoed had been ravaged by the plague with 6 members of the squad having been off school the previous day. With Patrick, Joseph, Aaron and Ethan all at home in bed and Cai and Ben having dragged themselves along so that we could field eleven men, things had not started off well. With the squad so badly depleted, Russell and Bisto had some last minute changes to the squad with attacker Ben, having to drop into the right back position, Tomos moving into centre half and Matthew being positioned on the left wing and absolutely nobody on the bench the Llangoed team had a bit of a makeshift feel about it.
Llangoed kicked off playing towards the low sun on a beautiful November morning. Llangoed were definitely up for it with the entire team playing with purpose and aggression. A couple of early chances saw both Cai and Kieran shoot wide. The battle for centre midfield was well underway with Josh and Sam harrying and making tackles and playing some excellent through balls to the front men. It wasn’t all one way, with Holyhead showing that they are top of the league for a reason and firing a couple of crosses across Shaun’s goal which the Llangoed keeper smothered with his usual display of calm under pressure. Lewis and Alfie were dealing with almost every attack and Ben and Tomos who were being played out of position were doing an excellent job and making some excellent tackles. The rest of the first half was end to end stuff and the crowd was treated to some excellent football from both teams. Matthew was doing a stand out job dealing with the Holyhead number 16. I honestly felt like I was watching a couple of under 16 sides, they were both so good technically. Llangoed were being caught offside on some of the attacks with Holyhead playing a high back four, but with about 5 minutes of the half remaining, Sam played a through ball to Cai who timed his run perfectly, slipped a tackle and hit the ball high over the goalkeeper. The Llangoed team held its breath as the ball dipped only to hit the crossbar and bounce to a Holyhead defender who cleared it into touch.
Half time came with the score 0-0.
The second half started with Llangoed pushing forwards again. The ball was played though to Kieran who hit the ball beautifully from 40 yards and was within inches of the Holyhead crossbar. Holyhead cleared and Llangoed won it back, pressing upfield in strength only to lose the ball and suddenly it was Holyhead who were clear. The Holyhead striker slipped a desperate tackle from Llangoed and fired the ball low and to Shaun’s right to put the visitors 1-0 up. Holyhead sensed blood in the water and were applying relentless pressure around the box when a mistimed tackle from a Llangoed player gave Holyhead a penalty and the chance to double their lead. The Holyhead number 16 stepped up and placed the ball on the spot. Shaun was bouncing on his toes when number 16 ran in and fired the ball low and to his left. Shaun guessed correctly and dived, palming the ball towards the post, before scrambling across to complete the save. Within 5 minutes, Cai found himself played through by Sam and, using his pace, went round both the Holyhead defender and keeper Harry to put the ball in the back of the Holyhead net.
Llangoed were still finding themselves caught offside on the majority of attacks, something we will no doubt be working on in training but despite this still managed several chances on goal. The closest of these was from a Llangoed corner played into the middle and caught sweetly on Cai’s head, the ball drifted towards the back post and there was a sharp intake of breath from the spectators as it looked goalbound until it slipped just past the top corner. The full time whistle went and it was now extra time. We hadn’t anticipated this and this would definitely favour Holyhead with their bench of 5 fully-refreshed substitutes. Llangoed had played their hearts out and over 80 minutes had definitely edged a very close contest. Extra time started (I had to leave by now as my other son was due in Holyhead for a swimming gala!) and continued the same as normal team with neither team able to break the deadlock. The second half of extra time started and Holyhead started brightly and scored from a corner which was poorly dealt with by Llangoed and a Holyhead played fired the ball high, over Shaun into the net. Holyhead were 2-1 up. Some of the Llangoed team were starting to look a bit tired by now.
Holyhead scored again. Not sure how or by who as Mel’s text messages were getting shorter.
Holyhead soon scored again from a free kick which was hit high and went in off the crossbar after Shaun got his fingertips to it but couldn’t keep it out. 4-1 to Holyhead.
Almost immediately from the restart, Cai was played through with a ball from Sam and he calmly slotted the ball home for a consolation. Final score 4-2 to Holyhead.
Despite us losing, this was one of the most committed displays I have seen from the boys. Every single player should be proud of themselves. Holyhead came and gave us a great game and I think we can go into the important league game in two weeks with a fully fit squad, a bench full of substitutes and no fear. Well done to Llangoed, and good luck to Holyhead for their next cup game.