NEATH V CITY
15 APRIL 2012
MIKE SMITH'S MATCH REPORT
City pulled off a deserved 3-1 win at The Gnoll to set up a title decider at Park Hall next Saturday. And in so doing confirmed European qualification for next season with second place guaranteed.
The first half opened quietely enough with the noisy Bangor support stationed in the main stand and making enough noise be heard 150 miles away in Bala.
Mark Smyth had the first effort, Chris Roberts was yellow carded for a pull on Lee Trundle, and City won and largely wasted a couple of corners. But on 22 minutes all this changed as Sion Edwards won the ball in midfield, passed to the left where leading goalscorer Les Davies was lurking. He ran on goal before defeating Lee Kendall with a back post chip which lodged in the frame of the goal for a one nil lead.
City continued to press and Mark Smyth fired wide twice before a fourth corner was crossed deep by Chris Jones on the left, flicked on by Matthew Rees and headed home by Peter Hoy on his 200th WP start for the club. Before the interval Peter Hoy might have added a third whilst Sion Edwards shot over, but as the teams filed off it was 2-0 to Bangor and hopes still held high.
The second half was six minutes old when Matty Collins pulled one back for Neath and set a few nerves jangling amongst the blue horde. On the pitch though City stayed calm and pretty much in control. Les Davies and Chris Jones went close to restoring the advantage but Neath threatened as Luke Bowen chased Lee Kendall's long clearance but lashed wide to the left.
Kendall saved well from Les Davies before Bowen shot wide again, then Mark Smyth fired across goal from the left. Lee Trundle's shot was deflected but Lee Idzi saved well. City won a ninth corner but Kendall saved well from Sion Edwards who shot from outside the box.
Then on 67 minutes a crucial third goal. Mark Smyth mesmorised Matthew Rees before lifting the ball into the roof of the next from ten yards out on the left. The home side responded with a spell of pressure and a trio of corners which culminated in Luke Bowen shooting well over. Minutes later the burly striker was yellow carded for a foul on Michael Johnston.
Into the last ten minutes and Bowen thought he had scored but Chris Roberts cleared off the line with Lee Idzi for once beaten. The final stages were broken up with substitutions, with Alan Bull, Craig Garside and Clive Williams all coming off the bench, but in the four minutes of added time further misery for Neath as Luke Bowen was shown a second yellow and red for a foul on Chris Roberts.
So it was City fans and players who celebrated loudly at the final whistle blown by Nick Pratt, well worth the long journey from North Wales (and London in some cases) to be there. All to play for now next weekend... Cmon City!
15 April 2012