Bangor edged a hard fought battle against Carmarthen on a sunny crisp afternoon at Nantporth despite playing into the City end in the first half.
With Dec Walker and Les Davies ruled out there was a youthful look to the home bench whilst Michael Johnston and Sam Hart filled the fullback positions and Liam Caddick continued upfront. Carmarthen unleashed the formidable Cortez Belle into an attacking berth and it was the former Chester frontman whose presence disrupted the blues defence in the opening stages. Swept forward by an unlikely easterly wind into the Bridge End the visitors boomed the ball up to Belle at every opportunity forcing four early corners and bringing a great save out of Connor Roberts as Belle struck powerfully on goal from a rightwing cross. Moments later he used his height to reach the ball but headed over Roberts' crossbar.
It took fifteen minutes for a sluggish Bangor to get an effort on target as Sion Edwards' rasping drive was gathered by former blue Lee Idzi. The lively Kyle Bassett created another opening for Belle but he fired well wide. On twenty five minutes the best move of the game from Bangor to that point saw Lee Healey sprint down the left and cross for Liam Caddick whose header veered wide to Callum Morris but his shot was saved by Idzi. Within a minute Healey found himself in space on the left once again. This time he cut inside onto his right foot but sliced across goal. On the half hour mark Michael Johnston crossed from the right and the ball went behind for a first Bangor corner which was cleared. Play was halted then as Paul Fowler trudged off to be replaced by Sacha Walters in the Carmarthen midfield.
City were now edging a largely uneventful first half. A second corner came and went before Lee Healey ran to the right but hit his shot well over the bar from a tight angle. On the stroke of half time a fifth and final corner of the first half for The Old Gold but Connor Roberts was in commanding form despite the presence of Belle and the danger passed. So a blank interval scoreline with City to have the wind at their backs in the second period. Spirits dampened by news that fellow strugglers Cefn Druids held a two nil interval lead over Connahs Quay.
HALF TIME 0-0
No changes at the interval but City now had the wind as they attacked the Bridge or Antelope End. The first moment of entreprise in the first period saw Leon Clowes charge through from central defence but shoot wide from the edge of the box. Then Sion Edwards worked his way down the left but he too failed to hit the target. Carmarthen though came closest when Kyle Bassett chipped over the blues defence and chased through to shoot on goal but Connor Roberts raced out to smother the ball at his feet.
By now Leon Clowes had won his personal duel with Cortez Belle as the leviathan ran out of steam and Callum Morris and Ryan Edwards had the edge in central midfield. Lee Healey was unsettling the Town defence with his movement and eye for an opening. Bangor went close as Chris Roberts shot on target but Idzi saved well and the resulting corner came to nothing. On the hour mark another change for Carmarthen as Ceri Morgan came on for Chris Ham. Moments later and with nothing much to report Chris Jones came on for Liam Caddick.
On 65 minutes the all important goal. Sion Edwards crossed from the left to Callum Morris who drove home low with the goal at his mercy. This was a small crowd but they made enough noise as relief swept around the ground.
Substitute Ceri Morgan shot low for the corner but Connor Roberts saved. The Maltese official booked Cortez Belle on 73 minutes for either the handball or the foul which came in quick succession. The big number four can rightly claim to have been booked by two overseas refs at Nantporth this season after being cautioned by Ivar Kristjansson in the first phase fixture in October. Bangor pushed forward and won but soon wasted a fourth corner before Lewis Harling was yellow carded for a foul on Damien Allen. Ten minutes from time Lee Healey crossed but Ryan Edwards headed off target as City sought a conclusive second goal. It nearly came moments later as Lee Idzi dwelt on a backpass which Healey and Chris Jones chased down but the linesman rightly flagged for offside before the shaven headed striker netted.
Sion Edwards was then booked for a genuine challenge before, with five minutes left, Danny Thomas came on for Bassett who had caused a few problems for the visitors. Upon the restart Sion Edwards saw his shot deflected for a corner which fell to Chris Jones but Idzi saved his shot. Two minutes from time Lee Healey ran in behind - the visitors shouting for offside - but crashed his low shot wide. In the final minute Anthony Miley replaced a weary Ryan Edwards and then in the three minutes of added time young Sam Faulkner came on to make his Welsh Premier debut as a replacement for left winger Sion Edwards. The former Menai Bridge youngster nearly scored with his first touch but Lee Idzi back peddled to catch his goalbound chip in the nick of time.
And that was about it. Bangor deserved winnners albeit by a slender margin and with news that next week's opponents Cefn won two nil, three important points gained ahead of the trip to The Rock next weekend.
Match report courtesy of Mike Smith (www.the-citizens-choice.co.uk)