Prestatyn Town have nearly always been a part of my sports reporting life.
Going way back to 1992, when I covered their Clwyd League battles
with Denbigh Town and Llandyrnog United, the Seasiders were always good
I have to admit, though, with all due respect I never thought they would win the Welsh Cup in my lifetime.
It certainly never crossed my mind all those years ago that this then
tier-four club would etch their name on the famous trophy, especially
as in those days the likes of Cardiff City, Swansea City, Newport County
and Wrexham were still competing in it.
Move on around 20 years and what was once considered an impossible dream had become a reality.
A Prestatyn outfit now making waves in the top-flight Welsh Premier
League were to win Wales’ premier knockout competition, now minus the
Football League giants, by defeating eight-time champions Bangor City in
the final at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground.
May 6, 2013, truly was a fairytale occasion for Prestatyn Town FC.
Not that the club were strangers to defying the odds and creating a stir by then.
Looking destined for a lifetime in tier-three, Town landed the
2005/06 Welsh Alliance title without losing a single game, and by
2007/08 they were next-level-up Huws Gray Alliance League champions too.
A phenomenal community effort ensured Bastion Gardens met the
necessary criteria to play in the Welsh Premier in 2008/09, and for the
next four seasons, Neil Gibson’s team had more than held their own.
However, nothing as big as reaching a Welsh Cup Final had ever been achieved by the club.
Opponents Bangor had won the trophy on three successive occasions between 2008-10 and were favourites to defeat the Seasiders.
Nonetheless, Prestatyn’s players had massive belief in themselves,
and helping their cause was a massive turnout of supporters which
rivaled City’s large and vociferous fan base for noise.
The final watched by a crowd of 1,732 at the Glyndwr Racecourse. It seemed like a lot more.
Despite their considerable injury problems in the lead up to the
showpiece, director of football Gibson was able to field close to his
strongest line-up with striker Jason Price, defender Dave Hayes and the
player-boss himself passing late fitness tests.
City manager Neville Powell had all his leading players at his
disposal, with top scorer Chris Simm returning to the fold after a
Prestatyn could hardly have wished for a better start as they took the lead in just the second minute.
Chris Davies’ cross from the right was palmed away unconvincingly by
City keeper Lee Idzi straight to Ross Stephens, who drilled the ball
across the six-yard box where Price could not miss.
The early drama continued on eight minutes when Town defender Anthony
Stephens was adjudged to have committed an aerial foul on Simm in the
box and referee Kevin Morgan instantly pointed to the spot.
Dave Morley’s penalty was bound for the corner, but Prestatyn’s
specialist spot-kick saver Jon Hill-Dunt produced a fantastic
Moments later Hill-Dunt was the hero again as he acrobatically pushed a viciously dipping Liam Brownhill cross over the bar.
The bobbly Racecourse surface was not making passing football easy
and after that frantic start proceedings calmed down, with both sides
occasionally threatening but lacking a cutting edge where it mattered.
The half-time break arrived with the underdogs in the bookmakers’ eyes a goal to the good.
The Citizens were first to threaten in the second period when Les
Davies flicked on and Chris Jones connected firmly on the volley, but
again man of the match Hill-Dunt made it look easy as he caught the ball
leaping to his right.
Bangor boss Powell brought on left-wing livewire Sion Edwards for
Jones on 58 minutes and within seconds the Citizens were level.
A delivery from midfield put Simm in the clear and the ex-Chester
front man slipped the ball past the advancing Hill-Dunt, with the aid of
a deflection off Chris Davies, to make it 1-1.
Robbie Booth replaced Morley and Simm was now buzzing. While one
ambitious effort was way off target another fierce strike from the right
on 64 minutes missed by inches.
It was all Bangor now, Simm lashing over before Hill-Dunt made a fine
stop at the foot of the post to keep out a Ryan Edwards scorcher.
However, Town showed they still possessed a threat up front when Andy Parkinson drilled wide after combining well with Price.
Back came Bangor, Sion Edwards firing in a good cross which Davies was unable to direct on target with his head.
Prestatyn had the final chance of normal time when Davies crossed
from the right, but Price was unable to test Idzi with a header.
The final went into extra time and on 97 minutes City’s Davies headed a fraction wide from a Booth cross.
Sion Edwards then fired low at Hill-Dunt before Bangor were reduced
to 10 men when Michael Johnston was shown a second yellow card for
bringing down Parkinson just outside the penalty area. Turning point.
To add insult to injury, Parkinson’s free-kick glanced in off Stephens to make it 2-1 Prestatyn on 104 minutes.
Town were now in command and three minutes into the second period Parkinson found Price, who beat off a challenge to make it 3-1 and seal a famous victory.
Prestatyn: Jon Hill-Dunt, Chris Davies, Greg Stones, Dave Hayes, Anthony Stephens, Mike Parker, Gareth Wilson (Rhys Owen 106), Neil Gibson, Jason Price (Carl Murray 119), Andy Parkinson, Ross Stephens.