Keeper Pritchard’s heroics paves way for McGinness to clinch gold for Ynys Môn

Photographer Aled Wyn Jones’ stunning image of Liam Morris (No19) volleying Ynys level against Guernsey

Ynys Môn 2 (Liam Morris 67, Mel McGinness 84)
Guernsey 1 (Keanu Marsh 5)

2019 Inter-Island Games men’s football final

Magic Mel McGinness produced the gold medal-winning goal for Ynys Môn but it was captain and goalkeeper Paul Pritchard who was the stand-out figure of Friday’s final at Holyhead Hotspur.

Pritchard. who announced his retirement from Island Games football before the final, saved a penalty and produced a series of other great stops to keep Anglesey in the contest against a sharp Guernsey attack.

In front of a 3,000-plus crowd at the New Stadium, Môn marked the 20th anniversary of their only previous Games gold in style by coming from behind to lift the trophy.

Môn started well, Liam Morris drilling across the face of goal before follow-up efforts were blocked, but Pritchard was soon delivering heroics at the other end as he concocted a tremendous double save from a free kick.

The heroic Paul Pritchard (green). Photo: Dai Sinclair

In the fifth minute Guernsey grabbed the lead, Keanu Marsh providing a lethal finish from inside the box.

The hosts rallied and in the 12th minute were awarded a penalty for deliberate handball despite the shot finding the net.

Offender Frank Tobin was shown a straight red card, reducing the Sarnians to 10 men, but Sam Jones’ penalty was brilliantly saved by James Hamon.

A big turning point arrived in the 26th minute when a foul on Marsh resulted in a Guernsey spot-kick, but Pritchard, diving to his left, magnificently denied Matt Loaring.

Pritchard was not finished there, as before the break the Porthmadog glovesman made another stunning double stop after Marlon Jardim broke clear.

A smiling Mel McGinness (second left – green socks). Picture: Dai Sinclair

Ryan Taylor lashed one just over close to the interval, but come half time Môn had their keeper to thank for being only a goal down.

Anglesey started the second half in determined fashion and only the bravery of Hamon stopped substitute Alex Boss in his tracks.

McGinness lashed a screamer over the bar, then Jay Gibbs was inches wide with a left-footer.

The equaliser was coming and it arrived on 67 minutes when Jordan Taylor lofted the ball into the box and Liam Morris scored with a beautifully struck volley.

The crowd roared even louder as they sensed this was to be Ynys Môn’s night.

The outstanding Jay Gibbs (red) takes on Guernsey. Pic: Aled Wyn Jones

And on 84 minutes Holyhead Hotspur ace Mel McGinness wrote himself into Island Games folklore by coolly putting away the decider.

An unforgettable evening for Anglesey football and a fully deserved gold medal for Campbell Harrison and Iwan Williams’ men.

Ynys Môn: Paul Pritchard, Dean Garmey, Alex Jones, Tom Taylor, Cai Powell-Roberts, Jay Gibbs, Ryan Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Mel McGinness, Sam Jones, Liam Morris.

Subs: Alex Boss, John Littlemore, Gari Owen, Guto Hughes, Gerwyn Roberts, Tomos Clarke, Dan Thomas, Dafydd Jones Matthew Jones.

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