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NEWFA Challenge Cup: Mold Alex and Gresford progress to quarter-finals

Holywell (stripes) celebrate their equaliser, but it was Gresford who won the tie. Picture: Lee Paul Douglas

NEWFA CHALLENGE CUP ROUND TWO

Holywell Town 1 Gresford Athletic 2

A stunning 89th minute winner from Harley Steel put Gresford into the quarter-finals of the NEWFA Challenge Cup, but the visitors largely had outstanding goalkeeper Ben Jones to thank for their victory at Halkyn Road..

The Cymru North visitors took the lead with their first real attack on the Wellmen’s goal.

A great cross to the far post by Joe Culshaw saw Jordan MacCarter climb high to score with a free header.

The early setback did not upset Johnny Haseldin’s side too much as soon after Mark Connolly hit the post.

A few minutes later the Welsh National League Premier Division hosts did equalise.

Connolly burst through the middle and was brought down on the edge of the area. The former Bala Town and Rhyl midielder’s fiercely-struck free kick came back into play off the post with the keeper beaten, and the ball ricocheted back into the net off a defender.

It remained 1-1 up to the break, then the Colliers had the first big chance of the second half when MacCarter was through one-on-one with keeper Mike Platt. To Holywell’s relief, the custodian pulled off a great save.

Town should have taken the lead when Tony Roebuck’s fine cross into the box was met by a Connolly diving header but Ben Jones saved superbly.

From the resulting corner, Connolly’s header went just wide. Luke Edwards then had an effort brilliantly stopped by Jones.

Town breathed a huge sigh of relief a few minutes later as Steel fired against the post, the ball rolled across the face of goal, and Jacob Wise cleared the danger with MacCarter ready to tap home.

Man of the match Jones performed heroics again, keeping out Roebuck’s brilliantly struck half-volley and denying substitute Shaun Tuck.

Then heartbreak for Town in the final minute. Steel left a defender standing before lashing in an absolute beauty with his left foot.

Mold Alexandra 5 Coedpoeth United 3

The Welsh National League Premier Division hosts needed an added time fifth goal to finally kill off the brave challenge of Division One battlers Coedpoeth.

Mold got off to a flyer, taking a fifth-minute lead when Matty Pierce crossed to Lewis George, who sliced a shot past the keeper off the outside of his boot.

Danny Warren’s deflected header soon made it 2-0.

Alex were looking comfortable at half time with a two-goal advantage and it got even better early in the second period when Adam Renshaw capitalised on a defensive slip to race clear and arrow into the far corner.

Coedy soon hit back when a penalty earned by Olly Lewis was converted by Kevin Breeze.

It really was game on when Lewis pounced to make it 3-2 from a goalmouth scramble.

Mold provided an instant reply, Renshaw breaking through at blistering pace to score a carbon copy of his first goal.

The visitors refused to lie down and set up a barnstorming finish at Alyn Park as substitute Matty Thomas buried a Nathan Jones cutback.

The underdogs pushed hard for an equaliser before a minute into added time, George countered and set up Mike Woodward to make it 5-3.

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