Llandudno Junction 3 (M Jones 12, J Williams 53 & 80)
Gwalchmai 1 (C Evans 66)
Lock Stock Welsh Alliance League Division Two – January 19, 2020
Two second half goals from striker Jack Williams ensured Llandudno Junction deservedly took maximum points from yesterday’s Welsh Alliance Division Two clash at the Arriva Ground.
Although visitors Gwalchmai looked to be in with a big chance of rescuing the game after player-manager Craig Evans headed home to make it 2-1 moments after coming on as a substitute, a third for the Railwaymen on 80 minutes killed the contest.
And it was a fine three points for a Junction side which began the day in the bottom three, while their opponents were fourth having led the table for a short spell earlier this season.
The hosts started on the front foot with Carl Barlow lashing a first-minute piledriver just over the bar.
At the other end, Corey Sinnott tricked his way into space inside the box but appeared a lose control as he was about to shoot.
Junction threatened next when Jack Nettleton’s firm strike was kept out by the foot of keeper Paul Evans, who then bundled Curtis Cooper’s follow-up effort behind for a corner.
A home goal was on the cards and it came in the 12th minute, a neat pass from Nettleton finding Marc Jones free to fire past Evans from a slight angle.
Evans held Nettleton’s fierce shot at the second attempt before the 31st minute brought Gwalch’s best chance of the half.
Marc Evans’ header was parried by keeper James French, then Gavin Sharpe looked a cert to score from the rebound but his diving header hit the post.
Sharpe was now becoming more effective in the midfield for the Anglesey side, and his 22-yard screamer brought the best out of French before the break.
Half-time: Llandudno Junction 1 Gwalchmai 0
Junction doubled their lead eight minutes into the second half when Williams appeared to be offside when receiving a through pass, but his finish was clinical.
It should have been three when keeper Evans gifted the ball to Williams, who perhaps not expecting such a chance appeared to rush his effort and blasted into the trees behind the goal.
The game changed somewhat when Gwalchmai player-boss Craig Evans, a forward, came on for defender Tomos Jones.
Within seconds of coming on, Evans met a free kick into the box, but was unable to get enough purchase on the ball to score.
Less than a minute later, however, a glancing header from Evans made it 2-1 and match on.
Gareth Allman’s shot was deflected wide, and the same player was a fraction away from heading home from a corner as Gwalch stepped up the pressure.
The islanders forced a succession of corners, and at times Junction rode their luck, but for the most part they defended really well with bodies being put on the line regularly.
Evans almost spilled a shot from young substitute Adam Montgomery over the line before Junction settled it.
Keeper Evans raced from his goal to reach the ball ahead of Montgomery, but his clearance down the line was weak. George Roberts instantly lofted the ball into the box and the persistence of Jack Williams earned him a second goal.
Gwalchmai kept pressing, earning more corners, but despite a couple of close calls Junction held out for a well-deserved three points.
Junction: James French, George Roberts, Luke Hughes, Chris Bell, Stephen O’Neill, Liam Jones, Curtis Cooper (Mathew Jones 61), Carl Barlow, Jack Williams (Ryan Boddis 84), Marc Jones (Adam Montgomery 73), Jack Nettleton.
Gwalchmai: Paul Evans, Sam Jones, Dylan Owen, Declan Jones, Tomos Jones (Craig Evans 64), Gavin Sharpe (Gwion Thomas), Gethin Davies (Mark Jones), Gareth Allman, Marc Evans, Paul Rowlands, Corey Sinnott.
Grassroots North Wales Player of the Match
Jack Williams (Junction)
Sharp, alert, hard-working young striker who deserved a hat-trick for his efforts.
Two committed sides served up a well-contested affair, but Junction took their chances the better and deserved the result.