Bangor City 5 (Morley 15, Jukes 69, Davies 74, Bull 75, Moss 90+3)
Haverfordwest County 3 (Thomas 52, Bradford 56, Christopher 67)
Welsh Cup round four – Feb 5, 2011
Many thanks to Mike Smith of the Citizens Choice website for his help with this report
Midway through the second half Bangor trailed 3-1 and their hopes of lifting the Welsh Cup for a fourth successive occasion were in danger of going down the pan.
But the Citizens, embroiled in a true love affair with Wales’ premier knockout competition in this era, produced a stunning fightback to progress to the quarter-finals.
City had walloped Haverfordwest 6-0 in the league at Farrar Road a month earlier, but the return tussle was to prove a much closer contest.
The fact that this fourth round match kicked off was due almost entirely to a small army of volunteers who answered the call, pitchforks, wellies and all, to help prepare the pitch. Along with the ever industrious Mike Frazer, they set the scene for an eight-goal thriller.
Haverfordwest started well, but soon Bangor were in command and a Nicky Ward free-kick from the right, was slotted home by Dave Morley from 10 yards.
Both sides went close before half time arrived with the hosts ahead.
Half-time: Bangor 1 Haverfordwest 0
There was nothing in the first half to indicate how the second would go.
Driven forward by the wet gusting wind County pressed for an equaliser which duly arrived on 52 minutes.
Paul Smith could not hold a low shot from the right and watched in despair as North Walian Neil Thomas, a former City player who would return to the club the following season, netted Jack Christopher’s cross from close range.
Four minutes later, Jamie Bradford headed home a cross from the right to edge the Bluebirds in front.
Bangor were rattled and yellow cards for Morley and Chris Jones added to their troubles.
Manager Neville Powell had seen enough and duly sent on reinforcements in the shape of newcomers Darren Moss and Michael Jukes with Craig Garside and Chris Jones coming off.
Moments later, Citizens followers held their breath as Thomas was felled by keeper Paul Smith in the left-back position. Yellow card, not red, relief all round.
But things got worse as Haverfordwest stole a 3-1 lead on 67 minutes as Lee Hugdell’s run and left wing cross found Christopher, who side-footed home from close range. A murmur of disbelief swept the ground but the visitors bench were now ecstatic.
Two minutes later though Bangor pulled one back as Jukes turned Ward’s right wing cross between Duncan Roberts and the near post.
A final roll of the dice from Powell saw Eddie Jebb on for a weary Clive Williams as City adopted a 3-4-3 formation. Would it work?
The signs were good on 74 minutes as Kyle Graves lost the ball and Les Davies was allowed to turn and shoot right footed past Roberts after Jebb’s high swirling cross from the right had unsettled the County defence. All square.
Within seconds Smith saved well from Christopher, but in no time it was 4-3 to Bangor.
Davies charged down the left and squared to Alan Bull 12 yards out who somehow slotted home without breaking stride to complete an amazing sequence of three goals in five minutes.
County were far from dead and buried, Evans’s rising drive pushed over by Smith.
On the 90, fourth official Nick Pratt displayed four minutes of added time.
Groans all round, but no need as three minutes in Davies rumbled goalwards on the right, Roberts saved his low shot, but Moss capped a fine debut with a calm finish which ended the contest and finally guaranteed safe passage for City.
All over at last, and tired, muddied but unbowed Bangor celebrated a 20th Welsh Cup win in a row under the stewardship of Powell.
City reached a fourth successive final but failed to make it a quadruple success, losing 4-1 to Llanelli.
Nonetheless, the all-blues had already secured the Welsh Premier League title. Quite some consolation!
Bangor: Paul Smith, Clive Williams (Eddie Jebb 70), Chris Roberts, Dave Morley, James Brewerton, Craig Garside (Darren Moss 63), Chris Jones (Michael Jukes 63), Alan Bull, Les Davies, Nicky Ward, Michael Johnston.
Haverfordwest: Duncan Roberts, Kyle Graves, Richard Evans, Lee Jarman, Mark Dodds, Neil Thomas, Lee Hudgell (Damon Searle 78), Jamie Bradford (Chris O’Sullivan 72), Tom Ramasut, Jack Christopher, Kristian Griffiths (Danny Thomas 79).