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Was 2002-03 CPD Porthmadog’s best-ever season?

Carl Owen (red and black) was Porthmadog’s top scorer in the 2002-03 season with 26 goals. Picture: CPD Porthmadog

Match reports and stats courtesy of http://www.porthmadogfc.com and the ever-excellent Gareth Williams

Was 2002-03 CPD Porthmadog’s greatest-ever season?

It certainly has to be a major contender from the club’s proud history book.

Viv Williams’s side not only won the Cymru Alliance title by a massive 19 points, they also scooped the League Cup and NWCFA Challenge Cup to make it a momentous treble.

Port bossed the league from the start, going unbeaten in their first 29 matches, winning 27 and drawing two.

The red and blacks sealed the title with a 3-2 victory at distant challengers Buckley Town in their 28th game.

It was only when the championship was well and truly in the bag that Port let their standards slip slightly, losing back-to-back league encounters to Airbus and Halkyn United.

However, they ended the league campaign with a 2-0 home success versus Llandudno.

With the title secured, Port now had the NWCFA Challenge Cup and League Cup finals to come, and they prevailed in both.

Porthmadog manager Viv Williams (left – red jacket) and Osian Roberts (furthest right)

The squad

It was a magnificent all-round team effort from Port, but there were also some standout performers over an unforgettable season.

Seven players reached double figures in the goals stakes, Carl Owen leading the way with 26 in all competitions.

David Farr (17), Steve Pugh and Tony Williams (16 each), Gareth Caughter (14), Gareth Parry (13) plus Dafydd Evans and Lee Webber (12 apiece) all fired at different stages.

Goalkeeper Gerard McGuigan was awesome, conceding just 19 league goals in 32 outings.

Quality defenders such as John Gwynfor Jones, Campbell Harrison and the evergreen Mike Foster were also outstanding.

And Robert Williams, Richard Owen, Dylan Jones, Richard Hughes and Iwan Roberts more than played their part.

TREBLE LEG TWO
Porthmadog 3 (Carl Owen 33, Stephen Roberts OG 46, Dafydd Evans 68 pen)
Llandudno 1 (Ben Hughes 90)
North Wales Coast Challenge Cup Final – May 13, 2003

Carl Owen (red/black) opened the scoring for Porthmadog in the NWCFA Challenge Cup Final of 2003

Port secured the Challenge Cup for a sixth time in their history at the expense of fellow Cymru Alliance outfit Llandudno at The Oval, Caernarfon.

The Traeth men had steadily got on top before taking a 33rd minute lead.

Mike Foster swung over a trademark dangerous corner and Tudno keeper Phil Owen failed to gather cleanly under pressure from Lee Webber.

On hand to pick up the pieces was Carl Owen, who fired into the net from eight yards.

Just before the break, a long ball found Llandudno’s Dean Hughes, who tested Gerard McGuigan with a good effort, but the keeper saved at the expense of a corner.

Perhaps the turning point of the final came in the first minute of the second-half when there was a truly bizarre goal.

Stephen Roberts sent a gentle apparently controlled header back to his keeper without noticing that Owen had left his goal – perhaps expecting the defender to allow the ball to come directly through to him.

The header instead took the ball past Owen and he could only watch as it trickled slowly into the corner of the net.

Following this goal the Llandudno performance took on an air of desperation and some over vigorous tackles flew in.

Ben Dews tried a long shot which flew over the bar and then Rene Pinard made a good run on the right, taking the ball to the by-line but his cross was confidently cut out by McGuigan.

For Port, Carl Owen kept battling away and just after the hour he tested Phil Owen with a low 25-yard shot.

Carl Owen once again broke on the left and cut into the box where he was challenged and, adjudged by referee Elwyn Jones of Bodffordd to have been brought down by central defender Greg Harris.

Up stepped Dafydd Evans who drove confidently past the keeper from the penalty spot to make it 3-0 on 68 minutes.

The game was now out of reach for Llandudno and after 80 minutes Iwan Roberts played a good ball into the box for Dave Farr, who was pulled down by the keeper.

Once again the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Evans again, but this time Phil Owen pushed the ball on to the post. Evans reacted quickly but his second effort struck the bar before the ball was cleared.

Llandudno managed a consolation when a good diving save by McGuigan fell into the path of Ben Hughes, who netted from close range.

Port: Gerard McGuigan, John G Jones, Campbell Harrison, Lee Webber, Mike Foster, Dafydd Evans, Gareth Parry, Ritchie Owen, Gareth Caughter (Iwan Roberts), Tony Williams (Steve Pugh), Carl Owen (Dave Farr).
Llandudno: Phil Owen, James Kincaid, Ben Dews, Stephen Roberts, Greg Harris, Bleddyn Jones, Mally Tidswell, Ben Hughes, Rene Pinard, Dean Hughes, Darren Jones.
Subs: James Cornish, Joe Carey, Darren Robinson, Dave Alexander, Adi Hoyle.

TREBLE LEG THREE
Porthmadog 4 (Dafydd Evans 14, Dave Lovatt OG 90, Dylan Jones 92, Gareth Parry 105)
Buckley Town 2 (Andy Neal 33, Ryan Harden 78)
Cymru Alliance League Cup Final – May 17, 2003

Gerard McGuigan produced some stunning saves for Port

Viv Williams’s team completed an amazing treble as they struck late to force extra time and went on to beat Buckley and claim the League Cup at Llangefni.

With the league title and NWCFA Challenge Cup secure, it looked like it was one game too far for Port, entering the 90th minute at Talwrn Road, but they refused to concede defeat.

Port were 2-1 down when Campbell Harrison found himself in possession on the right of the box and broke to the byline before delivering a perfect chip to the near post and defender Dave Lovatt knew he would have to play it.

In the wet conditions, Lovatt was devastated to see the ball glance off his forehead and into the net. The referee’s whistle blew and extra-time was needed.

Over the 90 minutes Buckley must have felt they deserved to win this battle between the Cymru Alliance’s two best sides. They adapted better to the very difficult conditions and managed to play some good football.

Port were, however, first to threaten when Dafydd Evans slipped the ball to Carl Owen to make ground on the right before delivering a fine cross for Richie Owen to test Paul Turner with an early header.

At the other end Mike Lewis worked Gerard McGuigan with a well struck free-kick from 25 yards.

After 14 minutes it was first blood to Port when experienced defender Jeff Hinchcliffe handled in the box and Dafydd Evans made no mistake from the spot.

Buckley then enjoyed a period of pressure and on 33 minutes full-back Jimmy Harrison delivered a fine ball from the right for Andy Neal to score with a neat flicked header which beat McGuigan at the far post.

The teams reached half-time on level terms.

In the second half, McGuigan was by far the busier of the two keepers.

First he produced a fine low diving save from a Mike Williams effort, then had to touch over an excellent Ryan Harden free-kick before again at full stretch denying Darren Williams. The Port defence was now under serious pressure and Lee Webber was a colossus.

In the 78th minute Buckley took a deserved lead when Harden lobbed a superb free kick over the wall. McGuigan seemed to see it only very late and was beaten at the far post.

With Carl Owen, who had not been fit from the start, limping off things looked black for the champions.

That was how things stood until injury-time. Buckley heads went down momentarily after the late equaliser and that was just the invitation Port needed.

With only two minutes of the first period of extra-time gone manager Williams’s substitutions struck gold.

Mike Foster played a high ball into the box and sub Iwan Roberts got a touch which was enough for fellow replacement Dylan Jones to get a sight of goal. The 17 year old drove low past Turner from 10 yards.

Port sealed it when midfielder Gareth Parry cut into the box and sent a low strike under the diving Turner.

Port: Gerard McGuigan, John G Jones, Campbell Harrison, Lee Webber, Mike Foster, Dafydd Evans, Gareth Parry, Ritchie Owen (Iwan Roberts), Carl Owen (Tony Williams), Dave Farr (Dylan Jones).

Copyright Dave Jones © All rights reserved. CoverNews by AF themes.
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