Cefn Druids 1 (Simpson 71)
Caernarfon Town 2 (Cai Jones 32, Michael Hayes 40)
Cymru Premier League – December 8, 2020
Although Caernarfon ended up hanging on for the points in a game where they had enough chances to be out of sight, the most important thing for the Canaries from tonight’s encounter was the result.
Criticism of the team was heavy following the 6-0 weekend defeat at Penybont, but a visiting side showing a few changes from that loss bounced back with a thrilling display at The Rock.
Ryan Williams, Telor Williams, goalkeeper Josh Tibbets, Darren Thomas and Cai Jones came into the starting line-up in place of Saturday’s choices Tyler French, Gruff John, Gareth Edwards, Jamie Crowther and Jack Kenny.
And Town were on fire from the off.
Joe Williams put over a magnificent cross from the right in the second minute but Cai Jones was unable to connect and Jacob Wise headed out for a corner.
Soon after Paulo Mendes’ header in the box looked to have put Cai Jones in on goal, but at full stretch the striker could not quite reach the ball and keeper Michael Jones gathered.
On six minutes Sion Bradley broke from his own half and fed Thomas, whose low cross was put out for a corner by Aaron Simpson as Mendes was closing in for the kill.
Cai Jones tried to meet a Mendes delivery to the near post, but more good defending saw Phil Mooney make a vital tackle.
Druids finally managed to threaten at the other end, but a decisive touch by keeper Tibbets foiled Charley Edge.
Jones produced a truly exceptional reaction save for the hosts in the 20th minute when Michael Hayes instinctively headed goalwards following a Noah Edwards volley.
Hayes blasted over from a good position before in the 25th minute an Edwards error gave Josh Green a clear opportunity, but Tibbetts got down superbly to save.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 32nd minute.
Bradley robbed Mooney on the right, sprinted to the byline and his perfectly delivered low cross left Cai Jones was the simplest of tasks to score.
Tibbetts was the hero again for the Cofis on 34 minutes when he got down magnificently to keep out a Christoph Aziamale effort.
The busy Tibbetts then blocked at the feet of Arsan, whose subsequent overhead kick was stopped again by the keeper.
The 40th minute brought a second Town goal, Thomas’ precision pass releasing Hayes, whose first attempt was foiled by keeper Jones, but the striker controlled the rebound before finishing well.
On the stroke of half time, Jamie Reed was unable to get his shot off from a Green cross and the interval came with a two-goal advantage to Caernarfon.
One of the best halves of football in the Cymru Premier this season.
Half-time: Cefn Druids 0 Caernarfon Town 2
The second half saw less end-to-end action, although to be fair that first 45 minutes was quite something to live up to.
Cody Ruberto should have pulled one back for the Ancients on 59 minutes, but his volley from a pinpoint Iwan Cartwright cross rolled inches wide.
In the 64th minute sublime work by Hayes saw him trick his way to the byline and set up Bradley who hit the top of the crossbar when a goal looked a dead cert.
Druids made the most of that let-off when a 71st minute free kick to the back post was headed in by defender Simpson for 2-1.
The hosts were now inspired. Aziamale’s fierce volley was thwarted by Tibbetts before Cefn contrived a stunning miss.
Arsan’s ball into the box saw Simpson tee up Mooney, who blasted over with the goal at his mercy.
Niall Flint’s cross-cum-shot did not miss by much, but the closing minutes saw Town a threat on the break, a delivery from the left by Telor Williams clipping the top of the bar.
A great game of football and a deserved and welcome three points for Caernarfon manager Huw Griffiths against his old club.
Cefn Druids: 1 Michael Jones, 3 Naim Arsan, 4 Josh Green, 5 Phil Mooney, 6 Aaron Simpson, 7 Jamie Reed (19 Cody Ruberto 54), 10 Alex Darlington, 16 Iwan Cartwright, 21 Joe Faux (27 Christoph Aziamale 20), 29 Jacob Wise (15 Niall Flint 49), 39 Charley Edge. Subs not used: 13 Dawid Szczepaniak (gk), 8 Harry Brazel
Caernarfon Town: 1 Josh Tibbetts, 2 Joe Williams, 7 Sion Bradley, 8 Paulo Mendes, 9 Michael Hayes, 10 Darren Thomas, 14 Noah Edwards, 17 Ryan Williams, 19 Telor Williams, 20 Cai Jones (29 Jack Kenny 89), 28 Michael Parker. Subs not used: 13 Tyler French (gk), 5 Gareth Edwards, 11 Daniel Brookwell, 12 Sam Jones