CPD Porthmadog 2 (Julian Williams 63 pen, Rob Evans 76)
Gresford Athletic 1 (Tom Wells 57)
Huws Gray Alliance – January 23, 2016
Five years ago today a super strike by Rob Evans 14 minutes from time gave Port all three points, extending their good run to five wins in six games.
Having pretty much dominated the opening half but without finding the net, Craig Papirnyk’s side found themselves a goal down early in the second stanza and were glad to take advantage of a penalty award to bring them back into the game, before Evans settled it.
In the first half Port bossed possession and territory but failed to open up a resolute Gresford defence.
That was mainly due to veteran keeper Jon Hill-Dunt, who pulled off several excellent saves.
The visitors had the first chance to open the scoring when Owen Roberts picked up a loose pass and copped a clear sight of goal, but Richard Harvey got down well to save a shot from 18 yards.
That turned out to be the closest Gresford came to scoring in the opening half as Port now established control.
Four minutes into the game an excellent Evans through ball put Asa Hamilton in behind the defence, but from a wide angle his attempted lob went over the bar.
When Cai Jones released Josh Banks to cross from the left, Hill-Dunt was on hand to save Evans’ good back post header.
Hill-Dunt was soon in action again, this time making an excellent double save. First he touched a cracking shot from Evans on to the post and then stopped the Julian Williams follow up.
Just past the half-hour and an excellent Iwan Lewis lay-off gave Jones the chance to unleash a shot but again Hill-Dunt came out on top.
Hill-Dunt then denied Jones again following yet another good Port build-up.
Gresford came out for the second period determined to make more of an impression on the game.
Gareth Williams found Sam Richardson in plenty of space on the left but the shot went across the face of goal and wide.
Port responded when Lewis found Hamilton in the box but the attempt was blocked and scrambled away.
For all their first half pressure, 12 minutes into the second period Port found themselves a goal down.
Nathan Peate met a Mike Latham free kick, playing it into the path of Tom Wells, who scored from close range.
The lead lasted just six minutes before referee James Walker pointed to the spot after Hamilton had been wrestled to the ground in the box.
Julian Williams stepped up to at last beat Hill-Dunt from 12 yards.
Athletic were stung into a response; Richardson had his shot deflected for a corner and Williams fired wide when well placed.
Harvey was also called upon to dive low to save from Roberts after the forward had cut inside after breaking down the left.
But it was Port who got their noses in front after 78 minutes.
Following a spell of heavy pressure on the Gresford goal the ball was eventually cleared, but only as far as Iddon Price in the centre circle.
Price immediately spread the ball wide to Rob Evans in space on the right. Evans cut inside into the box and unleashed a tremendous shot into the roof of the net beating the keeper at his near post with his powerful strike.
Despite the setback Gresford pushed forward looking for an equaliser and Harvey was twice worked in the closing stages, first denying Max Peate with an outstanding save and Gruff Williams finished the job, clearing over his own crossbar for a corner.
Harvey needed to be at his best again in the five minutes of added time, cutting out a dangerous low cross from Jamie Price.
Port were able to hold on for what was a deserved three points on play overall.
PORTHMADOG: Richard Harvey, Gruff Williams, Josh Banks, Ceri James (Josh Davies 60), Steve Bratt, Iddon Price, Iwan Lewis, Rob Evans, Julian Williams, Asa Hamilton (Eilir Edwards 68), Cai Jones (Stuart Rogers 81). Unused subs: Gwydion Ifan, Craig Papirnyk.
GRESFORD: Jon Hill-Dunt, Jamie Price, Andrew Stockton, Max Peate, Nathan Peate, Sam Richardson, Jack Mountford, Tom Wells (Matthew Thompson 84), Owen Roberts, Mike Latham. Gareth Williams (Josh Griffiths 71). Unused subs: Eddie Maurice Jones, Matthew Cook.
Big thanks to Gareth Williams for report and Emyr Gareth for photos
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