In the first of an occasional series, Grassroots North Wales talks to players about games from their career which will always stay in their mind.
Ceri Roberts will never forget his Welsh Premier League debut for Porthmadog at Rhyl in 2003. The day contained mixed fortunes for the future Blaenau Amateurs player-manager.
Rhyl 6 (Mark Powell 7, Chris Adamson 33, Steve Walters 44 & 78, Andy Moran 72, Chris McGinn 84)
Porthmadog 1 (Dafydd Evans pen 90)
Welsh Premier League – December 26, 2003
Ceri Roberts will never forget his Welsh Premier League debut.
It happened on Boxing Day 2003 when Ceri’s Porthmadog side were the visitors to an awesome Rhyl side destined to finish as champions that season.
Port lost 6-1, but Ceri did have the consolation of coming on as a 76th minute sub and winning the penalty that led to the visitors’ only goal of the afternoon at Belle Vue.
Ceri, later to manage Blaenau Amateurs, recalled: “I came off the bench to find myself one on one with the keeper, only to be clattered by a Rhyl defender to win a penalty!
“Ywain Gwynedd was also on the bench with me, and I remember warming up alongside him at half time, getting stick from the Belle Vue massive asking who our barber was!” (Ywain and Ceri were well blessed in the hair volume department at this time – and probably still are!).
Porthmadog’s website described the game as a nightmare as the Traeth men crashed to one of their heaviest defeats ever in the Welsh Premier.
They had plenty of possession for most of the game but failed to create any real problems for Rhyl defenders and were broken down too easily.
Most of the first half followed the same pattern – Port worked to carve out chances and although they succeeded to some extent, they failed to produce any real opportunities of note.
When Rhyl broke swiftly, Port were put on the back foot and it only took seven minutes for the hosts to profit when Mark Powell scored from a cross by Chris Adamson.
Although Tony Williams, Lee Webber and Carl Owen all had efforts at goal during the first half, they were from a fair distance and did not trouble Paul Smith too much.
At the other end it was Andy Moran and new signing Lee Hunt who were the danger men.
In the 33rd minute Adamson drove home following a slick build-up, leaving Gerard McGuigan with no chance.
Rhyl’s third goal that put them out of sight couldn’t have come at a worse time for Port – just on the stroke of half time.
Steve Walters was given too much time and space in the box and netted from close range.
Half-time: Rhyl 3 Porthmadog 0
The second half started more promisingly for the visitors, and it remained 3-0 until the 72nd minute.
Carl Owen had Port’s best chance of the afternoon, but failed to get the better of keeper Smith.
After a sloppy fourth goal from Moran on 72 minutes, when McGuigan dropped a cross, things went sharply downhill for Port.
Walters netted his second after some slack defending, then McGuigan raced out to clear only to see his kick cannon off the advancing Chris McGinn and gift the striker the simplest of tap-ins.
Port’s goal came from a last minute penalty after substitute Ceri Roberts – making his Welsh Premier debut – was pulled down in the box.
Dafydd Evans was dependable as ever from 12 yards, but this was scant consolation after such a capitulation.
As for Ceri Roberts, well it was a Welsh Premier debut at a superb football ground and he did earn the penalty which got his team on the scoreboard.
PE teacher and retained firefighter Ceri went on to score many goals in his career for clubs like Llanrwst United, Barmouth and Dyffryn and Blaenau,
Rhyl: Smith, Walters (Wilson 81), Wood, Atherton, Edwards, M.Powell, Hunt (McGinn 72), Brewerton, Moran, G.Powell (Hogg 60), Adamson.
Port: McGuigan, J G Jones, Foster (Pugh 45), Parry (R.Owen 72), Webber, D.Evans, Hughes, E.Williams, T.Williams (C.Roberts 76), C.Owen, Caughter.