Bangor City 1 (O’Neill 5)
Welsh Cup semi final – April 1, 2006
What a performance from the Citizens in this Welsh Cup semi final played at Park Avenue, Aberystwyth, 15 years ago today.
In the face of strong arm tactics from the rugby town side, this spirited young Bangor outfit won the day by playing football and in Paul O’Neill had the Man of The Match in every sense of the word.
An early taste of the Reds tactics came when midfielder Kyle Jones needed treatment inside two minutes.
The air of arrogance about Peter Nicholas’ side disappeared on five minutes when Paul Roberts and the lively 16 year old left winger Carl Jones won a corner on the left.
The Pwllheli youngster sent over an inviting cross which O’Neill met with absolute conviction to head the Blues into the lead in front of the Dias Stand.
With Adam Docker suffering double vision after a collision with Cortez Belle, the big striker ran unchecked into the box but was denied by a clean sliding challenge from leading goalscorer Paul Roberts.
On 38 minutes Docker was carried to the touchline on a stretcher and replaced by Mike Burke. This saw Kyle Jones drop into central defence, Paul Roberts into midfield and the young sub up front alongside Carl Lamb.
Burke’s first taste of action was a run and shot from 20 yards which sped wide of the post. In the closing minutes the hard-working Lamb shot on goal and nearly nut-megged Duncan Roberts, but the ball clipped the keeper’s knee and went behind.
Ben Ogilvy took the corner, City fans appealed loudly for handball, but the moment passed and referee Ray Ellingham blew for half time.
Half-time: Bangor 1 Llanelli 0
After the break Burke ran on goal but fired wide, and minutes later the young sub controlled the ball in the box, despite the close attention of three Llanelli defenders, but could not find the target.
On the hour mark a nervous back pass from Lee Phillips was pounced on by Duncan Roberts and City were duly awarded a free kick inside the Llanelli box.
With the wall obscuring the goal Paul Roberts let fly but his shot was blocked with Chris Priest firing over.
Priest was outstanding with endless tackles, interceptions and careful passes which rarely grab the headlines but make the difference between success and failure over 90 minutes.
He had the perfect ally in City legend Paul Roberts, who patrolled midfield and worked manfully whilst the young strikers foraged up front.
Despite making changes Llanelli lacked composure and Bangor kept everything in control.
Late on both sides had numerous chances to score, Phillips, Belle and Ivan Nofuentes going close for Llanelli and Carl Jones, Burke and Lamb likewise for Bangor.
Eighteen-year-old City keeper Ian Havard continued his faultless display with some clean handling and – eventually – the whistle blew.
Noisy celebrations from the whole Bangor contingent and a well deserved MoM award to O’Neill, but on the day they were all heroes, no one more so than player manager Blackmore directing proceedings from the sidelines.
Bangor: Ian Havard, Kieran Killackey, Ben Ogilvy, Kyle Jones, Adam Docker, Paul O’Neill, Mike Linnecar, Chris Priest, Paul Roberts, Carl Lamb, Carl Jones. Subs: Layton Maxwell, Mike Burke, Clayton Blackmore.