Port Talbot 1 (Bowen 28)
Bangor City 2 (Bull 44 & 69)
Welsh Premier League – April 23, 2011
With title rivals The New Saints having slipped up at home to Neath the night before, Bangor regained pole position in the Welsh Premier championship race with a priceless win at the GenQuip on this date 10 years ago.
City had won just one game out of seven in phase two of the inaugural “Super 12” competition and appeared to have blown their chances of finishing top of the tree, but this result at Port Talbot turned the tables in more ways than one.
The game was dominated not by match referee Kevin Morgan or either team, but by the bone dry, dusty pitch which made patient football pointless.
Both sides went close either side of the 10-minutes mark as City’s James Brewerton shot across goal, a feat repeated by the lively Luke Bowen moments later. Bangor had a chance when Alan Bull found space on the left but David Cornell saved.
On 25 five minutes City thought they had the lead. Nicky Ward crossed, Craig Garside’s shot struck the post, Chris Jones hit the bar and Les Davies saw his header held high by Cornell.
Minutes later Chris Jones shot just wide from the right.
In the 28th minute, the visitors suffered a big blow when a high cross from the left was headed to the edge of his box by Dave Morley but Bowen reacted first to send a low drive past the helpless Paul Smith.
City nearly gained a lifeline as Lee Surman headed back to Cornell but Bull just failed to intercept. Davies crossed but captain Brewerton fired high and wide.
On the stroke of half time Bangor drew level.
Morley found Michael Johnston close to halfway, he sent a direct ball into the box and as Surman headed away, Chris Jones fired goalwards. Surman got in the way, Bowen tripped Bull but despite being flat on the ground he netted from two yards.
Prior to the restart Port Talbot made two changes. Experienced pair Leigh DeVulgt and Liam McCreesh came on for Nicky Holland and David Brooks.
Brewerton and then Lee John for the hosts went close in the early stages.
The impressive Morley played a clever one-two with Bull but dragged his shot wide. Port won a corner but Surman headed wide.
On the hour McCreesh found Bowen on the right but Smith pushed his low drive away.
Bull was proving hard to handle and his run from the right threatened but loanee Cornell saved comfortably. Chris Roberts defended calmly under pressure from the persistent Bowen and did well to shield the ball back to his goalkeeper.
After 69 minutes left Bangor took the lead. Bull gathered the ball to the left of the box, side-stepped around two or three home defenders and slotted home off the post through the legs of Surman.
With seven minutes left Sion Edwards replaced double goalscorer Bull. Moments later Davies might have done better but his shot off Chris Jones’ layoff went too close to Cornell.
As the 90 ran out City won a couple of corners without seriously threatening, and four added minutes were shown.
These served as a red rag to the Port Talbot bull who went close through Bowen twice, then Corey Thomas shot goalwards but Brewerton headed off the line.
Finally the whistle went and Bangor players and supporters were able to celebrate a revival in their fortunes.
City knew they most likely had to win their remaining two extremely tough matches – away to Neath and home to TNS – to be crowned champions.
This had been a performance of true character at Port Talbot.
Port Talbot: David Cornell, Nicky Holland (Leigh DeVulgt 46), Nathan Cotterrall, Gareth Phillips, Kye Edwards (Gary Bansor 87), Lee Surman, Casey Thomas, Craig Jones, Luke Bowen, Lee John, David Brooks (Liam McCreesh 46).
Bangor City: Paul Smith, Darren Moss, Chris Roberts, Dave Morley, James Brewerton, Michael Johnston, Craig Garside (Clive Williams 90 + 4), Chris Jones, Les Davies, Nicky Ward, Alan Bull (Sion Edwards 84). Unused subs: Eddie Jebb, Michael Jukes, Tom Dix.