Flashback – eight years ago: Prestatyn Town make debut in Europe

Lee Hunt of Prestatyn Town on the attack against Liepajas

Prestatyn Town 1 (Andy Parkinson)
Liepajas Metalurgs 2 (Jurgen Kalns, Ilia Sadcins)

Eight years ago this week Prestatyn Town’s first-ever match in European competition ended in defeat.

The Welsh Cup winners were up against Liepajas Metalurgs of Latvia with Belle Vue, Rhyl, the venue for this first qualifying round first leg encounter.

Player-manager Neil Gibson started for Town, who also had new signing Lee Hunt leading the attack with former Tranmere Rovers striker Andy Parkinson.

Parkinson failed to connect from close range with a Hunt cross before Metarlugs took the lead four minutes later through a Jurgis Kalns header following Valērijs Afanasjevs’ delivery.

Prestatyn grew into the game and put the Latvian defence under pressure during the last five minutes of the first half and they had a penalty appeal turned down when Hunt was brought down in the area.

But the hosts levelled on the stroke of half-time when Gibson and Chris Davies combined to set up Hunt, whose back-heel teed up Parkinson to score from 12 yards.

Things looked good for the Welsh Premier side when Metarlugs were reduced to 10 men on 55 minutes when Roberts Savalnieks received a second yellow card for a two-footed challenge on Davies.

But the visitors restored their lead seven minutes later when substitute Ilja Sadcins found the top right hand corner of the net with a shot from outside the box.

Prestatyn pressed for a second equaliser with Greg Stones heading narrowly over the crossbar in injury time.

So Prestatyn were one down and had conceded two away goals ahead of their trip to Latvia seven days later – but amazing things were in store for the Seasiders and their supporters.

Prestatyn Town: Dave Roberts, Chris Davies, Dave Hayes, Sean Hessey, Jack Lewis, Ross Stephens, Greg Stones, Neil Gibson, Mike Parker, Lee Hunt, Andy Parkinson.
Subs: Jon Hill-Dunt, Adam France, Tom Kemp, Carl Murray, Jamie Butler, Rhys Owen, Danny Markland.

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