WELSH CUP ROUND THREE – NOVEMBER 11, 2023
Bangor 1876 1 (C Jones 90+4)
Flint Town United 1 (Reeves 67)
Report by Nigel Sheen
When a goalkeeper comes up for a last-gasp corner and scores to force a penalty shoot-out it suggests it might just be his team’s day.
Sadly for Bangor 1876, this was not the case.
Despite their No 1 Carl Jones netting a late, late equaliser at Nantporth Stadium to make it 1-1, the resulting penalties contest in fact went the way of opponents Flint Town United.
It left the 1876 supporters heartbroken at what they had just witnessed, but also extremely proud at how well their side had played in this all-Cymru North last 32 Welsh Cup tie.
There was little notice of what was to come later in the game, as the first half was a very low-key affair.
The home side created a good opportunity on seven minutes, when Cai Powell-Roberts went on a rampaging run through the middle before finding Liam Morris, in space on the left, but from a good position, he blazed over the bar.
In the 12th minute, Flint went close when an Anthony Stephens free kick smacked against the Bangor crossbar.
That was it for the first half, but the second 45 was thankfully more exciting.
The introduction of Harley Brindley-Peagram for the Silkmen injected some much needed urgency into their attacking moves.
It was Peagram who set up the opening goal on 67 minutes as after good work on the left, he played the ball into the path of Elliott Reeves, who drilled a low shot into the corner of the net.
With 10 minutes remaining, the Silkmen’s Josh Jones made a dangerous run into the box, and his shot was blocked, only for it to run across goal and be partially cleared.
However, it ran to the incoming Ben Hughes, who from wide on the right, fired it back goalwards, with keeper Jones caught out of position.
But the shot lacked sufficient power and accuracy, and Jones was allowed to trap it under his foot on the goal-line before clearing.
Bangor’s biggest danger was from corners, and on 83 minutes they had a great chance to equalise. Iolo Hughes found himself free at the back post, but lifted the ball over the bar.
Flint looked to have done enough, but in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Bangor were awarded a hotly disputed corner.
Another excellent delivery into a crowded six-yard box was met by keeper Rhys Williams who attempted to punch clear, but under pressure from all sides, the ball dropped down into the goalmouth area, where an almighty scramble ensued.
Williams’ opposite number, Carl Jones, sent up for the corner in an attempt to salvage something, did just that, forcing the ball over the line to trigger scenes of delirium among Bangor supporters.
There was barely time for the game to restart before the final whistle blew, with the 1876 players jubilant Flint’s looking crestfallen.
Matters looked to be getting worse for the Silkmen, when Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro stepped up to take the first penalty, only to blast high over the bar.
The pendulum appeared to have swung decisively in Bangor’s favour as Corrig McGonigle calmly dispatched his spot kick.
The next two kicks were both scored, giving Bangor a 2-1 lead. Anthony Stephens then lashed into the corner to draw Flint level, although they had taken an extra kick.
But the next twist in the drama was about to unfold, as Williams dived to his right to keep out Gethin Thomas’ effort. So, after three penalties apiece it was all square at 2-2.
The next four players all held their nerves and scored, meaning it went to sudden death at 4-4.
If anything, the quality of penalty taking seemed to improve with neither keeper being able to do much about things as the score reached 7-7 after eight penalties apiece.
Sol Forde then strode up and tucked his away to make it 8-7 to Flint, with Cai Powell-Roberts for Bangor then being the unfortunate player to send his kick wide of the post.
So, by the narrowest of margins, Flint progressed into the last 16 of this season’s Welsh Cup, and they will find out who their opponents are in the draw which will take place at 8pm next Friday.