Lewis delighted with Alliance survival

By Adam Hughes in Football

PENRHYNCOCH secured survival in the Cymru Alliance after making it back-to-back wins with a 2-1 win against Porthmadog in their last action of the season at Cae Baker.

Dafydd Carruthers, who had scored the vital winner late on against Mold the previous week, was again on target when giving the Roosters a 32nd minute lead.

Meilir Williams levelled on 67 minutes as the visitors rallied after the break, despite having defender Dan Roberts sent off in the first half.

The home side regained the lead a minute later through Jonathan Evans, to preserve their league status after a topsy-turvy campaign.

After a tough spell that saw a three-point deduction and a string of injuries, the Roosters again showed all their resilience to live to fight another season in the league.

Manager Gari Lewis had no doubt that league survival meant even more than winning Spar Mid Wales League title 12 months ago.

“Everyone wants to win trophies, but to finish fifth-from-bottom in the Cymru Alliance and to stay up surely outdoes that,” Lewis said.

“This league is so strong, and with Airbus and Rhyl coming down, it’s going to be a monster next season.

“To play at this level is not just one league up from the Spar League, it’s more like one and a half divisions.

“It’s so tough for a club like ours to compete at this level, particularly in the last six weeks. So I can’t be any prouder of all the players and everyone involved with our Club.

“The pleasing thing was that we stayed up on our own terms. We didn’t rely on anyone else, we did it ourselves. We played ever so well, it was a fantastic day for the club.

“It’s been a great weekend, what with Aberystwyth staying up in the Welsh Premier League on Friday, and now us in the Cymru Alliance.

“The players have always backed me, but had we gone down, then I would have looked at my future.

“We need to learn from this season, look at how we go about things tactically, and hopefully bring in three of four new players. I’ve already had players approach me about joining the club, which says a lot about what we have achieved.”

With the wind at their backs, Penrhyn were quickly out of the blocks against their fourth-placed visitors as they bossed the opening half.

Jon Foligno headed an early Mark Gornall corner over, and the defender missed a good chance when firing straight at keeper Richard Harvey when unmarked in the box.

Penrhyn continued with purpose as Jonathan Evans put a shot past the post, before deservedly making the breakthrough In the 32nd minute when a free kick from former Port midfielder Mark Gornall was headed back across goal for Carruthers to smash home.

Moments later, Liam Doherty forced Harvey into a smart save from another Gornall free kick as the Roosters again threatened.

Port’s hopes of getting back into the game faded further when defender Dan Roberts was dismissed before half time by referee Huw Jones for a second bookable offence.

Despite being a man short, Porthmadog looked a revitalised side in the second period, with Ceri James sounding a warning when blasting his 30-yarder just wide of the goal.

Lee Jenkins then made a good stop at his near post to keep out a well struck Julian Williams effort, before the visitors got back on terms in the 67th minute when Meilir Williams pounced to net from close range after the hosts had failed to deal with a long throw-in from Iddon Price.

Penrhyn were quickly back in front when Evans fired in from just inside the box. Harvey got both hands to the shot, buy the keeper could not prevent the ball dropping under the bar and into the net.

Port battled to get back on terms, but Penrhyn, who were again well led by the tireless Owain James, held firm to clinch survival and spark celebrations at Cae Baker.

PENRHYNCOCH: L Jenkins, M Mousley, S James, J Foligno, E Evans, M Gornall, O James, J Shaw J Evans, L Doherty D Carruthers (H Horwood 80 minutes). Substitutes not used: L Jacques, G Mansell, A Thomas, G Lewis.

PORTHMADOG: R Harvey, R Evans, P Lewis, C James, D Roberts, S Bratt (C Papirnyk 70), I Price, J Williams, J Williams, C Jones, M Williams. Unused subs: R Hughes, S Kempster, T French. Referee: Huw Jones. Attendance: 145.

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