Porthmadog 5 Caersws 0
Ardal North West playoff
PORTHMADOG have been promoted after a hugely impressive display against playoff opponents Caersws at Barmouth’s Wern Mynach ground.
Few would have predicted such a substantial margin of victory against the Bluebirds, but Craig Papirnyk’s men were outstanding on the day and fully deserving of the 5-0 win.
Both teams were nervous during the opening exchanges but they settled into some semblance of rhythm by the 15 minute mark.
It was Port who started marginally the brighter and the hard-working Paul Lewis put a worthy effort just over the bar after only three minutes.
Then on six minutes, Port keeper Paul Pritchard was called upon to make a timely interception from a clever through ball by Caersws.
In the 10th minute, playmaker Marcus Banks’ close range effort was blocked by Caersws keeper Steffan Harri and Rhys Alun’s follow-up drive was well blocked by a sliding defender.
Caersws got their first serious effort on goal in the 24th minute via a corner kick which was headed narrowly wide by Neil Mitchell.
At the other end four minutes later, Dewi Thomas tried to find an opening within the opponents’ box but his shot was blocked.
After something of a lull in terms of goalscoring chances, Rhys Alun shaved the top of the bar from 20 yards before they broke the deadlock on 37 minutes.
Gareth Jones-Evans, who was playing a blinder in midfield, went on a strong run through the middle and his slide-rule pass was finished superbly by Rhys Alun as he guided his shot wide of the diving Steffan Harri.
Three minutes before the interval, Paul Lewis sent in a fine floated cross but Banks’ well-placed header was safely gathered by the keeper.
There were 46 minutes on the clock when the impressive throng of Port supporters behind the Dyffryn-side goal started to truly believe.
A blistering left-footed drive by Jones-Evans came off Steffan Harri’s chest due to an awkward bounce.
The ball ballooned high into the air and the alert Rhys Alun was on hand to volley home from close range to give Port one foot back in the JD Cymru North after a three -year absence.
In control of their destiny, Port shifted through the gears after the break to put the other foot solidly in the higher tier.
The half was barely a minute old when Rhys Alun was driven wide by a defender and his firm shot needed a good two- handed block by the keeper.
A minute later, it was Cai Parry’s turn to shoot narrowly wide and four minutes later, a well-judged header by Banks was caught just under the bar.
Moments later Rhys Alun was clean through only to be thwarted by an excellent last-ditch tackle. Dewi Thomas also came close to putting the game to bed.
The pressure finally told in the 61st minute when a Caersws defender lost possession 10 yards outside his box. Rhys Alun took on the invitation, and, after beating his marker, sent a glorious shot high to the keeper’s left.
Jamie McDaid came on as sub for Banks and it took an excellent save low to his right by Steffan Harri to prevent a certain goal.
Then, it took one of the saves of the season high to his right to prevent Stuart Rogers from adding to Port’s tally.
With 15 minutes remaining, sub Matty Jones came close before John Littlemore scored from close range to finish a smart assist by the returning Ben Fisher.
There was still time for another goal, Paul Lewis putting the icing on the cake as he smashed a splendid low drive beyond the keeper’s despairing dive.
A long, hard season, full of twists and turns, triumphs and disappointments finished on a real high.
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