Cardiff Airport 1
A scoreline of 5-1 would seem to signify a very comfortable win for the home side, but in fact, this was anything but comfortable, writes Gareth Williams.
The strong determined Airport team came with a clear plan to use their pace on the counter attack giving, what often appeared to be an under manned defence, a hard time. On numerous occasions Port had reason to be grateful to their keeper Alex Ward-Jones who made several excellent saves at vital periods in the game. The fourth tier club were very much in this game until Rhys Alun netted to make it 3-1 to Port in the 79th minute.
The Airport club could hardly have dreamed of a better start. From the kick-off they attacked down the left catching the home defence cold and in the first minute Scotto Dabusco finished well with an angled shot. It was a case of shock all round; Cardiff Airport at how easy it had been and the home support stunned into silence by what on paper was supposed to be a comfortable home win.
Port responded immediately with Morgan Owen firing low but across the face of goal. Port, after the setback, applied the pressure and by the 10 minute mark were back on level terms, when an excellent Rhys Alun lay-off found Cai Jones in space and the experienced forward took his chance, firing low into the corner of the net from 16 yards.
A sigh of relief all round but any thought that Airport were about to cave in was badly misjudged. The dangerous Sonny Lambert broke down the right and sent a low ball across the face of goal for Dabusco to draw an excellent save from Alex Ward-Jones at his near post. But the pressure was now mainly on the Airport goal with Port enjoying most of the possession forcing a series of corners but a determined defence was in no mood to yield.
Tom Mahoney was prominent with some excellent approach work down the left combining well with Danny Brookwell.
A shot from Brookwell looked goalbound before taking a deflection from defender Harri Coxon. A Mahoney through ball put Cai Jones in on goal but keeper Nathan Gahan pulled off a good save. A thunderous shot from Rhys Alun struck the cross bar, following an excellent Shaun Cavanagh lay-off. Mahoney then cut in from the left but his low effort curled narrowly wide of Gahan’s far post.
The half ended with the Airport back on the attack and it needed a Gruff Ellis header off the home line and Alex Ward-Jones then produced another good save to keep out Curtis Watkins’ angled shot at his near post. Half-time 1-1 and all to play for.
The visitors came out strongly in the second-half and Ward-Jones was in action again saving well when the pacy Lambert got in behind the home defence. The keeper produced another good save to keep out a Theo Richards power shot.
Warning signs for Port who now pushed forward again and on 63 minutes they were ahead for the first time thanks to a goal from an unlikely source. A minute after coming on Iddon Price scored a vital goal netting from close range following Cai Jones’ cross.
But the visitors were not ready to cave in as once again the Airport attack got in behind the Port defence and in a one-on-one situation Ward-Jones saved the day with another great save to deny Lee Stradling.
Port now looked to consolidate with a third goal. Rhys Alun came close with a 25 yard free-kic before fastening on to Cai Jones’ through ball to net from a narrow angle.
In the 85th minute Port were awarded a penalty for a deliberate Caton handball, keeping out Cai Jones ’goalbound shot and receiving a red card. Keeper Nathan Gahan pushed away Jones’ penalty only for Telor Williams to pounce on the rebound and via an attempted block found the net.
One more goal and a memorable one for Zac Pike, his first at this level, the young forward firing across the keeper to place it safely inside the far post.
5-1 and Port were in the draw for the last 16 but knowing that they had been made to work extremely hard for the win in an enjoyable game.
Porthmadog’s next game on Saturday is likely to be switched from Caersws to the Traeth with a 12pm kickoff.
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