FAW Tier two league formed in 1990
Last season 2019

12-08-2017 14:30

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Dewi Rhys Owen

Port will be pleased with the three points in the season’s opening game but, overall it was a disappointing performance, in a strange game which hardly rose above the ordinary in terms of entertainment. Following a goalless first half the game took a sudden turn early in the second half when, in the space of five minutes, Gresford found themselves down to 9 men. Even then Port failed to take charge of the game and it was Joe Chaplin, scoring on debut from the spot, and Chris Jones netting in injury time who brought relief for home fans.

Gresford started well looking to hit on the break and after 3 minutes Dave McIntyre tested Richrd Harvey with a powerful effort from 25 yds. The same player followed this up soon after, pulling a shot across the face of goal from 15 yds. Port responded with a a good move after 11 minutes with Rob Evans finding Cai Jones, in space, on the edge of the box but this shot was also pulled wide. Then both teams missed good opportunities to go in front. Following a Gresford free kick on the left the ball broke for Owen Roberts but he failed to hit the target from 15 yds. On the half hour Port spurned an even better opportunity when Julian Williams was upended in the box. Referee Dewi Owen pointed to the spot but visitors keeper Mike Platt saved rather easily a tame shot from Julian Williams. Before an uninspiring first half came to an end both sides had opportunities. Gresford’s new signing, Aaron Edwards turned well 18 yds out and it needed a good save from Richard Harvey to prevent a goal. Five minutes before the end of the half the busy Joe Cahplin raced on to a long ball down the right and found Cai Jones in the box but Platt was out smartly to block the shot. Scoreless at the interval.

Gresford came close twice early in the second period. A poor clearance gave Aaron Edwards a chance on goal but he lifted his shot over the bar from 15 yds and minutes later Rob Evans had to clear Tom Freeman’s free kick off the Port line. The game then took a sudden turn for the worse for the visitors as, in the space of five minutes, they were reduced to nine players. First Adam Davies was dismissed on 59 minutes for a tackle on Rob Evans and on 64 minutes Simon Smith joined his colleague in the aftermath of Sion Bradley being brought down in the box and the referee awarding a penalty. The penalty that followed gave Joe Chaplin his chance to score a debut goal. Chaplin struck low and powerfully well wide of Mike Platt’s left hand. Port were ahead but despite playing against nine men they failed to control the game and Gresford remained stubborn and difficult opponents. Port’s Sion Bradley started to find space down the left and made some dangerous runs, twice creating heading opportunities for Chaplin at the near post. Chaplin himself made a good break down the right but was denied by a good save from Platt. One of Port’s better moves came ten minutes before the end with Chris Jones and Rob Evans combining well, down the right but a good defensve tackle foiled Julian Williams’ scoring chance. Despite being down to 9 players, while the score remained at 1-0, Gresford still fancied their chances of getting something from the game and indeed they kept possession well and created chances. Jack Jones screwed a close range effort over the bar and Freeman supplied Daley who struck a low shot narrowly wide while McIntyre fired across goal and wide. In addition they forced a couple of late corners so it was a relief for home supporters when Chris Jones beat the offside trap to fasten on to a long ball over the defence, race on into the box and coolly beat the advancing Mike Platt with a low angled shot.

Port travel to Llandudno Junction next week to take on a club who will be pleased with a tight performance against Airbus, one of the promotion favourites. They will know, despite the three points today, that a much improved and more convincing performance will be needed. It was perhaps a chance today to blow away some cobwebs without any real damage being done.

One more item for the record, the assistant referee, Laura Griffiths had to withdraw through injury at half time and thanks to Dylan Ellis, a qualified official took over. Diolch Dylan.

Report taken with thanks from Porthmadog website