News from the New Stadium

caernarfon v hotspur kick offCARL AND HOTSPUR FRUSTRATE CANARIES - Holyhead Hotspur denied three points that the hosts were desperate to obtain so as to keep in touch with league leaders Llandudno at the Oval.

In a match played in a highly competitive spirit as one would expect from such old rivals, Campbell Harrison’s team frustrated the cofis with some terrific and at times heroic defending at the back while always looking capable themselves of producing something at the other end of the pitch.

Towards the close the home team threw everything bar the kitchen sink at the Harbourmen to get a vital win but the Holyhead defence and in particular keeper Carl Jones were superb in an ‘alamo’ style situation in denying the hosts who fell further behind in the HGA Championship stakes what with Tudno’s 1-0 success over Porthmadog.

Caernarfon boss Lee Dixon will feel his team should have won from the amount of pressure applied especially near the end (with 7 minutes of added time) while in contrast Harrison must have been highly delighted with the display of his own men and the way they collectively performed throughout in such a resolute and skilful manner against a good outfit while Carl Jones was the hero everyman jack of the team put in a shift and a half in a match which was a credit to both clubs and the league.

Hotspur will continue on stage three of successive games on tour with a 280 mile round trip into deep Mid-Wales club Llandrindod Wells this coming Saturday (31st Jan) and another top performance will push them further up the table. This game should also see the return to Hotspur of star midfielder Jay Gibbs who has re-emerged at his home town club following a spell at Caernarfon and will probably be named in the squad.

The hosts posed an early threat Jaime McDaid to Darren Thomas who drove wide on 3. At the other end a few mins later a corner by KC Owen saw an Alex Jones header sting the hands of Paul Pritchard. Nip and tuc but with the host having more possession and on 20 a corner on the right was met by Gareth Edwards with a free header who put a good chance wide for the home team.

Hotspurs’ Owen shot straight at Pritchard and on 29 a fine move by Hotspur – Owen inside to Gareth Jones Evans whose placement effort was just inches wide of the far up-right. Steve Lewis then almost got Ywain Gwynedd in and was wide himself from long range as half time approached Caernarfon were putting on the pressure with a number of corners resulting, but apart from a good effort by Edwards just over good defending had restricted any clear chances. (H-T 0-0)

Start of the second half Owen’s free-kick found Rhys Roberts after a deflection with a glorious chance but shot just over. In the other goalmouth Darren Thomas’ header spelt danger and Gwynedd’s shot hit the outside of a post. The host were pumping high balls into the mix but Carl Jones was showing strong hands as pressure mounted but Hotspur were always dangerous and it needed good home defending after Jones Evans found Owen with a great ball.

As time wore on it began to get frenetic as the hosts realised time was running out but when they got through Hotspurs closing down denied them time and time again as the Canaries were unable to get in a telling shot and two saves from Edwards and sub Carl Owen were out of the top drawer. It was ‘siege time’ as Carl Jones was injured and booked for time wasting the referee adding 7 mins added time but Hotspur held out remarkably for a memorable point!

The huddle at the end showed a great spirit in the camp at present – great credit to the managers and players alike when they will play far worse and pick up 3 points!

Gareth M Davies

Photograph by Onions Bag's MatchDay Photo Diary