News from the New Stadium

Ten men Holyhead Hotspur defied the odds and at the same time tuned the form book upside down in knocking out Guilsfield in the first round of the Huws Gray Alliance League cup which went ahead at the fourth attempt of asking following three postponements due to bad weather and originally set for last October.

Hotspur’s win was all the more stunning because as they were down to ten men after just nine minutes when Dean Garmey saw red for what the referee saw as a dangerous tackle, other more enlightened viewers saw it as a 50/50 tackle with the Guilsfield player although initially rolling around in apparent agony getting up and running freely as Garmey left the field much to the annoyance of all except the referee and Guilsfield. Hotspur were without four regulars for this fixture and playing against one of the league’s top teams. The Guils had taken all six points against us in league action during the campaign and Hotspur had suffered seven straight defeats prior to this cup tie which made the win all the sweeter.

The hosts had to withstand heavy pressure after the break but defended superbly to a man while it was fitting that ‘man of the match’ Tomos Clarke should be the one to put his team into the next round after John Littlemore had been brought down in the penalty area following Clarke’s free kick with just four minutes to go.

The win earns Hotspur a quarterly final at Porthmadog whilst also a great confidence booster for the penultimate game at Ruthin this Saturday 14th April.

Hotspur began on the front foot on a heavy pitch at the start but on nine Dean Garmey was given his straight red after a mid field challenge. Hotspur were up against it but by no means defeated and after some Guilsfield pressure a corner on the right by Kenleigh Owen saw Tomos Clarke’s header saved at the near post by Lee Andrew the ball falling to Cory Jones who shot just over on 25. On the hour Asa Hamilton broke well into the box from the left and his well hit shot looked goal bound only for Reece Brown to make a superb block with his body. From the corner Chris Cathrall hit the bar with a fine header. At the other end a testing right wing corner by Owen somehow failed to get that necessary touch. Nip and tuck before the break with all to play for in the second half Half Time 0 – 0

Guilsfield put Hotspur under pressure at the start of the second half but Paul Pritchard was in confident form as he and his defenders kept out the visitrs who were making their one man advantage begin to tell but were yet to make any breakthrough against the resolute who were soaking up any threat. Players like Simon Davies and young Harry Lewis who had come into the side relished the challenge while young Ben Hamilton had to replace the injured established performer Kenleigh Owen just after the interval!.

Hotspur had to rely on breakaways from up front lone man John Littlemore but with the game looking as if it was heading for extra time Tomos Clarke lifted a free kick high into the box and when Littlemore was tripped the referee pointed to the spot and Tomos Clarke rifled the shot low and hard into the corner. A few anxious minutes ensued but a ‘famous win’ for Holyhead Hotspur.

 

Garteth M Davies

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