While the 3-0 score line seems emphatic enough at second place Guilsfield it does not tell the whole story of Hotspur’s disappointing reverse in Mid-Wales! Although under pressure for the first quarter of the match which eventually saw the hosts take the lead from a long range effort by Chris Cathrall on 20 minutes, Campbell Harrisons men then enjoyed a good period of possession for the rest of the half themselves. However, just before the break Guilsfields leading scorer Danny Barton converted a disputed spot kick which turned out to be a defining moment, the 2-0 half-time score proving too much of a mountain to climb for the visitors in the second period although matching the home side for much of the time, but without enough penetration and conviction up front.
With the Guils Captain Gareth Jones shown a second yellow with about five minutes to go it resulted in all out Holyhead attack to try and salvage something, but in dying embers from a break out of defence James O Reilly was brought down and Barton accepted his early Christmas present with a second penalty.
It was Hotspurs final game before the festivities, but normal service will be resumed on Saturday 27th December 2.30 pm kick off when Conwy Borough come calling at the New Stadium when the two clubs meet for the fourth time this season (which includes two cup ties) with Holyhead attempting to tie up the series at 2-2
The hosts were quickly on the front foot and on two minutes Danny Barton showed his threat beating two defenders inside the box his shot deflected for a corner. On seven a searching cross into the goal mouth saw Rhys Roberts do well to flick away for another corner kick. At the other end Gareth Jones-Evans fired over a free kick. Guilsfield continued in the ascendancy and a good long distance effort by Mark Davies was only just wide of the target, while a minute later 19 following a good run across the penalty area by Kenleigh Owen saw Mike Kellys drive test keeper Dave Littleford. On 20 minutes the hosts went ahead when full back Chris Cathrall moved infield and rifled in a shot from twenty five yards which flew past a seemingly unsighted Carl Jones. There followed a period of Hotspur pressure which could have changed the course of the game if they had capitalised on the opportunities. On 28 Dean Garmey picked out Nic Clark who found Julian Williams quickly but the loanee striker from Rhyl shot over. Two minutes later Guilsfield’s Gareth Jones lost possession to Gareth Jones-Evans who nipped in but shot inches the wrong side of the upright. On 34 Dan McGinness sent over a fine teasing cross which caused problems into the goalmouth but no Holyhead player could take advantage, while on 40 Alex Jones just failed to get a connection when Mike Edwards free kick was nodded down to him. The home side survived the scares and went further ahead just before the break – Gareth Jones found Barton just inside the area who seemed to stumble but managed to get in a shot which was saved. However, the referee deemed it was a foul but as no advantage had accrued pointed to the spot which caused uproar among the visitors, Danny Barton coolly converted.
The start of the second half saw Guilsfield going for the kill Carl Jones making a great stop from Jones and the same player was close again on 52. Nip & Tuck now Holyhead themselves appealing for a spot kick while Davies scooped over for Guilsfield on 67. With a quarter of an hour to go Harrison sent on all three subs on 78 Hotspur had a let off when a long cross from the right reached Barton who headed against the foot of the post. Hotspur were now pushing on with the home defence covering well while on 85 Gareth Jones was sent off for a second yellow. Hotspur sensed they might get something and Dan McGinness brought a fine save from Littleford. With the visitors pushing forward the hosts who had been quick on the counter broke again in added time and James O Reilly was brought down inside the area. Up stepped Barton to add insult to Hotspurs injury by shooting home with almost the last kick of the game.
Gareth M Davies