JAY GIBBS continued his magical form in a Holyhead Hotspur shirt by notching a double in Saturdays 3-1 Cookson Cup semi-final victory at Llanrug United, reports Gareth Davies.
Former Tranmere Rovers youth scholar and Wales under-17 and under-19 international Gibbs made it eight goals in five matches and 16 for the season to help Hotspur set up a meeting with Gwalchmai in the final.
It is the first time a Holyhead team has reached the Cookson final since Town beat Porthmadog in the 1967/68 showpiece.
And standing in their way of silverware this time will be Anglesey rivals Gwalchmai, who Hotspur have already beaten on three occasions this season.
Saturdays win at Eithin Duon made it 22 victories in 25 starts this term for the red-hot Harbourmen.
And the result will certainly come as a confidence boost as Emlyn Manley Williams side return to Llanrug this Saturday for an FAW Trophy round four tie (1.30pm).
Going into last Saturday’s Cookson semi on a four-match winning run, Hotspur made a good start with Kenleigh Owen firing just wide before lashing another strike into the side-netting.
On 14 minutes Llanrugs Gruff John Williams shot inches past the post, then visiting keeper Ben Heald had to come racing out of his goal to clear.
In the 24th minute, however, the Anglesey side edged in front when Mike Edwards did well to set up Dan McGinness who drilled into the area, Mel McGinness took the weight off the cross, and Gibbs netted from eight yards.
Gibbs hit another attempt just beyond the post, but Llanrug were always competitive and Garmon Williams effort was pushed behind for a corner before Heald concocted an excellent save from Andrew Garlicks deflected shot.
Hotspur earned a penalty three minutes before the interval when the referee adjudged Owens cross had been handled, but although Mel McGinness struck the spot-kick well, United keeper Dave Ball dived to his left to produced a brilliant save.
Early in the second stanza Holyhead did double their lead when Chris Saxon and Mike Edwards combined well before Gibbs raced forward and scored with a 20-yard cracker.
A Mel McGinness header had Ball at full stretch, but on 57 minutes the Anglesey aces pocketed a third.
Mel McGinness drove into the box low and hard from the left and defender Alex Jones clipped the ball home.
Gibbs was only denied a hat-trick by a fine Ball stop, but the hosts kept trying and on 72 minutes good play down the left ended with Rhys Roberts firing in a consolation for Aled Owens men.
Gibbs had further opportunities for his trio, but Llanrug battled to the end, and had they managed a second goal it might have set up an interesting last few minutes.
United had a penalty appeal turned down, but generally Hotspur defended well and the fact they always had that little bit extra in the locker earned them a deserved win.
Before the match a minutes silence was held in honour of Hywel Manley Williams, father of Hotspur manager Emlyn, who passed away last week. The club passes on sincere condolences to the Manley Williams family.