PICTURE by Richard Birch shows Mynydd Tigers winning the league in May.
AS YET another year comes to a close, I take a look back at ten of the most entertaining Anglesey League (including cup) matches to have taken place in 2018. In no particular order, here they are!
PS can I wish you all a Happy New Year and thank you all once again for your support during 2018!
Bodorgan 4-4 Valley (3-2 on pens) (20/01/18) – Megan Cup
It might not seem like a result that matters now on the grand scheme of things, but at the time, the result was huge and sent shock-waves through the league. Bod had shown major signs of improvement and Valley were top of the league when the fixture took place in January and both teams entered the game unbeaten in six matches.
It was Bodorgan who struck first in this memorable encounter when some miscommunication in the Valley defence allowed Danny Connolly (now at Pentraeth) to go through on goal and finish. On the stroke of half time, Valley were level when Jordie Lees (now at Holyhead Town) floated a high cross to the back post and Ryan Hall headed home his sixth goal in just three matches.
Valley came out fighting in the second half. Danny Roberts found Konnor Druce to make it 2-1 before the pair combined again and Druce’s shot from a tight angle was deflected in for 3-1. The tie was far from over though as Bodorgan found a second goal through Callum Andrews with less than half an hour remaining on the clock.
Bodorgan eventually equalised in the dying moments of the normal time when Connolly squeezed in his second goal of the afternoon to take the game to Extra Time.
With very little action in the first half of ET the second certainly came to life. Ryan Hall was sent off for a second bookable offence, before a scuffle broke out after Valley were awarded a penalty. The scrap saw Valley go down to nine men as Jordie Lees was sent off and Bodorgan also had one of their players dismissed for raising his hands to Konner Druce. After the commotion however, Mike Williams stepped up and converted from the spot to seemingly settle the tie.
However, Bodorgan once again had other plans and snatched a late equaliser once more. A high free kick launched into the box aw the ball was put into the net by a Valley defender to make it 4-4 and penalties loomed.
After a tense shoot-out, it was Dave Webster’s spirited Bodorgan side who came out on top as 3-2 winners in what was a classic win for them.
Caergybi 5-3 Arriva Bangor (07/04/18) – Megan Cup semi-final
Caergybi reached the final of the Megan Cup following this thrilling victory over Arriva Bangor at the 3G pitch in Bangor.
Dale Moffat’s Cybi side went in front when youngster Kurt Harris found the back of the net on 20 minutes. Just ten minutes later, midfielder Liam Williams doubled their advantage. However, Arriva made things difficult and on 38 minutes, pulling one back through top scorer Scott Hughes. On the hour mark, Kevin Jones’ side equalised through defender Chris Dawson to set up an eventful last half an hour.
The scoreline didn’t remain tied for long however. Just two minutes after Dawson’s goal, soon-to-be Man of the Match Gary Jo Owen netted to put Caergybi in front once again. The striker returned to first team action from an injury in style, notching another goal on 77mins to give his side a 4-2 lead.
The drama continued though when Kieron Davies pulled yet another goal back for the visitors on 86mins to set up a nervy finale. The game was only well and truly done and dusted on 89mins when Owen grabbed his hat-trick and reached the 30 goal mark for the season. His celebration was a little unique to say the least …
Caergybi 7-4 Valley (28/04/18) – Car Boot Cup semi-final
Goals galore between two fierce rivals in this one and it was a former player who came back to haunt Valley in this one.
The visitors took the lead inside the first two minutes when tall forward Mike Williams finished neatly. However, Caergybi’s main man up top and former Valley man Gary Jo Owen, equalised on 25mins thanks to a nice assist from Richard Argyle.
Cybi captain Dewi Thomas fired them in front on the half hour mark with a brilliant free-kick. It was 2-1 at half time, but things were about to get a whole lot more entertaining in the second 45.
Owen scored two more and grabbed a hat-trick against his former side to put Cybi in the driving seat (4-1) with 15 minutes to spare – or so it would seem. Valley fought hard despite being three goals down. Mike Williams scored again, this time from the spot (77′) and completed his hat-trick (83′) to set up a tense finale between the two sides. Incredibly, Valley completed the comeback and equalised in injury time via a Paul Williams goal – taking the tie into Extra Time.
However, all of Barry Rowlands’ side’s good work was undone in this spell as two more goals from Gary Jo Owen (96′, 118′) and a strike from Dewi Thomas (114′) ensured that it was Dale Moffat’s team who progressed to the final, where they eventually lost out to Arriva Bangor.
Bryngwran Bulls 4-5 Arriva Bangor (28/04/18) – Car Boot semi-final
The 28th of April threw up a real goal-fest in the Car Boot Trophy as Arriva joined Caergybi in the final.
This time around for Kevin Jones’ side it was not “The Scott Hughes show” as it so often previously had been, with the Busmen relying on other goalscorers to push them through to the final instead.
Having been 3-1 down at one point, the determined Arriva side fought hard throughout the match to reach their second final of the season (Alongside the Elias Cup).
Richard Owen’s side had seemed to be running away with the match at one point as goals from Nathan Lewis (2) and Tony Meyer gave them a healthy lead. However, Josh Royds bagged a brace for Arriva, before Mathew Williams, Daniel Ogwen Jones and an in-form Kieron Davies completed the most magnificent of turnarounds. Defender John Earnshaw bagged a fourth goal for The Bulls but it was not enough for them as they got a rare taste of defeat on home soil.
Arriva Bangor 2-2 Bodorgan (3-2 on pens) (04/05/18) – Elias Cup final
A final that will live long in the memory of both sides – as it was their first in Saturday league football. Luke Winter and Gerwyn Williams had struck to see Bod head into half time in full control of the tie. However, the second half would prove to be their undoing.
A penalty conversion from experienced striker Andy Clarke (now at Glantraeth) brought Kevin Jones’ side back into the match before a Gavin Pritchard goal forced the game into Extra Time as Arriva showed real fight to produce an incredible turnaround.
Extra Time followed but neither team could find that decisive 3rd goal. Unsurprisingly then, penalties came and after a nerve-wrecking shootout, it was Arriva who eventually came out as 3-2 winners in the end, sparking wild scenes of celebrations from the players as Arriva won their first of two cups that season.
Bryngwran Bulls 2-1 Mynydd Tigers (12/05/18) – Dargie Cup final
A tight game between two evenly-matched sides, where goal-scoring opportunities were hard to come by. Having already beaten Mynydd 3-0 in the Lucas Oil Cup final a few weeks prior to this one, Bryngwran were confident of a win. But, it wasn’t easy.
The initial break through came for The Tigers on 49mins when Wisdom Janes fired them in front. Most would have expected Mark Hughes’ side to be crowned champions from there on out, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
Having stood strong for so long, Mynydd’s defence fell apart when they conceded an equaliser on 67mins as Bulls defender Hari Jones scored after a free kick was floated in.
Insult was added to Mynydd’s injury in Extra Time when a mistake at the back cost them the Trophy. An error on the half way line allowed striker Nathan Lewis (now at Cefni) to break and he made no mistake to slot home and hand Bryngwran yet another Cup.
Bulls manager Richard Owen was delighted to add another trophy success to his ever-growing cabinet.
“Our target at the start of this season was to hopefully get one trophy and we’ve already doubled that,” he said.
“We’re still in with a chance of another two as well, which is unreal. We are over the moon to have beaten Mynydd for the fifth time this season as well.
“To come back from a goal down the way we did shows how strong of a squad we have at our disposal with our subs making a huge impact.”
Bryngwran Bulls 2-4 Mynydd Tigers (26/05/18)
The title-deciding game of the 2017-18 season proved to be a classic. Anything but a Tigers win would’ve handed The Bulls the championship and having lost five times to them in the season previous to this match, all eyes were on Bryngwran to take the win.
However, the youthful Mynydd Tigers side showed immense spirit. They took the lead early on through a Tomos Eames free-kick. Goals from Mike Holroyd and the highly-talented Herbie Hofsteede made it 3-0 before half time. Bryngwran’s top scorer James Ryan (now at Caergybi) missed a penalty too.
He went on to score in the second half though and another strike from substitute Barry Edwards was to set up an inevitable dramatic finale.
It was The Tigers who had the last laugh though when Hofsteede netted his second to hand them the title in their debut season in the Anglesey League.
Arriva Bangor 6-4 Caergybi (28/05/18) – Car Boot Cup final
Kevin Jones’ side had already won the Elias Cup prior to this one having beaten Bodorgan in that final just a month ago. Cybi on the other hand were in great form heading into their first final as a team, having formed in the summer of 2017.
It was Arriva who had taken complete control of the game early on though, racing into a 3-0 lead thanks to a brace from Danial Ogwen Jones (2) and a goal from Kieron Davies. The scoreline got to 4-1 before half time after skipper Liam Roberts had scored for Arriva and Gary Jo Owen pulled one back for Dale Moffat’s side.
Despite pulling three more goals back in the second half (courtesy of a Gary Jo double and a solo strike from his brother Liam Williams), it just wasn’t to be for Caergybi on the night, as strikes from Sammy Williams and Scott Hughes wrapped a stunning cup double up for Arriva.
Man of the Match on the night was Caergybi hitman Gary Jo Owen, who reached 57 goals (for Valley and Cybi) at that point in the season – equalling his best ever tally which he previously hit for the now defunct Morawelon FC.
Bryngwran Bulls 2-3 Caergybi (01/06/18) – Megan Cup final
Cybi eventually ended their debut campaign with some well-deserved silverware, putting their cup final heartbreak behind them.
Dale Moffat’s side didn’t make things easy for themselves though, having twice gone behind in this match. James Ryan, who now plays for Cybi, put Bryngwran ahead before Glenn North equalised. Then, Nathan Lewis scored his second cup final goal of the season, to put The Bulls 2-1 up before Luke McKittrick replied to equalise once again.
The game’s eventual winner came through prolific striker Gary Jo Owen, who netted his record-breaking 58th and final goal of the season to claim the Megan Cup and cap off a memorable debut season in the league for Caergybi.
Valley 5-4 Caergybi (22/08/18)
A fixture between these two sides is nearly always guaranteed to be a classic and August of this season proved to be no different. Dan Jones’ Valley side looked for all the world like they would be cruising to victory as they found themselves 3-0 up after just 35 minutes of the games thanks to a stunning hat trick from Shane Boylan.
The game was to take an almighty twist though as Dave Webb scored on his debut for Caergybi just three minutes later and goals from Gary Jo Owen (41′) and James Ryan (45′) brought Dale Moffat’s side level before half time.
Credit to Valley though, they didn’t let that phase them and were back in control in the second half. They found themselves 5-3 up thanks to a goal from Paul Williams and an own goal.
Caergybi continued to fight till the very end, and even pulled another goal back through James Ryan again but it just wasn’t to be on the night as the home team held out for a massive three points which knocked Cybi’s title hopes.
Caergybi 6-4 Bryngwran Bulls (08/09/18)
The game of the season so far during 2018/19 in my opinion.
The Bulls, who were unbeaten heading into this fixture, looked as though they were heading to another straightforward win when they found themselves 2-0 up very early on thanks to goals from Dan Williams and top scorer Craig Moore. Former Bulls striker James Ryan then pulled one back before Moore saw a penalty saved by Cybi keeper Kieran Weeks, who was superb on the day.
Justin Williams then equalised on 35mins before a spectacular free-kick from Liam Williams, from inside his own half, flew in to put Caergybi 3-2 up. Amazingly, Moore then missed a second penalty just before half time, with Weeks once again denying him from the spot.
In the second half, Caergybi made it 4-2 early on when Ryan scored against his former team once again. Bryngwran then pulled one back through Matty Roberts before midfielder Dave Webb gave Cybi a two-goal cushion once again soon after. The game was done and dusted when Ryan converted a penalty to complete his hat-trick three minutes from time. A Matt Reynolds goal was a consolation for The Bulls who suffered their first, and so far only, league defeat of the current season.
Llandegfan 3-4 Cemaes Bay (15/09/18)
Again this might not have meant much to the league in general, but to those at both of these clubs, it was memorable. It was the closest Llandeg have gone to winning a game this season in what was an absolute thriller at Lon Ty Newydd.
The home side found themselves ahead in the opening ten minutes when midfielder Geraint Roberts fired home on the volley. They then continued to press but just couldn’t find that second goal and eventually paid for it when Craig Childes was judged to have brought winger Sean Sullivan down in the box – before converting a penalty for 1-1. Cemaes scored again just before half time via forward Liam Rodriguez who got in behind the Llandeg defence.
In the second half, the home side came out battling once more and swiftly equalised when Kurt Harris burst down the wing before laying it on a plate for Dave Parry to make it 2-2. Moments later, Llandeg were in front again when Harris was again dangerous, this time nodding the ball home at the back post.
It looked for all the world like Llandegfan were going to stun Cemaes, however it just wasn’t to be. On 80 mins, Sullivan managed to sneak in behind the defence well before poking the ball past goalkeeper Jamie Kiely for 3-3. It was pure agony for Llandeg when Cemaes captain Dafydd Jones’ strike five minutes from time took a deflection off a Llandeg defender and found its way into the net for the winner.
A real classic and a testament to the Anglesey League due to the fact that it’s not just the “bigger teams” that can put on a show.
Bryngwran Bulls 6-4 Caergybi (27/10/18) – Megan Cup
This highly-anticipated clash between the Anglesey League’s top guns certainly didn’t fail to disappoint in this ten-goal thriller which saw the cup holders crash out. Bryngwran came out on top, with exactly the same scoreline they had suffered to Cybi just weeks earlier.
A chaotic start to the match saw Matty Roberts pick out Craig Moore with a great lofted ball and as always, he made no mistake to reach the 30 mark for the season. Caergybi equalised on eight minutes when Liam Williams hammered home a free kick from 20 yards. It was then Caergybi’s turn to take the lead on 17 minutes when former Bulls man James Ryan came back to haunt them once again, this time converting from the spot. It wasn’t long before The Bulls were back in the game again though, Moore curling home a fine effort for his second of the game.
In a truly crazy game of football, it was 3-2 to Bryngwran just before the half-hour mark thanks to Moore completing his hat-trick. He then added another on 35 mins to take his tally to 33 and give The Bulls a two goal lead. Again though, that didn’t last long as Barry Roberts pulled it back to 4-3.
Things calmed down a little in the second half, but even more goals followed. Cybi pulled themselves level once more on the hour mark, some good pressing allowing Dave Webb in to finish from close range.
Like so many other games this season though, Bryngwran fought for their lives for that win and it came eventually. They were helped on a little when Caeergybi’s Glenn North was sent off on 72mins for raising his arms to his opponent.
Only one team pushed from there on in and The Bulls found a goal eight minutes from time. A ball whipped in from the corner found the tall figure of Anton Williams who found the back of the net with a great header. He then added a second minutes from the final whistle to make it 6-4 and see The Bulls into the next round.
A TIMELINE of stand out/defining moments from the league during 2018:
- January – Valley sit at the top of the Anglesey League following a fine first half to their season.
- February – Herbie Hofsteede (Mynydd Tigers) scores seven in game v Llandegfan and Llandeg’s goalkeeper Hywel “Monk” Hughes also scores from the spot during his side’s 17-1 defeat.
- March – Llandegfan get their first (and most recent) win in five months with a 6-2 victory over Pentraeth Reserves.
Dargie Cup semi-final between Caergybi and Mynydd Tigers has to be called off after huge fight breaks out between players and staff.
- April – Bryngwran Bulls forward James Ryan’s hits a hat-trick of hat-tricks (nine goals) against Llandegfan in a crushing 17-1 victory.
Caergybi secure a memorable late win over Bryngwran Bulls (2-1).
Bryngwran Bulls win the Lucas Oil Cup, defeating Mynydd Tigers 3-0.
- May – Arriva Bangor claim the Elias Cup, beating Bodorgan 3-2 on penalties (2-2 in normal/extra time).
Bryngwran Bulls pick up another trophy – the Dargie Cup – beating Mynydd Tigers again, 2-1 this time around.
The Tigers get last laugh by defeating The Bulls 4-2 on the final day of the season and are subsequently crowned Anglesey League champions.
Arriva Bangor win their second trophy in a month, the Benllech Car Boot Trophy, hammering Caergybi 6-4.
- June – Caergybi bounce back in style to beat Bryngwran Bulls 3-2 and win the Megan Cup.
- July – Summer signings begin. Some of the more notable ones include James Ryan leaving Bryngwran Bulls for Caergybi and Craig Moore dropping two leagues to sign for The Bulls in his place.
- August – The Anglesey League returns with Llangoed Reserves dropping but the inclusion of Holyhead Hotspur Reserves, Cemaes Bay, Cefni and Llanfairpwll sees the league bumped up from nine teams to 11.
2017/18 Anglesey League champions Mynydd Tigers are finally granted promotion to Gwynedd League.
Bryngwran Bulls begin the campaign on fire and sit at the top of the table, having won every game.
Cemaes Bay pick up their first three points – a 4-0 victory at Llanfairpwll.
- September – A rare 0-0 in the league as Bryngwran Bulls and Cefni play out a bore draw.
- October – The NWCFA Junior Cup kicks off and the likes of Caergybi and Holyhead Hotspur Reserves progress to the next round, with some event enjoying wins against higher league opposition.
- November – Bryngwran Bulls remain top of the Anglesey League, having lost just once in the league.
- December – Craig Moore (Bryngwran Bulls) is leading the goal-scoring charts on 37 goals but Scott Hughes (Arriva Bangor on 35) and James Ryan (Bryngwran Bulls on 34) are hot on his heels.
Bryngwran Bulls are eight points clear at the top of the table heading into 2019. However, they have played three more games than Arriva Bangor and Caergybi who should run them close in the title race.